Linda Bloom, L.C.S.W., is a psychotherapist and marriage counselor who teaches relationship workshops. She is the co-author of four books including the best-selling 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married (over 100,000 copies sold). She is a regular teacher at Esalen institute and Kriaplu, with over 600 blogs on Psychology Today with over 10 million hits, and over 150 videos on her You-Tube channel.
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Is it possible to make yourself stop liking someone? What can help?
Our feelings come uninvited. We can’t control them, but we can make wise choices to separate from a person who is not a suitable partner. First, we must not have sex with them anymore because the hormones in our blood stream work like glue to keep us bonded to them. And we can stop seeing that person, talking with them on the phone, texting, or emailing. We can make a conscious decision to put them out of our mind when we are thinking obsessively about them, and distract ourselves with other friend and activities. That’s the best way to let go of a relationship that is unsuitable to us. Grieving the loss of what might have been will take us a long way. And affirming that this lost relationship was only a stepping stone relationship that is bringing us closer to the one that will be a keeper.
What are some signs a man wants a woman to chase him and make a move?
A man can pay attention to what the woman is saying to show interest in him as well as her behavior toward him to be able to assess if she is actually interested in him. And if he has courage, he can come right out and ask if she is interested.
How can a man tell if he is attractive or not?
Some women are willing to be frank with the men who are not their type and will be open courageous enough to say so. There is a way that the woman can deliver this information that is caring and respectful. If the man is in doubt, he can reassure her that he can take the news if he is not her type or if this time is not a good time for her to be in a relationship with anyone.
What advice do you have for dealing with a jealous partner, and just how much jealousy is healthy in a relationship?
Jealousy is a form of fear. The partner that is jealous does not yet have enough trust to have their fears calmed down. It’s a good rule to not be angry and frustrated with a partner who is jealous and fearful. Have some compassion for their anxiety and do your best to assure them that you choose them, that you are faithful to them, that you don’t lie or keep secrets, that you have their back. If you live a life of integrity and live up to these promises, their jealousy will calm down. Less jealousy is preferable of course, but it can take years to build the trust high enough for a partner to feel at ease. It is especially difficult for a partner who has been betrayed and let down in their family of origin or a prior adult relationship to trust again after having been let down. The partner of someone who has intense jealousy has to work harder to earn their partner’s trust with patience and devoted behavior.
What is your advice on dating a separated man with children?
If you choose to date a separated man with children, he may not want you to be involved with his kids until the relationship is well established. He will be protective of his children who have already experienced a loss with the separation from their mother. He wants to spare the kids the pain of getting close to another woman who may not be in their life on a long-term basis, which is so understandable. Once the relationship is stronger and better established, your patience, attention, and involvement with his children are a way of showing love to him. Being willing to share his attention and not being competitive with his kids for his time and devotion is also a way of showing your love to him.
How and when should a couple have a conversation about defining their relationship?
I’m from the school of thought that having the conversations defining the relationship early is better than later. When I met my husband, in the very first week that we were together, I announced to him that I wanted to have children and that if he didn’t want to be a family man to tell me right away because I was already falling in love with him. I also announced that I was planning a career and only wanted to be partnered with someone who was willing to have an agreement to mutually support each other’s careers and raise the children together. He was a bit shocked, but thanked me for being frank. It was a standard set in our partnership that we are open and honest with each other, which has held us in good stead in our 54 years together.
What does it mean when a man wants to cuddle with a woman?
Contrary to popular opinion, research shows that men want hugs and cuddling even more than women do. Both men and women want the comfort and security that comes from touch and embrace. And it is reassuring to both that non-sexual touch is available just for the sheer joy of it. There is a security and comfort that comes with touch that satisfies on a very deep level.
What are some signs that a man’s girlfriend is secretly texting another man, and what should he do if that’s found to be the case?
Having contact with other men who are friends or business associates is no threat; it’s only other potential dating material that is the threat. An open, honest discussion is necessary to see if they are looking for someone else and want to keep their options open. When there are firm agreements in place early on in the relationship about exclusivity, forsaking all others, those boundaries about not connecting either in person, by email, text, and phone calls with other potential partners, it seals the container. Such agreements get the relationship off on a strong foot. It is important that neither partner make the firm agreements unless they are fully prepared to meet them. If either one makes the agreement and violate it, it compromises the trust. It doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, but some work needs to be done to restore the trust and get back on a strong foundation by making agreement that are kept on both sides.
What circumstances and factors tend to make a man regret leaving a woman and make him come back to her?
Sometimes, when a relationship hits a challenging period, the man may leave, thinking that the relationship is not the right one for him. He may wise up and discover that he had a partner with vast potential that he left behind and that it is a normal part of relationship to have to leave the infatuation stage and go on to stages like commitment and power struggle that aren’t as much fun. There is no relationship with anyone that can stay in the infatuation stage indefinitely. Everyone has to leave the garden of Eden and do the work that a mature relationship requires. Once he accepts that there is work to do on himself, she looks more attractive, so he’s willing to roll up his sleeves and get to work with her.
What are the best ways to make an emotionally unavailable man open up, and what factors can make it difficult?
When a woman is demanding or impatient, she is working against her own best interests. When she can be patient with a man who is reluctant to open up, she’s more apt to get when she is longing for, and to have him come close to her. Men have a handicap that women don’t have. They have been conditioned by our culture to cover up their feelings. A woman needs to factor this dynamic in to give the man time to trust that he won’t be shamed if he gets vulnerable with her by admitting to his fears, disappointment, insecurities, and hurt. A wise woman will commit herself to being a shining example of giving what she wants to receive, exposing her vulnerability to model for him speaking from her heart. By reinforcing his efforts to open up, and telling him how much she appreciates his efforts to share his feelings, things are likely to change for the better.