Fawn Juan I'm a 31-year-old single guy with a problematic pattern. Women I ask out seem to love how I'm open and very complimentary from the start, but then, suddenly, they get cold feet. It seems that once women know they're desired, they're done with you. …Read more. The Hurt And Confused Locker I was dating a sociopathic compulsive liar for three months. I had a gut feeling that he was lying about his work, education, and finances, but I had no real proof. This allowed him to manipulate me and convince me that I was crazy, insecure, and …Read more. The Alone Ranger Sometimes, when my boyfriend is upset, he wants comforting, just like I would. He'll vent or lay his head in my lap, and I stroke his hair. But sometimes, he just sits on the couch and says nothing. How do I know what he needs, and how do I feel …Read more. High, I Think I Love You Two friends of mine are in "love at first sight" relationships. (One went from chills at seeing the guy to moving in with him weeks later.) Each has said to me, "When it's right, you just know." Well, as I get to know this new guy I'm seeing, I …Read more.more articles
The Gospel Of Lukewarm
I've been in a long-distance relationship with my dream man. When we aren't together, I feel super-disconnected and needy. I've never been that sort of person, but he is a master of compartmentalization and just calls or texts back when I contact him and is happy to see me when he sees me. This just isn't working for me. I need a guy who's excited enough about me day to day that he takes a little initiative to talk to me. I've asked him repeatedly to even just text me first from time to time so I can feel like I matter to him. However, nothing changes. I now think I should end it. I do love him, though, and my friends are telling me that I've already invested nine months of my life in this relationship and I might as well see it through now. There is the possibility he'd move to my city, but that wouldn't be for at least eight months, and it is only a possibility. — Across The Country
In situations like this, "absence" would be more useful if, instead of making the heart "grow fonder," it made the heart grow little legs and trot off to a bar to chat up somebody new.
You've told this guy what you need — no, not diamonds, furs, and surgical conjoinment; just a textiepoo at some point in the afternoon or maybe a call as he's on his way someplace. He pretty much responded, "I hear ya, baby — and can't wait to keep doing the exact same thing!" This led you to the obvious (and healthy) conclusion: Time to jump off the lost-cause train. But just then, up popped your friends to yank you back into the boxcar, advising you to put up with the unhappy and see where it goes — because you've already put in so much unhappy.
This sort of thinking is called the "sunk cost fallacy." It's a common cognitive bias — an error in reasoning — that leads us to keep investing in something simply because we've already invested so much. Behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman explains that even when we sense that investing further is futile, we're prone to do it because of how powerfully loss affects us. His research finds that we may even feel twice as much pain from a loss as we feel happiness from a gain. So, rather than take the hit to our ego by admitting we've wasted our time, we waste more time doing whatever wasted our time in the first place.
The rational (and misery-reducing) approach is recognizing that the time we've already put in is gone and that throwing more time in after it won't change that. What makes sense is deciding what to do based on how likely it is to pay off in the future. In this case, sure, your boyfriend could have a near-death experience, re-evaluate his life, and start texting you heart emojis every 20 minutes — and Elton John could divorce his husband and start dating women.
I love my girlfriend but don't love how aggressive she is with her tongue when we kiss. I like softer kissing, but I think she thinks I won't find her "passionate" enough that way. She has big, beautiful lips, and she's intense, and I don't need her tongue down my throat to feel connected. How do I navigate this difference in styles? — Uncomfortable
It's great to have your girlfriend's kisses kick off a fantasy in your head, but not that you're playing spin the bottle with a camel.
Unfortunately, there's really no such thing as "constructive criticism." As I explain in "Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck," "Criticizing people doesn't make them change; it makes them want to clobber you." That's because we're living in modern times with an antique psychological operating system. A verbal attack sets off pretty much the same biochemical alarm as a guy in a loincloth and face paint coming after you with a bloody spear. The good news is that turning criticism into opinion often makes all the difference in getting it heard. In this case, this simply involves telling your girlfriend how you like to be kissed — and then (fun!) showing her. It's great to have a woman who takes your breath away — but not because she's trying to give you a laryngectomy with her tongue.
Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or email AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com). Her latest book is "Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck."
COPYRIGHT 2015 AMY ALKON
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It's Amy Alkon's "HumanLab — The Science Between Us." Amy brings in the luminaries of behavioral science to solve our problems in love, work, and life. Listen live every Sunday — http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon — from 7 to 7:30 p.m. Pacific time; or listen or download at the link, at iTunes, or on Stitcher. This week, Amy interviews anthropologist Dr. Kermyt Anderson on how fatherhood transforms dads and kids and how to be a great dad.