I got ghosted — dumped by a guy who just disappeared on me, no explanation — after three months of lovey-dovey dating. Clearly, he isn't a great person, yet I'm unable to stop thinking about him and wondering why he left. How do I accept that it's over so I can start dating again? — Plagued
It's hard on the ego to learn why somebody's leaving you, but it beats needing a Ouija board.
It's the mystery that's causing the problem. Typically, when rotten things happen to us, our feel-bad emotions (like anger and sadness) rise up — driving us to take a wiser course of action the next time so we'll keep those bad feelings from popping by again: "Wassup? Got any beer?"
Knowing the wiser course starts with knowing what to avoid. But all you've got is a terrible itch — the itch of uncertainty about why this guy vanished — and little hope of yanking him in to give you answers: "Wanted/Reward — ex-boyfriend who ghosted me, last seen on 3/11/2018 carrying the remains of my dignity in a green reusable bag."
However, you can probably dupe your mind into believing it has the answer. Research by cognitive neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga suggests our mind is quick to create stories to fill in and make sense out of incomplete information — and then we tend to go right ahead and believe our stories. To take advantage of this, imagine a possible reason the guy vamoosed on you — and then just decide to accept it as THE reason.
What might also help is transforming your thoughts of the guy into a material object — a piece of garbage, in fact — and throwing it away. And yes, I get that this sounds absurd, but there's a growing area of social science research — embodied cognition — that finds taking action is a highly efficient way to change our feelings. Accordingly, social psychologist Pablo Brinol had research participants write a negative thought on a piece of paper and then rip the paper up and throw it into a nearby trash can. This actually led to participants "mentally disposing" of their disturbing thinking to a great degree.
Should the guy sneak back into your thoughts, don't worry; just widen the shot. Shift your focus from him to yourself — looking at how you maybe crossed your fingers that you had a keeper instead of seeing whether that actually was the case. Understanding what you should do differently is the first step toward expanding the male companionship in your life — amusing as it can be to spend your nights watching your current partner get loaded on catnip and try to make sweet love to your throw pillows.
My husband and I are both 70, and we have a good, satisfying sex life. I found out recently that he masturbates now and then. I was puzzled and hurt, but he said he just doesn't want to bother me all the time. Should I be worried that he's masturbating? — In The Dark
You really want your husband to hit you up for some sex whenever the urge strikes him? Imagine the call: "Hi, honey...I'm in the golf course bathroom. How quickly can you get down here?"
As long as your husband isn't ditching sex with you for his knuckle-love sessions, his masturbating isn't something you should take personally. People masturbate because they're bored, they're tense, they can't sleep, or their phone needs to recharge before they can continue their Facebook flame war over whether "Saved by the Bell" was a vehicle for the Illuminati.
Also, there are times when a person just wants to get off solo — maybe because they're short on time and maybe because they're low on emotional energy (and their hand doesn't get miffy if they don't cuddle it afterward and tell it it's beautiful).
Still, maybe you're thinking, "Well, why can't he just wait till I'm around?" And it's understandable that you'd think that — maybe because you're just fine with waiting. And if you are, that may be because you're a woman. It turns out that there are sex differences in sexual desire.
Social psychologist Roy Baumeister and his colleagues, surveying piles of studies, explain that men tend to have a far stronger sex drive, with "more frequent and more intense sexual desires than women." That's surely why it's primarily men (and probably single men) who show up in emergency rooms with embarrassing sex-for-one-related injuries — like wiener-in-the-vacuum-cleaner lacerations. (Since penis-in-vagina sex is fun, why not penis-in-the-Shop-Vac?!)
So, back to your question: Should you be worried that he's masturbating? No, you should be celebrating! Bake his penis a cake! (That's what we do for people who are still alive at 70. Why not for their sex parts?)
Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or email [email protected] (www.advicegoddess.com). Order her new book, "Unf*ckology: A Field Guide to Living with Guts and Confidence."
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 sex therapist Dr. Brandy Engler on men's and women's unspoken erotic desires.