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Newsletter Dated: 7/1/2012 10:32:52 PM
Subject: Happiness Tips from Tina: How To Avoid Loving a Jerk
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Happiness Tip: How To Avoid Loving a Jerk
As I was swimming last week, a young couple came into the pool. Instead of doing laps or walking, like most of the gym members, they were just enjoying themselves. He started splashing her, and she said “Joey, stop it!” but she said it in a placating, whiney voice. He just kept splashing her. I bit my tongue, because what I wanted to do was tell her she was teaching him to ignore her and push past her boundaries. For all I know, he was a nice guy, and I worried for nothing – but I do know that this is how abuse begins – with small incursions over boundaries. When a potential abuser (male or female) learns that the victim won’t oppose his or her actions, he or she then assumes it’s OK to become more pushy and demanding, and perhaps abusive.
When you’re dealing with a new relationship, it’s important to notice if the other person is not being considerate, or being disrespectful, or being too selfish. While anyone can make a mistake or fall short of perfect behavior, someone who repeatedly is rude, inconsiderate or obnoxious, and who won’t take “stop” or “no” for an answer, is showing signs of narcissism and emotional immaturity. This is the kind of person who can turn out to be a problem, a bitch or a jerk.
Keep in mind that any person you’re in a new relationship with is on their best behavior – courting behavior. It is not going to get better as you get closer. The more a disrespectful person feels there’s some power to be gained, the more he or she will push.
Here are some ways to notice if a new date has a chance of becoming a problem.
* Pay Attention!!! You Have Things to Learn Here!
The most important aspect of a date, in addition to having a good time, is to get to know each other better. No matter how excited, turned on or thrilled you may be about this person, listening to what your date says, watching what your date does and understanding how your date feels are still your primary objectives.
* What Your Date Thinks of You Is Not Your Business — Your Business Is What You Think of Your Date.
One of the easiest ways to lose your objectivity and balance in this is to worry about what your date thinks about you. If you spend your time essentially trying to look at yourself through your date's eyes, guessing what he or she is seeing when looking at you, or hearing when listening to you, you'll miss what's really happening. You're supposed to be evaluating the *other* person, not pretending to look at yourself through his or her eyes. Pay attention so you know what YOU think of your date.
* Look for integrity – make sure your date walks his or her talk. Anyone can talk big. Actually, some of the best people *don’t* present themselves well — don’t overlook someone who is not gorgeous, charming and glib, but has all the qualities you really need in a partner.
* Be very consistent and careful about your sexual safety until the relationship progresses to the point that you become monogamous, and both have been tested for STD’s. The nicest people can be infected with a disease and not even know they have it. If you have had unprotected sex, have your doctor do a screening for STD’s. Don’t assume your partner is monogamous — especially if you haven’t discussed it in detail.
* Know the signs of emotional blackmail:
1. A demand. Your date won’t take “no” for an answer, and requests are really demands.
2. Resistance. When every discussion turns into an argument.
3. Pressure. Your date pressures you to go along.
4. Threats. Your date uses threatening or coercing tactics: threatening to end the relationship, tears, rage, badgering.
Hopefully, because you've thought about the serious issues in advance, you'll still be able to relax and have a good time — so good, that you decide to keep dating each other. Then, you'll need a whole new set of skills. (From the "The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again"
© 2012 Tina B. Tessina
adapted from: The REAL 13th Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance and Independence Beyond the 12-Step Programs (Career Press) ISBN #1-56414-548-4
If you want more, here are some related articles you can download from my website at http://tinatessina.com/monthly_column.html
Anger: Cleansing Squall or Hurricane?
Apology and Forgiveness
Asking for What you Want
Aspects of Love
Couples Can Cooperate for Success
Coping with Critics
Creating Unconditional Love
Fair Fight Guidelines
Family Violence Q&A
The Fine Art of “Squirrel Hunting”
The Freedom of Maturity
Friends in Need: Interventions for Domestic Violence
Friends With Benefits
Guidelines for Being Understood by Your Partner
Guidelines for Successful Dating
How Not to Fight
How to Keep Yourself Out of a Violent Relationship
It’s a Dirty Job
Keys to a Happy Relationship
Less Talk, More Action
Letting Go Takes Love
Love and Chemistry
Mirrors and Teachers
The Nail in the Fence: Healing Wounds
No Cooperation? Solve it Yourself!
Peace Begins at Home
The Power of Purpose
Relationships 101: Do Opposites Attract?
Setting Boundaries and Saying No
Stop Reacting and Start Relating
What Is A Dysfunctional Relationship?
When Love is Kind: Mutuality in Relationships
You Be The Judge
Your Primary Relationship
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Wishing you joy,
Tina B. Tessina, PhD
Re: the One Who Got Away
Just a note to let you know I enjoy reading your happiness tips and encouraging words. I often use your advice. Thank You, Bonnie
Thanks for telling me, Bonnie – I really appreciate knowing that.
dear tina, i am so glad we still communicate after such a long time from knowing each other. it is very nice. thanks again for keeping in touch always, miss ya, cookita
Nice to hear from you, too, Cookita
Dear Tina, getting married at 73 , is not at all a bad idea, perhaps they hardly had enough voice to yell at each other. Regards, Henry
Very funny, Henry – but these were pretty energetic seniors.
Hi Tina, Thanks for the article, Ill bet it applies. Love ya John
Hi, John: love you, too. I hope it helps.
Great newsletter this week, "The One That Got Away," interesting read. Staci
so glad you liked it, Staci!
Amazing thoughts! Thanks! Dan Janal
My pleasure, Dan.
I just thought the universe was sending me a sacred sign through your newsletter. I'm not sure if the sign is telling me to forget a reconnection with him, or to pursue it, but I'm staying open for further guidance! How amazing that God used your wisdom to expand on what I've been thinking about for the past three days! Thanks for your article, and the inspiration, and I wish you the best, as always. Blessings, Adrian
Blessings back to you, Adrian – I hope it helps. Wishing you all the love you want.