Did you know that personal ads account for the meeting that leads to a sixth of the marriages in the US. And seventy percent of same-sex relationships start online. Yet, there is still a bit of a stigma towards online dating… What, why?
Here’s a great piece of info that you can refer to the next time someone makes you feel bad about online dating:
In a 2013 study by Harvard and the University of Chicago, it was revealed that relationships that started online we less likely to end in a break-up and were associated with higher levels of satisfaction than the couples who met offline.
It wasn’t a huge difference, but large enough to be statistically significant. The couples who met online were found to be more satisfied with their marriage and reported a slightly higher quality relationship.
This makes a lot of sense though right, because online dating breaks the boundaries of location, class and social grouping etc. It can allow you to find someone who shares many of the aspects that you may find more important such as education level, religion and diet such as being vegan.
Of course this doesn’t mean that online dating works for everyone. Many people end up feeling even more lonely while using online dating. It’s just not for everyone.
You might think that if online dating doesn’t work for you, you’d just stop, right? But we actually continue to do a lot of things that don’t work for us.
Whether or not online dating is for you, it clearly works for a lot of people around the world and therefore shouldn’t be looked down upon.
“When a couple has a troubling incident but choose to avoid discussing it, the memory of the event stays like a stone in your shoe” Gottman.
William Faulkner once said “the past is never dead. In fact, it isn’t even past.” When we ignore a troubling event and choose to rather continue without ever addressing it and processing it, we end up carrying it around with us like a stone in our shoe.
So in a way we end up continuing to live in the past. Because, until the past has been processed, we can’t let it go. It keeps sneaking up on us.
Ignoring the stone in your shoe can end up being more painful than dealing with it.
If you find that you and your partner often end up bringing up the same issues in a quarrel, time and time again. Then perhaps there are a couple of stones in your shoes that you need to take out.
Sometimes all this takes is a few honest conversations with your partner. While these might seem uncomfortable at first, and no-one ever wants to sit down and have a difficult time. These conversations can lead to a stronger and more intimate relationship.
If you aren’t used to this, and you don’t know where to even begin, a couple’s therapist can help to guide you gently through this process.
Choose a stronger relationship, choose to address the troubling events that we are all presented with from time to time, take that stone out of your shoe.
If you are unsure about whether or not online therapy is right for you and your partner, I offer a free consultation. It’s just a chance for us to meet each other, and for you to get a sense of what online therapy with me is all about. You can book a free consultation on my website.
Gottman found that by observing the first three minutes of a conflict conversation, he could predict not only how the rest of the conversation would go, but also how the relationship would go 6 years down the road…with high accuracy!
He found that couples who approach conflict gently by explaining how they are feeling about a situation, rather than by bringing up a flaw in the other person’s character had a much better chance of success.
For example, saying something like ” I’m frustrated because the bills aren’t paid” works out better for the couple than saying something like “You’re so lazy, why haven’t you paid the bills yet?”
Being specific about the problem that you want changed is also key in conflict. The more specific you are, the easier it is for your partner to know what to do differently in the future.
For example saying “You need to be more responsible” is vague and unsurprisingly ineffective because it doesn’t give your partner much direction. However saying something like “It would be so helpful for me if you could pay the bills by the end of the week”. This is a much easier for your partner to change as it is clear and direct.
You may not be able to completely avoid conflict in your relationship (as even the strongest relationships have conflict) but you can control how you approach the conflict. This is important because you don’t want to keep repeating the same negative approach as Gottman has shown that this can have a devastating impact on the relationship.
So remember to gently talk about the situation as opposed to a flaw in your partner and to be specific.
Minuchkin famously said that “Every marriage is a mistake it’s how you deal with it that matters”. Here’s what I think Minuchkin was getting at.
All couples will have perpetual unresolved problems. Yes some couples may have fewer of these than others, but no relationship, no matter how great, can ever be entirely free of these.
This is because, unlike the belief passed on to us through pretty much every soppy love song throughout time, there are no perfectly complimentary couples. No two puzzle pieces that fit together and complete one another.
Don’t worry, this is a good thing, I promise, because it means that you are already a whole human. You don’t need to find someone else to complete you, you are whole in and of yourself.
It also means that you and your partner will sometimes clash. Friction is inevitable, it’s how you deal with it that really counts.
So next time you and your partner find yourselves clashing over something, don’t spend energy getting angry with yourself for clashing, accept that this is a normal part of being in a relationship and devote your energy to dealing with the issue at hand.