Monday, December 16, 2013


Your guide to the five kinds of chemistry in relationships

By Jonathan Small

Pretty much all of us know what someone’s talking about when they say, “Hey, I was on a date, and — wow — we had incredible chemistry.” In a nutshell, that means that these two people felt such a strong attraction to each other that they couldn’t wait to get somewhere, ahem, a little more private, right? Sure, that may be the most traditional kind of chemistry, but it’s hardly the only type. According to experts, that earth-moving, spark-flying phenomenon can assume many forms. To help you sort through all those crazy feelings you may have for someone, we’ve described five of the most common types of attraction you can experience. Recognizing and savoring all of them can lead to a fantastic, long-lasting relationship.

Type #1: Physical chemistry
This is the most common type of chemistry, but it’s also the most misunderstood. After all, pretty much everyone’s made the mistake of confusing physical attraction with love. Is there a way to differentiate one feeling from the other? Helen Fisher, Ph.D., an anthropologist at Rutgers University and author of
Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love, explains it this way: “Lust is basically the craving for sexual gratification,” she says. “It generally dissipates after the act and returns hours or days later. You can feel it for several different people at the same time, and you don’t necessarily feel ‘possessive’ or jealous. But when you’re in love, you are very possessive.”

Does chemistry equal relationship compatibility?
No one is saying that sexual chemistry is evil or that you should necessarily hold out for something deeper to develop. Nor should you fret if you feel like lust is all you have in common with someone at first. According to Dr. Fisher, sleeping with someone can trigger a peak in the feel-good chemical dopamine — which, over time, can produce genuine, bonafide feelings of love. Hang in there, and it just may happen!

Type #2: We’re-so-comfortable chemistry
Have you ever been with a man who finishes your sentences or a woman who’s so easy to talk to that you feel like you can be totally unguarded around her? Welcome to comfort chemistry — that effortless rapport and connection that can exist between two people. “People who share this chemistry often feel like they’re a unit,” says Harry Reis, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. “When they talk to each other, they almost feel like they’re talking to themselves.” Worried that all this familiarity makes you better friends than lovers? Never fear, simpatico feelings can often lead to lust later. “When you fall in love, the elevated activity of dopamine can affect levels of testosterone and trigger a heightened libido,” explains Fisher. Translation: You two may become passionate partners in no time!

Do you two have chemistry?

Type #3: We-laugh-like-crazy-together chemistry
Ask someone to give you a wish list of what they look for in a mate, and humor almost always appears near the top of the list. “Everybody likes to laugh,” says Kate M. Wachs, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of
Relationships for Dummies. “We’re all looking for a mate that helps us have fun.” Researchers have even found that laughing together increases how attractive people look to each other. So, don’t automatically relegate jokers to the role of “great to invite to a party.” Where there’s laughter, long-term love can follow: Just think how much easier it’ll be to get through all those rocky points that every relationship has sooner or later.

Type #4: We’re-so-complementary chemistry
While it’s important for us to find a mate who shares our values, we’re also attracted to those who are different from us. “We like complementary personalities who accentuate our good parts and mask our flaws,” says Dr. Fisher. For example, a sexy fashion model might have real chemistry with a nerdy mathematician — and vice versa. Why? She makes him feel sexy, and he makes her feel smart. Same goes for the antisocial type who marries a people person. We’re drawn to those who make us feel like better and more well-rounded people. The famous line in Jerry Maguire (“You complete me”) is a perfect example of complementary chemistry in action.

Get a great relationship in just 6 seconds

Type #5: We-have-so-much-in-common chemistry
As anyone who has ever searched profiles on knows, finding common interests with your potential mate is a huge plus — whether that’s a penchant to cruise flea markets for that one-of-a-kind antique, or a love of camping deep in the wilderness. “We tend to gravitate towards people who share similar interests as us,” Dr. Fisher says. Not only does doing so make spending time together insanely easy, but sharing an activity you both enjoy allows you to get to know each other in a low-pressure environment. Plus, just think of what a bonding experience it would be if you both scaled those waterfalls at Yosemite together! These touchstones can become the foundation for a lot of fond memories — and a solid relationship.

Now that you know the five types of chemistry, be on the lookout to experience them all. Even if you don’t feel that “lightning has struck!” sensation when meeting someone, you two still might have excellent chemistry, if it’s given time to grow.

Jonathan Small is a Los Angeles-based writer who’s written for Glamour and other publications.

Monday, December 9, 2013


Wives Are in Control When It Comes to Marital Happiness


---Happy wives make for happy marriages. When it comes to marital satisfaction, it turns out women are in the driver’s seat.

---A new study from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley looked at the interactions of more than 80 middle-aged and older heterosexual couples, focusing on how they recovered from disagreements. Those in marriages in which the wives calmed down quickly during an argument were found to be the happiest. What’s more, those same marriages were shown to be happiest in the long run too.

 ---According to Lian Bloch, lead author of the study and assistant professor at the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium at Palo Alto University, even when both men and women were good at calming down during a disagreement, the emotional outcome of the fight was determined by how the wife was feeling, which, in part, might stem from long-held gender beliefs “Cultural stereotypes of women as the emotional center of marriage — and men as emotional dummies — led couples in this study to be more attuned to the wife’s emotional regulation, and that, in turn, is what is feeding both spouses' perceptions of marital quality,” Bloch tells Yahoo Shine. Translation: If the wife is happy, so is her husband, and as a result, so is the marriage. But, explains Bloch, this outcome may be generational. “It’s an interesting nuance to see what would happen if we did this study with younger couples,” she says. “As our cultural stereotypes about gender and emotion evolve, we might move away from this model that women are the emotional center of the marriage."

---Regardless of a couple’s age, Bloch says that an important part of resolving conflict is being able to step back and take stock during a disagreement. “You don’t have to have an anger-free marriage to have a happy marriage,” she says. “By calming down emotionally instead of being caught up in the negative hot spots, couples are able to think and communicate solutions more clearly and this drives marital satisfaction.”
---And, of course, communication is key for happy couples, says Teri Orbuch, PhD., professor of sociology at Oakland University, research professor at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, and a certified family and marriage and family therapist. “Wives are more bothered by conflict than husbands are, and it causes more distress to them and has ramifications for their long-term marital happiness,” Orbuch tells Yahoo Shine. Her advice? Go to bed mad. “We have all heard the opposite. But the reality is that nighttime, when we're tired and stressed out, is a terrible time to fight,” she says. “Wait until the light of day when you both have had some sleep. That way, you won't end up saying things you'll regret.”

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Mugger apologizes to victim on Facebook — 35 years later


Here's a heartwarming tale of forgiveness via Facebook, just in time for the holiday season.

A man who mugged a stranger outside New York's American Museum of Natural History in the late 1970s has apologized to his victim after accidentally finding him on Facebook — 35 years later.

Last month, Michael Goodman, 53, was browsing
a Facebook post about the closing of H&H Bagels, a popular New York City bagel chain, when he saw Claude Soffel, his mugging victim, among the commenters. Goodman, who now lives in Hilo, Hawaii, decided to publicly apologize — in the comments section.

"You may not remember this," Goodman
wrote on Nov. 19, "but a long, long time ago I walked up the steps of The Museum of Natural History one afternoon, trying to look like a tough guy.

“I have never forgotten the incident or your name (it has sort of haunted me a bit throughout my life) [and] then here I am … reading about my favorite bagel store in the world closing down, and [whose] name do I see but yours,” he continued. “Finally I can say — I’M VERY SORRY that you had to go through that crap that day long ago. I wish it had never happened but it did."

Soffel, now a 52-year-old life coach in Sag Harbor, N.Y., wrote back accepting Goodman's apology.

“Clearly you’re a ‘bigger man’ today,” Soffel
replied. “Memory is a funny thing. I recognize your name now as well. Any man who draws a line for himself [and says] ‘Today I step forward for myself, my family, and humanity’ is a hero to me. So let us now, jointly, put this in its proper place, behind us.”

Goodman and Soffel did not immediately return requests for comment.

But Goodman
told the New York Post that he mugged Soffel to "impress a classmate who didn’t believe I was in a graffiti gang."

“I went up to him and said, ‘Where’s your bus pass?’ The cops immediately pulled out badges and arrested me,” Goodman recalled. “I told this story throughout my life. I felt so bad about it.”

Goodman said he was sentenced to three weeks of community service, but never had a chance to apologize to Soffel — until now.

“A very large weight has been lifted off my shoulder,” he said. “I feel peace and dare I say joy. I’m even happier this is bringing joy to other people.”