It’s All in the Family…or is it? Make Sure Everyone’s on the Same Page

Dear Nina: I’m in a three year relationship. The hours that we work differ greatly and as a result, we do not get to spend the time together that I would like. My daughter seems to want to love her, but when I ask her to go and spend time as a family, there are an abundance of excuses. Even watching TV she will sit away from us and then claims that I push her away when my daughter is there. I just don’t understand what else I can do other than continue to ask her to join us. I [...]

Continue Reading Add comment August 30th, 2010

My Significant Other is Significantly Stunting My Personal Growth

Dear Nina: I have been with my boyfriend for seven years. I am a divorced mum of one child; I have tried to prevent further trauma to my son by remaining in the marital home. My relationship was very up and down with this man for the first four years and after many split ups he appears to be more committed; i.e., not going out to night clubs. The problem is that he is very jealous and upsets me when I try to do things on my own like going on a conference for my business or doing things with my friends. In [...]

Continue Reading Add comment June 25th, 2010

Some Motherly Advice: If You Want Love, Give Love

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.”  – Mother Teresa Okay, so maybe we can’t always be the shining example of love that was Mother Teresa. But we can benefit from her example and her words of wisdom. If you want a great relationship, one of the milestones is realizing that most of the love you receive comes from the love that you give. If you think of it like “emotional muscle” [...]

Continue Reading Add comment June 17th, 2010

Never Say Never to a Positive Outlook

This past week, my friend George moved into a brand new house with his bride of two weeks. George and his new wife are blissful, looking forward to a life together of dancing, cooking on the grill, spending time with their kids and grandchildren, and loving each other. Just a little over a year ago, George was coming out of a long-term dating relationship that didn’t work out. And just three years before that, he was recovering from the death of his beloved first wife of cancer after more than thirty years of marriage. George has been through a lot. [...]

Continue Reading Add comment June 2nd, 2010

Are you Ready to Move in with Your Relationship?

couple houseYou’re in love, you’re spending almost every night together yet paying rent for two separate homes. Is it the right time to move in together? The answer is: maybe, but it’s wise to be cautious about co-habitation. Here’s why.

Let’s start with some data: contrary to popular opinion, living together is not an effective way to ensure that your marriage will be strong. Statistically, couples who live together prior to marriage have a higher divorce rate than couples who do not. It turns out that “test driving” the relationship by living together doesn’t work. Here are some other reasons NOT to move in together:

  • One of your leases comes up and you figure you’ll save money
  • To save on gas – no more driving back and forth
  • Your other couple friends live together
  • You hope that by living together the engagement will follow
  • You like his/her home better than yours

In short, you shouldn’t move in together for reasons of convenience or money. The risk of moving in together too soon is that one of you may succumb to the Temptation to Settle for Less because it’s much harder to break up if you are co-habitating.

So what are some good reasons for living together prior to marriage – when is the right time?

  • Both of you see yourselves as a committed couple
  • Engagement is definitely in the plan, or you are already engaged
  • Marriage is definitely in the plan, or you have a date set

In short, moving in together can work if your relationship is very solid and you are moving down the path to marriage or some form of lifetime commitment. Otherwise, moving in together can jeopardize your relationship. Why? Because unless you are on the same page, one of you may have the secret agenda of getting the other to move forward in the relationship. This can result in conflict rather than deepening your love. Better to wait for this step until you are truly aligned – ready for marriage, excited about your future together, and planning your wedding.

Listen to Nina on “Love Strategies”:

Add comment May 5th, 2010

When Dating and Marriage Don’t Go Together Like a Horse and Carriage

Dear Nina: Is there anything wrong with dating just for the fun of dating? Yes, I understand the partner should not be misled. Generally speaking, it sounds as if you feel that if a relationship is not headed toward marriage, it should be over.   – Brian Brian: People date for all kinds of reasons: For companionship, for intimacy, to look for a significant partner, and yes, for fun. There’s nothing wrong with dating for fun – it’s human nature to seek companionship in life, to enjoy being with another with no particular goal in mind. On the other side [...]

Continue Reading Add comment April 27th, 2010

If Not Marriage, Then What?

If you’re dating someone, long-term that is (one or more years), and you can’t bring yourself to make a commitment, take a little time and challenge yourself with these questions: Why am I in this relationship? Why is the person I’m dating in this relationship? (If you don’t know the answer to this one, find out.) Am I in love with this person? If you’re in love with the person you’re dating, then ask yourself what am I afraid of? If you’re afraid of pain, it’s time to come to terms with that fear. Life is full of pain. Suffering, on the [...]

Continue Reading 2 comments April 10th, 2010

How Do You Keep An On-Again/Off-Again Relationship On?

Dear Nina: I have been dating a woman on and off for several years. I moved out of state six months ago and haven’t seen her but twice. The last time she visited, I noticed that she was distant after our intimate moments – not cuddling like she had in the past. One night when I was rubbing her back she said “you are smothering me.” Her distant behavior during this visit was very out of character. She has always liked being intimate with me but avoided it this last visit. I called her after she went home to tell [...]

Continue Reading Add comment April 2nd, 2010

Marriage is Not for the Faint of Heart, So Be Open to a Change of Heart

Dear Nina: My ex-girlfriend, who just broke up with me, sent me here to read this blog and this post, probably because I am not interested in marriage right now and don’t think I ever will be and when I told her that she got pretty pissed and walked. I don’t think I have “a paralyzing fear of commitment”; it is just that marriage doesn’t seem like something I would ever want. It seems that you think marriage is for everyone. Is there really anything wrong with not wanting to ever get married? – Teddy Dear Teddy: I actually say the [...]

Continue Reading Add comment February 16th, 2010

Why Men Leave

After years of being with the same man, you may wake up one day and find that he has moved on. The heartache and emotional trauma seem unbearable at first, but eventually you come out of your fog of grief, anger, and whatever you are feeling and ask the question: why? You may tell yourself that you don’t understand why he left, but in reality most women know deep down when their relationships aren’t quite right. Part of your healing requires rigorous self-honesty: what part did you play in the demise of the relationship? Sometimes it’s in the very beginning: the compromise you made [...]

Continue Reading 1 comment January 18th, 2010

The Economy of My Relationship: How do I Pick Him Up When He’s Financially Down?

Dear Nina: I’ve been dating a guy for about two years whom I love very much and am committed to. He has issues but mismanaged $ is the biggest in my view – he lives above his means and is in debt. I feel he resents me because I make twice as much money. He seems content with living a substandard life versus growing together and getting certain things in his life on track. We both know that marriage is the next step for us…and I know he loves me. But he told me recently that he may not be [...]

Continue Reading Add comment December 16th, 2009

Mel Gib’s Girlfriend: Delusion or Love?

Mel Gibson’s girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, believes he is a “solid and failthful person,” according to an interview in Britain’s Glamour Magazine this month. Perhaps he’s changed, now that he’s fathered yet another child with Oksana. Maybe he’s learned from the mistake of cheating on his wife of 29 years, mother of his first seven children. Let’s hope so, since another child’s welfare is at stake. Probably not, and here’s why. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Maybe Gibson’s first marriage was fatally flawed, and maybe he couldn’t see any other path but to leave and start over. [...]

Continue Reading 2 comments November 10th, 2009

Age Difference and Children: Are We Compatible?

Dear Nina: I am 34 (never married) and my boyfriend is 48 (divorced with two children). We have been together for one year. Previous to this relationship, I read “Temptations of the Single Girl” and “Be your Own Dating Service”. Knowing that It was not the right thing I slept with him after the third date. After that, I felt strongly attached to him. In your book “Be your Own Dating Service” you suggest writing a list of “Negotiables” and “Non Negotiables”. In my list I did not take into account age and children. At his moment I am concerned about our [...]

Continue Reading 2 comments September 8th, 2009

When Is the Right Time to Live Together?

You’re in love, you’re spending almost every night together yet paying rent for two separate homes. Is it the right time to move in together? The answer is: maybe, but it’s wise to be cautious about co-habitation. Here’s why. Let’s start with some data: contrary to popular opinion, living together is not an effective way to ensure that your marriage will be strong. Statistically, couples who live together prior to marriage have a higher divorce rate than couples who do not. It turns out that “test driving” the relationship by living together doesn’t work. Here are some other reasons NOT [...]

Continue Reading Add comment July 6th, 2008

Temptation: Mariah Rushes Into Marriage

Superstar pop singer Mariah Carey and her fiance of five days, actor Nick Cannon, wed in the Bahamas on April 30th. Though they met three years ago, they began dating in late March. That’s a six week courtship. Mariah has had her share of relationship troubles, marrying and then divorcing her manager of many years, Tommy Mottola, with whom she put on a positive public face while married. Later, she said that she felt trapped by his controlling behavior. Her career has had enormous highs and some lows, but she remains a pop superstar. Maybe it’s time for some happiness for [...]

Continue Reading Add comment May 20th, 2008

Good Marriage: A Health Insurance Policy

In a recent Time Magazine article, the report from decades of research is that marriage helps both men and women live longer and healthier. But if you read the full story, you find that for women the caveat is this: the marriage must be good for her in order for her to experience the health benefits. The biggest factor? How much your relationship causes your brain to trigger the release of the stress hormone cortisol. During conflict, our brains automatically interpret that we are in danger, and it doesn’t distinguish between actual physical danger and a social threat. That sends [...]

Continue Reading 1 comment February 4th, 2008

Marrying Too Young

Is it possible to marry too young? Often people say, with hindsight at the point of divorce, that they married too young. But is that true? There are many very happy couples who married young and wouldn’t change a thing in their path of life together. The distinction is age vs. maturity. Maturity is often independent of age and vice versa. A mature decision to marry is made along two lines: 1. do we love each other?, and 2. are we compatible? To marry for love alone without assessing compatibility is immature. To marry for compatibility minus a deep down [...]

Continue Reading 2 comments December 10th, 2007

Proudly Pro-Marriage

Occasionally I receive an email from someone criticizing me for having a pro-marriage slant in my books and on this blog. “What is wrong with two consenting adults deciding to have a relationship minus any commitment?” they ask. My answer is there’s nothing inherently wrong with that choice, yet there’s everything wrong with it as a life strategy. I am proudly pro-marriage, even though I have been through the pain of divorce. But here’s the rub – I am not pro-marriage as a blanket policy for every couple that falls in love. Marriage is for mature adults who are ready [...]

Continue Reading Add comment August 6th, 2007

Marrying For Your List

Out of sheer frustration with the roller-coaster ride of highly passionate yet dysfunctional relationships, you decide to sit down and make a list. Intelligent, attractive, self-caring, shares my values, no drugs, shares my interests – these are the kinds of items that comprise “the list.” Then you look around and the first person who fits the list you may be tempted to grab. Couples often marry based primarily on matching lists. But something vital can be left out of that transaction. Marrying for your list, while essential, is not enough. Once you realize that your lists match, you must then enter the journey of [...]

Continue Reading Add comment July 18th, 2007

Weddings vs. Marriages

It’s that time of year – wedding season! Look around and you’ll see the signs everywhere – bridal magazines clog the newsstand with models wearing glorious ten thousand dollar dresses. Jewelry stores run ads featuring thirty thousand dollar engagement rings. Caterers and hotels are busy pulling together the last-minute details for their clients’ hundred thousand dollar bashes. Let’s face it – we are obsessed with weddings this time of year! But where does the marriage part begin and what does it have to do with the wedding? In 2005, close to $125 billion – about the size of Ireland’s GDP [...]

Continue Reading Add comment June 1st, 2007

The Bachelor: Should Andy and Tessa Live Together?

Saronne commented that Andy and Tessa’s goal to live together in Hawaii was ill-advised. Turns out she’s right. Most studies indicate that living together before marriage does not increase a couple’s odds of success (i.e., “testing” the relationship before marraige) and may even lessen them. The problems with living together prior to marriage include: Often couples decide to live together for financial reasons (i.e., my lease is up) rather than emotional ones (we’re committed to each other) One of the two may believe that this is a transition to marriage while the other sees it as a relationship test (i.e., [...]

Continue Reading Add comment May 29th, 2007

If Not Marriage, Then What?

Teddy writes: My ex-girlfriend, who just broke up with me, sent me here to read this blog and this post, probably because I am not interested in marriage right now and don’t think I ever will be and when I told her that she got pretty pissed and walked. I don’t think I have “a paralyzing fear of commitment”; it is just that marriage doesn’t seem like something I would ever want. It seems that you think marriage is for everyone. Is there really anything wrong with not wanting to ever get married? Dear Teddy: I actually say the opposite: marriage [...]

Continue Reading 1 comment May 14th, 2007

Marriage Myths: You’ll Be Happier

Julie couldn’t wait to marry Sam. They met at a party and were inseparable from that moment on. She dreamed night and day about the glorious moment Sam would propose to her. She could picture the diamond solitaire ring. When the day finally came, she felt soaring joy throughout her being. She felt as though she was fulfilling her life destiny – to meet and marry a wonderful guy. For the next few months, she focused all of her energy on the wedding. She scoured hundreds of magazines and shops before finding the perfect wedding dress. She meticulously planned her [...]

Continue Reading Add comment May 9th, 2007

Marriage Myths: Opposites Attract

Ask people on the street: Do opposites attract? You’ll get the answer “yes” most of the time. This is one of those myths that falls in the bucket of what people think vs. what people do. Ask it another way: Do you want to marry someone like you or different than you? Most people will say they want someone different. But when it’s time to choose someone to marry, the most successful couples choose someone more like themselves than different. It turns out those marriages are the most stable and lasting. So where does the myth opposites attract come from? Primarily [...]

Continue Reading Add comment May 8th, 2007

How to Get a Guy Focused on Marriage

In this freewheeling, sex-and-the-city, post-modern, uber-woman, I-don’t-need-a-man, 50% divorce world, does it still make sense to aim for marriage? The answer is: It depends. It depends on the vision you have for your life, your willingness to be flexible, how open your heart is, and how able you are to make a real commitment. If your goal is supreme independence (I don’t want to have to answer to anyone), you’ll probably remain single, unless your attitude changes. If your goal is marriage, then the next question is: How do you get him to have that goal? The obvious answer is: you [...]

Continue Reading 4 comments May 7th, 2007

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