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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Office Hours with Dr. Jim > Relationship Boredom

Office Hours With Dr. Jim
by James Houran, Ph.D

In this column, "Dr. Jim" honestly and candidly answers your questions about dating, love and sexuality. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear – he tells you what you need to hear. Dr. Jim is committed to offering you guidance based on responsible clinical practice and hard data from the latest scientific studies. Send Dr. Jim your questions today for consideration in an upcoming issue.


Speed Dating | Boyfriend Closes Down

Quick Access:
Should I try Speed Dating?

How can I Stop my Boyfriend from "Closing Down"?


Do You Recommend Speed Dating?

Speed dating is not really dating per se; it’s more like a quick introduction that can help you gauge whether there’s instant attraction between two people. In fact, men and women alike usually know in the first 30-seconds whether that chemistry is present and if a real date is desirable later on. This phenomenon stems from the fact that traditional speed dating is a live event, during which people experience all the verbals and nonverbal within normal human interaction. Unfortunately, all of these verbal and nonverbal clues are absent when people interact in cyberspace – yes, even when webcams and similar online tools are used.

With all of this in mind, I strongly recommend live speed dating if you are adventurous, high-energy, optimistic and have a good self-esteem. Now online “speed dating” is another story. Some speed dating sites are popular and seemingly successful. For example, SpeedDate.com launched in October 2007 and has reported to have hosted 18 million dates (each 3-minute in duration). But I’ve seen no data to indicate these dates lead to any meaningful outcomes – outcomes that are significantly better than what online daters can achieve through traditional online dating sites. Rather than spend a lot of time with quick online introductions, I would recommend spending that time carefully browsing online profiles on dating sites to target your approach to those people with whom you think would mesh well with you.

How do I get through to my boyfriend who closes down everytime we have a disagreement?

Men like to know what works with women, so ladies tell your men what turns you on and what turns you off.  Don’t come across parental or like a lecturer, but instead share your likes in an intimate and fun way. If men feel you’re sharing a secret with them, they’ll be receptive. And if that secret involves knowledge about will make you happy, then they’ll probably be extremely receptive. The key is make communication fun as opposed to a chore. This is done by leveraging open-mindedness, self disclosure and amount of communication with your partner.

Several studies have shown that effective and compatible communication style is one of the pillars of relationships. Couples with ineffective or unconstructive communication are more likely to report relationship dissatisfaction and distress. Having compatible communication skills improves a couple's chance at happiness.  Many potential stumbling blocks in relationships can be overcome by communication; it is the greatest key to intimacy.  In fact, lack of emotional closeness and feelings of alienation are the best predictors of depression in both men and women. Reported relationship quality has been shown to be influenced by positive communication behaviors, such as spousal support, companionship, intimacy and friendship. 

An important aspect to communication is open-mindedness, which involves tolerance of mood instability, tolerance for differences in opinion, tolerance for goal differences and a need for control.  In other words, open-mindedness has to do with how amenable a person is to differing viewpoints, along with how willing s/he is to relinquish control. According to research, lack of openness in both men and women results in lower esteem for them on the part of their spouses.

In addition, self-disclosure has been shown to be a good predictor of relationship satisfaction, in both men and women. Self-disclosure requires comfort with vulnerability, which is based on the “defensively separate” model in attachment theory.  According to his theory, those who are defensively separate have a harder time becoming closer to others.  Their relationships are characterized by less overall satisfaction, not to mention lower quality – they lack trust, and they experience more unpleasant emotions than positive ones. However, the amount of communication people desire in a romantic relationship differs greatly, both within a couple and between couples. To be sure, the degree to which a relationship meets a person’s need to communicate is strongly correlated with self-reported relationship satisfaction. 

So in the future, don’t have “disagreements” – turn those debates into discussions whereby you talk what you need from the other person and offer the same treatment in return.



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