7/26/2014

Dating Advice For Nerds Redux


My story is probably not that much different from anyone else's. I was married to the same woman for 23 years and later in the marriage I came to realize that she suffers from histrionic personality disorder ("Drama Queen"). She refused to get help and it became intolerable, and that is why we're divorced.

For nearly the first ten years after the divorce, I simply immersed myself in my work and didn't think much about dating. I'm a geek, a professional software developer; I have a 25 year old autistic son who lives with me at home, and so I really don't have a lot of time for the dating or bar scene.
But in the last year or so I kind of woke up and came to realize that I really would like to find a life partner. Somebody I can love and be positive with, somebody to wake up with in the morning and have coffee with, to travel with, and so on. Now if you are in a position like mine (and I know many of my friends, both men and women, are indeed) then you basically have two choices:

1) You can try to find somebody on social media
2) You can use one of the online dating sites.

I started out with the social media route and quickly found out what I was doing wrong: I was "falling in love" with women who lived many states away. One of them was even married, although I didn't find out until later. This long-distance stuff usually doesn't work at all. I do know a few people that have endured it and finally gotten together, but in general, economies of distance and cost, plus the amount of time you have to wait until you get to see your partner in person again, make it a very bad choice for finding a mate. It also consumes a lot of your precious time.

The other option, the dating sites, is actually a pretty good one. My view, having tried several, is that the "for pay" sites are no better than the "free" sites. Match.com never produced as good results for me as, say, Pof.com - which consistently produces. What you want to do is make sure that your search is restricted to "easy driving distance" - say 25 or 50 miles. If you have written a good profile with plenty of photos, and a clear description of your dating goals, you should have no difficulty finding more prospective customers than you can possible handle. In my case, I've never had any difficulty attracting women, most often they approach me. But I also send messages out to women that I think might be good candidates.

The key thing is only to use the dating site for one purpose: to meet with somebody and have a coffee. That's all it takes because if there is any kind of chemistry there you'll know in the first five minutes. Sometimes after a couple of dates you (or the other person) will conclude that this person isn't for you. Excuse yourself graciously, do not dally, and go on to someone new.

The second thing is to manage your expectations and be realistic. So many people talk about getting "swept off my feet by Prince Charming" Bulshit! If you want to find the love of your life you must actively engage and really look for him or her. They simply are not going to magically "fall into your lap". You also need to understand what love is. Most of us mistake infatuation or "limerence" or "passion" for love. It's not, and unless it is soon accompanied by the deeper stages of love, it can disappear in the blink of an eye.

Popular culture has done us a great disservice in our understanding of romantic love. From a young age, we watch movies and read books that form the scripts of our adult relationships. But popular culture usually gets it wrong, often in the name of entertainment, and ends up confusing love with limerence, which is precisely what most of us do.

I'm having great success in my dating endeavors. I'm a lot more mature now, and when something doesn't work out, I don't fret or dwell on it. Sooner or later, I'll find her. You can too.

7/23/2014

Why Most People Are Getting the Israel / Gaza Conflict Wrong

 The problem that many people arguing about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have is that they have no idea who is who, and what are the historical forces behind the conflict.

Most people outside of the middle east think the violence in Gaza is a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But history shows us something different: At the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, the division of land to be agreed was that the Jews would receive Palestine from the Mediterranean Sea and including what is today Jordan, and the Arabs would receive the Arab Peninsular and what is today Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq.  This, in effect, converted the Balfour Declaration into a binding legal document. It was no longer the whim of a British Government with no rights but now incorporated into international law by the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers. The Jewish people have the legal right to live and remain in every part of the territory which was part of the Mandated territory of Palestine, which is now Israel. There was never a "Palestinian arab state" - until 1967 when Yasir Arafat declared an intifada, so-called "Palestinian" arabs always considered themselves a part of Syria in accordance with the Paris accords.

The violence today has cultural and ideological underpinnings that are detached from the dispute between the two parties. The Nazis hated the Jews and established a mechanism for their destruction, not because of some religious or national controversy, but because the Jews were in fact part of a larger goal: the destruction of non-Aryan culture. The Holocaust was born out of a twisted moral code, not out of a conflict that could have been resolved through negotiation and compromise. One only needs to read about Neville Chamberlain who returned from a meeting with Hitler declaring to the British that peace was at hand.

The west fails to see Hamas's cultural war; it tends to ignore the common denominator between Hamas’s organizational and ideological fundamentalism and global Islamic fundamentalism. As they see it, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad terrorist organizations are local, with local goals and not a global branch of the network of Islamic fundamentalist terror organizations. The blindness of the west is so great that it completely ignores the Hamas Covenant, that does not hide its racist goals, in which the west, and Israel as an extension of the west, do not exist on the global map. In fact, both Hamas and the Fatah (Palestinian Authority) still have written in their charters the TOTAL DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL.


In this current conflict Hamas demonstrates its non-rational precepts. The hundreds of millions of dollars donated by Persian gulf and western states are used, instead of to improve the population’s quality of life, to stockpile a huge arsenal of rockets, build bunkers and offensive tunnels under the Gazan-Israeli border (tunnels leading into Israeli towns, and equipped with weapons, explosives and narcotics). All the Palestinian Authority’s attempts to work together with Hamas for the benefit of the Palestinian population have failed miserably. Moreover, Hamas’s terms for ceasefire do not include any clause regarding peace negotiations or permanent settlement. This recent conflict pushed the boundaries so far that the Palestinian Authority itself does not actively blame Israel for the conflict, following Israel's acceptance of the Egyptian cease fire proposal and Hamas' refusal. The conflict actually has pushed Israel and the Palestinian Authority to the same side.

As horrific as it may sound, a cease fire now could be the biggest mistake of this conflict. Letting Israel finish off Hamas will finally let the Palestinian Authority regain control of Gaza, and negotiations for permanent peace over all the territories can commence and be fruitful. In the meantime accusations about "Israeli war crimes" and "killing women and children" will probably go on, fueled by misguided, biased, uninformed people who have never taken the time to really examine the facts.

Sources:
Barry Shaw: http://goo.gl/W713F1
Wikipedia:   http://goo.gl/hi4w
David Phillips: http://goo.gl/oYoEGB
Kate Savage: http://goo.gl/AgyCc

7/21/2014

What is Limerence?


In lay terms limerence is romantic love, crazy love, lovesick, mad love, amour fort. You see a theme in the words crazy, sick, and mad. In this condition, one's body drugs itself mightily with hormones that create a feeling of joy. The rapture is balanced with the panic and dread that it could end. And it will. Limerence has a shelf life. By most estimates, you're lucky to get 12 months. 

Dorothy Tennov, PhD, author of the groundbreaking 1979 book Love and Limerence, is the woman who originated the term.  Popular culture has done us a great disservice in our understanding of romantic love. From a young age, we watch movies and read books that form the scripts of our adult relationships. But popular culture usually gets it wrong, often in the name of entertainment, and ends up confusing love with limerence, which is precisely what most of us do.

Limerence has been described as "an involuntary interpersonal state that involves an acute longing for emotional reciprocation, obsessive-compulsive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and emotional dependence on another person." Some call limerence infatuation, lovesickness, or romantic love, while others relate it to love addiction. Some have humorously called it "affection deficit disorder".

But the bottom line is that limerence is absolutely not love. According to psychologist Robert Sternberg, who has invested some $20 million in research grants studying the subjects of love and hate, there are actually three stages to love: Passionate or romantic love (limerence), Companionate love, and finally, Committed love. Without the progression to the last two stages, a relationship based on infatuation, passion or limerence is subject to disappear very suddenly. 

So, the next time you find yourself saying "I love him" or "I love her" - think again. It might only be the very first stage, limerence.

7/10/2014

Something Different