Oh relationships, love, and dating – the topics we all love to gossip about and hate to gossip about at the same time. It’s a conversation that will stand the test of time and one that isn’t age discriminatory. And since Mary and I are both single, we decided it was about time we turn to the experts to get the scoop on those hard to answer questions (clearly our dating record wasn’t giving us any insight). Enter Dr. Reef who is an author, clinician, TV personality and relationship therapist in Beverly Hills – so clearly he’s seen it all.
We sat down with the love guru to have him tell us…what love’s all about:
What’s the one issue that seems to cause the most problems in relationships?
When women think that guys are just hairy women or when a guy thinks a woman is a feminine guy. When men/ women assume a guy/ girl is like them, all things will go wrong. We are so different physiologically, anatomically, etc. each gender has specific skills, and if you assume other gender is like you you’ll have all sorts of problems.
We all hear that the key to making a relationship work is communication, what is a major communication mistake you see many couples make?
Comes down to assumptions. Men are emotionally under stimulated and women are emotionally over stimulated – take that into consideration when you are communicating, you have to know what the other person’s base line is and know where the other is coming from. Knowing their make up is really good in knowing how best to communicate with someone.
If you could only give one piece of advice to a couple that just started dating what would it be?
Know how the other person receives and gives love and affection- that’s a big one. If you have crossed circuits about how people best communicate love and affection, you can be in trouble. Look at the 5 love languages – touch, words of affirmation, quality time, service and gifts. For example, if a man and woman are on a date – man touches woman’s arm/ shoulder – he communicates nonverbally by touch, but she is a word of affirmation person, so she is probably going to be uncomfortable with the touch. If he would have said nice things to her instead it would have been fine –instead she says – “geez he was all over me and it made me feel weird.” You don’t have to change who you are, but knowing how that other person communicates is really important.
For those that have been in a relationship for a while, what advice do you have to keep the flame burning?
Novelty – it means new experiences and new experiences means shared new experiences. In our brains we get more of the juice when we are in a novel situation, so if the flame is on a low flicker, its important to spice it up by doing new things – take a road trip, go to a new restaurant, go to a new movie, do something a little dangerous, do something sporty, do things that are absolutely new and do them together. Also, do things sexually you haven’t tried before – edible candle wax perhaps?! Our brains and bodies respond to it.
Do you think dating culture varies by city? Would you give different advice to someone in NYC vs LA?
I think the difference in dating culture is motivation. In LA (unfortunately) a lot of people are motivated by fame, so how open are they going to be to intimacy if they are motivated being seen? There is a higher likelihood of running into those people in LA – if you’re looking for fun, then know that and find that and be ok with who you meet in LA. In NYC it may be more Wall Street, or fashion, or arts. What’s great about NYC is if you find the right community you’ll find like-minded people. In DC you’re going to see more politics and education, so you have to know what you are dealing with – each city has its own identity that influences dating.
What is the most underrated trait in a potential partner (i.e. people ‘think’ they know what they want, or have their list, but what do they forget?)
I would say the most underrated quality is humor and wit. If you can make someone laugh or you have a good sense of humor and you can laugh together – it’s a “connection glue” and you can get through life just being able to laugh together. A woman that gets it – is a great quality that guys love.
Do you believe in soul mates?
Being Indian, I’m supposed to believe and karma, etc., so my PC answer should be yes. For men its all about timing and for women its less about timing and all about who you meet. I think if you subscribe to the notion that includes the timing factor in the soul mate thing – they will present themselves at the right time – then yes. I do believe in the ideal soul mate, but I do believe you could get married to any number of people. I do believe there is probably someone out there that is better than everyone else for you, but I believe that when a man hits the right time and when a women meets someone that makes them feel strong, it can be the person you marry. The important thing about a soul mate is that they grow as you grow.
Let’s Be Honest: Yeah, I needed to hear that.
Accessorize: Single? Check out Dr. Reef’s latest book on dating – Why Does He Do That?, Why Does She Do That?