relationships

Another day has gone, I’m still all alone

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“I’ve actually never met Chris in person but I am definitely in love with him,” Sarah said.

“He’s just spectacular. Chris and I have discussed getting married - I believe Chris does consider me his wife.”

Chris claimed he was originally from Milan and moved to the US 18 years ago, saying he was on a business trip to South Africa when they met and is now stuck in Benin because of “trouble” with the government.

Sarah has sent him money for stolen cards, phone charges, hotel bills, lawyers, a nanny, an expired visa and when Chris claimed the money she posted had been stolen. […]

“He assured me that when he gets home he’s going to pay me back – every dime,” Sarah told Dr Phil.

“He’s made five or six attempts to come back to the US to meet me. Every time they arrest him and put him in jail and then they want more money. […]

The pair talk for up to four hours on the phone a day […] “He sounded Italian, now his accent’s kind of changed I don’t know if he’s adapted to where he’s at… in Benin,” she added.

{ Independent | Continue reading }

art { Luis Camnitzer, This is a Mirror, You are a Written Sentence, 1968 }

‘It is no more in our power to love always than it was not to love at all.’ –La Bruyère

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Darwin made a famous distinction between men’s and women’s mating strategies, between choosy, coy females and ardent, promiscuous males. […]

Yet, as also anticipated by both Darwin and Trivers, empirical studies of both non-humans and humans reveal extraordinary flexibility in mating and investment behavior, both within and between the sexes. Reproductive strategies are clearly not an invariant, species-specific characteristic, but rather facultative responses to individual- and population-level social and ecological circumstances, rendering conditional mating strategies optimal. […]

For example, across the ethnographic record, human societies can range from polyandrous to polygynous mating patterns, same-sex marriage can be institutionalized as with woman-to-woman unions in East Africa and men can spend considerable amounts of time and effort in beautifying themselves as in West Africa. […]

Until recently, the study of sex-differentiated reproductive behaviour has relied on the long-standing model of sexual selection developed by Trivers. This model links sex roles directly to the differential investment in young by males and females. In its simplest form, this model posits that because males invest less initially (in sperm), they have a higher potential reproductive rate (PRR) and benefit more from mating multiply than do females. As a consequence, selection typically would favour mate-seeking and competitive behaviour in males, and heavy investment in parental care in females. […]

Using data from eight Makushi communities of southern Guyana, characterized by varying adult sex ratios contingent on migration, we show that even within a single ethnic group, male mating effort varies in predictable ways with the ASR. At male-biased sex ratios, men’s and women’s investment in mating effort are indistinguishable; only when men are in the minority are they more inclined towards short-term, low investment relationships than women.

{ Royal Society Open Science | Continue reading }

Using new data from the United Kingdom’s Annual Population Survey, we find that […] marriage may help ease the causes of the mid-life dip in life satisfaction and that the benefits of marriage are unlikely to be short-lived. We explore friendship as a mechanism which could help explain a causal relationship between marriage and life satisfaction, and find that well-being effects of marriage are about twice as large for those whose spouse is also their best friend.

{ National Bureau of Economic Research | Continue reading }

ooo (ooo) it feels just like we’re floatin’ in this pool and the water brought this fire out of you

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Lacan said that there was surely something ironic about Christ’s injunction to love thy neighbour as thyself – because actually, of course, people hate themselves. […]

The way we hate people depends on the way we love them and vice versa. According to psychoanalysis these contradictory feelings enter into everything we do. We are ambivalent, in Freud’s view, about anything and everything that matters to us; indeed, ambivalence is the way we recognise that someone or something has become significant to us. […]

We are never as good as we should be; and neither, it seems, are other people.

{ London Review of Books | Continue reading }

art { Gisèle Vienne, Teenage Hallucination, 2012 }

‘Perhaps the feelings that we experience when we are in love represent a normal state. Being in love shows a person who he should be.’ –Chekhov

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Although much attention concerning the potential impact of sexualized media has focused on girls and women, less is known about how this content effects boys’ perceptions of women and courtship. Accordingly, the current three-wave panel study investigated whether exposure to sexualizing magazines predicts adolescent boys’ (N = 592) sexually objectifying notions of women and their beliefs about feminine courtship strategies. The results indicated that when boys consumed sexualizing magazines more often, they expressed more gender-stereotypical beliefs about feminine courtship strategies over time. This association was mediated by boys’ objectification of women.

{ Journal of Adolescence | Continue reading }

[V]iewing sexual music videos by male artists increased the acceptance of female token resistance (i.e., the notion that women say “no” to sex when they actually mean “yes”) among adolescent girls, but not adolescent boys.

{ Communication Research | Continue reading }

This too is for the best

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The scientific study of heartbreak is extremely new, with nearly all articles on the matter appearing in the last 10-15 years. In fact, the notion that strong emotional stress can impact health was not widely accepted in academia until recently.

In the 1990’s, Japan started accruing cases of a disease called “takotsubo cardiomyopathy,” where patients’ hearts would actually become damaged and their ventricles would be misshapen (into that of a “takotsubo,” or octopus-catching pot – a very bad shape for a heart chamber). Curiously, these cases were not heart attacks, but instead were a form of heart failure brought on by a rush of stress hormones.

After 15 years, the syndrome was finally mentioned in a 2005 New England Journal of Medicine article, where it was renamed “Broken Heart Syndrome.” Among the causes of Broken Heart Syndrome are romantic rejection, divorce, or the death of a loved one, and the outcome can be as serious as death.

{ NeuWrite | Continue reading }

I never was in love, you know that you were never good enough

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On February 14th, Kakumei-teki himote doumei (革命的非モテ同盟) — literally, “Revolutionary Alliance of Men That Woman Are Not Attracted To”– will gather in Shibuya, an area of Tokyo popular with young couples, to protest Valentine’s Day and its roots in what they call “romantic capitalist oppression.”

The group, known as Kakuhidou for short, was started in 2006, when its founder, Katsuhiro Furusawa, returned home one day after being dumped by his girlfriend and began reading the Communist Manifesto. He quickly came to the realization that being unpopular with girls is a class issue.

{ Spoon & Tamago | Continue reading }

Women tend to prefer men who make them laugh and men tend to prefer women who laugh at their jokes. However, it is unclear how robust this pattern is. Here we report a replication of one of the first studies (Bressler, Martin, and Balshine, 2006) to examine the sex differences in preferences for humor receptivity versus humor production. […]

We found that men viewed humor receptivity as a necessity and humor production as a luxury when they were asked to create an ideal long-term partner. For women, it was just the opposite.

{ Evolutionary Psychology | PDF }

‘I want to tell young women that sex is OK.’ –Sasha Grey

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In an earlier experimental study by Zillman and Bryant (1988) male and female students were exposed to pornography once a week for six weeks. Those who viewed pornography reported being less satisfied with their partner’s appearance and sexual behavior. They also found that men who consumed pornography were more dominating and less attentive toward their partners. Hence, there is some reason to anticipate that pornography consumption impairs relationship commitment.

Other research suggests that pornography may be beneficial to relationships in some ways, especially in sexual relations. Some evidence suggests that consuming pornography influences individuals’ positive attitude toward sexuality and serves as a safe platform through which to en- gage in sexual exploration. […]

Using a variety of methods, we demonstrated that pornography consumption is associated with weakened commitment to one’s relationship partner. […] in Study 5 we examined a more extreme implication of the weakened commitment—infidelity. We found that pornography consumption corresponded to decreased commitment, which, in turn related to higher levels of infidelity.

{ Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology | PDF }

The Kreutzer Sonata

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“Withdrawal is the most problematic for relationships,” Sanford said. “It’s a defensive tactic that people use when they feel they are being attacked, and there’s a direct association between withdrawal and lower satisfaction overall with the relationship.”

Meanwhile, “passive immobility” — expecting your partner to be a mind-reader — is a tactic people use when they feel anxious in a relationship, and it makes it especially difficult for couples to make progress toward resolving conflicts. But it may not be as harmful down the line as withdrawal, he said.

{ EurekAlert | Continue reading }

art { Mel Ramos, Elephant Seal, 1970 }

The Ravens. The Five Satins. The Delphonics. The Cadillacs. The Crests. The Del Rays.

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Machiavellianism is a personality trait characterized by a manipulative interpersonal style, emotional detachment and suspicion of others. Individuals with high levels of Machiavellianism navigate through their social relationships with  protective self-monitoring, external orientated thinking and confidence in their ability to deceive which facilitates their willingness to exploit others for their own self-serving goal. Not surprisingly, research has found that Machiavellianism relates to lower quality friendships in adulthood, including relational aggression in online relationships. […]

Previous research has established the importance of parental bonding (i.e.,  parental care and overprotection) for the development of personality traits and adult relationships. The current study investigated the influence of recalled parenting on the development of Machiavellianism and adult friendship quality. […] Path modeling suggests that decreased maternal care and increased paternal overprotection relate to Machiavellianism which is associated with lower adult friendship quality.

{ Individual Differences Research | Continue reading }

Which losses do we impose on some to benefit others?

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The NSA’s inspector general last year detailed 12 cases of “intentional misuse” of intelligence authorities from 2003 to 2013 […] Those cases included a member of a U.S. military intelligence unit who violated policy by obtaining the communications of his wife, who was stationed in another country. After a military proceeding, the violator was punished by a reduction in rank, 45 days of extra duty and forfeiture of half of his pay for two months, according to the letter. In a 2003 case, a civilian employee ordered intelligence collection “of the telephone number of his foreign-national girlfriend without an authorized purpose for approximately one month” to determine whether she was being faithful to him, according to the letter. The employee retired before an investigation could be completed.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

photo { Olivia Locher, Lucifer Rising, 2014 }

‘Comme je me sens vieux. Comme je me sens peu fait pour l’être. Jamais je ne vais savoir être vieux.’ –Georges Bernanos

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“Find your sugar baby,” the site exhorted its users.

This year, Paul Aronson, an 84-year-old from Manhattan, contacted a 17-year-old girl, Shaina Foster, through the site and took her out to dinner. On a second date, Ms. Foster brought along her twin sister, Shalaine.

For a few hours on Oct. 1, the evening looked as if it might turn into an old man’s fantasy. The three dined at an expensive restaurant in Midtown. Then Mr. Aronson invited the teenagers to have a drink with him at the four-story brick townhouse he owns on East 38th Street.

He bought a bottle of raspberry-flavored rum from a liquor store on the way, a defense lawyer said. But instead of receiving caresses or whispered flirtations, Mr. Aronson ended up tied to a coffee table for 20 hours. […]

Prosecutors say the two girls bound him with zip ties, took $470 in cash from his wallet and went on a spending spree with his credit cards, buying makeup and clothes. […]

Before he was tied up, Mr. Aronson had given the teenagers a tour of his townhouse and let them play with his tiny dog, a Yorkshire terrier named Muffins, Mr. Kennedy said. Then he poured them glasses of rum and asked them about their sex lives. […]

“He asked to do things I wasn’t going to do,” she told Detective Darryl Ng at the 17th Precinct after the girls were arrested on Oct. 21. “He is ugly, old and disgusting. I tied him up. I took his money and left. He was starting to creep me out.”

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

Just boob it

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In a series of 7 experiments we demonstrate that women perceive men to be more attractive and sexually desirable when seen on a red background and in red clothing. […] The influence of red appears to be specific to women’s romantic attraction to men: Red did not influence men’s perceptions of other men, nor did it influence women’s perceptions of men’s overall likability, agreeableness, or extraversion.

{ APA PsycNet | Continue reading }