Behavior & Relationship Expert, author of Get Over Your Ex Now, Patrick Wanis, PhD, offers unusual dating and relationship advice and, shares the one secret to falling in love!
1. What are the chances of women finding love on a dating and relationship reality TV show like The Bachelor?
Anyone can find love anywhere; love can be found anywhere.
Obviously, there are some settings that are more conducive or might influence us or might encourage us to lower our walls and to be more open, and thus to engage in more self-disclosure. This is the key point, it’s not about where you are physically or geographically, it’s about where you are psychologically that will determine whether you can find love.
To find love means not just where are you psychologically, but where is the other person psychologically.
The research reveals that you can fall in love in less than an hour with a complete stranger based on one important thing, and that is: to what extent are you willing to reveal yourself, what we refer to as self-disclosure and engaging in tasks that build a relationship. That refers to a way of creating deep intimacy, accelerated intimacy.
When we talk about self-disclosure, we are referring to the act of revealing to someone else your vulnerabilities, your inner most thoughts, your feelings, your fears, your fantasies, your hopes, your beliefs, your thoughts and your values. Intimacy is actually created by self-disclosure.
I teach intimacy phonetically: Into Me You See; I will allow you to see into me, thus there will be intimacy. Intimacy is therefore about emotional nakedness, it’s the idea of bearing your soul to someone else. But, falling in love or finding love means that you’re willing to engage in self-disclosure. Finding love can occur anywhere if you’re willing to bear your soul with someone else and that other person is equally willing to bear their soul to you and if you’re both supportive, accepting, empathetic and passionate towards each other.
So, you both have to agree to be open with each other, you have to be responsive, empathetic and open. You have to be willing to listen to each other. You have to be willing to trust each other. To express empathy and acceptance. So, falling in love can occur anywhere if two people are willing to completely open up to each other and if they’re also willing to be responsive, open, empathic, compassionate and accepting.
2. What suggestions can you offer to TV shows that set out to match couples?
If you want to accelerate intimacy there are specific ways to do it. It’s really about giving tasks to people where they are going to open up, bear their soul to each other and they’re going to progressively escalate the intensity of that disclosure.
Thus, you begin with some simple ways of getting to know each other. You ask them questions such as: “If you could invite anyone in the world to dinner as a guest, who would it be?”
That’s a very simple question, but if I were to say to you, “What’s the biggest regret you have in life?” or “What is the one thing you’ve dreamt of doing in your life but you haven’t done yet and why?”, then that question is much deeper.
3. Many women on TV shows share their negative past experiences such as bullying, financial hardships, broken families, etc. Some of these revelations occur on the first one-on-one date. Do you think this is a good move for someone who’s looking for a long-term relationship through a TV show?
I don’t believe that any relationship should begin based on the sharing of a negative past experience, because what happens is, that’s the way that the other person will perceive you and will think of you. When they think about you, they’ll say, “Oh, Julie had an awful childhood. Julie suffered so much.” Then they start thinking about Julie from that perspective.
It is okay to share your negative past experiences, but not on the first date and that’s not the foundation for building intimacy and building a relationship.
I believe, again, that the best approach is that you scale the intensity. It’s much better to connect with someone though sharing positive past experiences and then start building up to that stuff that you hide deep inside – the pain, the suffering, the hurt, the guilt, the shame. But I wouldn’t throw that out on the first date because it makes you look more like either you’re a victim or this is what you focus on in life. I think it’s better to start building up and talking about the things that you’re really proud about – the great experiences you had in life – the things for which you are grateful.
Then, when the time’s right, you open up even more and you say, “Here is the real pain that I’ve suffered. As I child I was bullied.” Or, “I went through bankruptcy” or “I had a divorce” or “My husband left me.” Then when the other person responds, you’ll get to find out whether that person is a good match for you. Are they willing to listen to you? Are they supportive? Are they kind? Are they empathetic? Are they compassionate? Are they open? Are they accepting? Are they judging you? Or, are they not even interested in listening to you?
The exception to this approach is if both of you choose to be extremely open with each other on the first date; that would be again a form of accelerated intimacy. You both progressively open more and more to each other. It is not a situation whereby you share all your negative experiences and your date just sits there listening to everything and remaining silent.
4. What is your professional opinion of someone outside the TV show sharing their negative past experiences on the first one-on-one date?
I do believe there are times on a first date that you might want to reveal something that’s truly important that could be a deal breaker. For example, if you’re divorced and you’ve got three children under seven years of age, and you’re on a date, whether you’re the male or female, I think that is worth sharing with someone on the first date because that person might say, “Oh no, no, no I don’t want children.” Or, that person might say, “I’m not ready to be a second mother or second father to your children.” Or, “I want children of my own and I don’t want three children from someone else.” There are certain things that you should share and reveal if they are going to impact the relationship in a very real way.
5. What unusual advice for their potential relationship would you give TV contestants such as those in a show like The Bachelor?
I would go back to what I just discussed about understanding that to the extent that you’re willing to bear your soul and to the extent that the other person is responsive and supportive, you will understand whether your relationship has a future or not.
Further, get clear about the way your partner handles problems. How does a partner handle you when you have a problem? Again, are they willing to be supportive? Are they willing to listen? Are they willing to encourage you? Are they willing to believe in you?
1. Your Experience: What caused your breakup?
2. The Termination: How did you breakup?
3. Your Longing: What do you miss most about him/her or the relationship?
4. Your Emotional Responses: What emotions do you experience over him or her?
5. Your Strategy for Overcoming: What have you done thus far to try and get over the breakup betrayal or rejection?
6. Your Behavioral Responses: Following the breakup, in the past 6 months I have often
7. Your Beliefs & Interpretations: What I believe now
8. Your Stage of Grieving: Where I am now
Although the responses shift slightly, at the time of writing this article, the primary causes of relationship breakups cited by women are:
1. We argued constantly.
2. We wanted different things in life.
3. I wanted more time then my ex could offer.
4. It was bad timing.
5. We were in different stages of life.
For men, the primary causes of relationship breakups cited are:
1. We wanted different things in life.
2. We argued constantly.
3. We had issues over intimacy.
4. We were in different stages in life.
5. It was bad timing / she cheated on me.
So, when I ask, “What caused your breakup?” I give 47 options, and these above responses are the ones that come up again and again.
So, actually, the top two things that are in common between men and women for causing breakups are constant arguments and wanting different things in life. Both of those are connected to values. Do you share values, do you want the same things in life? The second is about how you respond to each other. How do you each handle arguments?
Another piece of advice that I would give, which some people might say is unusual, is get clear about the way you handle arguments. How do you each handle problems?
It’s not how often you have conflicts that will determine whether the relationship will survive or fall apart, it’s the way that you respond to the conflicts and problems that will determine whether your relationship will grow and evolve and blossom or whether or not it will just fall apart and disintegrate.
The other thing I say to people that is deemed to be unusual advice is, get really clear about who you are and what you want in life. What are your values? What are the important things to you? What do you really want out of life? And then be willing to be open and bear your soul because you can’t have a real relationship unless you’re willing to be vulnerable.
There are three key factors that determine the longevity of a relationship – abbreviated as PIC.
1. You’ve got to have the Passion, the chemical attraction – although, after about 18 months that tends to wane and you go from passionate love to companionate love.
2. Intimacy, the vulnerability and emotional nakedness.
3. Commitment: are you both willing to commit to maintaining the love for each other and building a life together? Look at those things. Do you want the same things in life as the other person? How do you argue, are you both good at handling arguments? Are you both willing to listen and be open with each other? Are you both willing to be intimate with each other? And, do you know how to offer encouragement and acceptance to your partner? Do you know how to listen? Do you know how to be compassionate and empathetic and kind and considerate? Because those are the things that are going to determine whether the relationship lasts for a long time or not.
Also, do you both have constructive ways of dealing with problems? Or, do you engage in focusing on the bad? The negative things that we do are much more powerful and impactful than the constructive things that we do in a relationship.
So, sooner or later someone is going to end up being negative. If that person becomes too negative, then the other person responds negatively as well. I think it’s important to understand that the greatest predictor of the longevity of a relationship is the way that you deal with problems and the negative things in life, the doubts, the frustrations, the annoyances, the insecurities.
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.