#91 Practical Rules to Navigate the Path of Love and Commitment with Duana Welch
What is love and commitment?
Do you really want it?
Is it something that is going to fit for you?
How do you actually go about strategically and sensibly looking for love and commitment?
How do you approach it?
How do you keep it once you’ve found it?
Those are big questions. I think there are a lot of questions there that don't typically get answered, even if you look in relationship books and the types of books that cover these subjects. They don't normally look at it from a really practical action-taking perspective. Today, we have on the show Duana Welch. We brought her on the show because she's written a book that is focused on being really practical about this. It's based around a social and evolutionary science perspective. The book is called: Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do. Duana has a PhD, teaching psychology at Austin, Texas universities. She's also a Psychology Today columnist.
Coming back to her book, David M. Buss, the renowned psychologist, said this of Duana's book: "Love Factually is a great book anchored in solid science. It brims with practical advice in the form of concrete actions everyone can take to improve their love lives. If you plan to read one book to improve your mating life, this is the one to read."
That's a pretty big quote from a very well known evolutionary psychologist. So it's really a test to the practicality of this book, which as I say isn't typical. We’ll be getting into these practical details in a moment.
Specifically, in this episode you'll learn about:
- What love and commitment could mean to people? (03:46)
- Duana's background and relationship lifestyle (07:25)
- Why Duana is passionate about her topic, why it's important today, and why she wrote her book (08:47)
- What gets in our way of looking for love and commitment? (09:56)
- Marriage as a more stable lifestyle and the behavioral differences between cohabiting and marriage (16:08)
- Dependency: an explanation of the co-dependency model/frame (18:10)
- Attachment styles, how those styles can get in the way in terms of dependency, and determining your attachment style (21:50)
- Practical tips for dealing with and/or changing your particular attachment style (40:13)
- What makes a relationship satisfactory and healthy (50:58)
- Selecting a partner based on what you need as opposed to what society tells you, and revealing the past to determine if someone is right for you (52:14)
- Finding someone that matches your attachment style; someone who desires the same things or standards in a relationship (1:01:53)
- Discussing the book: All the Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right (Ellen Fein), and whether Duana sees aspects of it that are beneficial (1:10:00)
- Discussing the book: Evolution of Desire (David M. Buss), and how men and women have different mating psychologies (1:11:20)
- When a woman applies specific rules that affect the dating process and the possibility of a relationship (1:16:10)
- Searching for someone based on sexual behavior versus those looking for a committed relationship (1:23:40)
- Where to find people interested in committed relationships (1:26:05)
- Dr. Nancy Kalish research and how people compare what they want in a person to a past love, and realizing the possibility of connecting with that person from their past (1:35:57)
- Best way to connect with Duana and learn more about her work (1:47:05)
- Top three recommendations for men who want a committed relationship (1:49:18)
Items Mentioned in this Episode include:
- Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do: Duana's book to guide men and women through the steps from before meeting someone to relationship commitment. It is for those who want to become and attract the person they want and deserve.
- LoveScienceMedia.com: Duana's 'Dear Abby' style column answering readers questions based on a scientific perspective, instead of just opinion.
- Duana on Twitter and Facebook
- Linda J. Waite: She is a Lucy Flower Professor in Urban Sociology at the University of Chicago. Duana noted Linda in reference to her extensive studies on how faithful people are in various styles of relationships.
- Dating Skills Podcast #85 How to Avoid Relationship Drama (in a Polyamorous or Monogamous Relationship): Angel mentioned this podcast with Cunning Minx while discussing attachment styles and dependency.
- A Review of Adult Attachment Measures: Implications for Theory and Research (Judith A. Crowell and Dominique Treboux): Angel mentioned this review and study while discussing attachment styles and the measures determining whether a person is more dependent or independent.
- The Transparent Self (Sidney Marshall Jourard): Duana noted this psychologist for his studies addressing how to be open about who you and revealing personal things about yourself. This was mentioned in reference to entering a potential relationship.
- Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find and Keep Love (Amir Levine, Rachel Heller): Duana recommends this book for those interested in attachment style, the differences in a relationship, and expressing it.
- All the Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right (Ellen Fein): Angel mentioned this book and whether Duana found aspects of it that are beneficial.
- The Evolution of Desire (David M. Buss): Recommended for learning female psychology. Duana noted the book for showing how men and women have different mating psychologies.
- eHarmony: Duana recommends this site and the following two for men looking for women and a committed relationship.
- Dating Skills Podcast #84 The Dating Challenges of High Net-Worth Individuals with Amy Andersen: Mentioned by Angel while discussing online websites and people who are looking for committed relationships.
- LostLovers.com: Duana noted Dr. Kalish's research and how people compare what they want in a person to a past love, and realizing the possibility of connecting with that person from their past.
- Why Him? Why Her?: How to Find and Keep Lasting Love (Helen Fisher): Recommended by Duana for her research on personalities and how they interact. Helen's book was written to help men and women understand relationships and our individual dominant personality type that determines who we are and who we love.
- 16PF (16 Personality Factors)- Psychometric Test: The psychometric test Angel mentioned that his executive consultant friend had run on him and is used with many C-level execs today.
Books, Courses and Training from Duana Welch
Full Text Transcript of the Interview
[Angel Donovan]: Duana, thank you so much for joining us today.
[Duana Welch]: Thanks for having me Angel.
[Angel Donovan]: Yes, so we're going to be talking about a subject which is love and commitment driven and from the podcast's perspective, from the emails we get from guys and everything. I hear guys talking about like they want a serious relationship with a girl and sometimes they talk about love and sometimes commitment but, I don't think it's necessarily the same thing for everyone. So, I wanted to talk about it a little bit of what you thought exactly what love and commitment could mean to people.
[Duana Welch]: Well, that's a great question and I'm not sure that science has adequately addressed that issue. As you know, my writing comes from a scientific perspective and I think the poets and song writers have done a better job of describing what love is than the scientists ever have. I forget who said it but, "I can't say what love is but, I know what it is when I feel it."
There are many different descriptions of love and also of commitment. I mean, for some people, living together is the commitment that they want and for other people, what they mean by commitment is a marriage and a home and a family. So, that's really going to depend to some extent on the individual we're talking with.
[Angel Donovan]: Could you give us some examples of what we think that typical guys would mean when they're talking about this kind of thing?
[Duana Welch]: So, I'm guessing here.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah of course, I'll throw in some guesses too.
[Duana Welch]: Yeah yes, I just want to be clear that anytime I'm just guessing, I'm going to tell you that because, the rest of the time, I'm going to say things that sound like a guess but, they're really based on science. So, this is my guess of what guys mean.
I think when men are really young, mid-teens to mid-20s, what they mean by commitment is maybe, they have a steady girlfriend, possibly, they're living together but, they still have open options as for the future. They don't anticipate necessarily spending the next five or six decades with this person.
I think sometime around a man's late-20s, he shifts his idea of commitment more to a permanent relationship where he's closing off his options to explore the rest of his life with this one woman. The reason I think so is based on evidence of when people get married.
Right now in the United States, for example, the average age of first marriage for men is now 29. So that tells me that, since we don't force people into marriage and they get to choose it, that more men are choosing to get married in their late-20s for the first time and we know that when people get married, they typically do view this as something for the rest of their lives, not just something temporarily.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, great so, I'll throw in my guesses now. I'm thinking also that guys, they talk about love and they talk about this relationship that they want to be in with a girlfriend and sometimes they talk about it in objective terms. Like, "I'm looking for this type of girl. I'm looking for someone who makes me feel like I've made it. This is a successful part of my life, instead of it's something I'm settling for. I've kind of met my own standards."
But I think, at the end of it, many of these guys, in order to feel satisfaction, what they kind of need to feel is the passion and the intimacy. Sometimes, they don't want to kind of acknowledge that and talk about it, I feel like and so, they kind of objectify it a little bit more. Like, "So, I'm looking at this standard of girl."
But, I think what would eventually make them more satisfied and maybe, they're not going to say the word "love" or "commitment" but, something that will get them committed. I've seen guys on our programs and stuff that these things are happening to so, I can kind of see what's going on, is that it's just someone that they just feel really passionate about. It's not the same as the "Hollywood experience" you see in the films where you have all of these scenes where there this amazing passion but, they do feel a certain level of passion, like they're kind of alive and it's a really in-depth relationship.
I think that's trying to demystify a little bit of what some of the guys want to experience. It's not necessarily full on romance all the time but, it's definitely some passion and definitely, some of that dating experience they're looking for.
[Duana Welch]: Yeah, agreed. I think actually, we all want to feel that tug at our heart and our groin when we see the person that we love. We don't just want to feel a "warm and fuzzy", we want to want them.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, great.
[Duana Welch]: Yeah.
[Angel Donovan]: I also wanted to get to know you a little bit more. So, Duana, we were practicing saying Duana's name before because, I'm not very good at it apparently.
[Duana Welch]: Well, nobody knows. You're not alone.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, an English-born guys are not going to be helpful. So, how old are you? Where do you live and what's your background a bit in terms of your own relationship lifestyle?
[Duana Welch]: I'm in Austin, Texas. I'm 46 years-old. I spent a lot of years wandering around the relationship desert and trying to figure out what I wanted and then trying to find what I wanted once I was sure what it was.
How I came to do all the work I do on relationship-science really was an outgrowth of a heartbreak that I had in my mid- to late-20s and it really was quite transformative. At the time, I was getting my PhD from the University of Florida in, of all things, memory and aging. Really sex right?
I remember being so heartbroken and going to this library...not a library, a bookstore and think, "Isn't there anything here for me?" I encountered a bunch of books that I thought were just awful, awful books, one of which I think we're talking about later. I thought, "I'm a nerd. I've spent all these years from kindergarten until now (at the time in my 20s) in school and I've studied this one thing in great detail. I wonder if anyone has studied love and relationships in great detail."
In fact, a lot of people had. I just hadn't heard of it because well, I'm not sure. I don't know why social scientists weren't paying that more attention to that research at the time but, I had no exposure to it. I thought, "If I haven't had any exposure to it, I wonder who else hasn't." I first used the information to help me and then, I started using it to help others after that.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, great thank you. That's great. Why are you passionate about your topic? Why do you feel it's important today?
[Duana Welch]: Love never goes out of style. Angel, you know that. It's what we live for and it's what people even die for. It's hard to think of many other things we could say that about except maybe our children.
[Angel Donovan]: I'm wondering, did you read any of the other books because, there's a fair number of books that have been written over time? Did you read some of those and was your book, in a way, to try to address some of the gaps you saw? How did that come about?
[Duana Welch]: Absolutely, I wrote partly to address gaps. What I noticed was that the relationship genre was filled with opinion but, it was short on proof. I really wanted a book that would read like those other books, a very friendly, warm, down-to-earth tone that did not read like a science book but, where every statement of fact was backed by actually facts. It was not merely my opinion.
So, I wrote the book in a kind of lay-man's terms but then, after every factual statement, I put a reference that goes directly to the actual scientific reference for people who want to know more. I keep it really friendly and light in tone but, it's reliable. It's something that people can hang their hat on.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, great. Let's dig into the topic a bit more. What do you think gets in our way of looking for love and commitment?
[Duana Welch]: Well, I think the biggest thing is beliefs that we have and they may be beliefs that we don't even know that we have. Unexamined beliefs can really derail the search for love. So for example, a lot of people have the belief that dependency is a dirty word that the moment you start relying on someone, you've lost yourself and you've lost your independence and basically, you've become this loser type person.
So, if someone has that belief, if they believe dependency is a dirty or if they believe that conversely (or similarly I should say) that relationships are really scary because, they're not likely to work out, how much effort would we put into getting love and commitment, whatever love and commitment means to you? How much effort do you put into if you truly believe that relationships don't work out, they're full of pain and if you got one, depending on this other person, would be a raw deal for you.
So, to the extent people believe those things, they've really got to examine them and science actually runs directly contrary to all those beliefs I just stated. There's really, really excellent research on what happens when we do allow ourselves to depend on another person, what happens when we do allow ourselves to make various levels of commitment to another person and it's all really optimistic stuff. The outcomes shows we're better off by far, not just emotionally, but in terms of our health, our longevity, our sex life, our career, our wealth. What else is there except maybe how good looking you are? You know, it's very helpful to get into the right relationship and stay put.
[Angel Donovan]: So, you're talking about the research on marriages and longevity and health and happiness or are you referring also to other...?
[Duana Welch]: Yeah, so I'm referring primarily here to relationship research on marriage versus other styles of relating. So for example, data had been collected globally, not just here in the United States but, globally, regarding several things, marriage versus co-habitation, marriage versus dating, marriage versus being entirely single and free and co-habitation versus these other relationships as well.
You could also toss in being a widow or a widower or divorced and I realize those other topics probably aren't as germane to our audience but, when you compare all these groups, what you wind up with is a very clear picture in every single culture that's been study and that is, marriage is the best deal that you're going to get in terms of health, a wealth, happiness in general, career promotion, not only having more sex but better sex. I think that we emphasize it to a great degree how much are you getting but, we don't emphasize enough how good is what you're getting. I just don't know anybody who doesn't want these things and again, science is very clear on this that marriage actually is the best deal going.
It's funny, I get letters frequently because, I also have a blog where people write. It's kind of "Dear Abby" style but, based on science. People write in, "I've having this argument with my friends. I say that , 'Married people get laid just fine, thank you very much' and my friend is saying 'No, no, it's the single people who get all sex' and other people say, 'It's the cohabiters.'" Science has already answered this question very, very, very clearly and the answer is single people are 10 to 20 times as likely to be entirely celibate in any given year compared to cohabiters and married people.
Cohabiters and married people are about tied for the sheer amount of sex they're having. Married people are describing significantly more emotional and physical satisfaction from the sex they're having and the most likely group to be monogamous, if that's what somebody wants, is the married group.
Sociologist named Linda Waite has done extensive studies on, for example how faithful people are in various styles of relationship and she finds that cohabiters and married people are equivalent in saying that they expect their partner to be faithful to them and they expect to be faithful to their partner but, interestingly, again in every society studied, that's not the way it really works out. The married people are significantly more faithful to each other than cohabiters are.
So again, it really depends what you want. I know later on, you're planning to address the distinctions between when you might want to cohabit and when you might want to marry and I don't want to come off as if I'm entirely opposed to cohabitation but, the science really says that marriage is the best deal in town.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah one thing, I'm just thinking as you're saying that is a lot of these studies are averages. So, I wanted to point out some of the possible impacts of that.
For one, if we're single, potentially 5% of guys who feel secure as a single person, (let's call it "skills") for any reason they find traversing navigating that they deem marketing relatively straightforward and simple. So, they feel secure. They don't have a lot of anxiety about it. They generally have a good dating lifestyle.
I would say that's not at all the average. The average is exactly the opposite whether it's 90% or 95%, probably 95% are not that happy with that situation. So, that can be heavily influencing the results but, it doesn't say that no one is actually happy in that situation. It just means like, the likelihood is, unless you're particularly good at this scenario or you're particularly comfortable with this scenario and it suites you then, it's not going to be the best for you in terms of, as you say, things like health, longevity, happiness and so on.
[Duana Welch]: And accumulation of wealth, amassing wealth is much easier for most people with a partner but, you do bring a very valid and interesting point which is humans are complicated. To know what went into the making of this moment right now between me and you would have to know our entire life histories and all of the influences, the things that influenced you Angel and the things that influenced me. What social science does is it tries to eliminate the noise and look at a particular factor and how it influences most people most of the time but, there's nothing that tells you what every person does every time. That's called a crystal ball.
[Angel Donovan]: Right.
[Duana Welch]: Right.
[Angel Donovan]: Exactly.
[Duana Welch]: Science just doesn't do that. It's not set up to do that but, it's very good at saying what works for the vast majority of people vast majority of time.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, just want to make sure we make that point. I think the other interesting thing with marriage is, it's a more stable lifestyle. So, when it comes to wealth and things like that, me personally, when I'm really focused on business and things like that, I want to be in a more consistent relationship. I don't want to have kind of like...
There's more ups and downs with a dating lifestyle and it's just less organized to put it with one word [inaudible] rather than something consistent, something stable, something more routine which works very well with business or whatever other goals you're trying to achieve and other plans you're...So it makes perfect sense to me, even if we're talking about averages here that that would be the situation where people would be the most successful in terms of wealth as well.
[Duana Welch]: That's right yeah, and the other thing is that when people marry, they behave in a way that they don't when they're cohabiting typically. So for example, global studies show that...and these are studies in the Western world because, a lot of societies, you just don't have cohabitation but, when you look at the societies that do have it, what you see that people who are cohabiting tend to keep their fortunes separate.
They tend not to co-insure. For example, they don't put each other on their life insurance, their health insurance, they may not have life insurance. They don't put all the money into the same pot. They don't necessarily buy a home together which they feel they're equally invested in.
With marriage, you tend to get all of those things and those things allow...you've tapped into a very important concept. The concept of a stable base. That stability acts as a spring-board for achievements in the world.
So for example, people had been approaching me for the last 15 years to actually write the book but, I didn't write it until I had been happily married for many years. Part of it was I felt like, "Who wants to get long-term relationship advice from someone who hasn't done it herself even if she does know the nerdy side of it."
Another big part of it was, I just needed, like you just said, when you're really engaged in a business venture, you need the stability of someone behind you instead of wondering how you're relationship is going. You need to be able to take for granted that this other person is there for you.
[Angel Donovan]: Right, right, exactly. It is. It's kind of like trust factor, I guess which allows you to focus on other things in your life. So, you brought up the word dependency which I also wanted to clarify because, I think a lot of guys will be thinking of needy behavior (we've talked about this kind of thing before on the show) versus non-needy behavior and how, if you start becoming a dependent on your partner or someone you're dating, that can come off as somewhat as a drain and push people away. I'm sure they're associating that word dependency.
So, could you give us a bit more...perhaps you're talking about the codependency model and frame? Could you just explain a bit more about what that actually means for you?
[Duana Welch]: Well, what it means to scientists is relying on another person and in fact, most science today has thoroughly debunked the idea of the codependent person. The codependent person is to some extent dependent on someone else's use of a substance. So, I'm talking about normal relational behavior which is not that behavior.
So in normal relational behavior, what dependent means is relying on someone and having them rely on you and in point of fact, the ability to get comfortable with that is a big predictor of getting into and staying in a permanent mate-ship which ultimately Angel, is what most people want. Very few people, male or female, really just want to date forever.
You vary in terms of when we want to make a final choice but, most of us really do want to make a final choice and that final choice is going to involve getting really comfortable with the idea that, "Yes, I'm going to depend on you and you're going to depend on me."
One of the times it wasn't clear to me is times when I've been really healthy and things have been going really well and then, I can kind of go under my own steam better but when, just a few years into my marriage, I needed open-heart surgery at the age of 42. I had no idea that I needed open-heart surgery and when I needed that, I was so grateful to be in a position to be completely dependent on my husband.
I couldn't ask for a glass of water. I couldn't ask for pain killers. All I could do was kind of Frankenstein like, "Ahhh..." I couldn't do much for myself and having him in my corner could have actually meant the difference between life and death. He was there with me at the hospital all the time protecting me, watching over me, making sure that the right things happened and the wrong things didn't happen and allowing me to just completely relax and heal the way I needed to. So, I was entirely dependent at those moments.
Other moments I'm less aware of being dependent but, I still am. For example, most couples wind up dividing certain tasks. In our particular unit, while I started to say I take care of the grocery shopping, that's not true anymore. He took it over but, I tend to take over things like noticing that the floors need attention and he tends to do things like noticing the cars need attention. That's fairly stereotypical and the research shows that's what most people do but, it really...
Depending on each other for these simple day-to-day things really allows both of us to a) have a lot more free time because, back when I was single and I did all those things myself, it was a real bummer and b) it does make us somewhat dependent on each other, right because, I'm relying on him.
[Angel Donovan]: So, that sounds more like teamwork to me.
[Duana Welch]: Yeah, it is and I think that's what the research is showing is that dependency has gotten a bad rap because, people see it as codependent as you rightly pointed out when really it's not. It's teamwork. It's thinking in terms of "we" rather than "me" which allows you to accomplish a lot more and have a lot more fun also.
[Angel Donovan]: So what kind of things...when I was reading your book, I noticed the attachment styles and how that can basically get in the way someone perceives relationships and their attachment style? So, how can this interfere with relating to what we're talking about dependency?
[Duana Welch]: I'm really glad that you asked that because, I personally am reaching the conclusion that attachment style is behind a tremendous amount of pain both in dating and cohabitation and in marriage. So, your attachment style is your habitual way of relating to an intimate partner and there are three core attachment styles.
The first one is the most common one and it's called the secure attachment style. So, if you have a secure attachment style, for you dependency actually isn't a dirty word. You actually want that. You feel very comfortable making a long-term or permanent commitment. People with a secure attachment style are likely to have a pretty clear idea of what they want, they're likely to go about getting in a real planned fashion, things tend to go very well for them and strangely enough, the more secure somebody is, the less time they spend on the dating market. Usually, an extremely secure person starts dating, fairly quickly finds someone where they think, "Yes, this is it. This is exactly who I want" and they make a commitment to that person and that would...
[Angel Donovan]: That sounds like a very confident, self-assured, "I know what I want and I'm not very variable." So, it's not the kind of this scenario where I start dating a girl and then six months later I'm like, "I don't like this type of girl at all. This really isn't for me," and that goes around in a cycle of every six months or something when you're dating different girls and not dating. It's rather something that you're pretty stable in the way you look at things and once you decide a girl's for you, you're like, "Yeah, this is a good relationship. I'm going to be happy for a long time.
[Duana Welch]: Exactly and what really stunned me because, I'm not secure, what really stunned me was how many people are secure. It's a full 2/3 of people who are secure.
[Angel Donovan]: That's good news.
[Duana Welch]: Yeah, it's great news actually. Most people win what I call the "attachment style lottery." Lottery wins are rare. This is very common. Now, let's talk about the other two styles and the other two styles tend to populate the dating world because, the secure people don't tend to be on the market very long. So, research shows that actually, the other two styles tend to be on the market longer.
The second style which is what I historically have been is anxious. Anxious people tend to feel that they truly want what secure people offer. They truly want a deep, committed, "I know I want you, you know you want me" type relationship where there's just no question that we're together.
The struggle of the anxious person, I can say from science and from experience is wondering whether this other party wants you as you want them. You kind of constantly beset with worries that you want the other person more than they want you and that can create some pretty clingy, desperate behavior and let me tell you Angel, there's never been a perfume called "Desperation" and there never will be.
So, that presents some special challenges because ironically, people with an anxious style are more likely than people with the other two styles to, for example, line up another partner, someone they're having an affair with because, they think, "Hey, if this person doesn't want me really, I need to...if they're going to bail, I need to have somebody else lined up." The number one thing around the world that will get you dumped is cheating on someone. I mean, that's just a fact. So, it's ironic that sometimes people with an anxious style do the very thing that's going to get them rejected.
Then, there's the third style which is avoidance and avoiding can be further broken down. So, there are people who are avoidant from fear and there are people who are avoidant for a desire for independence.
People who avoidant from fear, they don't actually avoid relationships. They get into them but, they're afraid of this other person needing them too much. Just when the other person starts to really show a lot of desire for them and a lot of need for them to be involved in the day-to-date aspects of their life, they kind of hold this other person at arm's length. It's not because they don't care about the other person. It's because, they're afraid of being needed. They're afraid that they're just going to live up to the needs, it's a suffocating feeling so I'm told. A feeling of being trapped and suffocating and it's scary frankly.
The underlining fear for both people who are anxious and people who are avoidant is fear. So, that's the avoidant person who has fear but, there is yet another type of avoidant person. This is the avoidant person who, yeah they want sex, yeah they want relating at some level but, they value independence much more than they value relying on another. So, they're not really afraid of another person needing them, they just really don't want it.
So, I've seen a lot of examples of this over the year. Some people with both avoidant styles do get married but, they get married in a way where the marriage certificate really doesn't change the fact that they're there but not there. So for example, I knew one person with an avoidance style who got a vasectomy, he did not tell his wife about getting. That's kind of the ultimate holding your partner at arm's-length.
[Angel Donovan]: That sounds like unhealthy avoidance there. I can see ways in which you can be independent but, it's still healthy as long as boundaries are set. I'm thinking more of the polyamory community or people who just...we need Cunning Minx from one of the polyamorous podcasts on recently and she's a very independent woman and she likes it that way. So, she dates with men who already have a wife and she feels, I guess she likes her independence and it seems a pretty healthy mix up the way she's organized her life but, not telling someone about a key decision or something that's going to affect them as well is a bit of a different scenario.
[Duana Welch]: So, what happens a lot with people who are avoidant is that a lot of times they're not really in touch (neither are anxious people by the way) with their own fears or needs and so, they keep playing out a script which often is hurtful to them and is hurtful to the other party as well because, they're really not conscious of it. You really can't something you're not even conscious of.
So, I think you've tapped into a very healthy way of dealing with avoidant attachment which is date other people who are avoidance however, science is showing...and that's what I say to do in my book. Since then, I've read some science that shows that avoidance almost never choose to date someone also who is avoidant, like the person you just spoke of who's dating people who already have a secure partner and who are not looking for that and she knows that she values her independence and she wants to keep that. So, she finds partners who cannot come to her for more than that.
That's a strategy that's like...is when you get into trouble when you have an avoidant attachment style but, you keep getting involved with people who want something deep and intense and that's just a recipe for pain. Other recent research shows that most people who date for extensive periods of time who wind up back on the mating market repeatedly have an avoidant attachment style, not an anxious or secure because, what anxious people do usually is what I did.
We date a bunch of avoidant people and we figure out that's not working for us and even though we may not have the language to use, we may not know, "Oh, that's avoidant," we realize that when we see certain behaviors, it doesn't work for us. When we see a mismatch between our needs for intimacy and their needs for intimacy eventually, we learn by experience and we think, "Okay, that's not working for me," and we wind up choosing someone who, before might have seemed a bit stayed, a bit boring because, they're secure.
Secure people don't usually come on real strong. They're very secure about themselves and they don't...they are who they are and they may not be the sexiest guy in the room but eventually, a lot of avoidant people will choose that secure person. You know the guys that you hear from who in their teens couldn't get laid at all, couldn't get a girlfriend at all. They were told they were the nice guy. They were told, "Oh, you're good friend material but, I'm really looking for something more exciting."
Those same guys in their 30s are the "it" guy because, a lot of anxious women like me have figured out, "Wow you know what, you've got what I'm looking for. When I need you, when I call you, you don't call me needy. You don't call me controlling. You don't refuse to take my call. You in fact say, 'What's going on, Babe? How can I help you? What can I do for you?'" and it feels so good. So, what happens with a lot of people who are avoidant, male as well as female is they end up on the mating market for a long time and there are way to change your attachment style if you don't like it. For example, I didn't like my attachment style.
[Angel Donovan]: Can we take one step back. How could we figure out our attachment style? I'm thinking, many years ago, I was a management consultant and I was in connection with one of my friends, he was an executive coaching consultant. He would coach executives on how to further their careers and so on and he would use psychometric tests. I can't remember the exact name of this. I've done many in my time because, I did an MBA and so on.
So, I've taken many of these tests but, this was the most interesting one I ever did because, he put me through it and it actually told me a lot about myself that I hadn't really figured out. So, I think it was called the PS45 or something like that. I'll have to dig it out and put it in the show notes but, it was supposed to be one of the most rigorous ones at the time for executives.
Interestingly, he told me stories of where, he would have executives cry when they got the results because, they felt like no one had ever known them on that level before, not their wives, no one else, not even themselves. I was a bit [inaudible] about that but, I have to say like, I had some slight tears comes to my eyes. Not that I was crying but, I felt like this feeling when he finally revealed the results and stuff.
For me, what it told me was, I was extremely independent. I have quite an unusual profile. So, I had a high need for independency. I also had a high need for intimacy. So, I was a bit of an at-odds there because, obviously I can't have both. So, that taught me a lot about myself and my own...because, I would say I, in some terms I've been an avoidant, independent mindset but, at the same time, I've always wanted some intimacy and it's been a hard thing for me to resolve because, you can't really have both. You can in some polyamorous situations and things like that if you nurture your relationships. That's kind of like how I've tried to do it and at other times, I've tried to go for the full relationship and resolve it that way.
But, once you know about this, one way to figure this out if you can't figure it out yourselves, maybe do some kind of psychometric test or something like that which points out these types of values. I'll throw that one into the show notes. I don't know if you know any others that might help with this kind of thing or maybe a therapist would be...but, I think choosing a therapist or something like that can be kind of dodgy. You get different subject of experiences depending on who you choose.
[Duana Welch]: Yeah so actually, there is a really good lengthy attachment style questionnaire and I'll be sure after the show to send you the name of it because, I can't remember it quite now but, the most famous researchers in attachment style are Shaver and Hasan. In my book, I include a short version and I can read that one to you right now if you like, if people just want to on the spot diagnosis themselves.
[Angel Donovan]: If it's not too...yeah, if it's short enough.
[Duana Welch]: Yeah, it's very short and so, this is just four questions long. What you're supposed to do is you're supposed to identify which one you match the most closely, keeping in mind that many of us are a combination of one or more but, that one of these will probably speak to you the most and so that would be your predominate style. This is based on the work of Shaver and Hasan and others and it maps on to the longer questionnaire very well which is why I've included it. So, here we go.
A) I find it relatively easy to get close to others. I'm comfortable depending on them and having them depend on me. I don't often worry about being abandoned or about someone getting too close to me. So, that's an A.
[Angel Donovan]: So, we have to confirm those or negate those? Tick them as a checklist?
[Duana Welch]: Yeah, so if this sounds very much like you, then you would tick this off and if it doesn't, you would move on. B) I find that others are reluctant to get as close as I would like. I worry that my partner doesn't really love me or won't want to stay with me. I want to merge completely with another person and this desire sometimes scares people away. That's B.
C) I'm uncomfortable getting close to others. I want emotionally close relationships but, I find it difficult to trust others completely or to depend on them. I worry that I'll be hurt if I allow myself to become too close to others. That's C.
Finally D) I'm comfortable without close emotional relationships. It is very important to me to feel independent and self-sufficient and I prefer not to depend on others or have others depend on me.
[Angel Donovan]: So, that's sounds like that fits with the four categories you gave us earlier.
[Duana Welch]: Yes exactly so, A...if you gave A, that's secure. That's what about 2/3 of adults have and in fact interestingly, the corresponding version for infants, it's about what 2/3 of babies have.
Then there's styles B which is anxious which is my style although, I recently took the full test and it turns out that, as I had suspected, I have over the years succeeded in moving more to the A category. So, I'm feeling very happy about that.
[Angel Donovan]: Great.
[Duana Welch]: If you want, I'll talk about how to change your attachment style if you want.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, let's do that afterwards.
[Duana Welch]: Yeah and then C and D both deal with avoidance styles. So, C is very clearly the avoidant fearful. This person really wants intimacy but, at the same time, they just aren't comfortable with someone depending on them. When somebody depends on them, it feels like suffocation. It feels fearful. It feels like, "Oh my God, I'm not going to be able to live up to this. I don't know if I want this. I signed up for more than I can give. I'm going to have to change my life too much. I can't live up to all this pressure." So that's C.
And then D is the person who really...they just don't want intimacy. For example, I don't think you're a D person because, you expressed to me very clearly, you really want this. This is something you really want intimacy. Yes, you want your independence but, you also feel a deep need for connection with other people. So, D would be someone who is really pretty clear that they don't want that.
I've interviewed a number of people with a D attachment style, the avoidant/independent attachment style over the years. They say things like, "I never wanted to get married. I always knew I wanted to be single for a life time. When somebody says, 'What do you think about long-term relationships,' what I think is, 'No thank you. I don't want that.'" It doesn't mean that they don't relate at all by the way.
Evolution pretty much weeded out people who really don't want any level of connection. I was watching a really interesting documentary on people who define as asexual and I was really intrigued by that because of the whole idea that there are people who really don't need people. I got deeply into the documentary and it turned out, "No, they still need people. Of course, they need people."
They still have all the different attachment styles, it's just a matter of how comfortable they are being sexual with someone else but, we all need people at some level. So, even somebody who is on the far independent part of the spectrum, they still need at least sex. They still need at least somebody who cares about how they're doing some of the time. I mean, that's being human.
[Angel Donovan]: I'll just put more of how I handle this out because, it seems like this is a situation. I don't think my situation applies to most people. I'm very independent. I always want to move geographically. I'm getting involved in projects and they're super important to me. My problem is that I would love to have great intimate relationships but, how do I find people who can fit with that and not interrupt it?
So, there is this fear. I mean, there's just this impossibility. It's like, you can't stop me. I finished with my last girlfriend last year because, it was just like, "Look, I've got to do some stuff. You're in Europe. I'm going over there. I'm not going to create an environment. I'd have to start changing." So, I think part of it is, like is a dependency thing. You have to reach some kind of consensus and let go of some things that are important to you.
So, maybe it depends on how important some things in your life are. So, I'm not trying to interrupt the structure there. I think it's a great structure. I'm not sure how I would fit into it myself. Where would you put me?
[Duana Welch]: I would probably say that you're a balance of C and D. You very much value your independence, at the same time, you really do want intimacy and it might be a little bit fearful for you to contemplate a life where your partner had enough pull that you had to change some of the things that you were doing. The truth is, to be deeply intimate with someone, even if they don't ask you through word or even action to change what you're doing for them, things come up that if you're truly intimate, you realize that you have to change for them.
If my husband had been planning to start a new business right during my open-heart surgery and recovery, even if I never asked, my guess is he wouldn't have done it right then because, I really needed him. He was very comfortable with me needing him.
I will say, one of the things that a person might try in order to embrace intimacy and kind of balance that with the need for independence might be understanding that relationships in many ways when you get deeply committed actually set you free. You're free from the need to look for sex. You're free from the need to look for another partner.
You're free from frankly, the need to impress another person. I am impressed with my husband. I have to say it but, it's not as if he needs to constantly strive for that like he did when we first met anymore and I don't have to strive to impress him consistently like I did and there's a freedom and a comfort in that.
You're free from wondering who's going to be there for you in several years or more. So, there's a lot of freedom. There's a freedom...you can basically assume that the sex is going to be on tap instead of wondering. There's a lot of freedom in knowing we're melding our fortunes and therefore, we are going to amass more wealth and we are likely to be healthier because of the stability in our lifestyle. So, I think part of what's going on is (not necessarily with you but with people who have an avoidance style) there are assumptions that becoming intimate with be this life-sucking, soul-sucking...
[Angel Donovan]: This is like a mistake and it's also looking at it from a limited perspective. I think if you're proactive, you can make it work and it's maybe not within the standard confines of the standard social structure, marriage and all of these things but, you just make it work in your own way. It's just about finding someone who's going to work with that. You've got to just try no matter where you come from.
I don't want to completely distract, derail this whole thing by talking about my weird situation because, I don't think it applies to a lot of people but, if someone is from this questionnaire figured out which rough attachment style they have, what would be the next step? Saying that the A is where you're going to be happier and that's where they've decided that's where they want to be as well. You've already made that journey, what are some good practical tips trying to make that journey themselves.
[Duana Welch]: Number one tip, by far, find someone secure and get in a relationship with them. Secure partners tend to see the other person as their responsibility. They actually think it's their job to make you happy and it works for them.
Again, we're taught, if you make it your project to make someone else happy that's unhealthy but, actually the healthiest relationships out there tend to have at least one secure person in it and relationship research is very clear. They view it as job one to make you happy. They care about whether you're happy day to day.
So, that's my number one tip is get involved with someone secure unless you really don't want intimacy in which case, please find someone else who feels the same way and have the level of relationship that you want because, you're going to cause everybody else and yourself a lot of pain and angst if you don't.
The number two tip would be...because I didn't want to wait to find that person to start working on myself. So, there's this technique from cognitive behavioral therapy which has been established in experiments, not just correlational studies but real cause-effect experiments. It's been found to work for changing lots of things about yourself. So, anything you want to change, you can pretty much use these two steps and over time, it will change.
You're step number one is notice. Step number two is redirect. Notice, redirect. Notice, redirect. So what you notice is, let's say that...can I shrink you here for a minute Angel even though I'm not shrink?
[Angel Donovan]: Absolutely, here we go.
[Duana Welch]: Okay, alright Angel, let's say that you start dating someone new and you've decide you really don't want casual sex. You really are ready for a girlfriend and you start dating someone new and one day, she suggests, "Hey, let's spend more time together." You were ready to go home and she wants to spend more time together and she's not coming back to your place. You're not comfortable with that yet.
So, you find yourself thinking, "Oh my God. It's already started. She already needs me too much. The first step would be simply to notice that you're feeling that way. That's it, just notice and notice what...also what I didn't say here, don't criticize yourself for feeling that way. Don't beat yourself up for feeling that way.
Research is also very clear that if you want to change something, feeling like crap about yourself is the way not to change it. So, you just want to notice without judgement.
Then, you want to redirect to a thought that's aligned with the reality of the situation. So maybe in fact, she has already offered to move in with you after three dates, in which case yeah, I would feel suffocated too. That would be a scenario where your reaction of feeling suffocated would be realistic.
But, if on the other hand, you've been out a few times and she just said, "Hey, I'm having so much fun with you Angel. I just want to spend a couple more hours," then maybe you could say to yourself, "You know what, this doesn't necessarily the loss of all my independence. This is just a little more time."
[Angel Donovan]: Relax, let go a little bit.
[Duana Welch]: Yeah.
[Angel Donovan]: So, it seems the thing there is to be aware and conscious of what your mind's kind of running through. So, when you're saying notice it's like to be consciously aware. Like, "I'm thinking about these things. I'm not really purposely thinking about them, they're just kind of springing up."
Then, to run that over with what the reality is. Think about it consciously for a second and actually put some thought into it and like, reasonably...I guess people think about the rational mind a bit. Rationalize it a bit like, "Okay so, is that really the case? Is that not the case" and redirect it as appropriate. Kind of run it over and put the reality on top of it to rub it out.
[Duana Welch]: Exactly, I remember this one man I was dating and he was awesome and we really got on very well. He shared with me one day, he said, "You know Duana, you seem so secure to other people but, you really have a deep insecurity about you," and he was not being unkind. He was really just making an observation and I actually felt better after he said that rather than worse because, he wasn't attacking me.
I said, "Yeah, you're absolutely right. I need a lot of reassurance. I have an anxious and so, I'm the person who needs the follow-up phone call. I'm the person who needs the email and the text message saying, 'I had a great time. Let's do it again soon.' I'm person who needs a lot of hand holding, literally and figuratively."
So, what I would have to do in this situation, as will the other anxious people listening right now, Hi guys, is I would have to say things to myself like, "Huh, I'm feeling really scared right now. I'm feeling like this guy doesn't like me. Wow but, he's already sent three emails and two texts today. Probably not a really good indicator that he's lost interest. You know?" So, I would just have to come back to reality and it really helps.
The difficult thing about this two-step process is that even though it sounds easy, it's difficult to shift your thinking to becoming aware. It really is hard to do that.
[Angel Donovan]: This is...because, I've actually run this experiment on a few things in my life in the past because, it's based around, I know, positive psychology and some other things have done this.
[Duana Welch]: Yes.
[Angel Donovan]: So for me was I have it [inaudible] sometimes when I was working as a management consultant. I would be just walking along the road and I'd start thinking about something negative. Maybe it was like some stress or some politics at work or something like that and before I knew it, like I'd been wondering around for five minutes kind of going round in circles thinking about that stuff.
When I read the books about it, I just learned to say, "Stop," and like notice it and say, "Stop," and just think about stuff I really wanted to think about. It was really miraculous. I fixed that habit. It was gone within a couple of months but, I did have to...it was important enough to me, put it that way because, I saw the importance of this to keep notice of that throughout the day, to be reminded, to be aware of that kind of thing happening.
So, I think it has to be one of your goals for a little while. Maybe it's two weeks, maybe it's a month but, you have to think like, "This is something I want to fix this month," and have it top of mind for a little while so when it does come up, you going to notice it. Otherwise, if it's not really top of mind, if it's just something you're half doing, maybe you're going to miss a lot of it a lot of the time because, you've got these other priorities that you've focusing more of your attention on.
[Duana Welch]: Yeah, it's surprisingly difficult to do this supposedly simply two steps and with attachment style, if you're really going to change it, it's not going to be just a month. I would say, it's top of mind for a month and it's a very active background program on your emotional desktop the rest of the time.
[Angel Donovan]: Right.
[Duana Welch]: I know that at this point, both having found and married a secure partner and having worked on it, I feel zero insecurity in my marriage. I feel zero insecurity. I feel entirely secure but, when I play...
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah and does that feel great?
[Duana Welch]: Yeah, it feels...
[Angel Donovan]: It feels so much better.
[Duana Welch]: Yes, I got to tell you.
[Angel Donovan]: You have to kind of crystalize the value for the people in the audience. Imagine when you don't feel any anxiety throughout the day, you just feel relaxed, you can get on with all the stuff that's more important to you instead of wasting your time worrying about whatever. You can see the huge value of that to your life and how it would just transform your life, enable you to get a lot more done, a lot more success in your life and so on just by this one thing. So, it sounds like a lot of investment but, definitely very worthwhile.
I don't know if you've looked at meditation and mindfulness or other forms and their influence on this. It strikes me that I didn't do it back then so, I don't know what the influence would be but, I know that I'm a lot more aware thanks to mindfulness meditation and some of the other meditations. So, I think if these things did come up, I just notice them quicker. So, it might be helpful.
[Duana Welch]: I think so, yeah. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to help people with their ability to think clearly and concentrate so, I would think that would help, yeah. Good point.
[Angel Donovan]: Awesome, I think we've done the attachment style. So, hopefully, you guys at home have got some practical value being able to steer through that. I think the attachment styles is also interesting because, you've noted a few things like, you're anxiety about...basically being comforted with phone calls and reassured with text messages and things like that.
I think a lot of the guys who have had some dating experience can relate to women they've dated or they come in contact with and you can kind of feel this need for reassurance over the text conversation or over the phone conversation and every girl is different. You should also be able to calibrate for what type of attachment style the other person is that you're talking to and use that as a selection mechanism. "Alright is this the right person for me or not?"
[Duana Welch]: Yeah absolutely, I will say that there's research on who tends to get on really, really well. I'll tell you two secure people get along famously. A secure person and an anxious person also get along just swimmingly. They don't have almost any problems because, if you're secure, anxious people want what you are selling. It's the perfect relationship.
Where you get into really serious trouble, such serious trouble that I would say, "Don't go there," is anxious and avoidant. They are oil and water. They are a disaster but, it's very common. Interestingly, science finds this very common for anxious and avoidant people to get involved for at least a brief time.
[Angel Donovan]: That sounds like it fits the stereotype of a girl loving the bad boy, an anxious girl loving the bad boy and he's got his independence thing. He's not showing any emotion, he's not showing any commitment and he's very aloof and she's feeling more and more needy. Does that kind of fit that stereotype?
[Duana Welch]: Yes and what's interesting is there are more anxious women than there are anxious men and there are more avoidant men than there are avoidant women although, there are both sexes who display both of these styles. Additionally, we're also talking about evolutionary psychology. Women have rewarded men, sexually and otherwise for being independent, for being successful and men have rewarded for holding off and being less sexually available than they might initially want, they've rewarded that with often a very long term commitment or mate ship.
So, to some extent what you see is that attachment styles tap into our inherited mating psychology where women do need a lot of reassurance so they feel safe investing in you sexually. Absolutely true, they need those phone calls. They need those text messages. They need those flowers. They need the extra attention especially when you first get sexual with them, lay on the affection if you want continued and continued connection.
[Angel Donovan]: Right especially, if someone's got an independent style, especially the fearful style or the anxious style. I can imagine a guy, he would hook up with a girl, he would sleep with a girl and the next day, he might not call her, might not text her because, he just feels fearful about it. That's definitely the opposite of what you want to do in that situation.
You want to be in contact with her because, she's going to be feeling that it's the same deal from her side and you should get over your anxiety or whatever any of these kinds of roles that some people advise you to take your time in getting back with people and stuff. If you just slept with a girl, you can be normal and show that and basically, help her to feel more comfortable about it and that would work better with that situation.
[Duana Welch]: If you want a relationship that's what to do. If you want a relationship, regardless of your attachment style, what you do right after you have sex with a woman is you show her a lot more attention. If you don't want a relationship, then you don't. Yeah, it depends on what you want is what I'm saying.
There's so many things about relationships. It depends what you want. You know, my book is called Love Factually and the subtitle really tells you what the book's about, "Ten proven steps from I wish to I do." It's really about people who are looking for a long, long, long-term mate-ship but, if you wanted something shorter term, there are a lot of people who haven't written about that as well. It really depends on what you want.
[Angel Donovan]: Great so, another aspect of relationships is how healthy they are for you. I saw some great material in terms of the practical details of what makes a relationship satisfactory and healthy for you?
[Duana Welch]: Well, there are really five big things that you should be looking for in a healthy relationship. So what I'm saying is, if the person that you're seeing lacks any of these, you're probably going to want to consider ending that relationship or not getting any deeper into it.
One of the big things would be someone who heals rather than worsens whatever your issues happen to be. We all have issues. For example, I know that I just can't be with someone who pulls back on me when I need more intimacy. That's just something I can't do. It's an issue for me and so, I need someone who can heal that part of myself. So, I dated people who...increasingly, I learned how to date people who could give me that.
I don't know what the men in your audience what their issues are, maybe it's been that they've been rejected a lot by women when they were younger. So, when women seem to be cold and aloof, it taps into all their bad experiences earlier in life. In that case, you don't want to date a bitchy woman.
We get in relationships because they make us happy. Ultimately, isn't that what it's about? We do not in fact get into relationships for free therapy.
[Angel Donovan]: Right, right. So again...always talking about this but, there for instance, you should be selecting women based on what you need, you know and thinking about it rather than just taking what society has kind of programed you with.
So in that example, like I don't know, you're in college, everyone's chasing the same girls who may be independent party girls and maybe that is really, really something that you don't know because, it's just going to worsen your issues of anxiety. It's not going to be good for you right at this point.
So it just strikes me, we were talking about attachment before so, this one would kind of fit in with you being an anxious attachment style and you going for someone who's an anxious style as well. That's obviously going to be a really unhealthy...that's going to worsen your own issues, right?
[Duana Welch]: It actually would be okay if I went for somebody anxious because, we both want a lot of contact. What would be a disaster is if I went for somebody avoidant. That just wouldn't work for me and notice, I'm not saying that avoidant people are bad people. I'm saying it wouldn't work for me.
[Angel Donovan]: What other examples do you have? Do you have...?
[Duana Welch]: Another example of that might be if you grew up with someone who (a parent) is extremely controlling and that that just pushes all your buttons. Don't date someone who is extremely controlling that pushes all your buttons.
We all have emotional needs and a lot of times, the way we know what our emotional needs is when we start feeling a lot of anger or pain. They're taping into some kind of emotional need we have that's not being met right now.
You may have grown up, (not you but, people in general) with a parent who was very invalidating. You would say...come home from school and say, "I'm being bullied" and your parents would say, "Just suck it up," instead of, "Tell me more about that."
Most of us didn't grow up with parents who were ultimately validating. That's not to say they were bad parents, they were doing the best they could. Most of us are doing the best that we can most of the time with most everything we're doing but, we all have issues from our upbringing. Don't date someone who brings issues to the front.
If you were raised by someone abusive, do not choose a woman who is going to emotionally abuse you. Choose something that betters your life, not someone who worsens it. That sounds obvious but, a lot of people don't it so, that's my first recommendation. Then my second is also, I think really important because, if you think about it logically it makes so much sense but most people don't do it and that is pick someone whose past will not ruin your future.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay, so I've got a couple of ideas in my head for that one. What would be the biggest examples?
[Duana Welch]: Okay, let's say that you really value a woman who is going to sleep with you and not with anyone else. Now, that may not be your personal value but, let's just for the sake of argument, let's say that that's what you want. You want someone who is going to be sexually faithful and only to you and you find out that on her three prior relationships she cheated on every one of the guys she was with.
[Angel Donovan]: Absolutely.
[Duana Welch]: Okay, you have a crystal ball.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah.
[Duana Welch]: You know what her future behavior is going to be.
[Angel Donovan]: Even better, when you met her, she was dating from someone else and you basically stole her from that guy. Then, guess what? That's a perfect example too of getting the behavior you don't want.
[Duana Welch]: Exactly, the single biggest predictor of what someone is going to do is what they have already done. It's the law of psychology. It is truly mathematically the best indicator of what someone will do is, "What was their behavior in a similar past circumstance?"
Now, this doesn't mean...I mean, there are exceptions. Let's say that she's had ten real relationships and that by real relationships I mean, there was some level of commitment and agreement not to have sex with anyone else in these relationships. And let's say that she cheated in one of these relationships and let's say her attitude about the infidelity was that she regrets it. She feels deeply humiliated and ashamed by it. It's been several years and she's never done it again.
That's a different ballgame She's got a lot of recent past behavior that goes contrary to that one exception but, if you've got someone with a pattern, the pattern is the behavior you're going to see. That's a truth.
Similarly if, you notice that they're being unkind and disrespectful to a lot of people in their lives, I'm going to tell you this for sure. More than 40 years of really great relationship science all boil down to this, if you can find and be someone kind and respectful, you're love life is going to go great and if you can't, it won't.
[Angel Donovan]: So, there you're talking about the rule basically, if you go out with a girl and a date and she's not cool with the waiter or waitress, that's probably a negative sign. Is that the kind of scenario you're thinking of?
[Duana Welch]: Yes or if she's totally hateful about her ex.
[Angel Donovan]: Right exactly, that's a good point.
[Duana Welch]: Or, if everybody she ever met before you is a scumbag but, you're going to be different. No, she's eventually going to cast you as a scumbag. So, just don't fall for it. You have a crystal ball and it's called the past, use it.
[Angel Donovan]: So, I find it's always helpful to talk about the past on dates. You should feel pretty free about, when you're meeting someone, you're talking about past relationships and stuff, I wasn't feel like it's a first-step conversation to have and it gives you a lot of important information. It gives her too.
[Duana Welch]: Yeah, one of the best questions that I learned to ask and that I later talk about in my book and with my clients is if your ex were here right now, what would they say was the reason for your breakup. It's amazing, people will give very honest answers often to that question and I found that whenever I asked the question, in fact, that was a big issue between me and whoever I asked that question to.
Sometimes, I found out that well, there was an issue that there was just for me, not dealing with. It was a just a deal-breaker for me. I'm not indicating that my deal-breakers would be everyone's but, there are some things that really should be deal-breakers for everyone and that is, if they are not kind and respectful in general, if they're not kind and respectful even when they're not getting their way, for example then, they're kind and respectful. You need to move on.
[Angel Donovan]: So a couple of the other ones I was thinking that were more tangible, someone someone's pass in terms of STDs or someone's past in terms of they had a pregnancy and they have a baby. Some people feel like they don't have enough opportunities so, these things are going to heavily influence your future.
So when I've come across these situations and I've been talking with people, they feel like the emotional attachment to a person will override these kinds of things. But, if they understood potentially the impact on their lives going forward of these things which right now because, they're emotional, they're passionate, they're like, "Oh, it's not such a big deal. I'll get into that later." What would you say to those more tangible situations? I don't know if there are other tangible situations that would fit into this one.
[Duana Welch]: Oh that is really troubling, when do you reveal the ugly truth? Most of us have some version of an ugly truth or a truth that's inconvenient or difficult and when do you reveal that? There's not a lot of research on that so, I actually did a survey of my own about that.
What I found is that most people in my survey and I asked them to give advice say how they dealt with bringing up a difficult thing like, "I have a child," or "I had an abortion," or "I've had a sexually transmitted infection," whether or not they still have it. And it's really difficult, Angel because, on the one hand, you don't want to leave the truth so long that it is manipulative and lying by omission not to tell her. On the other hand, you don't want to tell the truth so soon that the person doesn't have any clue of whether they would really be interested in a long term with you.
So, I'm going to tell you what my readers and survey attendees advised and what they said happened to them as a result. The number one strategy that they used was waiting to tell until some level emotional intimacy, not sexual but emotional intimacy had been established, meaning that they felt comfortable revealing something that personal and then, going ahead and telling it.
When they had done that in their own lives and they've had a lot of issues that they'd done this over but, when they did that in their lives, not one of them had been rejected. Many of them had been rejected if they had come out with the truth on the first couple meetings.
The fact is, no matter who you love, they're going to have an issue. All of us have issues. Now, there are some that are worse than others. "I have done ten years in prison," is a bigger issues than, "Once I had chlamydia but, I don't anymore." Right? So, some issues are harder to talk about than other but, I will say, it does seem like for some people what's worked out is wait until there's some level of emotional connection and intimacy and then, reveal your truth in is undramatic a way as you can.
[Angel Donovan]: What I found is, I recently went on a date with a girl and she told me about her last partner having herpes and they were sleeping protected and so on quite early on in that. I felt like the reason she revealed that because, I'm pretty non-judgmental and I reveal a lot of stuff about myself. I actually try to put the worse stuff out there pretty quickly whatever it may be for that person. I feel that's a helpful tactic to get to know people quicker and these things come up because, they feel more comfortable telling you about it.
That was kind of a deal-breaker for me. I didn't want to go forward with that. That would have been something I would have...if I didn't know, maybe I wouldn't have gone forward with the relationship. So, it really did affect my decision and I just felt like just being forward myself helped to get to that information quicker from both our sides.
[Duana Welch]: Oh, you're absolutely right. So, there's a form of therapy where, it's not practiced much anymore but a humanist named Sidney Jourard pioneered a form of therapy where the therapist would reveal personal things which would help the client feel more comfortable revealing personal things. If you want to know really intimate details about someone very, very quickly, revealing intimate details about your own life will tend to get to intimate details of other people's lives quickly.
So, if what you want to do, again it depends on what you want to do. If what you want to do very quickly is to kind of eliminate candidates who have a deal-breaker, one way is to reveal a lot about yourself and listen to what they say in response. Yeah.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah.
[Duana Welch]: I would also encourage people to find someone who desires the same level of intimacy and the same type of relationship that they do. So for example, if you want a level of intimacy where you can call each other every day, you can see each other whenever you're in town, you can live together when you're living in the same country but, you also want your freedom to travel and to make alternate plans to in a moment’s notice be off, then, you need to hold out for that standard in a partner.
You need to find someone for example, in that case it wouldn't be a good plan to find someone who wants to get married and spend their lives in one city. Again, so many of things sound obvious but because humans are not primarily logical, we're really primarily emotional, a lot of times when we first meet someone and we're really excited about them, we ignore a lot of really vital information.
Part of the vital information to try to obtain on the first few meetings is "What would the ideal relationship look like to you?" If the ideal relationship for this person would be, "Well ideally, I would like to be married but, not have children," and you want to be married and have children and I have heard from me that this has happened. They married someone who they did not ask their bride-to-be, "Do you ever want children?" They just assumed women want children and it turned out not to be true and they wound up getting divorced over this.
You need to make sure that you're on the same page about the really big things in life. Similarly, there are some people like me, I enjoy traveling but, I want to primarily live in one spot. I want to live in the same house with my husband. I want to know that our free time is for each other unless by mutual agreement. So, I need someone who feels that same way.
My husband and I have had precisely zero arguments about this in the eight years almost that we've been together. We've had no arguments about this and the reason is, he already wanted the same thing. So, a lot of the fights that people have are fights based on a core mismatch in personality, attachment style or a desire for a particular lifestyle. So, make sure you've got all that lined up.
There's really no need to spend your life fighting with someone. You can find what you want. How about doing that right from the start? It's great, it worked wonderfully.
[Angel Donovan]: I'm thinking of an example just with texting because, I think a lot of people start some of their relationship with texting these days. So, it can be a useful tool to understand a bit of someone's personality through the texting mechanism. So, just in terms of texting frequency for example.
I'd be someone who I don't text a lot because, I tend to be really focused on what I'm doing so, I'll basically not text unless it's evening or it's the weekend when I've got schedule free time. Otherwise, I don't even look at my phone.
Often, I come across women who have a need to text a lot more often. So, they've got a more frequent intimacy standard to their lives when they're in a relationship. They're often texting little things that happen during the day and stuff like that. That doesn't work well with me. They're going to get upset and they're probably going to get a little bit...they're going to come back home and be upset with me and it's going to cause disruption for me. So, I think that's a good example of where you could see it as a mismatch kind of early on.
[Duana Welch]: Yes actually, there's a book that keeps bringing to mind as we're talking that I really think you and your readers who are interested in attachment styles specifically would like and it's called Attached by Amir Levine and they actually have that exact case study that you just described. That case study is in the book where he talks about a couple where a man has an avoidant attachment style and the woman has an anxious attachment style and it's not really working out for them.
One of the things that she really wants is to communicate throughout the day and he just wants to work. He just wants to get his job done. He doesn't understand why she needs contact throughout the day because, he's trying to make things happen. He knows she's there for him. He's not worried about that and he is really frankly getting really irritated with her that she does want that and they're having a lot of fights about it.
So, this couple came up with a strategy that really worked very well for them and that was he puts some pre-set text message on to his phone and he told her this. He said, "I'm going to put a text message on my phone that says, 'I thinking about you right now' and I'm just going to just hit that button several times a day whenever I happen to be thinking about you. And it's not an invitation for further text messaging, it's not an invitation for a conversation. The issue we're having is you think that I'm not thinking about through the day but, I am but at the same time, I don't feel I can take the time to actually talk with you or text back and forth in some original way."
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, that's an interesting tip. I like that.
[Duana Welch]: It totally worked for her. So in that case, that was a case of people who had mismatched attachment styles but, they found a way to work it out because really, all she needed was reassurance and he just needed to be free to do his thing during the work day and they found a way to both be happy about that.
Another thing you could do is you could tell people you're getting involved with, "You know, I understand that a lot of people these days really want to get a lot of text messages and I want you to know that if I don't do that, it doesn't mean that I don't care about you or I'm not enjoying getting to know you. I'm just not much of a person for texting. I just almost never do it."
[Angel Donovan]: That is something I do with every relationship and I find it works. It makes a huge difference. A lot of people won't say anything about this kind of stuff but, I feel like just explaining this causes a lot of upset or misunderstandings and just kind of go away because, they're like, "Oh, it's like...busy with work. That's how he is. That's who he is." That conversation I have, I've been having it for quite a few years now and it just makes a huge difference to the quality of my life and I'm sure it makes a big difference to theirs as well.
[Duana Welch]: Exactly, I really think that if you know that there's something that you do that sometimes creates friction with the kind of people you like to date then, it's good to get it out on the table so that they realize that this isn't something to feel insecure about, this is just who I am.
People tend to take things very personally when they first are getting to know you. I say the rule of thumb is, "The less she knows, the more heavily she weighs." So, the less she knows about you the more heavily she weighs. Every shred of information she does have guys, it's really difficult for me to overstate. In fact, I think it's impossible for me to overstate the detail in which women analyze you and what you're doing. So, if you give them information that helps them to feel better about how things are going, that is helpful.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, I've also found, just in a recent situation actually, I was just starting to date this girl and through this texting behavior and so on, she had completely misunderstood me but, I kind of saw that just from how she acted over the next stages. So, I sent her a voice mail to basically explain and it fixed everything. It's a bit unusual but, it worked for me.
When you can spot what's going on with the other person, it can solve a lot of misunderstanding. So, she was actually acting like she wasn't interested anymore. So, some of you guys might have come across this before and you might think, "Oh, she's rejecting me or she doesn't like me," or whatever. But actually sometimes, it's just like you've done something which has made her feel really uncomfortable and she's like, "This can't be a guy for me. I don't feel good about this," and all it takes is you to explain the situation if you saw that and spotted it.
[Duana Welch]: Exactly, women have been heavily rewarded throughout all of history and pre-history for being hard to get sexually and by rewarded I mean, a lot of women get what they want when they are sexually allusive and emotionally allusive at the beginning at the relationship, namely, the guy pursues them and commits to them. So, part of what you're saying, if a woman does not make a lot of moves towards you is basically, operant conditioning on an inherited mating psychology level. You're seeing something that's a deep part of female psychology.
So, the way to out whether she's into you or not is show her more attention. If she's into you, she will show you more and more attention as you show her more and more attention. She will sound happy to hear from you, there will be a smile on her voice when she answers the phone, she will use happy emoticons when she's texting you. If, on the other hand you show her more and she becomes more allusive, sounds distant and aloof, keeps pushing off times to see you and sounds like she's not interested then, that's a no.
[Angel Donovan]: That’s a fair calibration point.
[Duana Welch]: Yeah.
[Angel Donovan]: So, we might disagree on this part, really I don't know. There's this book called The Rules by Ellen Fein and I've come across this book through girls I've dated in the past. Other guys might have it. The book has been around for a long time. I think it's been like 20 years? I can't remember.
[Duana Welch]: Longer than that actually, I think.
[Angel Donovan]: So, it's a very famous book which gives women these rules in order they should follow to the letter. They're very, very kind of strict rules that they should follow. I think there are 20 or so rules and they follow these and the guy will get committed to them, basically. So, it's generally for women who have lost guys in the past or the guys wouldn't commit to them and they felt like they were just getting played and things like this.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, we recommend that's a good book for guys to learn more about female psychology.
[Duana Welch]: Men, buy that book, learn it, live it, love it. David Buss and Ellen Fein both wound up [inaudible] my book. Dr. Buss, what his book showed was that men and women do have different mating psychologies. They are very different in some ways and that there's certain behaviors that are more effective for men in short and long term mating and there are certain other behaviors that are very effective for women in short and long term mating and because, the sexes are, when they first meet, essentially at odds.
There's always been a battle of the sexes. It is real. People get emotional and angry about it and it exists even today. It's based on what worked for our ancestors in the ancient past and to ignore it is to set yourself up for repeated failure in dating.
So, I highly recommend David Buss's book The Evolution of Desire but, I'll tell you what Buss's work and other's work through the past few decades has shown is Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider are giving good advice for women who do not want to get played. So for example, there are pick-up artists...it's interesting there's not one book on how to be a pick-up artist if you're a woman. You know why? Because all we have to do is say, "How about it, Babe?
[Angel Donovan]: There are...I mean actually, it's interesting, just in the last few years, there's been a lot more books like that. Actually, with things like How to be a Bitch to Get More Men or something like that. I can't remember the innate titles of these books but, just recently there's been a few of them coming out and I know that it's an area of advice that's been growing exponentially just lately.
[Duana Welch]: These books, correct me if I'm wrong but, these books actually talk about how to pick men up to get them to get more serious about you. They really...
[Angel Donovan]: Ahhh, you mean sort of like, girls looking for quantity?
[Duana Welch]: Yeah, I'm talking about there aren't any books that say, "Here's how to get laid, Honey."
[Angel Donovan]: Right, right, no there aren't any. There aren't any. There aren't any books like that.
[Duana Welch]: There aren't any yeah, and the reason is, I don't know if you realize this but, there's global research that compares in each society the things that men and women have to do, the most successful tactics and techniques that they can use to get sex. In every society, the number one tactic a woman can use to get sex was to ask for it.
So, we don't have books like that but, what we do have books for is what women's inherited mating psychology emphasizes which is commitment. We have lots and lots of books about, "Here are ways to turn a man into someone who will commit to you." Now, I take a slightly different angle on that.
For one thing, I do not think that there are hard and fast rules that you can never ever do and that if you do them, your love life is doomed which is definitely the strategy that The Rules takes. They honestly say things like, "If you ever speak to a man first even just 'Hi', the relationship's doomed." I do not take that hardened and fast stance.
On the other hand, science has shown me very clearly that for women who want to attract a man who really wants to commit and for women who does want to repeal men who simply want to have sex with them and don't want anything else, there are very effective behaviors which will, what I call "tip out the player and tip in the stayers." So, my book is mostly written for men and women but, there is a chapter that's just for men of "If you want a long term relationship, here is how to treat women," or...
Actually, the book isn't even just for straight people. So, I talk about "If you're a man and you want a man, if you're a man and you want a woman, here's what to do." Then, I have, "If you're a woman and you want a man, here's what to do. If you're a woman and you want a woman, here's what to do." So, it's kind of broken down into what people are looking for.
It's been very interesting the mail and the reviews that I've gotten about Love Factually show that most men love it which I did not expect. The men who hated it, it seems to be the reason they hate it is they feel like I just put a big lid on the cookie jar but, I have good news for you guys. If you do want to just "hit it and quit it," you need to remember, most people haven't read my book. There's a whole world of women out there even among the women who do read it, a lot of them won't follow the advice.
So, you will still be able to have short-term sexual connection if you want but, my book is not about that. I want to be very clear. My book is very people who want long-term connections. So, the easiest thing that a woman can do to avoid being in a short-term sexual scenario and again, I'm not opposed to women who do want to be in a short-term scenario, I just didn't write a book for them. But, if a woman did not want to be in a short-term scenario, the most effective thing she could do is to hold off on sexual intimacy until she had an emotional intimacy and some level of commitment from the pursuing partner which is normally a man.
[Angel Donovan]: So, this is exactly what The Rules was trying to achieve. The way I first came across this basically, I found a girl I had just started to date was acting very weird. She was doing things like, not returning phone calls and then being very positive. So, I was like, "I'm pretty sure this girl's really into me, really into me but, she's acting very, very strange about it." She'll be changing the date when we'd meet up and would have an issue with just coming back to my place even though there were other aspects of intimacy going on and stuff.
After a few dates, I just sat her down and she actually tried to break up with me at that point, like say I wasn't right for her because, she figured that I was a player and The Rules dictated that it was time to get rid of me but, I just confronted her. I was like, "Look, I'm guessing you've read this book The Rules and I guess that's behind these behaviors," and so on. I actually explained my point of view right which kind of fixes the situation.
My viewpoint was that I've dated girls...and I'm saying like this because, I happen to like many guys but, I've dated girls where we hook up the first night and then we'll have an amazing relationship for five years and we hooked up the first night. But, I'm not sure we would have if she'd held back with some rules like advertised in...
So there's a couple of ones in your book, I'll just point them out. There was one rule like, "He must directly ask you to be exclusive and say he doesn't want to see anyone else before you have sex." There was another one like, "He must say he loves you and convince you he means it before you have sex." So, this is to give the guys at home some ideas.
In my world, that's very unlikely to happen and obviously, I'm not the standard guy either but, it would end up making the relationship extremely weird and I would feel like she was pushing the bounds of intimacy and commitment way out of proportion of where we were because, sex is not such a big deal for me. It's like to relax and I think sexual compatibility is a huge deal for me. I definitely want to know we're sexual compatible before I even dream about being exclusive or "I love you."
When I say, "I love you," it really means something to me. It's not just something I throw out there and there's not that many girls I say it to and it's definitely after we've had some sexual compatibility going on, we've had some deep sexual experiences together which eventually gets us to the point where I can say, "I love you" and it happens naturally with her.
So, I feel like these rules basically distort the whole process, make it weird and I feel like girls using these kind of rules will actually push away some of the best guys because of these reasons because, depending on the guy. Of course, he's quite a conservative guy and he hasn't had a lot of sex, he doesn't feel that comfortable with sex and he's maybe had sex within relationships mostly, that's a potentially a normal context for him.
But, for a guy who's dated a fair few girls, is quite open and sexual, I think it's going to come off as very weird having these kind of standards. So, what I want to make clear here is people have comfort levels with their sexuality and have sexual they are, how quickly sexual they are with someone. If a girl comes and gives you these kind of a rules which is more of a conservative, "only be sexual within a relationship" and that's conflicting thing in itself and it's not going to fit you and if she's doing that, not because she doesn't want sex right now.
Maybe she is interested in sex and she does feel comfortable and she feels horny and wild right now and wants to jump into bed with you but, she stops herself because of these rules, potentially, she could lose a guy who's really compatible with her and feels the same way, he wants to jump into bed with her too. He may be completely down for a relationship but, if you start playing around and asking these rules even though it doesn't fit with your lifestyle and who you are in the natural progression...especially today where things are a lot more relaxed, I think.
We've had people recently talking about hook-up culture that's kind of emerged in the States and stuff where a lot of college students tend to hook up early, have sex before the get into relationships. That's kind of what the hook-up culture is these days. Then, I think there's a clash of cultures basically here where this won't fit for a lot of people. So, I just want to put that out there and see how you respond to that.
Once I've gone through this, basically telling her the story about how this all worked, she saw my point and we went home and we started developing a relationship and we had a relationship about a year. It didn't eventually work out in the long run but, it was a good relationship which wouldn't have happened if the weirdness had carried on and she'd broken up with me before we even got together because, she felt these rules weren't being obeyed.
[Duana Welch]: Well, I have a lot of reactions to that. Let me start with the first one which is that a lot of people, male and female have the same reaction that you have to what I've said. Nobody needs a book about finding the "almost right partner." The book is about finding the "exact right partner" for you not the "almost right partner."
Honestly, for you Angel, you may not want a permanent mate ship. That may not be where you're headed and so for you, a woman who adhered to this would not be...she would be wrong for you. I would like to say to all your listeners out there, guys, if what a woman's doing, if you don't like it, stop dating it. If a woman's following The Rules and you don't like The Rules, stop dating her.
Historically and even today, women who want a deep emotional attachment that leads to a permanent commitment, not girlfriends I've had for five years, by the way. I mean, women I married and stayed married to for 40 years, that level of commitment. For women who want that and again, that's who my book is for, people who want marriage, not people who want to date for five years or live together for five years. Very clearly, my book has a purpose.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay, so we're talking forever marriage?
[Duana Welch]: We're talking forever yeah. My subtitle is "Ten Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do." You're right, for a dating scenario, if you're not sure what you want or in general with your life or, if you want sex up front, that is a big value for you, don't date those women. I'm trying to say, by the way, that everyone has to act this way and I'm not posing as, "These are rules and you're life's going to go to hell if you don't follow them."
What I'm posing it from is a scientific bases and the science, again if you've read David Buss's work, the science could not be more clear. Men who are looking to "hit it and quit it" look for a very specific set of features in female behavior. That behavior is that she's sexually available very quickly.
Now, there are also some men who are looking for long-term relationship who would like to have sex very quickly but, what the research indicates is...and this is, I'm thinking of Buss and Schmidt's research here but, there are others studies as well...the research indicates that when these exact same men are looking for a wife, they swap their standards. So that now, they value the woman who is harder to get sexually than easier to get sexually.
A lot of the quotes that I used in my book about withholding sex until a level of emotional commitment is established are from things that David Buss has written. He refers to...this is his quote, guys don't shoot the messenger...he refers to men who for example, say they that love a woman in order to get easy sexual access as "snakes in the garden of love." There's a reason he endorsed my book and the reason is my book shows what inherited mating psychology looks like for men and also for women. So, the advice I'm giving is very specifically geared toward women who are willing to eliminate some men in order to eliminate all the men who would booty call.
[Angel Donovan]: I'm sure it would eliminate a lot of players.
[Duana Welch]: This standard will get rid of all of those men. Now, I'm agreeing with you Angel. I'm saying there are men who are not players who want sex quickly but, the women who are reading my book are by and large women who are willing to forgo all of those men if it also gets rid of all the men who are just hard core players.
[Angel Donovan]: For me, it would be an indicator that she is not a very sexual being. That's kind of been my relationship criteria.
[Duana Welch]: You put a word into the description of these roles earlier which was conservative. I'm very liberal and in my younger days, I had sex right away in my relationships and I loved it. I love sex and to extent my relationships didn't work out, it was never about that unless it was me leaving them because, I wasn't sexually happy.
So, I just want to get that on the table or on the bedspread, as it were, that women who are doing this are not necessarily prudes but again, if you or some of your listeners don't like this behavior, there is a universe of women who aren't engaging in this behavior and you can go find one of them. Most people aren't going to read my book. Most people who read it aren't going to do what I'm advising but, I am advising based on decades of gold-standard science and I stand by what I say.
If women want to eliminate players and keep the men who want to commit to them close to them, this is exactly what works. Is there a chance that just going straight to bed with someone and giving everything up front would work too? Yeah, there is a chance that it would work but, it's not nearly as good a chance and science is about odds not certainties. So, the people reading my book, they're looking for odds in their favor.
Women want commitment. I'm giving them odds in their favor. Men also, many men want commitment and I'm showing them in this book the odds in their favor as well but, if a guy's going to get mad about something, it is going to be that part of the book and that's the thing. I know a lot of women who are really angry about books in the pick-up artist community. They're really, really, really pissed off about it and the thing is, evolutionary psychology cannot be more clear about this.
Men and women want very different things at the very start of a relationship. Later in the relationship, they usually come to some sort of agreement but, at the very beginning, they want different things and they can't both have what they want and that pisses everyone off and I'm sorry but, it just is true. I'm sorry guys, you're going to hate that part of my book. I apologize.
[Angel Donovan]: [Laughs]
[Duana Welch]: I like guys, by the way and I don't know if there's a corollary to misogynistic. I'm not a corollary word to that for me. I love guys. I think I get where you're coming from and I realize that this advice, you don't like it but, I still have this advice for women and I adhere to it.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, great, I just wanted to talk about this because I thought...
[Duana Welch]: Yeah.
[Angel Donovan]: ...it'd be interesting. The next thing I wanted to talk about was where to find people for committed relationships. There's a section of your book talking about good places and good approaches to meet the types of women who would be fit for committed relationships.
[Duana Welch]: Yeah so, there are a number of ways, some of them are very time-honored. One of the time-honored ways is to allow your friends and family to get involved. I know that sounds horrible but, it actually works very well. By getting involved, I mean you can ask to be set up to meet people who match what it is you're looking for.
Will you go on some bad dates that way? Sure. You know what? You were going to go on some bad dates no matter what way you met people. So, you probably will have some bad ones but, you have higher than usual odds of actually establishing your permanent happy committed relationship with someone this way.
The reason is because, you're friends tend to be a little bit like you are and they tend to know women who are somewhat like you are and they tend to know you well enough to think, "Oh no, not her. She's a cold fish," or "Yeah you know, she's kind of fun. I think she would get along great with So-and-so." So, that's a good way to meet women.
Another way to meet women that's really good is through activities where you would share a common interest because, one of the single biggest predictors of whether you're going to get on with someone is simply how similar you are. So, if you find someone...let's say that you are vegan and you decide, "Hey, I'm going to start meeting up with people from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. I'm going to meet with PETA." Well, you're going to find other vegans there. That is going to be a place you're going to find them.
A third really good location to meet people is on the internet. Actually, that's one of my favorites. I met my husband on line.
[Angel Donovan]: Which website did you use?
[Duana Welch]: Well, I used several. Just like a lot of fisherman will cast more than one line, I cast several lines at a time. I really advise people to do that. The particular ones that I used were www.Match.com, www.Chemistry.com and www.eHarmony.com. Those were the three that I used and I have to tell you, I don't think that any one website has special magic about it. Okay? www.eHarmony.com did endorse my book but, I really liked all three of those websites for different reasons.
So men, here's what I'm going to say to you. If you're commitment-minded and you're heterosexual, I would suggest that you go to www.eHarmony.com and there’s a really simple reason for that. The reason is a lot of women feel deeply insecure about appearing on a website where guys can just comb through lots and lots of photographs. Since www.eHarmony.com doesn't allow that, since www.eHarmony.com makes introduction, a lot of women feel safer going on www.eHarmony.com.
[Angel Donovan]: Can you just explain how www.eHarmony.com because, I, myself, haven't tried that. I'm not sure how it works. It sounds like it's different from the standard model.
[Duana Welch]: Yeah, yeah so, let's take some different models. So for example, with say, www.PlentyofFish.com or with www.OKCupid.com it's just a photographic free-for-all. There are all these pictures and you can sift through them, you can read people's profiles and you can approach them directly.
The good news is, it's going to meet men's inherited mating psychology desire to look at lots of photos. Men are more visual than women are. That's something you've probably thought before but, it also is empirically true. So, you get that with sites like those I just mentioned, also www.Match.com.
The problem with that is that, you've got a lot of competition at those sites. Because, men like to look through a lot of photos, most of those sites are men-heavy. They've got 60% men and only about 40% women. If you want to have higher odds of success, you need to go to a site where there are more women than men, which means, you need to go to a website that's geared toward finding a mate rather than just finding a date. And you need to go through a site where you have to pay to be on it instead of just surf the internet for free.
[Angel Donovan]: Why is that?
[Duana Welch]: Ahhh, because....
[Angel Donovan]: I totally agree, by the way.
[Duana Welch]: Yeah because, women and men alike who are not quite sure that they want a real commitment tend to stay with the free sites.
[Angel Donovan]: Right, it's kind of like Tinder. You know Tinder?
[Duana Welch]: Yeah.
[Angel Donovan]: It's the easiest thing ever. You just push a button and it integrates your Facebook and all of a sudden your profiles and all you have to do is swipe.
[Duana Welch]: Yes.
[Angel Donovan]: So, it's the absolute minimum of effort and as a result, the people on it aren't really taking it that seriously. So, if you're looking for a relationship, it has to be about the worst...committed relationship where someone's really intent and going for it seriously then, that's the worst. Whereas something you put a lot more investment in whether it's money, whether it's time...because, I understand www.eHarmony has a lot of question when you first get on there.
[Duana Welch]: Oh, it's murderous. It's like days of questions. It's literally, it's going to take you a couple hours to make it through all the questions. So right there, most men are not going to do that. So, what you have with www.eHarmony.com is a very female-heavy population and these women want...they're interested in a genuine committed relationship.
So again guys, if you don't want anything committed, you can just do the free sites. If you want a committed relationship though, I would skip www.Match.com and I would actually go to www.eHarmony.com because, there are fewer men and so, every guy that I have sent to www.eHarmony.com was so impressed by the variety of impressive women that they really wanted to communicate with that was available on www.eHarmony.com. Strangely enough that when I talk to women I often advise them to go for www.Match.com because, they're more men on www.Match.com.
[Angel Donovan]: So once you've filled in your profile and everything, they only connect if someone...how does it work? Do you get a match per day that you can talk with or how does it work on www.eHarmony.com?
[Duana Welch]: They don't send a specified number per day and I haven't been on it in a while but, I understand from people who still are that it hasn't changed all that much. So, what they do is they match you up on criteria that you have identified as being deal-breakers for you, core criteria that you must have. When they've achieved a match, they will then introduce you and you can see each other's pictures and you can communicate on line and then the two of you decide when you want to take it off line.
[Angel Donovan]: So, it sounds like there's a pretty small pool, maybe you would only get a few introductions per week or something like that versus the being able to look at hundreds of different profiles.
[Duana Welch]: Yes exactly so, I did meet my husband on www.eHarmony.com and it took him a while. My husband was a person who knew exactly what he wanted and he knew that he did not want to the bar scene, he knew that he did not want to date around. So, he actually used www.eHarmony.com because, he wanted someone else to do the ground work of finding an appropriate match and then, beyond that, he would look very carefully at profiles.
So, in a year belonging to www.eHarmony.com which is a long time, he was very, very picky...in a year belonging to www.eHarmony.com, he only contacted three women. The first two he only went out with one time. The first person he just didn't feel any connection with at all although, they had things in common. The second person, he felt somewhat of a connection but, it just wasn't the right time for either of them. Then, I was the third person that he contacted and he never dated anyone again.
Again, he was older. He had already been married. He was 52 at the time. I don't expect that the men who are listening right now who are in their mid-20s to later 20s would probably want to pursue it that way. Again, I'm not advocating anything you don't want to do but, if you're really serious about finding "the one" and you've kind of had enough of dating where you get to know someone and it doesn't work out, www.eHarmony.com really is a good site for that.
[Angel Donovan]: Right and also, I think it saves you a ton of time. If you're interested in a relationship and go on Tinder, you'll just end up wasting a ton of time, meeting a lot of people who are completely irrelevant to you and so on. It would just be a huge time waster.
So, we had actually Amy Anderson from www.LinxDating.com, she's got a match-making service. So, that's a little bit like one step beyond www.eHarmony.com in terms of the personalization and all that but, we actually saw there, that that's very time-efficient process for the guy. The high-net-worth individuals, they'll get a match making service to save time and so they're not wasting effort in trying to find the right girl and so, it increases your odds of getting what you want. So, this is a good place for these types of services.
[Duana Welch]: There's really a dating site for everyone under the sun. There's a way to connect with the kind of person you want. What was really interesting is there's a huge study, the Harris Survey that was done from about 2000-2008 and it looked at how people had met someone that they married. It was a marriage survey and it looked at how happy they were and it also looked at the means that they used to meet.
What was really interesting is the happiest people were the ones who met on line and in that period of time, fully 1/3 of people had met their spouse on line. So, this becoming a major way that people not only just hook up and meet up but, they actually choose a permanent partner and it comes down to what you said, it can save you a tremendous amount of time.
[Angel Donovan]: So, you just said something which I thought was important, there's a different dating site for everyone meaning that, a different dating site has a different fit. So figure out what you want and figure out which dating site is marketing to that audience and fits with that audience and use that one. It will save you a lot of grief, frustration and so on if you just choose.
The other thing that you said was like going with your hobbies, with activities and passions you like. That's like something we always say on here. If you're looking for someone for a relationship, someone more like you, someone who's going to be a better fit for you, that is the best place to find people who are going to be suitable for you.
What I love about this is it's all about guys developing themselves, investing in themselves, getting better, becoming a better version of themselves. Just go out there and pursue your dreams and invest in your passions, do as much of it as possible and just add a social element to it. So, go to conferences, go to clubs, go to competitions, all of these kind of things where you're going to meet other people and it ends up killing two birds with one stone because, you're going to meet some interesting girls at the same time who are going to be relevant to you.
[Duana Welch]: Absolutely and there is one more way to meet people that I think is almost always overlooked and that is look to your past. For about 90% this doesn't apply but, for the 10% it applies to, this is the jackpot. I mean, we're talking about eternal bliss honestly. The studies on people who had a partner when they were really young, usually it's when they were really young and they never forgot about this person. I'm not talking a sexual partner.
I'm just talking...maybe even someone you knew in school, maybe they didn't even date but, they loved them. They never quite thinking about them and this person in fact is the person to whom you're comparing everyone who comes into your life even though you're telling yourself, "Oh, it was just puppy love. It wasn't a real thing."
There's a researcher named Dr. Nancy Kalish and Dr. Kalish has let me interview her a couple of times. I've read all of her research and she's given me access to everything that she's done and what's really interesting is that these relationships, although many of them, they were never consummated sexually...if there's someone that's that special to you, that you felt a real connection with them, a deep connection, even though you were a child or in your teens.
Now maybe ten years have gone by, maybe many more years than that and you just can't get them out of your mind and you're comparing everyone that you meet or date to that one person, I would definitely find out A) is she married because, if she is leave her alone. Leave her alone.
Don't even, don't even...well, the reason I say that is that Kalish's research showed that this is real love. If you reconnect with this woman, it's very likely that even if she's very happily married and you're thinking, "Oh she's married but, I'm just sending her a note on Facebook," it's extremely likely, like more in 9 or 10 odds that both of you are going to fall back in love with each other and she's probably, by probably I mean, statistically, odds are she's going to leave her husband and her kids to be with you. So, if you don't want that on your head, do not go there.
But if she's single, contact her and the reason is...I'm just going to let you guess here, what do you think the divorce rate is for people who met as children or teens, they were very similar, they got along really well, the relationship may or may not have ever been consummated, they spent maybe ten years apart, they thought about each other a lot but, they always assumed it was puppy love. Then one day, they get reconnected. Most of those people get married. What do you think their divorce rate is?
[Angel Donovan]: I don't know, fire.
[Duana Welch]: 2%.
[Angel Donovan]: Wow, it's really that low. What is the average divorce rate?
[Duana Welch]: Well, the average divorce rate right now is about a third.
[Angel Donovan]: 33%?
[Duana Welch]: You may have heard it was half but, that was old data. So, the average divorce rate right now for people who married in the late 1990s it's looking like their lifetime odds are around 1/3. So, you know divorce has gotten a worse rap than it deserves but still, 1/3 can't even hold a candle to 2%.
You're talking 98% of these folks are staying married and they are blissfully married. I mean, these are the people who get the external buzz. It's amazing how happy they are. I've known some of these and they have a love to be told through the ages. It's amazing.
[Angel Donovan]: I've got a couple [inaudible] there because, I'm just relating to my personal experience. The first girl I feel in love with, we were together for four years. She looked like Drew Barrymore who'd been...I feel in love with Drew Barrymore when I was watching E.T. when I was four years old or something.
So, she was the perfect girl for me. I met her when I was 17 and we feel in love, the classic first love however, our relationship got very stressed because, I went to university, she stayed in a relatively small town and I know that today, we were completely incompatible from that kind of perspective. I guess as we mature, we learn about the different dimensions of what makes relationships work in terms of I think roughly equal education and things like this tend to have a good fit.
From my world, I know it's not the same for everybody and then, I'm wondering if there's some kind of imprinting because, I still think back to that girl. Of course, she was my first love and as you say, we compare the intensity and things because, it happens to be one of the most intense experience of our lives because, it's the first time we're having sex and sexual relations. We're already got too much testosterone and other stuff buzzing around because of the age we are at.
So, it does have a huge imprint on your brain, emotional forts and stuff. Heavily laden emotions have a much bigger weight in your brain than more rather less emotional ones. So, I'm wondering if some of that's related to basically that imprinting going on. Not that they were the perfect person for you but, they heavily imprinted your brain and then, that somehow lasted the rest of your life and it helped with keeping the marriage together and everything because, you had that intense emotional experience which is probably very difficult to replicate later on in life.
[Duana Welch]: I agree with you mostly. So, Kalish herself has said something similar to what you just said. She said that in the past, most people married their first love and the intensity of that first connection allowed the relationship to continue throughout a person's life. Of course, a person's life span isn't as long as it is now. We're really asking an awful lot of a relationship to last happily for five or six decades but, the thing is 90% of people do not have a realistic chance of things working with their first love and here's why.
In her research, she found that most people didn't want to contact the first person that they fallen in love with for reasons...she said people would write in the margins of her questionnaires. They would write reasons that she never would have come up with like, "He pulled a gun on me."
[Angel Donovan]: Wow.
[Duana Welch]: Yeah I mean, she didn't have that on her nice upper-middle class questionnaire. She didn't have that. She wasn't thinking about domestic violence when she created that questionnaire. So, she said those people would say, "Hell no, why would I want to do that. He beat me up," or "No, she was horrible to me. She was mean-spirited. She crushed me like a bug. I confused that I loved her and she treated me terribly."
So for 90% of people they shouldn't reconnect with their first love and the reason is they feel in love with an inappropriate partner. The person who should reconnect with that first love is the following...There's a profile for the person who should reconnect.
First of all, you never stopped thinking about them. Let me tell you, most people did stop thinking about them because, the other person was really quite horrible to them and that's why they broke up. So, if you're still thinking about this person and it's still the case that everyone gets compared to them, usually unfavorably, then that's a special person.
Second of all, you've been separated for at least ten years. Kalish found that people who'd been separated for ten years or more were more likely to have this blissful reuniting and the reason for that quite possibly is that if they reconnected sooner, the part of the brain that helps you make good judgements is just not fully formed yet. That doesn't finish forming until you're 25, the prefrontal cortex.
In our agrarian past both in England and here and many other cultures, you could really safely fall in love with someone and marry you fell in love with because, you've been raised in this society where male roles and female roles were very established and you were not going to deviate from them and even if you weren't finished growing up quite yet, there was a map for your life. Now, we really have to rely on our judgement decision making because, we've got a lot of freedom.
The world is wide open for us. Men and women don't really figure out who they are often until their late 20s and sometimes later than that and so, we really need to be a bit older. So, that's a second criterion.
A third criterion is how important was this person to you? Are we talking, "Well, every now and then, I think about her," or are we talking, "I saved all our notes and love letters from the 5th grade," because the people who reconnect and it works out, they often had saved all their mementos from this relationship. It had been...they would tell themselves, "Oh, it was only puppy love. It was probably just friendship." Again, a lot of these relationships, they had never had sex but yet, it was supremely special.
Now, I also had a first love and I've actually never told this story before. You mind if I tell it?
[Angel Donovan]: Go, yeah.
[Duana Welch]: Yeah so, I had a first love. This is how I got interested in the research on first loves and I've written or spoken about this before. We followed Kalish's recommendations to a tee. We were separated by circumstances other than ones we'd chosen. In other words, we weren't a poor match in terms of personality, we weren't a poor in terms of values. If you're a poor match earlier in life on those things, you probably still are so don't contact that person but, we were really simpatico.
We were separated by circumstances out of our control, in this case, his parents moved him at the end of 8th grade. We'd never kissed. We'd never even held hands but, it was love, Baby and I knew it was the real thing. I knew. I thought, "When I'm 50, if somebody tries to tell me that was puppy love, I'm going to like throat punch them because, this was the real deal," and it really truly was.
Not knowing the research yet, I'd been divorced and so, when I got separated from my then husband and got the divorce, I thought, "I wonder what ever happened to So-and-so?" I mean, I had saved his letters. I thought about him all these years. He was the standard. Everyone got compared to him. We were down the line the text book case.
So, I thought, "I wonder what would happen if we got together, if I called So-and-so?" I saw that he was married and had several children and I didn't know the research so, I told myself what everyone tells themselves, it turns out. Boy, I'm so unoriginal Angel. It's just [inaudible]. I'm so unoriginal. Everyone tells themselves this. I now know because, I know the science now.
I told myself, "Well, you know, it's just going to be a chat. Nothing serious is going to happen here. We won't fall back in love. I mean, that was 8th grade. How lame is that?" Well, so I connected with him. I found his alumnus directory. I wrote him an email (this was before Facebook was a thing) and he immediately wrote back, gave me his phone number, asked for mine and wanted to talk. At was at this point he started to offer to come to my city. He was married. I did not want to be the other woman and I got to tell you, I have a lot of...
[Angel Donovan]: ...integrity? I don't want to put words in your mouth.
[Duana Welch]: Well, yeah I don't want to be judgmental of people who would do this but, what I'm going to say is, I have a lot of value that I place on children being raised by the parents who brought them into the world if possible. I realize that's not always possible. I'm divorced and now, my husband is raising a step-daughter. It doesn't always work out but, I will be darned if I'm going to be the reason that that doesn't work out for children, especially when it's several children.
So, I said no to meeting him at all but, I got to tell you, I still thought about him. It was really hard to give him up. One conversation and I was as in love with him as if I was 14 years old and I couldn't wait to see him down the hall and it would make my whole flipping day just to get a glimpse from him.
[Angel Donovan]: You were imprinted.
[Duana Welch]: I was very heavily. I got free of it though. Most people don't get free of it so, I was very lucky because, at that point, I encountered Kalish's research and I thought, "Oh, my gosh. I have got to back away or I'm going to ruin a bunch of people's lives potentially." So, I did back away but, then he got involved with his wife's best friend and those children all wound up being raised by other people anyway and I was so pissed that I never talked to him again because I thought, "But, I gave you up!" I felt a little hurt over that one. Anyway so yeah, the past can work out for your future but, make sure that they're single and make sure that they're really that special to you before you reach out.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, there's quite a few rules to that. So, it seems like basically, you select yourself according to those rules and then you get the 2% divorce rate.
[Duana Welch]: That's right.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah so, there's quite a few caveats basically.
[Duana Welch]: Yeah, if you were with someone in 8th grade and you fell in love with them but then, it turned out that they were really mean-spirited or for some reason their personality was a terrible match and you broke up with them over something that was core to who they are and who you are, then it's still a bad match. There's no point in going there but, Kalish said she thought the low divorce was that people self-selected themselves and they only reconnected with appropriate partners.
[Angel Donovan]: Exactly yeah, exactly so, it's self-selection going on.
[Duana Welch]: Yeah.
[Angel Donovan]: So, if you heard that and it fits you, then it's a good reason to reach out. So, I've got some quick-fire questions to round off here. What is the best way for people to connect with you and learn more about your work?
[Duana Welch]: So, you can find out more about me and my work at www.LoveFactually.co, not .com. I can vouch for where you're going to on the internet if you type in .com. www.LoveFactually.co or you can type in the name of the book or my name at Amazon where it will take you to my Amazon bio and the book there. It's available in three formats. So, you can get it in audio, e or paperback.
[Angel Donovan]: Are you on Twitter or anything like that?
[Duana Welch]: I'm on Twitter. I'm on Facebook. I also have my own site called www.LoveScienceMedia.com where I write a Dear Abby style column where I answer reader's questions based on a scientific perspective instead of one that's simply opinion.
[Angel Donovan]: Great and it's relationship focused stuff, long-term relationship?
[Duana Welch]: Yeah, it's all relationship focused, yes.
[Angel Donovan]: Is there anyone besides yourself you'd recommend for high-quality advice in this area, specifically relationships, people who respect their work or whatever? You mentioned David Buss earlier. Is there anyone else like that?
[Duana Welch]: There are several people who write outstanding books for the masses that are relationship science books. David Buss's books are good although, they don't have any advice in them, you can kind of logic your way through to, "Oh and so, my behavior that would make sense is 'x'."
Linda Waite has written some excellent books about long-term relationships. She doesn't give advice either. She just writes about her niche, long-term relationships.
Hellen Fisher, she's a biological anthropologist out of Rutgers. She does give advice although she gives advice only about her specific niche which is personalities and how they interact. She's got a really good book called Why Him, Why Her?
Amir Levine who doesn't do research but, reports on it very effectively in a self-help format in a book called Attached which is all about attachment style.
And so, these are some of the books that I'm thinking of and some of the authors I would point people to. Mine, as far as I know, is the only start to finish from before you meet until you make a commitment decision book that's science-based. The others delve very deeply into a niche like David Buss's Evolutionary Psychology in Human mating all the time and it's fantastic. I really hope every one of you will get a copy of The Evolution of Desire.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, thanks for those and we ask everyone the same question. What are your top three recommendations from guys starting from scratch and in this case, who want a serious relationship, what are the top three things they should focus on?
[Duana Welch]: Work on developing a secure attachment style and/or dating someone with a secure attachment style and being open to becoming more secure yourself would be recommendation number one. Recommendation number two would be pursue her ardently when you find her. Do not wait for her to meet you half way. She is very unlikely to do it and you could lose the love of your life by waiting for 50/50 early in the relationship. Later on, she's going give you more like 90/10 but, at the beginning, she needs to feel secure that you're pursing her.
The third recommendation is to have high standards and adhere to them rigorously. Do not settle. No one ever said, "Thank you for settling for me." So, find someone who rings your bell, who you love, who matches you and is very similar to you, who is your best friend and who is kind and respectful and when you get that, settle down with that person. You have found the one.
[Angel Donovan]: You actually raised a nice point there, if we settle...because, we're always telling guys not to settle and have standards and stuff but, if you settle, you actually mess up the other person's like too.
[Duana Welch]: Yes.
[Angel Donovan]: Because, you're going to be dissatisfied. You're not going to be engaged fully in that relationship and eventually, they're going to start feeling that. It's going to start causing all of the usual problems in the relationship and you're actually going to end up making them really unhappy as well.
[Duana Welch]: Yeah strangely enough, she's not going to say, "Thanks I'm stoked about being third, fourth or fifth choice. Yeah, set her free because, some other guy thinks she's it. Let her go.
[Angel Donovan]: Thank you so much for joining us today. It's been really interesting and yeah, it's been a great interview. Thank you so much for your time.
[Duana Welch]: Thanks so much Angel. I really appreciate it.
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