Welcome to the online relationship advice for the troubled souls page of my website.
I'm assuming, you are here because your relationship isn't working.
Before we go any further, let me tell you that not only your relationship isn't working. There is no single long-time relationship that isn't working from time to time. Even a relatively new relationship can run into an unexpected crisis.
If you don't want to experience relationship problems, stay out of relationships or engage with others only up to the point at which some problem arises and then run away and repeat the processes.
It may seem like a crazy approach to relationships, but I have met people in my practice who were pursuing this kind of lifestyle with full premeditation.
To all those who seek relationship advice, I recommend typing into the Google search window: "Divorce ratio in the US". The answer that comes up is this: "About 50 percent of marriages in the United States end up in divorce. The divorce rate for consecutive marriages is even higher."
So, what are the actual, non-delusional chances for: "And they lived happily ever after" - for you and your online partner?
Well, at best 50/50 - right?
Betting on colors in the game of roulette gives you an almost 50% chance of winning - the same chance of winning applies to long-term relationships.
You may say: "But if I think that my relationship has a high chance of failure, I may bring that failure upon myself through the law of attraction".
If this is what you are thinking, consider the following piece of my online relationship advice:
If you are 50% positive and 50% negative - meaning that you are equally hopeful as you are cautious - at least theoretically, these two mental positions would cancel each other, and allow you to become beautifully neutral and able to accept whatever comes your way.
Please, do not consider my online relationship advice to be uniquely cautious or perhaps even negative.
I am simply speaking in your best interest.
Historically speaking, online relationships and online relationship advice are a new thing.
But the nature of the best kind of relationship advising has not changed for thousands of years.
What kind of online relationship advice would you receive today from St. Paul, who 2000 years ago have spoken the following words in his first letter to Corinthians?
"Those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this … So then, he who marries does right, but he who does not marry does better."
I have no doubt that if St. Paul was alive today and was asked about his relationship advice, his words would be more or less the same.
My most important, general piece of online relationship advice is this: By all means, go for it, learn from it, and grow through it but expect nothing. Having no expectations will protect you from regrets and disappointments.
By all means, go for it, but don't lose your head about it.
When people communicate, more than 90% of the actual true communications is nonverbal and is conveyed via body language.
You may also want to see the - posted below - amazing body-language video featuring Mark Zuckerberg.
I'm including these two sources of information about body language on the online relationship advice page my website, obviously, not to distract you from its content, but to increase your awareness of the main challenge facing online relationships.
A video revealing what can be learned from body language.
When you interact with people, you read their body-language subconsciously all the time and it allows you to know - depending on how good is your reading - who the person you interact with really is.
When you interact with someone online, you have much less visual access to their body language, and the quality of the electronic transmission may obscure the otherwise quite revealing subtle details of facial expressions.
But even though, people tell you most about themselves via their body language, what they tell you verbally, can sometimes be enough to discern the outcome of your online relationship.
So please, pay attention to what your partner says!!!
Pay attention to what your online partner says because the nature of - even the best technical quality - online communications is such that it limits what you can see and potentially obscures the facial expression clues.
What follows is a couple of short stories from my own life. They are meant to show the importance of paying attention to what your online partner says:
I had spent four years with my first girlfriend and used to think that it was going to be my first and last relationship.
We talked a lot but I could hear only what I wanted to hear.
Right from the very beginning, she was telling me stories that suggested her fixation on the extraordinary size of the penis. Were her stories telling me that sooner or later, she was going to pursue her magnum-size dream? In fact, they were, but I had failed to listen.
She also once told me, when I asked her if she was satisfied with our erotic life, that "for now, it was OK". The "for now" part of her answer was an obvious forerunner of what was going to come. She dumped me after four years of being in a seemingly great relationship.
Not too long ago, after 40 years of separation, she found me through the Internet, 6,000 miles away from her home, and told me that she thought we were truly meant for each other.
This time it was me who dumped her. Her grandma-like-looking pictures had "frightened" me, and her religious fundamentalism was totally turning me off. After a brief email exchange, I terminated our connection. I just wasn't interested.
With my second girlfriend, I had also spent four years and she had also dumped me.
I remember clearly her telling me more than once: "I can't see myself by your side". Obviously, she couldn't envision our future together. She was extremely work-work-work-oriented and I've always been a leisure-oriented guy.
She was telling me long before she dumped me that she was going to leave, but again, I had failed to listen. After about 20 years of separation, just like the first one, she contacted me via the Internet and asked me to go with her to Nepal for vacation. I politely declined.
I have told you these stories to make you aware of the importance of really listening to what your partner says.
It is important that you listen to what your partner says, but it is also important that you listen to what your partner is not telling you.
And how would you do this? Simply, by paying attention, because attention is the name of the relationship game.
Pay attention! - This is the most important, specific piece of online relationship advice that I could ever give you.
Just as you need to pay attention to your body, in order to appropriately respond to the messages which it constantly sends you - if you want to stay healthy - you need to pay attention to the flow of messages which your eyes and your ears receive from your online partner, if you want to protect yourself from deceptive illusions of your own making.
When people interact with you, either online or off-line, they unconsciously tell you all of their secrets. All you need to do in order to "paint" a correct psychological portrait of your online partner is to pay attention.
Pay attention to what you see and what you hear. Constructing a correct psychological portrait of your online partner can potentially save you a lot of aggravation.
What can help you tremendously in the process of constructing the correct psychological portrait of your online partner is keeping a certain degree of emotional detachment during your online interactions.
I'm not telling you to be emotionally cold. I'm just saying that you have to make sure that at least, some part, of your psychic energy will be left for paying attention.
Allowing your psychic energy to be totally consumed by emotions is the prescription for disaster in the realm of relationships, just as it is in the realm of trading the financial markets.
The realm of stock trading and the realm of relationships have a common denominator. Its name is risk and return on investment. Whenever you engage in any relationship, you are risking being hurt or disappointed. You are also risking losing the precious time of your life which could have been invested in a more profitable way.
My online relationship advice aims at protecting you - as much as it is possible - from the potential loss of time and the psychological pain of romantic disappointment.
Before I finish this section, I would like to offer you one more piece of my online relationship advice: You may be able to help yourself greatly - in terms of constructing the correct psychological portrait of your online partner - by recording your online sessions.
I assure you that playing back a recording of your online communications will make you see a lot of previously missed aspects of your partner's behavior.
I had always benefited from recording my counseling and my hypnosis sessions whenever I felt that my understanding of a client's problem needed more clarification.
Recording your conversations and listening to them again may help you greatly, especially, if you lack self-confidence, have low self-esteem, and are totally focused on making a good impression.
Whenever you are engaged online with your partner and are excessively self-conscious, you are using almost all of your attention on censoring your communications, striving to present yourself in the best possible light.
If you happen to be excessively self-conscious during your online interactions with your partner, recording your interactions and listening to them later is going to enable you to see, hear and judge correctly your partner's behavior without being blocked by your interactional insecurities.
Some people are so utterly self-conscious and terrified of being perceived as inferior that when they speak to others they cannot hear the other person at all. All they can hear is themselves talking, being totally consumed by constant scanning of their own communications, just to make sure that they come across as intelligent and entertaining.
If you are one of these persons, my online relationship advice is that you seek professional counseling help in order to overcome the disabling you lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem.
Self-confidence is one of the most precious states of mind. Lack of self-confidence can totally disable you in all departments of your existence. Having self-confidence - on the other hand - assures your high chance of succeeding in whatever you are undertaking.
I have always loved helping others overcome their lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem issues. I enjoy self-confidence-oriented counseling, simply because, I've always had a great success rate in this area of psychological intervention.
To be, or not to be yourself - while interacting online with your partner - seems like an easy question to answer.
I have seen online relationship advice sources emphatically stating that the three most important rules of a successful online relationship are:
1. Be yourself
2. Be yourself
3. Be yourself
These sources advise you to be yourself because trying to hide your actual thoughts and emotions is not sustainable in the long run. It consumes a lot of psychic energy, wears you out and ultimately destroys your ability to communicate.
Well, it is hard to deny the validity of these statements. But on the other hand, if you allow yourself to voice out all of your thoughts end emotions, your "being yourself" is going to kill your online relationship very fast.
Being totally uninhibited - in terms of voicing out all of your thoughts end emotions - would kill your online relationship rather fast, because some of them are negative and a small portion of them may even be evil. Your online partner would have to be a highly developed human being in order to handle such brutal honesty, and I am assuming that he doesn't operate at the level of the so-called Christ-self.
Most likely you are not at that level either - if you were, you would not be seeking online relationship advice. Assuming that you are like most of the members of the human family, relating to anyone - whether online or off-line - forces you to face a serious dilemma: How can I be myself and at the same time hide the dark side of my personality?
I guarantee you that those who dish out the online relationship advice telling others to be themselves are throwing a smokescreen over the dark side o their personalities - just like everybody else does.
Most people - in one way or another - are forced to deal with this dilemma because every personality has its dark side. However, they don't usually trouble themselves with such considerations.
I am diving into this subject here, only because, there are many sources of online relationship advice, which tell the advice-seekers just to be themselves, and I want to make you aware of the potentially disastrous consequences of following such misguided teachings.
Before I will tell you what is the best way of dealing with the dark side of your personality, and the seemingly necessary hiding of its negative aspects, let me say a few words about the nature of all kinds of human relationships.
The most basic reality which underlies all kinds of relationships is that in a relationship, one personality interacts with another.
And what is personality?
The word "personality" comes from the Latin word "persona" which means a theatrical mask.
The truth is that all people - with the exception of the highly developed ones - interact with others wearing the masks of personality.
You may "safely" assume that when you communicate with your online partner, both of you are wearing personality masks.
Your online prince or princess is wearing a mask. And you, my dear, are wearing a mask too. Both of you are wearing masks and you're doing it not because you want to deceive your partner. You are doing it because the most common human tendency is the tendency towards self-protection.
What people are most afraid of is the judgment of others. And because of the fear of judgment, most people are not going to show you who they really are. What they are going to show you is what they think will impress you and make them appear likable and smart.
Because of this common tendency of human beings to present themselves in the best possible light - you can safely assume that when people talk to you they may not be necessarily lying, but for sure, they are hiding all kinds of dark secrets about themselves.
As I have promised it above, I'm going to tell you now, how to handle the "be yourself" dilemma.
The title of the famous book by Erich Fromm - The Heart of Man: Its Genius for Good and Evil - reflects beautifully the dual reality of our human selves.
All of us have the potential for good and evil and even the saints are not free from negative, and sometimes even evil thoughts and emotions.
The optimal handling of the "be yourself" dilemma depends on who you are dealing with. It all depends on which level of consciousness your partner operates, and what is his life experience.
One of the most important pieces of online relationship advice that anyone could give you is this: Move on in a gradual fashion. As I have advised you above, pay attention to your partner’s behavior. Find out who your partner is and gradually disclose whatever you think you can safely disclose about yourself at a given time.
However, regardless of how far you will be willing to go - in terms of disclosing the negative aspects of your personality - make sure that you keep the deepest secrets to yourself.
Most people think that they have two lives: Public life and private life. Not too many realize that we actually have three lives. The public life, private life, and secret life.
I am convinced that we absolutely must have a secret life and that we need it in order to be securely anchored in the realm of our psyche.
One often overlooked - and yet critical - piece of any good online relationship advice is this: You have to keep your deepest secrets to yourself, or else, you will lose your chance for happiness.
When you keep your secret mental life to yourself, you are not being dishonest with your partner. You are not lying. You are just keeping to yourself what is best kept to yourself.
Even if you wanted to strip yourself, totally naked, from all of your mental-life-secrets in front of your partner, very soon, new forms of negativity would arise within you, and you would have to keep on stripping yourself again and again - not having much time for anything else.
It is easy to deal with relationships in which we are not invested emotionally in any way. There is nothing at stake there.
You could never have any problem with the stocks into which you have not invested any money. You couldn't care less about what's going to happen with them.
Our problems exist only because we are invested in certain realities of our existence. We must be invested - either consciously or subconsciously - into something in order to experience a problem.
In other words, a problem can arise only when you care about something - when you possess something or imagine that you possess it and are afraid of losing it.
Fear of loss is the common denominator of all problems.
I have written above that every relationship that you care about carries in itself the risk associated with being potentially hurt or disappointed.
I have also written about the consequences of lacking self-confidence.
Isn't it that risk and lack of confidence are always related in some way to fear?
When you think about it, you will realize that ultimately, all human problems arise only from fear.
And speaking more precisely, we could say that all problems arise from the fear of loss. Consequently, I could say that your online relationship problems - by necessity - can arise only from your fear of losing something and that all kinds of online relationship advice must, in one way or another, address the issue of the fear of loss.
And what is it that you may be afraid of losing?
If you are to understand what your online relationship problems are really about you have to understand your fears.
What is the real face of your fear?
Trying to deal with a problem, trying to understand a problem and trying to resolve it, without first becoming aware of the fear from which that problem arises is like trying to cure a disease, without looking at the patient and establishing a clear diagnosis.
So again, the question is: What are you afraid of losing? Is there really something that you could lose - or is your fear of loss delusional because you are not in possession of anything of the actual value?
Are you afraid of the pain of losing someone whom you love and who loves you too? Can you see that if your online relationship was real love, it could never be lost or damaged?
Are you afraid of losing your self-esteem if your online partner dumps you? Can you see that real self-esteem could never be lost, regardless of your life circumstances?
Are you afraid of losing your investment of time and energy on being engaged in a relationship with someone who may be potentially lying to you? If you mistrust your partner, your fear of being cheated can never be solved via counseling. The only way to make sure that your partner is honest is to hire a private investigator.
Are you afraid of losing your investment of time and energy on being engaged in an online relationship because of holding a belief that online relationships have a very low chance of working? If that's the case, you need to do some work on becoming comfortable with risk-taking.
Are you afraid that your online relationship - because it happens only online - does not give you a chance to find out how really compatible are you and your partner? Well, fear of losing your investment of time and energy - in case of incompatibility is valid. However, there is no way to find out how compatible you are without physical contact and living together for some time, facing the challenges of everyday life.
My online relationship advice to all those who have been interacting only online is this: Make sure that you meet your partner off-line and spend some time living together. In this way, you will significantly lower your chances of disappointment.
Are you afraid of losing your partner because you've committed the sin of pretending to be not who you really are? If you have been lying to your online partner, my online relationship advice to you is that you make a thorough confession. Sooner or later, your partner is going to find out that you have been lying and your relationship will most likely fall apart.
What else could you be afraid of losing? Can you see that being free from the fear of loss is the only thing that enables a fearless person to move on freely in life and creatively embrace whatever happens?
Of course, some of your fears and concerns - as the above-presented list of possible fears shows - are valid, just as the fear of falling while climbing a mountain - by using only your feet and your hands, without any hooks and ropes - would be valid.
The purpose of my online relationship advice is obviously not to claim that any fear of loss requires counseling.
There are fears which serve the purpose of our self-preservation.
What requires expert online counseling and hypnotherapy are the irrational fears - the fears which could be taken out of your system without jeopardizing your safety.
Your online relationship problems - if you could only use them creatively - will first enable you to take a good, honest look at yourself, and then help you to advance towards ever-higher levels of psychological and spiritual maturity.
Do you realize that if you are irrationally afraid of loss in the realm of relating to another person, you are afraid of being hit into your pathological structures?
And isn't it true that if your fears arise from your pathological structures - whatever could effectively collapse these structures would be highly medicinal for you?
My online relationship advice is that you use your online relationship problems creatively and through the creative approach to your problems, subject yourself to the process of growth, healing, and self-discovery.
Every relationship, sooner or later, is going to run into problems. But having your online relationship problems is not a problem. The only problem is not dealing with them appropriately.
You have to realize that having these problems shows you the way towards your liberation. Without them, you would remain forever blind, immature, and would never progress along the path of the evolution of your consciousness.
If you are experiencing online relationship problems it means that you are in school, learning about life and growing up to become a fully mature person.
My online relationship advice to you is that you treat your online relationship problems not as something final, but only as your temporary training ground - an exercise that is going to help you to become a more mature person.
The very fact that you are experiencing your online relationship problems is showing you that you are still in your own, very private school of life - that you have not yet arrived, at the state of freedom, which comes from the attainment of the spiritual and psychological maturity.
Obviously, using expert online counseling assistance could help you greatly to navigate creatively the frequently stormy waters, into which all meaningful relationships force us sooner or later.
The subject of self sabotage from which many people do suffer, and which is responsible for the break-up of many relationships is obviously relevant to the subject of the page about online relationship advice.
I believe that self sabotage which breaks so many relationships deserves its own separate page. In case, you suspect that you may be prone to self sabotage, and would like to learn about how self sabotage wrecks relationships, you may want to visit this page:
Pay attention to your partner's verbal and non-verbal behavior.
Nothing is perfect so don't strive for perfection. It is OK to make mistakes.
Don't be too quick to judge and to blame. Perhaps, there is a reason for what you think was not supposed to happen.
Arguing may be good for you as long as it is constructive.
Dare to see what is obviously obvious.
Call a spade a spade. Don't try to label / justify your partner's negative - red flag rising behaviors - as something different from what they obviously are. A bus is not a limo full of friends. A bus is just a bus - a frequently over-crowded vehicle of mass transportation, in which you can suffocate by inhaling the bad air exhaled by others and sometimes even an occasional fart too.
Keep on asking yourself: Why would I like to be / not like to be, with my online partner. You should actually make a list of the pros and cons and constantly update it.
In case of abuse - run, run, run as fast as you can!