Psychological Self-Help

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he/she carefully avoids. Each of us might be better off if we controlled
certain emotions, usually our dominant feeling, and expressed other
emotions more, usually feelings we avoid. 
Which lovers get along best? The provider-disarmer combination
may have the best chance of surviving in a marriage but that is the
traditional marriage. More progressive families are often pleaser-
tough-fragile combinations. To last, this type of couple has to learn
how to handle the underlying emotions, e.g. realize "someday the
pleaser expects to cash in on all the points he has earned" and "the
tough-fragile isn't as mad as she is insecure." Goldstine, et al., believe
a successful marriage is the result of awareness and hard work, not
chemistry. 
A simpler classification system is: (1) Secure lover--comfortable,
trusting, doesn't worry about being hurt, (2) Anxious lover--wants
closeness but others seem to hold back, "I'm afraid I'll care more for
them than they care for me," (3) Avoidant lover--"I don't need a lot of
closeness," "I'm independent and don't want to depend on others or
have them depending on me." Which one best describes you? It is
thought that your style of loving depends on your very early
relationships with your opposite sexed parent. A warm, attentive
parent produces a secure lover; an aloof, rejecting parent leads to
avoidance; an ambivalent (hot and cold) parent makes us anxious.
Almost 50% of us are secure and we make the best mates. Avoidant
lovers select anxious lovers, and, actually, an avoidant man and an
anxious women often have a stable relationship. One value of this
classification is that it reminds you that relationship problems have a
history. Another value is that some of these traits of lovers are related
to marital satisfaction 2 or 3 years later. Examples: disengaged (quiet)
persons have rocky marriages but lovers who are expressively
outspoken about conflicts while dating have the more satisfying
marriages. 
Types of love; dimensions of love 
There are many answers to the question, "What is love?" In the
Bible, Paul speaks of a love of God and all humanity. Sometimes love
is seen as selfless giving, sometimes as selfish clinging and self-
centeredness. Some love is conditional, as in Fromm's (1974) "father's
love" where it is said, "I'll love you if you don't talk back...stay a
virgin...accept my values." Other love is unconditional (Fromm's
"mother's love") where "I will love you regardless of what you do
because you are my son... daughter... father... brother... friend." 
Loving ourselves is sometimes seen as an impossible barrier to
loving others, others see it as a necessary step towards being able to
love others, as in the popular saying, "You have to love yourself before
you can love others." Clearly both excessive self-love and self-scorn
can kill romance. General self-tolerance probably facilitates the
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