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Country Singles October newsletter  Harlan. Jacobsen
 Oct 01, 2010 17:23 PDT 

Copyright 2010

I N   T H I S   I S S U E:

** Fear of Meeting and Mingling
** Living Together Still Hurts Marriage
** Productive Dating Series: Dating the family

** National Singles News Briefs, including
    -- Time to buy a home?
    -- Meeting people -- and healthy too
    -- Marriages at an all-time low


Fear of Meeting and Mingling
Out of practice, shy.... or phobic?

Approximately 15 million Americans experience social anxiety, the
National Institute of Mental Health reports. Fear of interaction with
strangers can result from simply being out of practice (you were married
for HOW long?), from some natural shyness, or as the result of social
phobias -- psychological fears that keep you from interacting with

"Vitality" magazine reports that signs of social phobia include
avoiding social situations, experiencing days or weeks of fear prior to
a social event, anticipating humiliation about what you will say or do,
and/or extreme anxiety in everyday social interaction.

Social anxiety can include physical symptoms such as excessive
sweating, rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, shaky voice, and muscle
tension or shaking. We all experience these a bit in new social
situations; they become problematic when they stop us from interacting
at all.

If the issue is simply lack of recent experience, then start small and
in safe situations, such as with a friend going along.

For more severe phobias, a variety of treatments are available.
Cognitive therapy includes learning relaxation techniques to lessen the
physical stress. Working with a counselor can help you challenge
irrational fears and negative thoughts.

While medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medicine can
be helpful, generally they need to be taken accompanied by therapy;
otherwise symptoms can return when the medication is stopped.

Group therapy and social skills training can also be helpful. If you
are concerned that social anxiety is keeping you from meeting people and
developing healthy relationships, consult a counselor or your physician.

Yes, this is a FREE newsletter, but remember the “dues”: helping us
spread the word. Please forward this free online publication to singles
you know! Invite them to sign up. Sharing is good.

Living Together Still Hurts Marriage
Cohabiting less likely to affect engaged couples

The "Chicago Tribune" says that recent studies suggest that it's still
true that living together before marriage increases your chances of

Studies suggest that 75% of cohabitating couples intend to marry.
According to National Center for Health Statistics' data, only 53% of
men who cohabited before getting engaged had their relationship last ten
years, compared to 71% of those who cohabited after their engagement and
69% of those who didn't live together before marriage.

Some theorists suggest that "inertia" is a factor for couples who live
together before being engaged; their lives may become so intertwined
that it's simply easier to get married than it is to break up.

Says one researcher, "It's not that (living together) made your
relationship crappier, it's that it made it difficult to get out of a
crappy relationship."

Thinking of "moving in together"? The article offers these pointers:

1. How well do you know your partner? Don't move in when you're "head
over heels in love." Let the relationship stand the test of time.

2. Are you agreed about why you're moving in together? If one is
saving on rent and the other is planning a wedding, trouble will follow.

3. Do you agree on where the relationship is going?

4. Have you discussed big issues such as the future, children, and
commitment? If you haven't/can't talk about it, you're moving in too

5. Have you sorted out the unromantic details? Who cleans, who cooks,
who pays for what? Better to confront the daily details before you're
stuck under one roof.


Time to buy a home?
If you are single, "securely employed, and settled," then now may be
the time for you to buy a house, according to a recent Universal
Syndicate article. Thanks to the current economy, in many communities
condominiums and houses can be purchased for not much more than the cost
of renting. Among the pointers: 1. Choose a place within your
financial comfort zone. 2. Find a home that a roommate could share.
(A three-bedroom is ideal, if you can manage it.) 3. Get an
energy-efficient home. (You'll save on energy costs in the long run.)
4. Think of your social life. Don't buy in a location so far away that
it will make it difficult to see your friends.

Meeting people -- and healthy too.
Fall is a good time to join community sports and teams. Sign up for a
team sport with your local parks and recreation or community college.
Pick a sport you enjoy, so you'll have fun while increasing your level
of exercise. Plus, you'll be less likely to skip out if you're part of
a team. Start slowly to avoid injury. You may find that being on the
team motivates you to do more to get in shape outside the game.

Holding a grudge hurts you.
In the book "Ms. Typed," author Michelle Callahan says holding on to a
grudge keeps you upset and stressed. To forgive, forget and move on,
write down every detail about the situation that upsets you. Then have
a ceremony to dispose of the problem: Burn it, shred it, tear it up or
whatever else will let you symbolically banish it from your life.

Marriages at an all-time low.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2009 the ratio of marrieds fell
to an all-time low of just 52% of adults age 18 and older, compared with
57% in 2000. Many Midwestern and Southwestern cities saw a sharp
increase in the ratio of young adults (25 to 34) who are single.

"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely
miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite
certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." Agatha Christie.


HELP FOR THE NEWLY SINGLE! Our singles' Internet information is
maintained solely to help newly divorced and widowed people. Newly
singled people find out about it and get help only if readers like YOU
tell them about the sites and newsletters. Next time you attend a
support group, class, seminar, singles event etc. please do both us and
them a favor by recommending and telling them about these sites,
newsletters, and courses. Remember, these services are all totally FREE.


Productive dating:
Date ideas that help you get acquainted    Part 6

Dating the Family

by Janet L. Jacobsen

Previously we talked about the benefits of inviting your Person of
Interest (POI) -- someone you've started dating and have a real interest
in -- to go along on activities where several of your friends will be.
Could be a volleyball game, bike ride, book club, singles group picnic
-- any place that the person and friends of yours can hang out together
casually without a lot of social pressure.

You can use this same dating strategy to gradually introduce them to
your family.

Dating your family? Well, sure, if you think about this creatively.

Natural Settings

The idea is to be able to introduce people in natural settings where
the meeting isn't the focus of the event, but simply the result of being
at the same place together.

For example, if you have a family picnic and invite the POI, everyone
will be focused on the POI, making them -- and maybe your family too --

However, when you invite your POI to a church picnic where there are
lots of other people and many things going on and a few of those people
happen to be your family and you have a chance to introduce your POI --
that's much less stressful for everyone.

Fall festivals and fairs are a great opportunity. A sibling or two
going to the carnival at State Fair? Make a plan to meet for corn dogs,
but Fair-wandering is done separately. Mom and sister strolling the
aisles at the arts and crafts show? Attend at a time that overlaps

Just like "coffee dates" are good first dates because there's little
time and cost pressure, coffee dates can work for family (or friends) to
meet the POI. It's least stressful when you're with one other person --
the three of you meet at Starbucks. But multiples are ok -- you're
already out with some family members -- shopping, visiting a Museum,
whatever -- and you invite the POI to join you at the food court for

Time Will Tell

The key is that there is an opportunity to meet, chat, maybe spend a
little time, but not have any obligation to spend a LOT of time.

If you continue to date, eventually being invited along to a family
event will be less a "big deal" because some or all of the parties have
met before.

Of course, these strategies work for you to meet THEIR family as well.
Just don't overlap the families until you're reasonably sure this is
more than casual dating.

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