Revisiting the LBF (Let’s Be Friends)

jerry-seinfeld-and-elaineDear Christie:

I loved your book Back in the Game as well as your posted articles.

I’m 48, divorced for several years and recently got the ‘just friends’ nonsense. I took it well and in fact even went on several non-dates with this wonderful woman who is interesting, beautiful and great company. Why not? She said she’s moving soon and cannot date for that reason. This could be why, but in my opinion women usually resort to the friend zone because they’re just not feeling it. Which is totally acceptable. If men would understand this tactic there wouldn’t be a problem. Some future non-dates could occur and the relationship would trail off. Then if you happen to run into each other  it’s not awkward. So men should shape up.

But… women should not offer friendship if they don’t actually want it. Real friendship is a great thing and we tend to abuse this word. Would it be so bad for a woman to say “Let’s go Dutch somewhere because I enjoy your company but I’m not interested in dating…,” or “I’m not interested in dating but it was nice to have met you.” We men are dense but we’re not that dense. Admittedly men are probably mostly to blame for this phenomenon because we don’t take the time to process the communication coming from women. We hear body language, verbal tone, actions and other queues, it just takes us a few days. Sometimes we’re really dumb. But can you blame us? You women are so beautiful and mesmerizing that our frontal lobes shut down like we’re in battle. Don’t encourage us to be any more moronic than we already are by offering something as indefinable as just-friendship. read more…

Dating: When is it Time to Give Up?

crossroadsIf you’re anything like me, you’ve had a dream or goal, worked steadily toward it, imagined how it would be when you achieved it… and then had things not work out the way you hoped they would. Perhaps you experienced numerous setbacks or failures… or perhaps you achieved some success but then found it didn’t feel like you thought it would. This can happen in your career or financial life… and it can happen in dating as well. It’s happened in every area of my life, multiple times.

No one wants to go to college (or grad school) for all those years just to wind up disliking the field they work in, just as no one hopes to fall in love, get married, and raise a family just to wind up in a difficult marriage that isn’t working. Likewise, no one embarks on the adventure of dating with the expectation of facing rejection and/or relationships that blow up. It’s at that point we may say, “This isn’t what I signed up for.” And once you realize things aren’t going well, you have a decision to make: change the situation, or leave the situation.

read more…

Women, Men, and Street Harassment: The 10-Hour Experiment

Well, it seems these days I write quite a bit on controversial topics: the Ray Rice situation, the Santa Barbara shootings… I used to avoid such topics, knowing that they inflame people and generate a lot of rather disgusting comments that make the rest of us doubt the decency of humanity. But now I feel differently. Someone has to be the voice of reason with controversial issues, and that’s something I’m good at.

What’s the Controversy Du Jour? The video of a woman walking the streets of Manhattan for 10 hours while a hidden webcam records everything she experiences, including a lot of comments and attention from men. The video has gone viral, everyone is talking about it, and it’s generated a considerable amount of controversy and the usual slew of ugly commentary.

Watch it, if you haven’t already. It’s just under 2 minutes.

“10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman”

So this video has generated a variety of responses, from people (male and female) finding the behavior of these men harassing, disgusting, and dangerous, to people (male and female, but mostly male) calling the woman rude, unfair, or much worse. The video gets at an extremely important question that I see asked again and again in many different ways: when it comes to male-female interactions, what is acceptable and what is not? read more…

Online Dating: Do You Judge People By Their Email?

imagesYou know the drill when dating online: first you browse profiles, then you email. Email is the first real contact you have with other humans online, which makes it completely different than conventional dating. This can be an asset… or a liability.

When you begin dating, your Judging Mind is fully operational: you’re looking at their appearance for signs of attraction (and lack of), you’re listening closely to what they say to check for signs of compatibility (or lack of), and you’re watching their behavior for any red flags. And while some people over-engage this Judging Mind, to some extent it’s a natural human tendency when evaluating whether a person is even trustworthy, much less date-worthy. Some level of judgment is a necessity in life.

And, when dating online, the email offers a new opportunity to make judgment calls. When a man’s email has sexual innuendo in it and you haven’t even met him yet, you know he’s not trustworthy (or only wants sex). If a woman doesn’t want to meet you in person and instead wants an email marathon that goes on indefinitely, you know she isn’t serious about dating. Here, judgment is a way to screen out people who waste your time and impede your goals. And that’s good. read more…

Does Meeting Online Increase the Probability of Divorce?

onlinedatingSo I’ve seen an article floating around Facebook and the internet the last couple of days. It’s entitled:


“Online Dating Leads to More Breakups than Meeting in Real Life”

An academic conducted a study using a large, nationally representative sample of couples that were followed for a couple of years. They assesses the participants initially, then followed them up after 1 year and again at 2 years. And one of the factors they looked for is whether the couples were still together. In a nutshell, the study found that couples who’d met online were more likely to split up, or if married, get divorced.

You can understand why such a headline would make national news. The phenomenon of online dating is a social and economic force in our culture, and people are still wanting to know if it works. Is online dating a viable way to meet a partner or spouse, or not? read more…

Ray Rice and the Misunderstanding of Abusive Relationships

16rayrice-master675If you watch the news, and certainly if you follow American football, you’ve probably heard about Ray Rice, the (former) Baltimore Raven who hit his wife hard enough to render her unconscious. The entire thing was caught on video, and it brought up a lot of issues in the media regarding domestic violence, NFL players getting away with illegal behaviors, etc. I watched the video many times. It ain’t pretty.

We could go on and on about Rice, the NFL, and the rest, but I want to address an issue that came up, and one that comes up over and over again whenever domestic violence (DV) makes the news:

Why does she stay?

It seems Rice’s wife was only his fiancee when this videotaped incident happened, and she still married him. Many people brought this up, and the subtext is always that no matter what he does or did, she chooses to be with him and thus is culpable. I’ve heard some version of this time and time again with abuse and DV: he hits her… but she chooses to stay. Or, in some cases, she hits him, but he chooses to stay. And it’s at that point that people stop caring. read more…

Christie Hartman, PhD


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