by Dr. Randy Gilchrist, LDS Psychologist
www.LDSdimension.com (FREE LDS online dating site)
Cynicism is defined as "an inclination to believe that people are motivated purely by self-interest self-interest; skepticism" (source: Google dictionary). After suffering months, years, even decades of relational failures, frustrations, and pain; after suffer letdowns, breakups, even divorces, it can be quite easy and natural to become cynical about the opposite sex and relationships in general. We see the opposite sex as phony, manipulative, even dangerous, so we avoid or sabotage our relationships and dating opportunities. We assume we'd only get hurt if we got involved. Oftentimes when we become cynical in this way, we are often in denial of our cynicism. "I'm not being cynical, I being realistic". That is a common quote of a person who has become cynical about relationships, perhaps people in general.
The unspoken goal of relational cynicism is self-protection. The idea kind of goes like this: "if I don't let anyone in emotionally, then I can't be hurt, rejected, or let down". True. However, when we put up relational walls, we also limit or even eliminate the ability and opportunity to experience relationship success. When we keep others at bay, we lose all chance of close connections. In other words, we can't connect and self-protect at the same time. And without relationships with the opposite sex, loneliness, resentment, even bitterness towards the opposite sex can result. Resentment, jealousy, and lowered self esteem can result as well when encountering happy couples together. Valentines Day can seem like "singles awareness day". In other words, the self-protection from relational cynicism also comes with a price.
Breaking Through Relational Cynicism:
So, if you find yourself being cynical about relationships and dating, here are two suggestions for improvement--
1) Learn about gender differences and relationships. Knowledge is power, and the more that you understand the opposite sex and what makes for healthy relationships, the more confidence you can have in your choice of and relationship with your dating partners. Also, your anger and frustration towards the opposite sex can be replaced by understanding. You can feel confident beginning a relationship with a person who demonstrates basic relational health, happiness, and positive potential, while at the same time filtering out and avoiding dating others that fall short of these standards. Here are a few excellent relationship authors that I highly recommend. You can go to Amazon, look up these authors, and choose whichever of their materials that sound interesting to you.
--Dr. John Gottman: respected as the world's top authority on marriage and marital research out of the University of Washington, Dr. Gottman can predict with a very high degree of accuracy which couples will stay married or get divorced based upon some key ways couples treat each other and interact. An excellent book introducing you to his basic ideas and suggestions are in his classic book Why Marriages Succeed or Fail.
--Dr. John Gray: author of the best selling relationship book and book series of all time, Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus. In this classic book, basic gender differences are introduced and solid suggestions are given for understanding the opposite sex, as well as how to treat and not treat your partner.
--Dr. Deborah Tannen: the world's top expert in gender differences and linguistics/communication styles. Read Dr. Tannen's books to better understand the different reasons men and women use words and communicate in general. The more that you read her works, the better you will understand the different languages we each are speaking. Two of her classic works include That's Not What I Meant! and You Just Don't Understand!
--Dale Carnegie: the author of the classic people skills, relationships, and communication book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Learn how attract, relate to, and connect with others through becoming much more magnetic and dynamic with your interpersonal relationships.
2) Be a Positive Relationships Sparkplug: armed with a greater understanding of this mysterious creature known as the opposite sex, practice looking for the best in the opposite sex. Focus on what you like about them and find interesting and attractive. Look to happy couples as positive role models that encourage you to someday have the same. Give compliments freely, and minimize complaints and criticisms towards both genders. Find some positive opposite sex role models in church and the media that seem loving, healthy, and happy. Emulate their ways. Initiate positive conversations and don't wait for others to approach/initiate with you. Invite both genders over for little parties and get togethers. Learn to be more extroverted. Give positive energy to receive it from others. In short, commit to finding and creating positive relationships. Make friends, and initiate even more with those with good relationship potential. In short, apply the principles you'll read about and put them into practice with everyone you meet.
There is no place for you being relationally negative and cynical. No amount of being negative ever made anything positive happen. Be positive and optimistic. Work at it. Your attitude matters. Beware: if you look for the best or worst in others, and you will find what you are looking for. "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). You can have the relationship you desire, and that desire is correct. Because "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).
|2017-07-21||Randy Gilchrist||Healthy relationships|
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to email@example.com. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to firstname.lastname@example.org).