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Laura J. Lieff

Specializing in Expert Service

My Blog

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Who is a Right One?

Posted on January 31, 2019 at 4:53 PM Comments comments (253)
I believe that there is more than one "right one" for all of us. The older we get, the more we hear, "All the good ones are taken" and other like comments. If we had only one soul mate and that soul mate were dead, we'd be seriously out of luck!

I'm not saying that it's easy to meet a right one. You have to put yourself out there, join groups and/or clubs, take courses, take up a sport or new hobby, go to cultural events that interest you, work for your political party, try online dating, etc.

Most people have trouble meeting a right one for one or more of the following reasons: they're very discriminating and/or won't settle, they have unrealistic expectations, they are workaholics and put no time or effort into meeting new people, they're very unappealing physically or mentally, they have no social graces, they're pathologically shy or obnoxious, they're mentally or physically ill, they're loners, they have poor self-esteem, their  personal hygiene leaves a lot to be desired, they're very pessimistic and it shows, and they don't really want to or are ambivalent about meeting a right one.

Who is a right one? There are a multitude of answers to this question as we're not all searching for the same kind of person. Some of us want the most beautiful or handsome person in a room of 1,000 people, others want the wealthiest, others want the most brilliant, others want the funniest, etc. I believe that if you're interested in having a good, happy marriage or long-term relationship, you should focus on someone who has a good character. That person is more likely than any of the others to be a right one.

Looks fade; people can lose their wealth through bad investments, multiple divorces or a really bad one; a person with a brilliant mind and/or a person who is very funny can lose it through mental or physical illness. The only constant is integrity. A person with a good character, a.k.a. integrity, very rarely changes. He or she is the one who will be by his partner's side no matter what is going on - through sadness, illness, successes, and celebrations. He or she will communicate with his or her partner so that the partner doesn't feel as if he or she is living with a stranger or isn't trusted. He or she won't embarrass his or her partner by treating others badly or by being immoral or unethical. He or she will have his or her partner's back and will respect and admire his or her partner.

I recently read that 70% of married women and 72% of married men are unfaithful to their spouse. I found these statistics to be both surprising and depressing. Unless a couple is very short of funds, there is no reason why they can't seek help from a professional marriage or relationship counselor.
Just because a lot of people are unfaithful, it doesn't, necessarily, follow that your spouse or significant other, or the person whom you're destined to meet are or will be. After all, 30% of women and 28% of men are faithful to their spouse.

If you want to meet a right one, it might take some time and a boatload of patience (and endurance), but there are still some good guys and gals out there. Make sure to pay attention to your gut/instincts/intuition while in the dating market. Once you've been out there for a while, you're usually able to discern who is sincere and who isn't. The person who likes to whisper "sweet nothings" in your ear, is probably not a right one. There's a reason why these phony words or lies are called sweet nothings and the reason is that you'll get nothing of real value from the whisperer.

Get going -- get out there! It's a big world with a lot of people and you never know when a right one will come along. Hopefully, you'll recognize his or her value when he or she does come along.

Bon chance!

Do Business with Respectful Business People Only

Posted on June 30, 2018 at 4:57 PM Comments comments (367)
I recently contacted someone with whom I, briefly, shared an office, more than 25 years ago, to find out whether she'd be willing to pay me a finder's fee for referring good candidates to her. She said that she would. When I told her that I'd write an agreement regarding our orally agreed-upon business arrangement, she became defensive and said, "Don't you trust me?" To assure her that my wanting to get our agreement in writing was no reflection on her, I told her that this is the way that I do business and that I can count on one hand the number of people I trust. A red flag went up, immediately, as people who don't want to sign agreements frequently don't want to be accountable. I emailed the woman the agreement. It was a straightforward, simple, one-page agreement. Days went by and I still hadn't received a signed copy back from her. 

When I told the woman that I needed to get back to my client, she promised me that she'd sign the agreement and send it back to me that Saturday. On Saturday, I received an email from her telling me that I'd have the signed agreement in my hands by that night. I didn't. The next morning, I asked her about it and she balked, again, about having to sign an agreement and made a lame excuse as to why she couldn't send it to me on the day that she had promised to do so.

As you can imagine, I decided not to do business with her as she was behaving as if she were doing me a favor when, in reality, we would have  been doing each other a favor and I found her behavior to be disrespectful of me.

The takeaway, here, is as follows: (1) a business agreement should always be in writing (2) tread carefully if a business person balks about having a written agreement (3) if you feel as if a business person isn't treating you respectfully and/or is jerking you around, you're better off not doing business with that person. 

No matter how long you know someone, you should still treat that person with respect. This woman's questionable treatment of me didn't bode well for how she would have treated my clients. I can't and won't refer my clients to business people who are disrespectful and/or untrustworthy and neither should you.

The Marital Contract

Posted on March 21, 2018 at 10:47 AM Comments comments (823)
There is a wide range of marital contracts today. Most marriages are, still, between two people, however, there are people who have open marriages, polygamist marriages, polyamorous marriages and sexless marriages. As a traditionalist, my concept of marriage involves a marriage between two people. For purposes of this post, I will discuss marriage between a man and a woman only. This is in no way, shape, or form a political statement. Soon, you'll understand why I am limiting this discussion to marriage between a man and a woman.

As I recall (I was married [and divorced] a very long time ago), there's a statement in the marriage vows about "forsaking all others". Although marriage means different things to different people and although people marry for a variety of reasons, most would agree that the traditional marriage contract includes sexual relations between the two married people. After all, how can one expect one's spouse to forsake all others if one is not living up to his or her marital contract?

There are some people who are asexual and others who have a very low sex drive. If the spouses of these people have a normal sex drive, they are bound to be dissatisfied with the state of their union. They are faced with some difficult choices. They can go for counseling with their spouses, go outside of the marriage for sex, become celibate, or get a divorce. Counseling is, probably, a good first step, however, it might not help. 

It is my contention that (1) people who are asexual or who have a low sex drive should find each other and marry each other, (2) a married person cannot expect fidelity from his or her partner if he or she is unwilling to hold up his or her end of the marital contract and (3) a person who has a healthy sex drive should not have to deny his or her needs because of a partner who is too selfish to satisfy those needs.

Although I could discuss this in terms of men not fulfilling the marital contract, I will discuss it in terms of women not doing so as that seems to be the more typical scenario. I had, recently, written a blog post about the importance of honesty in relationships. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be enough of this, as, based on what I hear from men whom I know well, there are women who pretend to be sexual beings to "snag" a man and, then, once they've accomplished their objective, slack off regarding fulfilling their husband's sexual needs. I am not suggesting, here, that a woman has to go along with all of her husband's sexual demands or that she has to comply every time her husband wants relations. What I am suggesting is that a woman who isn't selfish will do her best to acquiesce to most or, at least, many of her husband's sexual needs, assuming that they aren't repugnant to her, and will try to satisfy him, sometimes, even when she doesn't feel like doing so. A man shouldn't have to deny his needs or martyr himself because his spouse doesn't especially enjoy sex or no longer cares about satisfying him sexually. 

Apparently, some post-menopausal women find intercourse to be very painful. I can understand why these women might not want to subject themselves to pain. However, there are many other ways to satisfy one's partner that these women can employ. In my opinion, to deny one's mate the enjoyment for which you both contracted on your wedding day is to break the marital contract and is to show a lack of love and empathy for one's partner.

I am not suggesting that sex is the only component of a good marriage, however, it is an integral component of a good marriage and it is something that nobody should be denied unless there is an upfront agreement between the two partners that the marriage will be a sexless one.

In my opinion, being in a marriage that has become sexless is a very sad state of affairs and is something that doesn't need to be tolerated as it's a broken marriage due to a broken marital contract.

The Importance of Honesty in Relationships

Posted on January 28, 2018 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (352)
People of all ages are in the dating pool. If you're a woman, you might be tempted to fudge some of your stats as, approximately, one-third to two-fifths of the male population is looking for younger, thin women. If you're a man, you might be tempted to fudge your financial stats or education credentials. Both genders might post pictures of themselves, on dating websites, that are 10 - 20 years old.

All of this posturing and misrepresentation is a recipe for disaster as you won't look like your picture and, if you're not well-educated, your writing and speech will give you away. Most people don't appreciate being lied to and many will end the date before you have a chance to impress them with your scintillating personality.

In dating, it's always better to be honest. There is no charade that can be kept up indefinitely and a relationship that is built on lies is a relationship that won't last. We all have our quirks and imperfections and should focus on those who like and love us because of or despite those quirks and imperfections.

Honesty is just as important after marriage. If you behave one way before marriage and change your behavior, dramatically, after marriage, your spouse is likely to become a very unhappy camper. Many divorces have been caused by people who pretended to be someone else before marriage and who revealed their true personalities, characters, and behavior after marriage.

If your self-esteem is shaky or if you're a compulsive liar, you're better off going into therapy than pretending to be someone else. If all you care about is short-term results, you can fool some people, but that won't bring you any happiness unless you're a psychopath or sociopath. 

The best relationships are those between people who value and practice love, friendship, honesty, trust, and communication. Until you're ready to practice these concepts, you might be better off remaining in the dating pool.

Good Relationships Require Work

Posted on October 6, 2017 at 4:54 PM Comments comments (174)
Most of us have experienced what I'll refer to as lopsided relationships. These are friendships or romantic relationships in which one person is doing most of the pursuing, i.e., making most of the phone calls or doing most of the emailing or texting; giving more of his or her time, money, understanding, transparency; in short, showing more interest than the other party. These friendships or romantic relationships are not good relationships as, in order for a relationship to work, there needs to be a give and take with both people doing equal amounts of giving and taking. When this equality is lacking, if the one who is doing all or most of the giving has any brains and is together, emotionally, he or she will, ultimately, lose interest in the relationship. Needless to say, there are times in any relationship when one person does more of the giving or taking, however, this should not be the overall theme of the relationship. If you're doing most or all of the giving or pursuing, you'll tire of this and come to the realization that the friendship or relationship isn't fulfilling your needs and you'll, most likely, move on, as you should. Some people assume that once they've established a relationship, they no longer have to work at it. These people don't truly understand the nature of a good relationship. If you want to keep a husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, or friend, you need to do the work that is required to keep the relationship going in the same way that you would do the work that is required to keep a business relationship going. I realize that this might sound like too much work and not enough fun, but, no matter how compatible two people are, there will be occasional differences that arise and that have to be worked out to the satisfaction of both people. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you should never take people who are important to you for granted. The person who feels that he or she is being taken for granted will build up resentment and will, probably, distance him- or herself from you. You might not even realize that this is happening as you're so wrapped up in your own needs and interests that you don't notice that your friend, lover, husband, or wife has checked out emotionally. The relationship is in trouble and you don't even know it!

My advice to you is to think about why this person has distanced him- or herself from you and the part that you've played in the current situation. The next order of business, so to speak, is to correct the problem before it's too late. Most people want to feel appreciated for their efforts and their interest and if you fail to do that, you're on the way to losing someone who is or has been important to you. Once this loss occurs, you probably won't be able to regain the relationship in a way that satisfies your needs as the person will have, for all intents and purposes, moved on. My experience has shown me that good people are hard to find. Be smart: be present, be thoughtful, be giving and be genuinely interested in your relationships so that you don't find yourself without those relationships that you value and that have sustained you. If you do the work that is required, you will, most likely, be glad that you did.

The High Maintenance Woman

Posted on May 7, 2017 at 3:54 PM Comments comments (187)
You don't have to be a man to dislike the high maintenance woman. I dislike her too. The high maintenance woman expects you to go out of your way to fulfill her needs. She can be retired and you can be running a business and, when you try to make plans with her, she can give you instructions as to what subway line the restaurant should be near. If you're smart, you'll tell her to choose the restaurant. If she can't take the time to take care of her own needs, it's not your job to pick up the slack.You can be a nice person without being a doormat. This very situation happened to me recently. I'm always busy working at something and a woman whom I knew from school days seemed to want to get together with me, however, she expected me to do all the work regarding making plans. She's retired and has much more free time than I. When I made it her responsibility to choose the restaurant, she was offended as she expected me to "share" in the burden of finding a restaurant that was convenient for her. I don't have the time for high maintenance women.

I am one of the most considerate people I know. It's astounding to me how inconsiderate most people are. Think about the people who walk in the streets of Manhattan, for example. I can't tell you how often a stranger in the street has coughed or sneezed right in my face while passing me. But, I digress. I started this discussion regarding the high maintenance woman. Many years ago, I started to become friendly with a woman whom I had known for many years. We were trying to make plans to go to a movie and I chose 5 movies, all different from each other, and asked her to select one of them. She didn't like any of my choices! She also didn't like any of my restaurant choices. This friendship never got off the ground.

The high maintenance woman is, frequently, a lonely woman because most people aren't interested in treating their friends as if their friends are clients. Most people don't enjoy being with women who have a sense of entitlement. These women probably aren't aware of how spoiled they are because most people will disappear from them without explaining why. If you see yourself in the portrait that I painted, here, you might want to change your behavior towards others and try to become less demanding. We all have enough on our plates without having to cater to you as well.

Show Your Love (A Repost of Feb. 14, 2014 Blog Post)

Posted on February 14, 2017 at 10:31 AM Comments comments (458)
It's Valentine's Day and it's the perfect opportunity to show the people you love how you feel about them. I'm not just referring to your husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, and children. I'm also referring to your parents, friends, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and, if they're still alive, Grandma and Grandpa: ESPECIALLY Grandma and Grandpa and especially if one has lost the other.

Valentine's Day can be lovely for those who have someone to love, but it's not such a picnic for those who don't. So, why not share your loving feelings with the people you love who would really appreciate a card, a phone call, an email, a box of chocolates, flowers, or whatever you can think of that gets the message across that he, she, or they are loved and thought of on the day that isn't only for lovers, but is only for LOVE.

Don't you agree?

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY TO ALL!

A Peaceful Thanksgiving Day Celebration

Posted on November 18, 2016 at 9:00 PM Comments comments (152)
Thanksgiving Day was always my favorite holiday until I was 36 and my mother passed away around that time. I've never truly enjoyed Thanksgiving Day since that time.

That doesn't mean, however, that you can't enjoy the holiday. This Thanksgiving Day comes after an especially contentious election season.There are bound to be some relatives who want to talk about it, find out how you voted, and either gloat or complain about the outcome of the election. If I were you, I wouldn't get sucked into that conversation. I don't recall an election in which the candidates' platforms were so different and the electorate's feelings were so intense. I don't know about you, but I prefer peaceful Thanksgiving Day gatherings.

I have already suggested to many people how to keep politics out of the Thanksgiving Day festivities. Here is my suggestion:

Make a pact with your relatives to keep the election results off-limits. Whenever someone transgresses, he or she has to put $10 into a hat or bowl. At the end of the evening, have a drawing for the money that has been collected. This is a fun way to keep your relatives from getting into nasty arguments and for keeping peace at the table.

Please also remember the people you know whose families are either gone or far away and invite them to join you and yours on Thanksgiving Day. It's very hard for most people to spend a holiday alone and nobody should have to unless he or she chooses to do so.

On a more serious note, you might want to keep in mind the fact that your relatives won't be around forever and that shedding tears for them at their funerals is a meaningless gesture if you haven't been nice to them while they're alive. As I was kind to both of my parents and other relatives while they were alive, my tears at their funerals weren't crocodile tears. 

I wish you all a peaceful Thanksgiving Day celebration.

Fantasy Relationships

Posted on October 3, 2016 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (97)
There is a lot of chatter about online dating, but very little discussion of the fantasy relationships that are spawned by this means of connecting.

My definition of a fantasy relationship is a relationship that occurs between people who never meet in person. The people email and/or phone each other, frequently or occasionally, and might develop feelings for each other, but never take it to the next step, i.e., they never bring it into the real world.

There are a number of possible reasons why these interactions remain in cyberspace. One is that one or both of the individuals is/are married or has a significant other. Another reason is that the man wants to "date" the woman without springing for dinners. A third reason is that one or both of the individuals has something to hide and a fourth, more common, reason is that one or both of the individuals is fearful of having a flesh and blood relationship because he or she isn't ready for one or is afraid of being hurt if it doesn't work out.

On their face, these fantasy relationships appear to be harmless. They're not. They can be a huge waste of time and energy and they can prevent an individual from meeting available people to date.

A semi-fantasy relationship is one in which there is a lot of lead time and/or chatter in cyberspace or by telephone before the first date occurs. The problem with this is that the real person rarely lives up to the fantasy of him or her that you've built up in your mind. This leads to unnecessary disappointment.

In my opinion, the best way to go about online dating is to get quickly to a phone conversation that lasts no longer than an hour. If you like the way the phone conversation goes, make a date to meet sooner rather than later. If I were a man, I would suggest drinks after work. That way, if the date is going well, you can move onto dinner. If it's not going well, you can make your excuses after an hour.

Fantasy relationships serve a purpose, but they're not to be confused with real relationships as they occur in the minds, only, of the participants. Try to avoid getting involved in a fantasy relationship as life is short and you deserve to have a relationship that isn't just between your ears.


Be a Good Neighbor

Posted on August 10, 2016 at 8:47 AM Comments comments (148)
I lived in a house until young adulthood. What I remember of our immediate neighbors is a young couple with a son and a vicious dog named Shadow and a wealthy elderly couple, on the other side of our house, who always owned Cadillacs. The woman was lovely and the man was a cigar-smoking braggart. I, also, remember good relations between my family and our neighbors.

When you live in a high-rise building, you experience a wide range of types, some of whom aren't all that desirable as neighbors. Since I live on the ground floor of my building, I mostly experience my neighbors in the laundry room. Most of them are pleasant enough, but some of them haven't, as yet, learned how to be good neighbors. 

Several years ago, I had a big wash to do that required my using a number of machines. Some of the washing machines contained clothes that were waiting to be picked up by their owners. As I see nothing wrong with removing the clothes and putting them on the table in the laundry room, I did just that. Later, when I went downstairs to get my wash, I noticed that someone had opened the door to one of the washing machines that I was using so that I had to restart the machine. I don't believe that that was an accident as the doors don't open easily. Apparently, the person whose clothes I had taken out of the machine and placed on the table resented my action and had decided to make me pay for it. I couldn't believe that someone would be so petty and spiteful, but proof was staring me in the face. 

When you use shared washing machines and dryers, it behooves you to pick up your clothes, sheets and towels as soon as they are done. Why would you want to keep someone waiting for use of the machines? If something important prevents you from getting to the laundry room in time, you shouldn't be bent out of shape if someone takes your stuff out and puts it on a table.

The laundry incident was mild compared to an ongoing problem that I had with my upstairs neighbor who, thankfully, is long gone from the building. He used to play the most horrific music, very loudly, in the middle of the night, not just on weekends, but during the week as well. If memory serves, I had slipped him a note, under his door, asking him to lower the sound. That didn't work so I wound up calling the Quality of Life police every time he blasted his music. They would come, every time I called, knock on his door, tell him to turn off his music and leave. That was only a momentary solution to the problem as he, apparently, had a short memory. The most peculiar thing about the story was that he was an MD! You would think that he needed his sleep too. I concluded that he must have been on drugs as his behavior was so antisocial that I found it hard to believe that someone who wasn't "out of it" would behave this way.

It's not hard to be a good neighbor. All you have to do is be considerate of others and treat them as you like to be treated. This is especially important when you share a building with other people.

What bad neighbor experiences have you had?

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