SWANS®SONG

Home of Dr. Christine B. Whelan

In the news

It’s Wednesday, spring is nearly here… and love is in the air!

• On Feb. 22, a Skype interview I did with Currents, a NY-based Catholic TV station, aired and got great feedback.

• As the marriage age in India rises, many SWANS® there are taking heart in my good-news statistics and targeted advice.

• It’s the 5th anniversary of my Pure Sex, Pure Love column on BustedHalo.com — and wow, the kind words and good wishes from readers just blew me away.

• Also, check out my latest column full of love and relationship advice from the new book 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot.

March 10, 2010 Posted by | Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman's Guide to True Love, Relationship Tips | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Valentine’s Tips

After doing several interviews with TV and print media leading up to Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d post a few tips I’ve been talking about:

Top Valentine’s Tips for Singles

• Break out of your pity-party mode by planning a Bring-a-Friend party for next month: Pick a date and a venue, then invite 10-20 friends and tell them to each bring one single friend that you don’t know. Just think of all the new people you’ll meet!

• Look through your contacts and email at least three friends who you haven’t been in touch with in a while — guys or girls. Getting into a new social group can mean introductions to your perfect match

• Consider an online dating site — many are offering free trials over this holiday weekend

Top Valentine’s Tips for Those in a Relationship

• Showing your love doesn’t need to cost a fortune: Consider a picnic in your living room, a nearby day-hike or snuggling up and watching your favorite romantic comedy.

• Love letters never get old: Write at least five reasons why you think your special someone is the tops. Or slip a little love-note in your spouse’s wallet so they’ll find it later in the day and be surprised.

• Figure out each other’s “language of love”: We all give and receive love differently — some show love verbally, others through hugs, others through actions. Which way do you show love–and which way does your significant-other receive it?

Here’s to a great day of love, chocolate and cheesy movies!

February 13, 2010 Posted by | Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman's Guide to True Love, Relationship Tips | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can Love Make You Rich?

I’m quoted — and my mate-preference research is cited — in a piece up now on CBS MoneyWatch.

The Beatles told us that all you need is love. And maybe that was true in 1967. But these days, love alone doesn’t pay the mortgage. So, as we approach Valentine’s Day, it’s a good time to consider the other side of the coin: Can love bring you money?

Check it out and learn how red hearts can make you see more green this Valentine’s Day… it’s part of a larger package on love and money, with other interesting articles, including

10 Ways to Stop Fighting About Money
Love and Money: He Spends, She Saves, They Fight
Money Tips for Gay Couples

February 12, 2010 Posted by | Academic Musings, Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman's Guide to True Love, Relationship Tips | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Top 10 Feelings Worldwide: We Feel Fine

Feel festive, cheerful and blessed around the holidays–but then slide into the doldrums in the first weeks of the New Year? Financially illiterate and then suddenly started blogging about how the ups and downs of the stock market impacted you emotionally? Felt patriotic–or depressed–when Obama was elected?

Oh yes, the internet knows.

Talk about following the zeitgeist: Computer programmers Sep Kamvar and Jonathan Harris have spent more than four years collecting some 12 million emotions posted on Internet blogs. Turns out we’re a pretty predicable bunch: Patterns of the calendar, news events and even the weather influence how we say we feel. And as an increasing number of bloggers worldwide share their lives publicly, we’re developing a new relationship with computers, our fellow bloggers and ourselves.

And this holiday season, you can track your emotions in their strikingly beautiful, glossy gift book, We Feel Fine (Scribner, Dec. 1), that uses sophisticated computer science to underpin its findings about modern human emotion. The brainchild of Kamvar, a professor of computational mathematics at Stanford University, and Harris, a systems designer, the data collected comes from a program that scans all blogs every few minutes and extracts the sentences that contain “I feel” or “I am feeling.” Since blogs often have public profiles, the duo was able to determine the gender, age, and location of the people expressing these emotions to boot.

Kamvar said he and Harris hope to tell both macro stories of emotional trends, including informational graphics and maps, and micro stories of individuals complete with a photo and corresponding feeling. “We wanted the reader to be able to seamlessly transition between the high-level statistics of emotion and the individual stories that make up these statistics.”

“Our [original] intent was to show that there was beauty and humanity in the web,” said Kamvar of their 2005 website born as social networking media was coming of age. ” As time went on and we collected large amounts of data, we realized that we were also building an archive of emotional history.”

As We Feel Fine: An Almanac of Human Emotion hit the shelves yesterday, Kamvar, a college classmate, sat down with me for a Q&A.

Check out my interview on the Huffington Post… and tweet it up for one and all!

December 30, 2009 Posted by | Academic Musings, Self-Help | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stop Searching for Your Soul Mate

Wednesday is the day for your Weekly Relationship Tip

Stop Searching for Your Soul Mate

Some 20% of American couples file for divorce before their fifth anniversary. While the overall divorce rate has decreased in the last few decades, soulmatenew-copythe number of marriages dissolved in those early years has increased. Why?

According to nationwide surveys, 94% of never-married Americans age 20-29 agree that “when you marry, you want your spouse to be your soul mate, first and foremost.” It’s very romantic, really, and the stuff love songs are made of: You live your life as best you can alone, and then one day you meet your other half, the person who completes you in every way. This person always knows how to make you laugh, how to make you feel cherished and will never hurt you.

But looking for a soul mate—and believing your significant other or spouse is your soul mate—can be a recipe for disaster in modern relationships because we are setting ourselves up for disappointment after the first blush of passion fades.

Yes, finding a true friend—someone you ‘click’ with, someone who you can share your emotions with and with whom you communicate well—is central to making a good match. But the idea that there is one person who will fulfill all our needs, one soul mate out there for each of us, is a childish idea that should be put aside with the Tooth Fairy.

The fact that we want to marry our soul mates is an indication of how much importance—and how much pressure—we’re putting on marriage. If our spouse is our soul mate, he or she should be perfect for us, unable to hurt us, and certainly not someone who will reduce us to tears or screams of frustration, right?

But most relationships have some tearful moments and screaming matches, so what then? When we tell ourselves that our spouse must be our soul mate, we’re asking for an element of perfect understanding that’s hard (if not impossible) to achieve, and setting ourselves up to be disappointed.

Here’s Why

In this search for our supposed soul mate, we don’t know what to look for. Are you looking for someone who has similar taste in music? Who makes you go weak-kneed? Are you looking for the opposite-sex version of yourself? What does a soul mate really mean—and are we sure we are prioritizing the right things on our list of characteristics for Mr. or Ms. Perfect?

If we are confused about what a “perfect match” should look like, we’re likely to overlook some perfectly wonderful people for very silly reasons—and are inclined to prioritize more superficial aspects of someone’s personality or interests more than issues of shared faith.

We’ve put far too much emphasis on one person to provide all our happiness and fulfillment. It’s wonderful to share you life with someone, and the closeness a couple can foster through marriage is a powerful and precious bond. But few successful relationships exist in a vacuum: Our individual happiness and fulfillment comes from all sorts of interpersonal interactions, with friends, family, coworkers and community.

We’re setting the bar too high when we say that a spouse must be your soul mate, meeting your every emotional need. It’s perfectly healthy to shop with your girlfriends, watch sports with the guys and complain about your parents to your best friend from high-school – not your spouse.

In fact, a strong social network is crucial to keeping your intimate relationship working order past that first blush of love. If you have isolated yourself with your soul mate to the exclusion of your friends and family, to whom will you turn when you have a fight with your spouse? Disagreements and hard times are normal—and often necessary—within a growing relationship, and since a marriage is made up of two fallible human begins, we all need some help along the way.

Mature love is more valuable – and more enduring. The search for a soul mate is a symptom of the consumer culture, says William J. Doherty, a professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota: We are looking to acquire a person who will complete us in the same way we acquire an iPhone to make us feel cool. “Of course, once inevitable tension and conflict arises, I might conclude that in fact this was not my soul mate–and I can justify leaving and setting out on a new quest.”

Just because two people may not complete each other in the romantic way we perceive a soul mate should, doesn’t mean they can’t have a fulfilling relationship. “When the soul mate glow wears off, the real marriage can start—based on mature love that is sustained by daily practices of kindness and connection and tested by conflict and struggle,” says Prof. Doherty.

Nancy Slotnick, a New York City matchmaker, warns that it’s impossible to speak for all couples. “I do believe in soul mates. I just don’t believe everyone gets lucky enough to find that person, but for those that do, I’d tell them to go for it, embrace it.”

She cautions, however, that if years go by and friends tell you that you’re too picky, or that you are constantly drawn to the wrong guy, it’s time to reevaluate your search for a partner. Perhaps your idea of a “perfect” match is holding you back from finding true and lasting love.

Want more? Check out my articles in The Wall Street Journal and U.S. Catholic on this subject.

April 22, 2009 Posted by | Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman's Guide to True Love, Relationship Tips | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Take Control of Your Love Life!

How can a SWANS® take control of her love life? Where do you meet a guy who will be attracted to smart, successful woman? Why do certain women seem to transfix men… while others just don’t?teleseminar

Curious? Well, so were more than 120 other SWANS® just like you. Last week, Dr. Alex Benzer hosted me as his guest in a national teleseminar featuring dating tips for smart, successful women. I answered questions, laid out no-nonsense advice and shattered myths left and right.

Missed the show? That’s OK–you can download it here.

This is a must-listen for all your SWANS® out there. And… after you listen, if you want more, email me at swans (at) christinewhelan.com to receive a free BONUS REPORT full of great tips on how to date smart in an economic downturn.

And while you’re at it, check out Dr. Benzer’s new book, The Tao of Dating, on his website: http://taoofdating.com/

April 15, 2009 Posted by | Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman's Guide to True Love, Relationship Tips | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment