The 30-Day Love Detox: Cleanse Yourself of Bad Boys, Cheaters, and Men Who Won't Commit -- And Find A Real Relationship

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9781609619701: The 30-Day Love Detox: Cleanse Yourself of Bad Boys, Cheaters, and Men Who Won't Commit -- And Find A Real Relationship
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There is no question the terrain has changed. We can do what we want and date who we want, but do we have the tools to navigate our hard-won sexual freedom? Now, from the dating doyenne of the Sex and the City generation comes a groundbreaking prescription for smart, savvy, slow-love. Dr. Wendy Walsh's outside-the-box approach to relationships turns traditional thinking on its head by using evolutionary psychology to offer advice that is both empowering and practical.
In The 30-Day Love Detox, Walsh offers a step-by-step, five-part attachment strategy with a 30-day "detox" that helps weed out the bad boys and sets you up to meet the right guy, including:

- The five sexual myths that keep women single
- When to say yes to sex in a new relationship
- How to use technology to bring your crush closer
- How to spot a commitment-oriented man at his peak readiness

Melding scientific research, anthropological truths, and proven techniques, The 30-Day Love Detox is a revolutionary road map to finding lasting love in a modern world.

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About the Author:

Dr. Wendy Walsh is the host of the Investigation Discovery network's Happily Never After and the former cohost of The Doctors. She is regularly featured as CNN's human behavior expert and has appeared on Today, Good Morning America, and The O'Reilly Factor. An adjunct assistant professor at California State University Channel Islands, she holds a master's degree in psychology and a PhD in clinical psychology. She lives in Los Angeles.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

CHAPTER 1

The Dating Addiction

His butt is what I remember. Smallish for a man but brown, tight, and brave. I remember it for one specific reason: That juicy nalgas was being hurriedly stuffed into a pair of pants and propelled out of our room at the W Hotel. My stomach churned out the meaning of all this. This man with whom I had had an intimate phone, text, and e-mail relationship for a year was running for the hills on a bright Sunday morning in New York after one of the best dates of my life! Whose hills? I still don't know.

What I do know is he came back. Not that day or that week. But he came back with words of apologies, dreams of a future together (mostly mine), and sturdy, vigorous sex. Oh, and he finally gifted me with clear words that he can't be monogamous. I wrote him off as boyfriend material long ago, but I watched his pattern. And I listen to similar stories from women.

"The guy I'm dating rarely calls, but when I go out of town, he texts me that he misses me," says one 28-year-old executive at a technology company. "Then, I come back and we go back to just having dinner and sex. I feel like maybe it's the technology thing. We don't ever just stay in and watch a movie. We don't ever talk about family."

In other words, men aren't willing to do the work of relationship building. And frequent technology check-ins make a pretend relationship feel real.

"The latest guy I'm with," says a bright 29-year-old who's a producer at a TV production company, "will text me every single day. It's like some kind of check-in. But for what? He never calls for a date."

"It's nauseating how much guys text!" adds another exasperated career woman. "And some of them are so lazy, they send group texts to a bunch of women when it gets late in the bar: 'Hey, babe. What are you doing later?' I guess the first woman to respond gets to hook up with his drunk ass."

"I've never been on a real date," admits a 25-year-old cosmetologist, who has been sexually active for 10 years. This attractive young woman has been having boyfriends and sex for a decade and no one has ever called, made the plan, picked her up, and paid for the evening. Her life is one of joining men at bars and parties. No man has ever courted her. It broke my heart to hear this.

These kinds of relationships are all too common today. Incoming men. Outgoing men. Men who dance around any conversation about commitment and always seem to get distracted by the high supply of sex available at such low cost. When we did a story on dating on The Doctors TV show, the single women we spoke with all told me that the biggest problem in dating today isn't how to meet a man but how to find one who'll commit. And by the way, women aren't even sure if they should be pressuring these men for more because, well, it's so much fun to date. Young career women are enjoying sex for sex's sake, and some are auditioning dozens of men for the coveted role of exclusive mate. It seems there's a ton of opportunities for love and sex these days. But at what cost?

LOVE A.D.D.

Have we become a culture with a severe case of Love Attention Deficit Disorder? Are we addicted to dating? In a word, yes. In our anxiety to attach or avoid attachment, we're running around using dating and sex as a drug. At a loss to identify what true feminine sexual freedom really means, many women have adopted a male model of sexuality. What's good for the gander is good for the goose. If he can sow his wild oats, she can too. While there are some good points to this newfound sexual freedom, there are also some serious drawbacks to America's new pastime.

I noticed that dating was becoming an epidemic a few years ago when I was living in Italy and had a foreign perspective of our game of musical beds. An Italian tour operator pointed this trend out to me over veal Milanese and fritto misto. His name was Maximo, and he looked like he had sprung from the pages of Under the Tuscan Sun. Tall, dark, with a heavenly accent, and chased by American female tourists--most of whom he thought were aggressive and crude.

In his mind, I was probably safer than most long-term tourists because I was with child. Well, actually, I was with two children. And they were not quietly tucked in my womb. I was a single mother. In Italy, that means I had unknowingly been transported from the category of "bella donna" to the untouchable status of "mamma mia." Lonely place, ladies. Clearly, Italians don't know what to do with a single mom. Apparently, no MILFs or desperate housewives among the olive groves. Anyway, thanks to my untouchable status, Maximo could freely speak to me. And because he travels to America a lot, he compared the two cultures.

"You want to know what Americans are obsessed with?" he asked me. I leaned forward. I did. I really did. Especially if this jewel of wisdom was served up with such a delectable accent.

"Two things," he continued. "Choking and dating." I blinked. I raised my slightly Botoxed eyebrows. And I jutted my chin forward as I waited for more.

"Everywhere you go in America, there are signs about choking hazards," he went on. "There are detailed diagrams in restaurants and public bathrooms explaining how to do the Heimlich maneuver. Do Americans not know how to chew their food?" He was as bewildered as I was. I had never thought of this. (Note to self: Teach kids to cut their food into small pieces.) But then came the other important Italian observation.

"And dating! Americans are obsessed with dating. There are dating TV shows. Dating Web sites. Dating experts. People in America date instead of fall in love."

There you have it. From the mouth of a hunk came the birth of this book. Clearly, we need more signs posted about dating hazards. Or we need to chew up our men more carefully.

America is obsessed with dating and mating. Dating has become an Internet commerce, a TV reality show darling, and a hobby for many, many people. But is it getting the intended results--the creation of intimate life partners? Is this dating craze--with its plethora of revolving dating partners, dating as TV entertainment, dating Web sites, and sex without dating-- helping us find romantic partners who last more than a few months? I, for one, really don't think so.

We've gone from romancing and bonding to dancing and fondling. Not only are we addicted to dating, but we're addicted to a host of human behaviors that enable our dating addiction. We're addicted to texting, sexting, Facebook, shopping, gyms, and primping, and some people are even addicted to hookups. Clearly, Houston, we have a problem.

The High Price of Dating

None of this would be a problem if we all planned to live solo in our condom-stocked lofts and condos forever, making enough money so no one will ever have to clean a toilet or change a diaper. But most humans are wired to bond. And that desire to bond evolved so people could stay together long enough to water, fertilize, and grow the seed that often comes out of couples. Parenting is best played as a team sport.

"Our culture is not designed to teach women about motherhood," says Joan C. Williams, JD, a distinguished professor of law at the University of California at Hastings. In her book Reshaping the Work-Family Debate: Why Men and Class Matter, she maintains that most women underestimate the demands of motherhood.1 "In the lower classes, parenthood and marriage have become two separate concepts, and having a baby is a rite of passage into adulthood," she told me. "And in the middle and upper classes, women are extremely focused on education and career, and when they hit the motherhood wall, their lives don't make sense anymore."

Thus, there's a problem with dating for sport rather than dating for partner research. Sooner or later, dating leads to babies for the vast majority of women. Eighty percent of women will become mothers--married or not and good boyfriend or not. And plenty of women simply don't understand the consequences of not choosing well.

Cases such as the one in Maine that involved missing baby Ayla garner national media attention not only because of the tragic nature of a missing infant but also because these explosive stories shine a light on our muddled relationships. Ayla went missing while in her father's care. Her distraught 20-something mother appeared with me on HLN's Nancy Grace show and was quick to explain that the baby's father wasn't her husband. He wasn't her ex-husband. Nor was he even her ex-boyfriend. "We were just friends," she said. "We were never together." Clearly, they were friends who had hooked up at least once.

On the most dire end of the scale, if dating can lead to a pregnancy where no one is clear on who's responsible, then on the other end of the scale, dating can lead to a painful broken heart--more often for the woman. Despite what feminist literature tells us about sex--that we can own our own orgasm and be happy and that that is enough--women have a pesky hormone called oxytocin that can bind our heart to a loser. I'll explain why in the next chapter, but for now, understand that women get painfully disappointed once they've attached their heart to something. In fact, it's that same disappointment that fuels the tear-thirsty audiences of dating reality shows. It can also lead to an STD--also more likely for women2--but you never hear about that on The Bachelor.

I mean, if the purpose of dating and mating had nothing to do with reproduction and the only thing you were interested in reproducing was your last earth-shattering orgasm, then there would be no problem. No problem for now, that is. Don't close this book if you clearly don't want children and you're under 30. I detested the little buggers myself until, oh, about age 32. And then I was slammed with a maternal urge that itched worse than a yeast infection.

Babies are often the little miracle problems that wiggle out of hookups, girlfriends, cohabiting unions, college sweethearts, and marriages. And then there's this 18-year unpaid labor called parenthood that mostly becomes the burden of women. In her book The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners Is Transforming Sex, Love, and Family, reporter Liza Mundy of the Washington Post described a "big flip" in gender roles. In her utopian world, men will become far more domesticated and women will be the breadwinners.3 But not in this world. Not today in your current dating life. A review in the very paper Mundy writes for explains Mundy's optimistic data this way:

Mundy may be right that more households will soon be supported by women rather than by men, but in part that is because more women are raising children without male support; few of these women qualify as "the richer sex." In addition, much of the growth in the share of income that wives contribute to households results from the long-term stagnation of men's wages. Thanks to the ban on pay and hiring discrimination over the past 40 years, women's average wages have risen from their much lower starting point, but they do not yet equal men's.

With 14 million single mothers currently raising one in four American babies,4 it's clear we're usually left holding the bag--the diaper bag, that is. If you don't believe me, consider this statistic: One in four fathers lives apart from his children, and one-third of those haven't seen their kids in the past year.5 In a year!

Women just aren't adapting to the hookup culture.6 It defies our biology. As the hookup culture has burgeoned, female mental health problems have, too. In the past 15 years, depression rates in women have doubled and female suicide has tripled.7 More proof is in the prescriptions. According to a government study, antidepressants have become the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States. They're prescribed more than drugs to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, or headaches.8 And they're overwhelmingly prescribed to women.

Healthy relationships aren't only beneficial to women. Men benefit too. Long-term couples live longer, have better health, and accumulate more wealth.9

Unfortunately, men didn't get this memo! Most men are happy to sail along making money and booty calls--leaving all the maternal problems and mental health issues to the strong, independent, efficient women. This is the tragedy of the sex-and-the-city mentality. We now have four jobs--protector, provider, nester, and nurturer--and we seem to have no time anymore to be custodians of the social order.

Monogamy and Money

Based on 2009 Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, almost 40 percent of US working wives now outearn their husbands. A 2010 Cornell University study found that men are most likely to cheat when they're economically dependent on women.

High-Supply Sex and Low-Supply Families

When I pitched the concept for this book--how it would be different from any other relationship book ever!--I got more than a few jaded looks and eye rolls from veteran editors who had heard it all. But by the time I had finished talking, they were sitting up on their pretty coccyx and paying attention with jaws wide. And this is exactly what I told them:

Since 2010, in America, nearly half of American babies have been born out of wedlock--a more than 25 percent jump since 2002. This has occurred while the rate of teenage pregnancy has been going down.10 So, who are these unwed mothers? They're live-in girlfriends, they're older single mothers, they're gay and bi gals, and some of them are just plain unexpectedly knocked up. And most of them are considered to be powerful women compared with women in other countries or women of other generations.

Why are we seeing this "breakdown" of the family? I'll explain later why all this change isn't necessarily bad for families, but for now, let's go with the less judgmental question of "Why are babies popping out in nests that look different from the traditional norm?"

The answer is that we're also seeing an unprecedented rise in the number of women in America who need marriage less. According to Brian Pendleton, sociology professor at the University of Akron, who has done decades of research on career women, "Women are finally beginning to realize they don't need men to define their worth."

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