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article imageClinical psychologist Dr. Nancy Lee opens up about her new book Special

By Markos Papadatos     Sep 23, 2020 in Lifestyle
Dr. Nancy Lee chatted with Digital Journal's Markos Papadatos about her book "Don't Sleep with Him Yet: A Badass Guide to Dating in 10 Empowering Steps."
She is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Beverly Hills, California, and the author of Don’t Sleep with Him Yet: A Badass Guide to Dating in 10 Empowering Steps. In addition to Dr. Lee’s unique blend of clinical and academic dating and relationship expertise, her practice covers a wide range of behavioral health issues from depression and anxiety to male and female psychosexual desire and functioning. She earned her doctorate at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, which was followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in behavioral medicine at Harbor at the UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California.
I notice on your website that you use the Bachelor reality television show contestants to illustrate the psychological bad boys in the dating world. How does being a Bachelor super fan help your patients in your Beverly Hills practice?
Being a Bachelor super fan allows me to use the show as a surprisingly relatable avenue to explore and illuminate the psychology of relationships, especially when patients are struggling. That's because often it's so much easier for all of us to recognize and decipher the same difficult--if not heartbreaking-- issues we may be experiencing when they happen to someone else. So, for example, if I'm working with a woman who watches the show and can't understand why some of the especially intelligent and/or likable female contestants nonetheless keep blaming and questioning themselves (rather than the man) when they're rejected--that provides a real breakthrough when my clients realize they typically do the very same thing themselves.
Which of the Bachelor bad boys held the most interest for you and the best teaching opportunities for your patients?
Hands down Juan Pablo Galavis because he's a consummate narcissist! Characteristically, Juan Pablo never showed any empathy for the women he dated, a hallmark of narcissism. A stark example of this former pro-soccer player's narcissism was his scorn for Clare Crawley after they had sex in the ocean. For instance, instead of consoling Clare when she tearfully confronted him the next day, JP only made matters worse by blaming and slut-shaming her, saying, "it" was "weird," and "wrong," and he didn't want his young daughter to "see it." In a similar vein, after they lure you in with charm, narcissists (typically good-looking, wealthy, or powerful) are completely dismissive of your needs and wants. To note, when any of his romantic partners tried to discuss their own legitimate concerns with JP, he routinely responded with a rote, condescending "okay," "okay." So if you're dating someone who doesn't appear to care much about your feelings and consistently ignores your needs--that person is not worth the grief. No matter how much of a "catch" they may seem at first. (And trust me, it only gets worse.)
Is there any redemption for these bad boys or is the goal for your patients to recognize their behavior and avoid at all costs?
There is definitely redemption for some of these dudes--especially based on the number of "bad boys" I see in my practice! The key is motivation: If a guy is emotionally hurting, he will be motivated to change. (That, or his girlfriend/wife/booty call drags him into therapy.) Seriously, if a woman is involved with a bad boy, the challenge for her is to determine if he's really motivated to work on the relationship or not. I always advise women to consider a man's actions over his words-- because actions don't lie.
If there was one Bachelor you wanted to give advice to, who would it be and what would you say to help him change his bad boy ways?
I recently had the opportunity to look Dean Unglert in the eye (pre-COVID-19) and call him out on his own podcast. Specifically, months earlier I'd blogged about Dean being a "commitment-phobe," not because he is afraid of committing to a partner, but because of his psychological aversion to societal institutions like marriage. Dean actually agreed! So while I praised Dean for his sincere commitment to current partner Caelynn Miller-Keyes, I also advised that if the lack of marriage vows becomes an issue, especially for Caelynn, perhaps he could work on changing his attitude toward institutionalized commitment (i.e. marriage) and express his rebellious nature a different, more constructive way.
Do you have the same affinity for the Bachelorette series? If so, which contestants have you noted as having issues and what can we learn from them?
I do, in fact, share the same affinity for the Bachelorette series. That said, while no "challenged" Bachelorettes immediately come to mind, a recent Bachelor contestant with "issues," as in she is a classic emotional manipulator, is Victoria Fuller (from Peter Weber's season). Note that an emotional manipulator uses deceptive or underhanded and sometimes even devious means to gain control in a relationship. Victoria F. avoided tough, much-needed conversations with Peter by claiming that there was something wrong with him whenever he tried to address his concerns. She would say something like: ". . . you came in here to talk like that? Are you kidding me?!" Victoria F. even told a visibly distressed Peter to "Get the %$*#! away" when she stomped off and he followed her to talk. I have clients--both women and men--who identified with Peter such that they were finally able to recognize their own partners' emotional abuse, and, even more critically, stand up to it. Who could imagine that such powerful personal clarity and insight could come from reality television?!
At first I thought the book sounded puritanical, but your advice is empowering and puts women in the driver’s seat to determine when and with whom they want to sleep with. Why did you write your bestselling book, Don’t Sleep With Him Yet?
A primary reason I wrote this book was to empower women to thrive in the dating world, rather than simply submit to whatever men want--and then feel miserable afterwards. For example, prior to writing the book I'd counsel women who had sex with dating partners before they were truly ready because they feared that otherwise they'd "lose" the man. The irony was that many of the guys walked anyway within a few weeks or months of sleeping together, which made things even more painful. At the same time, I was participating on college panels where inevitably women would approach me afterwards and vent about pressure they felt to hook up. So an early goal of my writing was to call out "people-pleasing" sex, or having sex out of obligation versus authentic desire. Other related themes emerged along the way, including how to cultivate self-confidence and demand respect (not just from dating partners). Incidentally, in refutation of the puritanical sounding, (but deliberately provocative) title, there is an entire chapter devoted to sensually great sex.
When did the hook up culture begin and how does that affect women? Why is your book needed so much?
Consensus among historians is that hookups, or casual, non-committal sex, first became prevalent in the 1800s between wealthy white male college students and poor women, prostitutes, and female African-American slaves. Hookup culture where society (or, perhaps more aptly, one's peers) effectively encouraged casual, recreational sex, really took off on college campuses in the mid-90s and spread to nearly all demographics of singles from there. To answer your question, given that hookup culture was predicated on male dominance and perpetuated through peer pressure, individual women have detrimentally self-silenced along the way. (Notably, many women's own brutal experiences of railroaded sex are also included in the book.)
In short, the book is needed so much because it finally gives women a voice. The book cuts through the confusion inherent in today's dating and sex culture by threading together real life stories, psychological facts, cutting-edge research, attraction neuroscience, and a sprinkling of relevant iconic feminist commentary to empower readers to go for what they want (or unapologetically refuse what they don't want) in the romantic realm. Even online dating is covered. What's more, through applied psychology, women gain the knowledge and confidence to stand up for themselves not only in relationships--but in any facet of life. Interestingly, men who've read the book also say it's been eye-opening and helpful for them, too.
Her book is available on Amazon by clicking here.
To learn more about Dr. Nancy Lee, check out her official website.
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