The Dating and Relationship Group
What Occurs in the Commitment Phase of a Relationship

Commitment in a romantic relationship represents a significant emotional and psychological achievement, reflecting the development of the individual partners as well as the couple as a whole.  Theorists have argued that a predominant theme underling the couple's movement into the commitment phase centers on the transition from self-interested motives (i.e., narcissistic needs lingering from childhood) to mutual interdependence and sacrifice for the other.  The emerging capacities necessary to achieve and maintain this transition are numerous and include, among others, enduring conflicting needs and interests, confronting one's own and one's partner's personal inadequacies, creating a mutually satisfying sexual life, sacrificing for the broader goals of the relationship, and forgiving transgressions.  Tangible and intangible gestures of investment that each partner demonstrates toward the other are also highly relevant to the ultimate success of the relationship.

In the next meeting of the "Dating and Relationship Group" on Saturday, January 7, 2017, 12:00 to 1:15 PM,  I will explore the dynamics involved in the transition to commitment.  In particular, I will describe how unresolved narcissistic  issues may obstruct the achievement of this transition, using the Manhattan Effect to highlight the profound shifts that a healthy commitment to another entails.  

The Men's Group: 
The "Herbivore Man"

Originally coined in Japan, the term "herbivore man" has been used to characterize a rising trend of a male subgroup perceived to have lost their adherence to the male gender role of "manliness," do not prioritize sexuality or marriage, and tend to be more introverted, less career-focused, and increasingly withdrawn from standard social and societal expectations.  As the metaphor of plant-eater suggests, these men are characterized as generally docile and non-aggressive in terms of motivation and behavior.  The term has been linked to shifting gender roles and socioeconomic changes which have equalized the playing field between men and women in terms of job availability, income-earning potential, and social hierarchy, resulting in a sense of disenchantment with traditional notions of male drive, ambition, and competition among "herbivore" men. 

In the next meeting of the "Men's Group" on Saturday, January 7, 2017, 10:45 AM to 12:00 PM,  I will explore the implications of the "herbivore man" for men living in the United States.  There is evidence to suggest that circumstances of and emerging patterns among men in Japan may not be all that dissimilar from those relevant for Western men.  Unstable economic trends, entrepreneurship, the apparent deinstitutionalism of marriage and family life among Millennials, and the valuing of unambition seem to reflect a gradual but undeniable migration among some men in the U.S. toward pastures that are, indeed, less challenging and stressful but, perhaps, ultimately not as fulfilling. 

To register for the January 7, 2017 meetings of the Men's Group (10:45 AM to 12:00 PM) and/or the "Dating and Relationship Group" (12:00 to 1:15 PM):
If you would like to attend one or both of these groups on Saturday, January 7, 2017, please RSVP ASAP to Dr. Tobin at 949-338-4388 or There is a limit of 14 attendees for each group and registrants will be accommodated on a first-come/first-serve basis.  The fee is $25.00 and the location is The Water Garden Business Center, 23421 South Pointe Drive, Suite 130, Laguna Hills, CA, 92653.  Please note that these groups are educational in purpose, not therapeutic, and do not constitute psychotherapy or counseling.

James Tobin, Ph.D., PSY 22074 | 949-338-4388 |