It is not difficult and expensive to please a girl, especially if she loves you. As a boyfriend, it is your duty to give her more reasons to smile and make her feel loved and special. Though it may be difficult to understand a girl’s emotions, you can try different strategies to keep her happy.1. Tell her that you love her.Hold her hand, look deeper into her eyes, and say those three words with eight letters. This is one of the simplest yet most important rules in every relationship. Letting her know how much you love her and how special she is for you won’t even make a dent in your wallet but will surely make her delighted.2. Write a love letter or leave little notes.Giving your girlfriend something to read that will show how you think and feel about her throughout the day is one of the sweetest things you can do to her.3. Surprise her with flowers.Girls have the simplest form of happiness. You may drop by at her house or office unexpectedly. Sending her flowers without any occasion is one of the best ways to make your girl ecstatic.4. Send her sweet text messages.Shower her with sweet messages, tell her she is on your mind and let her know that you are missing her. Your message is not just a message, it’s her happiness.5. Call her.At least call her once a day to ask how her day is going or what she is doing. She will appreciate it and will make her feel cared of.6. Respect her.Give respect and you will receive respect. Always be chivalrous around your girl and learn to treat her like a princess. She’ll definitely love your courteous side and will make her satisfied even with just your simple acts.7. Make her feel secure.Your protective streak will help you make your girlfriend happy. When your girl feels secure around you, she’ll feel like you are someone she can depend on anything and she’ll instinctively feel happier to be in love with you.8. Compliment her.Girls love compliments, it makes them feel more appreciated. So when you notice something nice about her, give her the praise she deserves. Adore her beautiful smile, admire her new attire, or tell her you love her smell.9. Listen to her.Pay attention to her when she’s talking to you. Sometimes, girls only need someone who will listen to all their rants about life. She’ll surely love you for doing it.10. Spend time with her.This is one of the most important things you have to consider in every relationship. No matter how busy or hectic your schedule is, don’t forget to free your time and create sweet moments with her. Do things that will make your time memorable together, even in the simplest ways.11. Give her surprise gifts.You don’t have to buy expensive gifts. A simple treat of her favorite ice cream, a box of chocolates, or a movie ticket is enough to make your girl happy.12. Pamper her.Girls love to be pampered. Buy her the food she craves, tell her stories, recite romantic poems for her, or sing her favorite song.13. Make her laugh.Tell her about a hilarious incident that happened to you or some funny things you read somewhere. This is not difficult as you think; you just have to share funny thoughts to make her laugh. If your jokes don’t make her grin, you might just try to make funny faces.
What you eat affects your weight, and obesity raises your odds for breast cancer. If you’ve already had the disease, extra pounds can also make it more likely to return. If you choose a healthy diet -- one rich in vegetables, whole grains, chicken, and fish -- you may boost your chances of living longer after breast cancer. Researchers aren’t sure exactly why that’s true, but the long-term benefits aren’t in doubt. Is Soy Safe?Soy-based foods -- such as tofu, soy milk, and edamame -- have chemicals called phytoestrogens, which are similar to estrogen. That once raised fears that they spelt trouble for women with breast cancer that uses estrogen as fuel to grow. But the latest studies show soy doesn’t raise cancer risk -- it may even lower the odds the disease will return. Be wary of soy supplements, though. Scientists haven’t studied their effects as much. Should You Skip Sugar?The idea that sweets “feed cancer” has been around for a long time. The truth is more complicated. A spoonful to take the edge off your coffee will not directly make cancer cells grow faster. But it’s still wise to keep an eye on how much you add to your diet. A lot of sugar on a regular basis can lead to obesity and other conditions that make cancer more likely. Eat More ProduceIf you eat more plant-based foods, you may lower your chances of getting breast cancer. Researchers say this strategy especially may help protect against the most aggressive types of tumours. Fruits and vegetables are also an important part of a diet that will help you control your weight, which is key for keeping breast cancer from coming back. Embrace Whole GrainsWhen you add unprocessed wheat, rye, oats, corn, bulgur, rice, and barley to your diet, you may be less likely to get breast cancer. These foods have nutrients called phytochemicals that may lower the chances it will return, too. They can also help protect against cardiovascular disease -- and survivors have higher odds, in part because some treatments can damage the heart. Is Alcohol Off-Limits?The link between booze and breast cancer is murky. Beer, wine, and liquor boost estrogen in the body, which raises concerns about tumours that are sensitive to that hormone. Some studies say that survivors who have more than one or two drinks a week are more likely to have cancer come back, while other research says moderate drinking may be good for you. The effects may be fairly small either way, so an occasional glass is not an issue. Is Organic Better?These foods are grown without pesticides or weedkillers. One highly publicized French study found a link between these products and lower cancer risk. But the issue is far from settled. The most important thing, scientists agree, is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and to wash them carefully to remove the residue of any chemicals. Facts About FatSome studies say it may play a role in the growth of breast tumours, but the research is far from clear. Your best bet is to limit saturated fats and trans fats -- which come in foods like beef, butter, cheese, ice cream, fried foods, and commercial baked goods. When it comes to protein, go for lean kinds, such as fish and chicken. Focus on FiberYou’ll get this naturally if you eat plenty of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. It’s good for your overall health, especially your blood sugar levels, heart, and digestive tract. Some studies have suggested this type of diet can lower your odds of breast cancer. In particular, it may help protect against an aggressive type of tumour. Vitamin DStudies show a link between low levels of this nutrient and higher chances of breast cancer. It may also play a role in the growth of tumours. Add it to your diet with salmon, oysters, herring, mackerel, and sardines. You can also look for milk, yogurt, and orange juice that have it added in. FlavonoidsThese chemicals, which you find in certain plants, are linked to lower breast cancer odds. The evidence is strongest for two specific types, flavonols and flavones, especially for women who are past menopause. You can find flavonols in onions, broccoli, and tea. Flavones come in parsley, celery, and drinks with chamomile. CarotenoidsThis is another type of phytochemicals in plant-based food linked to lower breast cancer risk. You can get it from orange, yellow, and dark green vegetables and fruits. Look to include more carrots, pumpkins, winter squash, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe in your diet. All nutrients should be in the form of food. Carotenoids in supplement form may be dangerous. Phenolic CompoundsStudies show these types of chemicals may lower your chances of breast cancer and in some cases slow tumour growth. Add more to your diet in the form of garlic, green tea, soybeans, and flaxseed. Fruits and vegetables that have them include broccoli, cabbage, tomato, eggplant, cucumber, and watermelon. Supplements to AvoidYou may be interested in natural remedies that claim to treat breast cancer and other health problems. But some have plant compounds you should avoid if you’ve had breast cancer. They include red clover, black cohosh, chaste berry, dong Quai, evening primrose, and licorice. You should not use any supplements if you have breast cancer unless your doctor says it is OK.Source: webmd.com
Breast cancer. Just reading those words can make many women worry. And that’s natural. Nearly everyone knows someone touched by the disease.But there is a lot of good news about breast cancer these days. Treatments keep getting better, and we know more than ever about ways to prevent the disease. These eight simple steps can help lower the risk of breast cancer. Not everyone applies to every woman, but together they can have a big impact.1. Keep Weight in CheckIt’s easy to tune out because it gets said so often, but maintaining a healthy weight is an important goal for everyone. Being overweight can increase the risk of many different cancers, including breast cancer, especially after menopause.2. Be Physically ActiveExercise is as close to a silver bullet for good health as there is, and women who are physically active for at least 30 minutes a day have a lower risk of breast cancer. Regular exercise is also one of the best ways to help keep weight in check.3. Eat Your Fruits & Vegetables – and Avoid Too Much AlcoholA healthy diet can help lower the risk of breast cancer. Try to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and keep alcohol at moderate levels or lower (a drink a day or under). While moderate drinking can be good for the heart in older adults, even low levels of intake can increase the risk of breast cancer. If you don’t drink, don’t feel you need to start. If you drink moderately, there’s likely no reason to stop. But, if you drink more, you should cut down or quit.4. Don’t SmokeSmokers and non-smokers alike know how unhealthy smoking is. On top of lowering quality of life and increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and at least 15 cancers – including breast cancer – it also causes smelly breath, bad teeth, and wrinkles. Now that’s motivation to stay smoke-free or work to get smoke-free.5. Breastfeed, If PossibleBreastfeeding for a total of one year or more (combined for all children) lowers the risk of breast cancer. It also has great health benefits for the child.6. Avoid Birth Control Pills, Particularly After Age 35 or If You SmokeBirth control pills have both risks and benefits. The younger a woman is, the lower the risks are. While women are taking birth control pills, they have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. This risk goes away quickly, though, after stopping the pill. The risk of stroke and heart attack is also increased while on the pill – particularly if a woman smokes. However, long-term use can also have important benefits, like lowering the risk of ovarian cancer, colon cancer and uterine cancer – not to mention unwanted pregnancy – so there’s also a lot in its favour. If you’re very concerned about breast cancer, avoiding birth control pills is one option to lower risk.7. Avoid Post-Menopausal HormonesPost-menopausal hormones shouldn’t be taken long term to prevent chronic diseases, like osteoporosis and heart disease. Studies show they have a mixed effect on health, increasing the risk of some diseases and lowering the risk of others, and both estrogen only hormones and estrogen-plus-progestin hormones increase the risk of breast cancer. If women do take post-menopausal hormones, it should be for the shortest time possible. The best person to talk to about the risks and benefits of post-menopausal hormones is your doctor.8. Tamoxifen and Raloxifene for Women at High RiskAlthough not commonly thought of as a “healthy behaviour,” taking the prescription drugs tamoxifen and raloxifene can significantly lower the risk of breast cancer in women at high risk of the disease.Approved by the FDA for breast cancer prevention, these powerful drugs can have side effects, so they aren’t right for everyone. If you think you’re at high risk, talk to your doctor to see if tamoxifen or raloxifene may be right for you.Find Out Your Family HistoryWomen with a strong family history of cancer can take special steps to protect themselves, so it’s important for women to know their family history. You may be at high risk of breast cancer if you have a mother or sister who developed breast or ovarian cancer (especially at an early age) or if you have multiple family members (including males) who developed breast, ovarian or prostate cancer. A doctor or genetic counsellor can help you understand your family history of the disease.Don’t Forget ScreeningDespite some controversy, studies show that breast cancer screening with mammography saves lives. It doesn’t help prevent cancer, but it can help find cancer early when it’s most treatable. For most women, regular mammograms can begin at age 40, but specific recommendations vary by age and risk.If you are age 40 – 44:You can choose to begin yearly mammograms. It is important to talk to a doctor about the risk and benefits of mammograms at these ages.If you are age 45 – 54:Mammograms are recommended every year.If you are age 55 or over:Mammograms are recommended every other year. You can choose to continue to have them every year.Clinical breast exams and self-exams are not recommended. But you should be familiar with your breasts and tell a health care provider right away if you notice any changes in how your breasts look or feel.Other Important Risk Factors for Breast CancerUnfortunately, there are also a number of important breast cancer risk factors that women have no control over. Knowing which ones apply to you can help you understand your risk and do what you can to lower it. If you feel you’re at high risk, talk to a doctor or other health professional. These can increase a woman’s breast cancer risk: Older age, especially 60 years or over Family history of breast cancer First menstrual period (menarche) before age 12 Menopause at age 55 or over First childbirth after age 35 No children Tall height (5’8” or taller) Dense breasts History of benign breast disease (like atypical hyperplasia
Love is a wonderful feeling. It inspires us to become the best that we can be. It allows us to see the good out of the bad, and at the same time, it teaches us to value the littlest things in life. But at the same time, being in love can cause us pain, and each of us, at some point, has already experienced this. Unfortunately, this kind of pain is inevitable.The moment you say I love you with all of your heart and soul, you have to be willing to take risks. You’re essentially giving away a piece of yourself. You can’t take it back.Loving someone and expecting to be loved in return is a risk many people are afraid of taking. They don’t want to lose their independence or autonomy. And that’s okay.The real problem arises when you tell someone you love them, give all of yourself, not once but repeatedly, yet never get the same in return.What gives us away is this innate desire to receive love from another person as much as we wish to bestow our own upon them.So, we’re getting hurt because we love too much and not enough.Love should be an investment that brings rewards to you both. It should deepen the bond between you without making it harder for either of you to walk away.Love must be a choice based on unconditional commitment and respect. It has to be equal in value to what each party contributes. If this is what you are seeking from someone else, go ahead and give them a chance if they show signs of giving back equally as much.But, don’t stay with someone just so they won’t leave you eventually; that isn’t love.Love is meant to come without pain. It’s supposed to be selfless and free of fear. Love isn’t looking for the right person or the perfect relationship, it just doesn’t hurt.You deserve to experience that great feeling of love that comes with growth as individuals and mutual satisfaction in a relationship with another person who loves you too!Why does love bring so much pain? love is pain.But why is it so painful to be in love? Here are the reasons that you may want to ponder:1. We tend to expectations when in love.When we are in love, all we can see are beautiful things. We yearn for sweetness and affection. We also look for the tangible ways in which our feelings can be represented. Because of these cravings, we tend to set expectations on how love can be exercised, and we end up getting hurt whenever these are not met.Indeed, feeling frustrated is normal, but there is no need to wallow in the pain brought by failed expectations. The most beautiful thing when in love is when we finally learn to rise from our failures and enjoy what we have and what we don’t have. This is because love comes in different forms and ideas, and it is up to us how to interpret it to keep us happy and content.2. We feel hurt when we are not loved back.Another reason why being in love can be so painful is because we also expect to be loved back.According to a popular saying, the greatest form of love is the one that is unrequited. And more often than not, we fall in love with someone who just couldn’t love us back the way we want them to. This is can be very painful, mainly because this blocks you from doing expressing your feelings for that person. Worse, you do not get the same kind of love from that person in return.Whenever you fall into such a state, it is best to keep in mind that true love is one that does not ask for anything in return. True love allows you to be happy and content with what you can give despite the limitations, and not demand anything else. 3. We start to feel the pain when we realize that we are tired of giving.Love makes us selfless. It drives us to give everything, such as patience, effort, and respect. But as we go along with the flow of loving someone, there are also instances when we start to feel tired of our actions. There are even times when we already feel numb, mainly because we have given all we’ve got just to make things work.But the pain of being tired doesn’t mean that we have to give up on love. Perhaps it is just a phase where we have to learn to take a step back and rest. When we give too much of ourselves, we also start to lose ourselves in the process. And feeling tired means that we need to give ourselves the time and space to breathe so that we can rejuvenate the love that we’ve been fighting for all this time.4. We feel pain when we do not feel comfort from our significant other.We also tend to experience pain even when the person we love reciprocated our feelings. This occurs when we do not feel the comfort and contentment of the other party. While this can be easily addressed, not doing so may lead to other problems and even irreparable damage.The reason behind this may be because as two different individuals, you and your partner have different concepts of love and how to express it. You may be yearning for sweetness and affection, while they are into the more practical aspects of love and relationships. You two may want to sit down on this and talk things over so that you can find a common ground and express your feelings for each other in a rather complementary manner.5. Love becomes painful when you try to win in arguments.Love, while it makes us happy and contented, also drives us to be greedy and selfish. There are many instances when we fight against our significant other because we want to get something, and we do our best to win in the argument. When we start to think only of ourselves and what we are getting, then we get hurt each time we fail in these petty fights.Love is not only about getting, or only about giving. It is a two-way street where you give and take. This means you have to understand your partner and vice versa. You give way whenever necessary, take whatever is there without causing each other pain. 6. Love becomes painful once you lose it.As much as we’d like to think that being in love is forever, it is not. Lasting relationships are not only made of love per se but of commitment and compromise. Staying true to these decisions are the things that usually keep us hanging on, no matter how hard the situation becomes in the long run.However, love causes us the most pain once we lose it. This is when our partner gives up and no longer wishes to continue living with us. This is especially harrowing when we have not yet given up yet when we are still inspired to celebrate this love, but the person we should be celebrating this feeling with is no longer there.We are entitled to grieve whenever we experience this kind of pain. But along the grief, we should also learn to accept and rise up again, because life continues even as love fades. We do not know what the future has in store, thus we have to prepare for it after going through the pain that this love had caused.It may also help to keep in mind that being in love doesn’t mean you have to give everything to your chosen recipient; it’s better to leave some for yourself, as this is the love that will heal you of all the pain you will encounter. This will also be the cure to grief and will be the only kind of love that will allow you to face life as a stronger and better person.Source: https://inspiringtips.com
How to Manage Being Jealous and Insecure In a Relationship
It’s alright to feel jealous, especially if you have reasons to feel that way.However, too much of anything is bad. While a bit of jealousy can spice up your relationship, a more serious one can cause a series of misunderstandings, fights, and frustrations.What does jealousy feel like?When you feel jealous about your partner, it can really impact your relationship. If you often feel threatened by your partner’s relationships with other people, this is called jealousy.It’s normal to feel insecure sometimes, but it could be jealousy when insecurity starts to get in the way of your life and how you see yourself.You might find it hard to even be around other people because of your fear that they will take away what little you have left.Jealousy has many forms, from feeling anxious every time your partner spends time with someone else to obsessively checking their phone or social media accounts.The step for getting rid of any feeling begins by recognizing what you feel and why you feel it.Why am I so jealous and insecure?It’s normal to feel jealous sometimes, especially when you’re just getting into a relationship.However, if you feel vulnerable and out of control in your relationship because of jealousy, there are ways to change this.Jealousy is caused by the fear of losing something very important, whether a partner or even a friendship. Maybe you’ve been betrayed in the past, and this feeling still haunts you.For one thing, it can make you insecure about your own self-esteem.Self-esteem is the level of respect and confidence in your abilities, and it is one of the most valuable things in life.Having healthy self-esteem will help you to be confident about yourself no matter what people say or think. On the other hand, low self-esteem can lead to emotions such as jealousy and betrayal because you’re not sure about how worthy you really are.If your low self-esteem leads you to feel that you do not deserve love or affection, you’ll end up feeling jealous when your partner is kind to someone else.You might become suspicious, aggressive, or even manipulative to get them back. This will only push people away from you and make the situation worse.The way to change this behavior starts with changing how you feel about yourself.The number one thing you should do to get rid of your jealousy is to improve your self-esteem.It’s a long process, but it’s worth working on.9 Signs of Jealousy in a RelationshipSometimes, it is cute to see your partner jealous. This could make you feel truly loved and wanted like this person is afraid to lose you. Who does not want to feel this way?However, too much or constant jealousy is far from being healthy in a relationship. It reveals insecurity on the part of the jealous person. It may seem romantic for a while, but wanting to be together all the time—like your world only revolves around each other—could become toxic in the long run.Now, how can you determine if your partner is unhealthily jealous? Or let us make this more personal. Evaluating yourself against these obvious signs, do you think your jealousy for your partner is still normal?1. You want to be with your partner 24/7.Yes, it is normal to miss your boyfriend/girlfriend whenever you are not together, especially if you are used to being around each other. However, it is a different thing if you want your partner to yourself alone like you do not want him/her to have a life outside of your relationship.Your love for your partner is selfish if you would not want him/her to explore just because you are afraid of losing the person. True love sets a person free to find himself/herself. Allow your boyfriend/girlfriend to pursue dreams and meet new people. If in the end s/he still stays with you, then you would have proven his/her love for you.2. You always check on him/her every minute you are not together.Calling or messaging your partner all the time whenever you are not together is another sign of unhealthy jealousy. If you are always getting paranoid about what s/he is up to every time s/he is out of your sight, then it means you do not really trust him/her. Indeed, this is very unhealthy because it causes you anxiety.If you are always asking for details about the whereabouts and activities of your partner, the time might come that s/he would get tired of it. In the end, it would be your fault why s/he would choose to walk away.3. S/he is not allowed to go out with friends.If you do not like your partner seeing his/her friends for the fear of him/her enjoying with someone else, then you are crazily jealous.You would not want to give up your friends just because your boyfriend/girlfriend said so, right? Surely, you would feel bad if you would not be allowed to see your friends anymore, especially when you know there is nothing wrong with your friendship.4. You do not want him/her to talk with the opposite sex.Just so you know, your partner would forever be surrounded by people from the opposite sex, unless you keep him/her in a box. You cannot stop him/her from meeting new people, working with them, or being friends with them. It would also be unhealthy for your partner to avoid the opposite sex.If just seeing your boyfriend/girlfriend talking with someone from the opposite sex could already enrage you, then it is time to assess yourself. Do you consider it healthy?5. You monitor his/her social media activities.Yes, it is fine if you and your partner share passwords to your social media account for transparency. However, what is not good is if you are secretly monitoring your partner’s social media activities, including whom s/he follows, the posts s/he reacts or comments to, or his/her recent searches.If you are doing this, then let me tell you that paranoia is overcoming you. You should stop doing this because it is filling your mind with doubts, suspicions, and malice. This would not keep your relationship working for long.6. You stalk everyone who reacts or comments on your partner’s posts.Just like in the previous number, this is a sign of paranoia too. If you are stalking every person who reacts or comments on your boyfriend/girlfriend’s post, it means you are convincing yourself that you are being cheated on. It would keep you suspicious of everyone your partner comes in contact with.Yeah, it would be great if you have amazing detective skills that would keep you from being hurt. However, what if your partner is actually faithful to you? Then, you are only wasting your energy on nothing.7. You always accuse him/her of cheating, If you cannot resist the urge of accusing your partner of infidelity, then it shows how jealous you are. You cannot call your relationship healthy if you always doubt the faithfulness of your boyfriend/girlfriend.Mistrust is an indication of a shaky relationship. As they say, love cannot exist where there is no trust. So, if you cannot trust your partner, you have to ask yourself if you still want to stay in your relationship.8. S/he is not allowed to go somewhere or do something fun without you.Your jealousy is so obvious if you cannot let your partner enjoy without you. This shows your own insecurity—your lack of confidence that you are fun to be with. For this reason, you are afraid that your partner would be so happy somewhere else, apart from you, that s/he would not come back.This problem is from the inside, and more than ruining your relationship, it could completely destroy your self-esteem. It is best if you resolve this within yourself first before it could manifest in your relationship.9. You always ask your partner’s whereabouts and who s/he is with.Do you feel uneasy whenever your partner is out of sight? If you often require that s/he updates you of where s/he is and who his/her companions are, then you are a very jealous person. Worse is when you demand that s/he sends you photos of his/her environment and companions.
Love and Sexual Health: 15 Signs Your Crush Likes You
Are you trying hard to find out whether your crush likes you too? Are you confused whether his/her actions towards you mean anything or you only overanalyze?To help you resolve your inner conflict, and so you would know if it is time to forget about your feelings for him/her, here are 15 signs that show a person’s interest in you. Find them out and use them to assess your crush’s behaviors.1. Steals glances at youThis is probably one of the most obvious clues that someone is into you. If you have caught your crush staring at you not just once or twice, then maybe those were not coincidences. Just keep observing if this will happen again.2. Sends and responds with long messagesIf you happen to have communication with your crushes like thru phone or social media, observe how long his/her usual messages to you are. If oftentimes s/he sends lengthy messages even when responding to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question, then it means s/he wants to keep your conversation going.3. Interested to know more about youIn a normal friendship or acquaintance setup, a person would not be too eager to know trivial information about you like the name of your pet and your favorite color. If your crush keeps on asking you such questions, then probably s/he is researching about your life.4. Knows details you never told him/herIf your crush surprisingly knows your birthday or your middle name even if you never mentioned them to him/her, then probably s/he is doing research about you. This means only one thing—s/he is interested in you. It is quite flattering, right?5. Notices even small details about youThis is connected to #3. If your crush is interested to know everything about you, then expect that s/he is observant even to the tiny details of your being. For instance, s/he would ask you how you got the scar on your hand, or comment on your handwriting.6. Appreciates you even in little thingsIf your crush is too grateful to you even just for passing on the tray of cookies or picking up his/her pen, then it could be a sign—unless s/he normally do it with everyone else. Furthermore, a person who likes you appreciate or praise you for almost anything like your haircut, being an early bird, or how you dress up.7. Always willing to help youThe person who eagerly offers you help for just anything may actually like you. So, if your crush is always available to lend you a hand whenever you need it, then there could be a chance that s/he is trying to be impressive.8. Can stand long conversations with youYou have to wonder if your crush keeps on engaging in long talks with you. Normally, unless you are BFF’s with the person, you would not waste hours of idle conversation with an ordinary friend. A fifteen to thirty-minute chitchat is long enough, but how about an hour or two of an unplanned sitting on the bench together and talking about anything under the sun?9. Asks for your contact detailsWhen a person asks for your mobile number and asks permission to add you on Facebook or Instagram, it does not automatically mean s/he likes you. However, this should be on your checklist, because the person who likes you would eventually do this. If this person asks for these details after a long time of being casual or friends with you, then it could be that s/he had to gather enough guts to finally do it. It is normal and easy for new friends to do this, but it is a bit weird if you have known each other for quite a while already.10. Responds to invitationsAnother behavior of a person who likes you is his/her automatic willingness to join you or your cause. In case you invite him/her to volunteer in a socio-civic organization, then s/he would not say ‘no’. If you invite him/her for dinner to discuss a business proposal, you would get an excited, positive response, even if the person is actually not business-minded.11. Shares secrets with youIf your crush comfortably shares secrets with you even if you are not best friends, then it could be a sign that s/he likes you. This behavior could mean that s/he wants to open up about his/her life with you because s/he wants to get your acceptance and trust.12. Unusually presentable when s/he knows you would be aroundWhen you like someone and you know you would meet him/her, you exert greater effort to make yourself attractive, right? That is the same as the person who likes you. So, if you notice that your crush looks unusually more decent during expected meetups than when you only accidentally bump into each other, then s/he is probably trying to catch your eye.13. Finds ways to be near you alwaysIf you notice that, even without you making an effort, you always end up in one group with or sitting beside your crush, then it is either the work of destiny or your crush. Just observe how your crush behaves whenever you are around. Does s/he pass by in front of you all the time or approach a friend who is in close proximity with you? Is it just coincidence and timing?14. Becomes awkward, timid, or hyper when you are aroundHow do you feel whenever your crush is nearby? Usually, it is either you tense up and become conscious of yourself or you get too excited and happy to the point that you overact. If your crush likes you too, then it is expected for him/her to feel the same. You can try to observe his/her behaviors in different situations: when you are around and not. You can ask for help from friends for this mission.15. Changes mood when you hang out with someone elseHow does your crush react whenever s/he sees you in deep conversation or walking side by side with someone else from the opposite sex? If you notice that every time this happens s/he becomes unusually gloomy, then maybe it is because of you. Other signs of jealousy are when s/he interrupts or joins you; passes by in front of you several times, or walks out or leaves the place.Physical Signs Your Crush Likes you1. Pupils dilate when they look at you2. Smiles more at you than at others3. Blushing and flushed skin when around you4. His Voice Deepens When He’s Talk to You5. His body language is open to you6. Leaning closer to you7. Mirroring your behavior8. His body temperature Increase9. Keeps glancing at you even if nothing is interesting to see10. They Aren’t Blinking As Often11. They Angle Their Bellybutton Towards You12. He has clammy hands.13. His eyebrows raise when he sees you14. He points his toes toward you
Many are confused between love and crush. Some believe they are in love because of the butterflies in their stomach whenever they see the one they like. However, after a few months, they find out that the feeling is gone, especially after being with the person regularly. Therefore, they conclude that it was only a mere crush all along.However, is it possible for a crush to turn into love? If yes, how can it happen?Typically, love starts with attraction, and crushing on someone is basically being attracted to a person. Therefore, having a crush on somebody can be your first step in finding out if you can love the person.Here are some of the ways through which your crush for a person can evolve into love:1. You get to know the person better.You cannot say you love a person unless you know them too well and still accept them for who they are. Many people outgrow their feelings after getting to know their crushes better. They discover some traits that they find unattractive. Or they soon realize that there is no spark between them.However, upon spending more time with a person and seeing more of their interesting personality, one can either like that individual more or get turned off. If you still find your crush attractive even after seeing more of their character, there is a chance your feeling can turn into real love.2. Your friendship grows over time.Friendship grows between two people with constant communication and time. They begin to depend on each other for various things. Also, they get to know each person more and learn to put up with each other’s flaws. Therefore, friendship is a great avenue for growing love.If you find your crush as a good friend, there is a big possibility that you can see the person as a potentially good partner too. Unless you discover something that makes you realize you are better off as friends, your feelings can grow together with time.3. You find out that you have compatible traits. Compatibility between partners is necessary to make a relationship work. Their strengths and weaknesses should complement each other’s. Moreover, their personalities must not clash, or the relationship would be chaotic because of fights. Irreconcilable differences are among the top reasons why a couple breaks apart.Once you realize that you and your crush have compatible personalities and attitudes, your brain will tell you to keep liking that person. Eventually, your attraction to your crush can grow into love, especially if you are always together.4. You realize that the person is also fond of you.Crushing on someone can give a person that addicting giddiness, but discovering that the feeling is mutual is ecstatic. It reinforces the attraction that one has for their crush. Soon, they may find themselves embarking on an exciting love story.Once you find out that your crush also likes you, expect that you will be drawn closer to that person. It becomes more special when you start exchanging ‘friendly’ messages and stolen glances. Unless something ends your connection, you may find dating each other soon.5. You see that your crush can help you grow as a person.Another reason a person will keep liking their crush is the positive effect from the attraction or friendship. Most people consider their crushes as their inspiration. The more their crushes motivate them to be better versions of themselves, the more the feeling will linger.If your crush has been helping you grow and become a better person for a long time now, you cannot help but be thankful to the person. That sense of gratitude will attach you more to your crush. As you continue to see how that individual keeps you heading in the right direction, your feelings may eventually get more serious.6. You feel special and cared for when you are together. Is your crush a caring person? Everyone admires kind people who take care of those around them. Having a crush like this makes it harder for someone to let go of their attraction. Every time their crush treats them kindly, they become hopeful that the feeling between them can be mutual.If your crush is caring and sweet towards you, your feeling for that person will keep on growing. How you are treated will make you feel special unless you realize that the individual treats everyone the same.7. You develop mutual trust. One of the dreams of everyone who has a crush is to be the confidante of the person they like. They long to be that someone their crush trusts so much that they share their innermost thoughts and secrets with them.Have you and your crush been talking about personal issues? Do you share your secrets? If this is the level of your relationship, then you have reached a level of mutual trust. Deep inside, you know that your feeling for your crush has gone to a more intimate level as well.8. You become closely attached. Aside from mutual trust, constant bonding and other activities can help a person become closer to their crush. The attachment can make it harder for feelings to go away. Just like how close friends will feel lonely and miss each other when separated, a person will find it hard to stay away from their crush too.Once you get close to your crush, you will be attached to that person. Being close means you have known that person better, and you can accept them for what they are. The attachment will make you care and long for that individual more than ever before.9. You feel comfortable and happy around the person. It is easy to love a person who makes you happy, right? For this reason, most people grow naturally in love with someone who can make them feel happy, especially if they can be comfortable around that individual.How can you not love your crush if you can be yourself and be genuinely happy whenever that person is around? It is not surprising if you already feel more than attraction for that individual by now.10. You can see yourself growing old with that individual.It is easy to admire and have a crush on someone. In fact, most people have multiple crushes at the same time. However, not all of these are serious, and some may not even fit their ideal partners.If you can imagine yourself building a family and growing old with your crush, then you may be ready to grow in love with that person.Just Wait and SeeLove is not something you rush. It is something that you allow to bloom in its own time. Therefore, enjoy this season when you have this crush who can make you smile and shriek in delight. If that person is the right one, time will make it happen.Even if you and your crush share a special understanding, it does not guarantee a happy-ever-after love story. For this reason, you should not rush love. Instead, let your friendship and trust for each other grow. Also, make sure to get to know each other well before committing to a relationship.Source: inspiringtips.com
Love and Sexual Health: 5 potential benefits of utilising marriage counselling
Marriage is an important phase in everyone’s life, but maintaining a healthy one isn’t an easy feat.Regardless of how long that you’ve known your spouse or how much you love each other, there will always be conflict and arguments.If you find that your marriage is stressful and unhealthy, you can seek counselling to improve relationships; marriage counsellors are trained to dissect common issues faced by married couples, and to help them resolve these in a healthy and effective manner.To paint a clearer picture of how beneficial marriage counselling is, take note of the following:1. Learn how to resolve conflict in a healthy mannerConflict is a natural part of marriage, but not knowing how to resolve it can eventually cause severe stress to the parties involved.In fact, unresolved conflicts can cause bigger problems in the marriage – problems that could trigger a spouse to file for divorce or become unfaithful.One of the benefits that you and your spouse can experience when the two of you utilise marriage counselling is being able to resolve conflicts in a healthy manner. A marriage counsellor will equip you with effective communication skills to help you hear your spouse and actually listen to what they’re saying.Moreover, a marriage counsellor will teach you essential skills that’ll help you to mediate conflict and become more self-aware.2. Counselling teaches you to communicate more effectivelyCommunication is key in every relationship.Your marriage won’t prosper if you or your spouse don’t know how to communicate properly. The number of years for which the two of you have been together isn’t an assurance that you can instantly determine what they’re thinking about and vice versa.Marriage counselling is a great platform to teach you and your spouse to communicate effectively. Through a marriage counsellor, the two of you will learn how to voice your needs openly and clearly so that you both feel heard and valued.3. Counselling helps you see from another perspectiveOne of the reasons why married couples argue about the same issues over and over again is because the two of them bring the same perspectives back to the argument.People often see situations from their own points of view and refuse to accept other people’s opinions, which is why they wind up in the same situations or arguments.When you start applying what you’ve learned in marriage counselling, you’ll notice a drop in frequency of arguments, as the counsellor will help you to navigate your spouse’s emotions and thought processes, and vice versa.Having a third party will enable you to see other perspectives, because it helps you to understand how your spouse views the marriage and its problems.4. Counselling works as a safe spaceUsually, people run to their friends and family whenever they’re fighting with their spouse. Your social circle will always have your back, but often, they’ll take your side even when you’re wrong.Having people who’ll listen as you air out your frustrations can prevent you from burning out, but this doesn’t guarantee that it’s beneficial for the marriage in the long run.Marriage counselling functions as a safe place because the counsellor won’t choose either side. What they’ll try to do is illuminate both sides of the situation, and hear both parties without judgement.You can think of a marriage counsellor as a neutral third party, who presents facts about the marriage without bias, as they’re loyal to neither you nor your spouse.5. Counselling restores intimacyIntimacy is important in a marriage because it allows the couple to feel safe and connected, and creates a positive cycle that can strengthen the relationship.However, for couples who’ve been married for decades, physical and emotional intimacy might be lost. This is especially true for married couples juggling several responsibilities such as work and kids.Another benefit that you can enjoy from marriage counselling is being able to restore the intimacy in your relationship.A marriage counsellor will guide you and your spouse in revealing underlying issues that have caused a loss of intimacy, and implement techniques that can restore intimacy in the marriage.Choose carefullyMarriage counselling is necessary for many couples, so expect to find several professionals who offer this service. You’ll be surprised at the number of options available when you do a quick search online, or ask your married friends for recommendations.When choosing a marriage counsellor, make sure to work with someone who shares the same values as you and your spouse and has a proven track record in the industry.Working with a marriage counsellor who possesses these qualities will allow you to get better results from the service.Sources: shedefined.com.au
Wanting to be liked and accepted is intrinsic to human nature; our ancestors relied on the safety of belonging to a group in order to survive the harsh elements and dangerous predators.While modern technology has made it much easier to survive independently of others, this primal instinct to find our tribe can help explain why social rejection activates a similar neurological response to physical pain.The concept of having a singular ‘best friend’ is pervasive in our Western culture, including thousands of films and television shows centred on the adventures of two inseparable pals who always stick together.I’ve always been a bit of a social drifter, and while I have had lasting, close friendships, I have never had a single, lifelong bestie.I spoke to Amy Rogers*, a social worker and somatic therapist with 20 years’ experience in the community sector, about the ‘myth of the BFF’, and whether you really need a best friend to be happy and socially fulfilled.The perks of having a bestieHaving a reliable best friend can be incredibly validating, reassuring and fulfilling, bolstering one’s sense of safety and security.Having close and healthy platonic friendships can also cultivate a sense of comfort from which to build and nurture other relationships.Some women even choose to settle down with a best friend as their ‘life partner’ rather than pursuing marriage or romantic love.The mutual support that many women find in platonic relationships can be just as satisfying and, in some cases, even more intimate than with a romantic partner.“Social connection is important to humans, and in particular the quality of ‘intimacy’ has at times had high value,” explained Rogers.“Research shows us that, broadly speaking, connection heals and the isolation of disconnection harms. However, when it comes to valuing certain forms of connection over others, for example the ‘BFF’ dynamic, we need to consider the drivers and consequences of this social dream.”While having supportive friends sustains emotional and psychological wellbeing and resilience by meeting core human needs like safety, satisfaction, and connection, Rogers said placing rigid ideals on what that social support looks like comes with risks.“In my work I regularly speak with people harbouring painful, self-destructive, negative thoughts from comparing themselves to what appears to be ‘normal’, without recognising it is simply a socially constructed image propagated by society,” she said.“The reality of conforming to the best friend norm is not possible, accessible, or does not hold value for some individuals or groups.”Is the myth of the BFF harmful?While meaningful connection is undeniably positive, the idea of a singular best friend implies some level of exclusivity and an expectation to prioritise this friendship above other people or commitments in your life.This can lead people to neglect or miss out on other, equally important relationships, or undervalue connections that aren’t at the level of the romanticised bestie.“Exclusivity is controlling by its nature. In a relationship, exclusivity draws a boundary around two people, which can be dangerous when it is used to manipulate, dominate, control, or isolate someone, or when the bond is hijacked by co-dependency,” said Rogers.“I believe life is a wonderfully rich and vast adventure and that life gains richness from having a multitude of connections with different people.”Putting all your friendship eggs in one basket also puts one at risk of isolation if that relationship breaks down, shifts, or becomes unhealthy.Undying, unconditional loyalty to a person can even lead to becoming trapped in a toxic friendship, losing touch with your own needs, or limiting your opportunities for personal development out of fear of ‘growing apart’.Concerningly, the social expectation for women to have vibrant, active social lives, or an intensely close best friend, can damage self-esteem and perpetuate feelings of inadequacy that then make forming new connections more difficult.Rogers works with people who have had traumatic interpersonal experiences and believes that social disconnection and friendship needs to be treated with more sensitivity, and acknowledgement of contextual influences like attachment trauma, oppression, discrimination, and other systemic issues that make forming friendships difficult.Failing to do so feeds a harmful and false narrative that something must be ‘wrong’ with those lacking in close social bonds.“There is great pain in this theme for many individuals and in view of this, the concept of a BFF feels quite utopian and harmful as a discursive category of haves and have-nots,” she explained.“In my work with survivors of sexual trauma, examples of horrendous, covert and insidious victim-blaming are rife, and people internalise this and come to believe they are unworthy of love, friendship and joy.”Friendship and connection have no right and wrongHaving a best friend has potential risks and benefits, so it really comes down to your personal preferences, boundaries, and what you value in a relationship.If you value freedom and variety, perhaps a multitude of diverse relationships will feel more satisfying to you.If you feel safer and more fulfilled by a singular or small group of close friends, the intimacy of a lifelong bestie might better meet your needs.There is no definitive, one-size-fits-all outline of what makes a special or worthy friendship.If your relationships are mutually enjoyable, respectful, and meet your social support needs, there is no reason to feel badly if you don’t have a best friend, or if your version of companionship looks different than what you’ve seen in films or on your social media feed.Evolutionary psychological studies suggest that life satisfaction and happiness is influenced by the quality and satisfaction with one’s friendships, rather than the number of social connections.It ultimately comes down to what feels right for you.Freeing yourself from expectation or judgement about what your social life looks like in comparison to others is the first step to creating friendships that make you feel supported, happy, and able to live your life to the fullest.Source: Emma Lennon
Why setting boundaries is the secret to better relationships
Boundaries create intimacy.Say what, now?I’ve been working on my ‘stuff’ for over a decade, and I still find the idea that you need to have good boundaries in order to be truly intimate kind of mind-blowing.Maybe you relate to this (many women do): I used to think that boundaries were the total opposite of intimacy. That by having clear, firm boundaries, I’d be putting up a barrier that would stop someone – usually a partner – from getting close to me.Turns out, the opposite is true. Here’s why.Good boundaries mean you know who you areI thought that for someone to love me, desire me, value me, and just want to be with me, that I had to be who they wanted me to be, do what they wanted me to do, think the way they thought. On a date, in bed, over text message. Anywhere.Turns out, that led to some not-so-fun dates and not-so-enjoyable sex. I wasn’t telling these guys what I liked, what I wanted, what was and wasn’t okay for me. I wasn’t making my boundaries clear, because I didn’t even know what they were.To have good boundaries, you have to know yourself. You have to know what you like and don’t like in your relationships. You have to work out what feels okay for you – honestly, truthfully, and authentically – whether the other person still approves of you or not.And then you have to be courageous enough to be true to those boundaries, and communicate them, as often as you can.Being who you really are means others can love you for youHere’s the awesome thing that happens when your boundaries are rock-solid: you give someone else the chance to fall wildly in love with you for exactly who you are.There’s a really cheesy saying about intimacy: that when you pull apart the word, it reads ‘in-to-me-see’. That’s exactly what communicating your boundaries allows – the opportunity for someone to see you fully, exactly as you are.You can create relationships based on an inauthentic, boundary-less version of yourself, for sure. But they won’t feel good, or happy, or easy, because you’ll be showing up in that relationship as someone that you’re not. And that is exhausting. Trust me, I did it for years, I know!But by working out your boundaries, and communicating them with a partner, you are showing yourself fully and truthfully to another person.That’s true intimacy. And it’s a beautiful thing.Here are three tips to help you work out your boundaries and create deeper intimacy with the people you love:1. Think back to your last date or your most recent hook-upWhich parts of it felt great to you? And which parts didn’t feel so good?If anything comes up that didn’t feel right to you, see if there’s a boundary in there that someone else overstepped. For example, maybe kissing on a first date isn’t okay for you?Forget about what other people might think of it, or whether it’s ‘cool’ to feel that way or not. If it’s true for you, that’s what matters.2. Other people won’t know what’s okay for you if you don’t tell themSo, start practising setting boundaries.Start small. Is there something minor that’s not feeling okay for you at work or in a friendship, perhaps?For example, I have a boundary around not replying to work emails after 6pm as I’m with my family. So I tell people they can email if they want, but I won’t get back to them until the next day.3. Every time you set a boundary, reassure yourselfWorking out your boundaries and telling other people about them can feel really uncomfortable, especially if other people don’t like that you’ve set them.So each time you set or hold a boundary, especially one that feels uncomfortable or gets an unhappy reaction, affirm yourself.Tell yourself it is okay to have boundaries and to ask others to respect them. Remind yourself that even if others don’t like your boundaries, it is still okay for you to set them. Source:This article was written by Nikki Allen and originally published on A Girl In Progress.
Even if you feel like you’ve won the career jackpot where you’re excited to go to work every day, tackling new projects and deadlines with vigour, very few people can feel completely fulfilled by their jobs.It takes more than success to reach contentment, making interpersonal relationships and friendships another non-negotiable facet of your life.But giving your best both at work and in love? It’s a tough task for most people, hence why work-life balance continues to be a pressing topic for many professionals.While it’s difficult to ever reach nirvana on this lifelong seesaw, if you find the majority of your stress derives from your relationship, the remnants of arguments might wreak havoc on your office performance.While only you can determine if your romantic life is truly interfering with your ability to scale upwards in your industry, these warning signals are ones to heed with major caution.Here are some warning signs that your partner may not be as supportive of your career as you’d like them to be.1. They don’t support you emotionallyThough everyone goes through periods where they’re not their best self — after family trauma or drama, woes with friends and the list goes on — seeing the glass half-full is a quality we should all strive for.If you consider yourself a mostly positive, empowered, and resilient human, while your partner tends to be dismissive and sour on most topics, their energy could be following you everywhere you go, including the office.After all, as brand and career coach Colleen Star Koch explains, the company we keep speaks volumes about our state of mind and our personality.Because we all need an emotional backbone to keep us sane, if your home life is hectic, it can be tough to leave the chaos at the door when you clock in with your boss in the morning.“The people that we spend the most time with have an enormous impact on our identities, period,” Koch said.“No matter how smart, talented, and fabulous you are, a romantic partner who isn’t a good match has the potential to be the single determining factor in whether or not you’re successful in your career.”2. They don’t agree with your meaning of ‘quality of life’Consider your friend group from college: While some married as soon as their diploma was in their hand, others waited a decade and travelled the world instead, collecting passport stamps instead of stroller seats.While most people land somewhere in the middle of being nomadic and growing roots, Koch said choosing a partner who values and desires the same quality of life as you do will ensure your happiness post-working hours.“For one partner, quality of life might mean ample time off to spend with your partner, adventuring around the city, and having time to spend on personal growth. If the other partner in the relationship equates ‘quality of life’ with ‘financial security’, and becomes a workaholic as a result — you have a problem,” she said.To figure out if you’re both speeding toward the same endgame, Koch recommends having a brainstorming session together where you envision what an ideal life would look like — from how you both excel in your respective job titles to how you’d like to spend your vacations and weekends and beyond.“This is where you can discuss where you have differing ideas and consider attending a facilitated core values workshop to help you understand what is fundamentally important to you both,” Koch said.3. They don’t support you at homeWhile Koch said this all-too-common occurrence – also known as mental load – primarily impacts women, who are balancing their maternal and professional timetables, men can also feel the brunt, too.What it boils down to is how active your partner is within the duties of your home.When there isn’t an effective balance and one person is spending more time cleaning, tending to children, and running errands, they’ll ultimately feel run down and exhausted, leading to a poor work performance.“No one can work 24/7, and if you don’t have adequate support at home, you’ll find yourself constantly exhausted. Tired brains don’t make for smart, accomplishing professionals,” Koch said.To help remedy this situation, Koch warns it’ll take ample patience and reinforcement to implement change.The first step though? Having a candid conversation where you barter about the responsibilities of the home and decide who will take which task. The key is to keep the energy light and positive, and really think about which chores make the most sense for each of you.“If one of you finds dishes meditative, and the other really likes folding warm, fluffy laundry, then those should be your assigned tasks,” she said.As for the must-do’s that no one wants to add to their docket? Keep it neutral and make it fair.“Do your best to take traditional gender roles out of this conversation. Arbitrarily separating ‘pink’ and ‘blue’ jobs is a shortcut to resentment,” she said.4. They make you feel bad about yourselfThose cheerleaders you’ve collected over the years — from high school and college comrades to those pals who made a new city feel like home and the travel buddies you’ve shared the world with — make you feel joyful and appreciated.Of all the quality friendships in your life, though, your relationship should be the one that’s the most empowering and encouraging.Because your partner is meant to be there through all of the trials and triumphs that inevitably come with life, having a partner who doesn’t make you feel like the rockstar you are can be detrimental to your confidence. And poor self-esteem doesn’t have a place in any office, anywhere.“If you have a partner who is constantly telling you how awesome, smart, talented, and wonderful you are, that’s going to influence the running commentary you have in your head. Those thoughts will lead to feelings like competence, confidence, passion, excitement, daring, and drive,” Koch said.“If, on the other hand, you have a partner who doesn’t care about your work, feels like you’re doing something that isn’t worthwhile, or reinforces any of the ugly things you think about yourself, you’ll find yourself caught in a litany of thoughts that make you feel insecure, incompetent, unsupported and afraid.”The bottom lineIt seems pretty straightforward on which one will earn you the most happiness, right? A partner who doesn’t come to your corner and isn’t present for you only has one way to go on your ladder: kicked off, ASAP.“Just as you would choose a business partner whose skills complement your own, and who doesn’t undermine you, be intentional about choosing a romantic partner who makes you feel more like yourself in the best, most deeply satisfying and supported way,” Koch said.Source: shedefined.com.au
Making new friends is something many people leave behind in their childhood, yet creating meaningful friendships should be considered an important, lifelong process.Humans are inherently social creatures, and the social support we get from friends is crucial for our wellbeing and happiness.However, as we grow up and start to juggle work commitments, romantic relationships, and family responsibilities, it can be difficult to find time to nurture existing friendships or cultivate new ones, potentially contributing to an increase in adults experiencing loneliness.Inadequate social support can negatively impact social development, self-esteem, and physical health, but the good news is that making new friends as an adult is not only possible, but a great opportunity to connect with people that share the values and interests you have now.If you’re keen to make new friends in your adulthood but aren’t sure how, here are some helpful places to start.Join a club to make new friendsBonding over shared interests by joining a community group or club is one of the easiest ways to meet new friends in a friendly, non-intimidating environment.Children often form close attachments because of a common hobby, favourite colour, or TV show, and the same technique can work for adults.Joining a community sports club, walking group, book club, or volunteering for a cause you care about can be a great way to meet like-minded people and connect with a supportive community.Clubs focused on a shared activity or topic also provide talking points and opportunities to break the ice and create friendships with unfamiliar people.Find new friends onlineSocial media has transformed the way many of us experience relationships, and while the jury is still out on whether technology has brought us closer together or created more of a divide, it seems that the way you use social media matters more than the platform itself.With that in mind, using apps like Bumble BFF, Odospice created by the dating service in recognition that more adults are seeking fulfilling platonic relationships, maybe a great way to use social media to your advantage.The online space is becoming more sophisticated than ever, so finding people in your local area with similar interests and passions has never been easier.This can be a less confronting way of meeting people initially, as the immediacy of face-to-face communication is removed, allowing you time and space to explore new connections in the comfort of your own home.Take the leap to form a friendshipOnce you have met some new people and made some initial acquaintances, how do you take the next step to becoming actual friends?Making a small request or suggestion, like asking someone to go for a coffee after class or going to a movie you’re both interested in, is a great way to test the waters with someone new and explore a potential friendship.Shared experiences are the building blocks that form the foundation of lasting friendships, so putting yourself out there by asking to spend more time together is the best way to strengthen the connection.Embrace vulnerability in making friendsBuilding relationships with others, platonic or romantic, requires an inherent level of vulnerability.Good friends are the ones who will be by your side throughout life’s ups and downs, and those you can truly be yourself with.Dropping the glossy façade many of us present to the world and sharing our hopes, dreams and fears with another person is scary, but also creates a deeper level of trust and intimacy, fostering mutual support, respect, and love.Making new friends can be nerve-wracking and create a desire to impress, however being true to who you are and what you are looking for in a friend upfront will avoid investing time and energy into someone with whom you are incompatible long-term.Face the fear of rejectionWork commitments and a busy schedule aside, the fear of rejection is one of the main barriers to reaching out to new people.Adults tend to be more conscious of the judgements of others and exhibit more impulse control. This is a natural part of our development, and while it’s helpful in situations like the workplace, it can also make us less spontaneous and courageous.Children tend to be less concerned about socially appropriate behaviour, and have a more carefree approach to communication, which is something many adults could learn to embrace.If the risk of unreciprocated interest is the price of forming genuine, supportive, and meaningful platonic relationships that add enjoyment and fulfillment to your life, it’s a risk well worth taking.Source:shedefined.com.au
Dating again can be tough – expert tips for rebuilding confidence and doing what’s right for you
Thinking about getting back on the dating scene, but feeling completely out of practice? We asked some dating and relationship experts for their advice…Make a plan and start slowIf you’re finding the idea of spending a whole evening with a stranger or being in a busy pub or restaurant, really anxiety-inducing, have a think about what feels comfortable.“I suggest my clients start off slow, going for a drink or coffee date that lasts no longer than an hour or two. If weather permits, a picnic or bike ride could be a great way to get the chemistry going,” says Charisse Cooke, relationship therapist (charissecooke.com).I’ve forgotten how!No idea how to present your ‘best self’ right now? “So many people will naturally feel out of practice with dating, and that’s OK – the only expectations on a date are the ones you create for yourself,” says dating and relationship expert, Sarah Louise Ryan (sarahlouiseryan.com).“Remember, it’s just a meeting between two humans. Know you are more than enough, and by just being your authentic self – forget what ‘best’ looks like, because that’s so much pressure in itself – and focusing on whether that person is right for you and your wants and needs, helps you step back into your dating power.“Don’t pass this power over to someone else by considering you aren’t enough in confidence or conversation. With the right person, you will settle into it and things will start to naturally flow.”Get out of your headBut what if you spend the whole time fretting about what they’re thinking, or what to say next? “One of the best ways to get out of your head and into the moment, is to focus on the person in front of you and stay present,” says Ryan. “It happens so often that people are focusing so much on being liked, or being accepted or wanted by the other person, it means shifting the focus away from the end goal, which is seeing if you like them.”Take a breathThere might be a temptation to go full-throttle. If you’re eager to have some fun (safely of course!), there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But do pause to think about what you’re in the market for. “It has been a lonely time for singles, and the danger now would be to become somewhat reckless in our dating style,” says Cooke.Beware the urge to ‘make up for lost time’Dr Marisa T Cohen, in-house relationship expert at Paired couples app (getpaired.com), says self-care is an important part of the picture. This will help with managing stress and anxiety as we continue to navigate the pandemic. Plus, prioritising time for yourself – and hobbies that give you a boost, good friends – could help you avoid ‘dating fatigue’ and overwhelm.“Don’t overschedule yourself due to the perception you may hold that you have lost valuable time for dating and getting to meet your match,” says Cohen. “We went from a period of minimal in-person socialisation, so jumping in with two feet may get overwhelming quickly.”Take the pressure offSimilarly, the pressure to find somebody quickly might be ramped up. We all have moments of dating despair (we’re only human!) but keeping a healthy perspective is something we can work on. “Take the pressure off by seeing each encounter as a meeting of new people and gaining experiences, rather than an interview for your last romantic partner. It’s called ‘dating’ for a reason,” says Ryan.And trust the process. “Know that the person you are looking to meet is looking for you too, stay positive,” adds Ryan. “If you find you’re not enjoying it, change your approach and try something new.”What do I really want? Could there be positives we can take from this strange time too? The pandemic may have provided a chance to get clear on our goals and values, dating dynamics that really weren’t working for us before, and what we actually want in a partner. “Lockdown has given us all a new perspective on things. Our time is precious and who we invite into our lives matters,” says Cooke.Ryan suggests: “Start to be crystal clear on your values, so that people who do not align with that fall by the wayside. Work on creating boundaries to say no to those that don’t serve you, and on being the energy that you want to attract. If you’re happy on your own, enjoy your own company, and living a life you love full of purpose and passion, there is no doubt you will attract someone like-minded and have a happy, fulfilling relationship. Focus on building the relationship you have with yourself and filling your own cup, so to speak.”Source: www.independent.co.uk
Is this abuse?Dating abuse is a pattern of coercive, intimidating, or manipulative behaviors used to exert power and control over a partner. While we define dating violence as a pattern, that doesn’t mean the first instance of abuse isn’t also dating violence; we simply recognize that dating violence tends to involve a series of abusive behaviors over a course of time.What to look for & moreRelationships exist on a spectrum and it can sometimes be hard to tell when a behavior goes from healthy to unhealthy (or even abusive). Typical warning signs of abuse from your partner include:Checking your phone, email, or social media accounts without your permission.Putting you down frequently, especially in front of others.Isolating you from friends or family (physically, financially, or emotionally).Extreme jealousy or insecurity.Explosive outbursts, temper, or mood swings.Any form of physical harm.Possessiveness or controlling behavior.Pressuring you or forcing you to have sex.Relationship abuse is all about power and control. While you may be unwilling or unable to leave your relationship right now, it’s important to remember that abusive partners are unlikely to change their behavior.Your first priority should always be your personal safety and your safety in the future.Source: loveisrespect.org
How many days before and after period are safe? How safe are safe days, really?Safe days, or the calendar method, as some call it, is a form of contraceptive method women use around the world. This method of contraception relies on women tracking their menstrual cycle and counting days in which she can have sex and avoid conception. But how exactly does it work? Love Matters spoke to Dr Adongo- Meme, a resident gynaecologist at Kenyatta National Hospital to understand how it works.How exactly do you calculate safe days?If your cycle length is anywhere between 26 and 32 days, (a cycle being from day 1 of the menses until the day just before the next period), then the fertile days are from day 8 - 19. This is called the standard days' method and should not be used by people with irregular menses, or cycles longer than 32 days or shorter than 26 days. How can you be extremely accurate on your calculations when you have irregular periods? This method requires one to record their menstrual cycle length for a minimum of 12 cycles. The length of the shortest cycle and the longest cycle is used to calculate the fertile window. To estimate the first fertile day, 20 days are subtracted from the shortest cycle length. The last fertile day is calculated by subtracting 10 days from the longest cervical length. For example, if your shortest cycle is 26 days and the longest cycle is 32 days, it means the fertile days would be from day 6 to day 22. That’s a pretty long period to abstain so additional precaution would be needed e.g. barrier methods like the condom.Is it really a reliable long-term measure for contraception?Yes, it can be used on a long term basis but requires an immense amount of discipline to execute. It also has a high failure rate of 20% largely due to miscalculations and indiscipline.Is it possible to still conceive while menstruating?Anything is possible. But largely no because during your menses the hormones that are responsible for egg maturation and ovulation are largely reduced.Is it possible to conceive the day after the end of your period?If it falls within your fertile days, yes.Are there any easier ways of tracking one's fertility calendar aside from manually calculating it on an actual chronological calendar?There are the good old cycle beads. They look like a traditional necklace. Those are tailored for the people with a cycle length of 26-32 days. Phone apps are also an option but only after you have recorded a minimum of 12 cycles.In your medical opinion, what would you recommend are better long-term birth control measures women can use?There are several and recommending one over another is not quite possible. Contraceptive choice is based on several factors: the desire for children, how many, how far apart, any other medical conditions, weight, allergies, and so on and so forth. There is no 'one size fits all'. It requires evaluation by your doctor and a comprehensive discussion on benefits and risks.Source: lovemattersafrica.com
Dating is tough! The 'will you be my one and only,' isn't easy to ask. But don't have a panic attack about being single or trying anxiously to snag a date.'To find a prince, you gotta kiss some toads' – Foxy Brown I was a serial monogamist for the better part of the last decade, and for the first time in many years, I found myself single again. I understand that asking someone out often feels like setting off into the desert with no map. You have no idea what’s going to happen.More often than not your brain will jump to the worst scenario possible. Sure, you might get rejected, but asking for an almost stranger's number (then indulging in week-long text-based foreplay) seems low-risk to me when compared to other terrifying things we could encounter. If someone said 'no' to me, I’d go home, feel a little vulnerable and hurt for a bit and then eat cake in bed.Make a MovePersonally, I’m not a fan of circling around someone like a shark because you’re too scared to make a move. A friend of mine’s been tiptoeing around a guy for the last two weeks, but the amount I hear about whether she should make the first move or not makes it seem like it’s been going on for months.You could be painfully direct and say something like: 'Hey, I like your face and I want to put it on mine,' but that requires a certain amount of self-confidence…or a death wish. Funnily enough, the ‘face-on-face’ is how I figured out my first boyfriend and I were dating. However, this only works when you’re a teenager and think someone knocking their teeth against yours on a football field is romantic.Conversation startersIn almost any scenario: 'Hi' is pretty much the only opener you need. If you’re past saying ‘hi’ just make up something to ask them about, let's say, something they’re wearing, 'Your sneakers are amazing! Where did you get them!' Or about what they’re reading – I’m mentioning this because someone tried this on me once, and an hour later he admitted that he didn’t read at all.Offer to buy them a drink, I can vouch that this one works very, very well. Anything halfway legitimate that’ll start up a conversation that might lead to an exchange of numbers; or a potential date.It's seriously that easy: Put yourself out there, strike up a conversation with a stranger (or someone you’ve had your eye on for while) tell them they’re attractive; it doesn't have to be a nightmare. If it doesn’t work out, there is no stigma that comes with being single – and there is always cake.
All over the world people have different ideas and opinions about virginity and the hymen. They vary a lot depending on the country, culture, or religion. Sometimes it can be hard to know what to think yourself. Learn the difference of fact and fiction here.First time sex: what to expectWhen people talk about the ‘first time’, they usually mean the first time you have full intercourse. That’s what people mean by ‘losing your virginity’.Is my partner a virgin?Many people think that you can tell whether someone is a virgin or not. However, this is a myth. The only way to know if someone is a virgin is by asking them!The hymen: what is it?The hymen is a thin piece of skin that is part of a woman’s vulva. Its importance is mainly cultural, and many myths are associated with it.Outercourse: sex without penetrationOutercourse can mean different things to different people. Some people consider outercourse as any sex play without sexual intercourse, where a man inserts his penis into a woman’s vagina.Source: lovemattersafrica.com
When you get really turned on, changes happen in your body. Eventually, if you get really aroused, you can have an orgasm or in other words, you can come, or climax.Her orgasmsWhen you get sexually aroused your vagina becomes wetter, which makes it smooth and slippery. With more stimulation, you could climax (orgasm).His orgasmsWhen a man gets really turned on, he can have an orgasm – in other words, he can come, or climax.Source: lovemattersafrica.com
A little bit of jealousy is common if you have strong feelings towards someone. But when jealousy goes too far, it could have a bad effect on your relationship.Jealousy and insecurityHow do you know if your partner is being obsessively jealous? There are a few tell-tale signs. They might get angry when you talk to other people or do things on your own. They might stalk you, demand your computer passwords, check your text messages, listen to your phone conversations, or constantly complain that you’re not giving them enough attention.Jealousy is a difficult trait to shake off, but it's possible if you try. The first step is to realise that being jealous makes life difficult – for you as well as for your partner. After you’ve acknowledged that, it might be a good idea to share your concerns with your partner. Learn more about how to deal with jealousy in our Jealousy: top five facts.Insecurities may also crop up in unequal relationships where one partner feels he or she gives more than the other. If you're feeling uneasy or unhappy in a relationship, try to talk about it with your partner. Communication goes a long way towards solving insecurities.How to talk to your partner if you get jealousJealousy can be a hard feeling to overcome. It’s even worse if a partner has cheated on you in the past, or left you for another person.To make sure jealousy doesn’t ruin your relationship, it’s important to talk openly before something happens. Talk about how you feel about your partner talking with people of the opposite sex – but remember that it shouldn’t be any problem for either of you to have friends of any sex.If you notice your partner talking closely with another person, don’t immediately accuse them of flirting or wanting to sleep around. Avoid saying things like:‘I can’t believe you were flirting with that girl in front of me!’‘I bet you wanted to sleep with that guy since you were talking so much with him!’Instead, you both should agree on how far is too far, and understand what actions make the other person uncomfortable – such as touching or holding hands with friends. If you really felt that your partner was flirting with someone, explain the situation and how it made you feel.‘When you were talking with that girl, I felt ignored and it upsets me.’But your partner might feel they weren’t flirting at all. Be ready to accept that. After you have calmed down, suggest coming to a solution together. For example, if one of you is talking to another person you don’t know, you could agree to introduce each other as boyfriend or girlfriend early on, so the new person knows you’re a couple. Find what works for you and your partner.Most of us have a strong emotional desire to be in a relationship. We start feeling dissatisfied if we're not getting the attention we need. So if your partner goes on a business trip and doesn't call you the whole time, you might feel neglected – and annoyed!If you feel that your partner isn't paying attention to your needs the way they used to, you might start worrying that something's gone wrong. There could be another explanation – perhaps they're just very busy with other things. But it could mean that they're starting to lose interest in the relationship.Of course, this works both ways: if you've been feeling stressed and working more than usual, for example, your partner might be feeling neglected.In either case, it might be good to have a talk. It always helps to discuss your needs and expectations of the relationship. A lack of communication often leads to misunderstandings. Letting your partner know both what you want from them and what you can offer could give your relationship a fresh start.Sexual dissatisfactionSex is an important part of any intimate relationship. If sex gets worse or stops all together, it could affect your emotional bond too. You could be left feeling dissatisfied with your relationship if your partner doesn’t want to have sex as often as you do. Or the other way around – perhaps you just can't keep up with your partner’s high sex drive.It’s completely normal for one person to want sex more often than the other in a relationship.If your partner says they don’t feel like having sex, respect their feelings and don’t pressure them into it – it’s likely to put them off sex more and more. And if you’re the one who doesn’t feel like having sex – perhaps because you’re too tired or stressed – instead of just saying 'no', try suggesting a time in the not-too-distant future when you’ll definitely be up for sex and romance.You might also find that you’re turned on by very different things. Maybe your partner wants oral sex, but you’re not keen on it. Or you like it rough, but they prefer gentle. Again, pressuring your partner into something they don’t fancy will never be good for your relationship. Talk about it, and see if you can find a compromise.If you’re unhappy with your sex life, communication is key. Don’t blame your partner or make them feel inadequate – you don't want to damage their self-esteem, and sex is a very sensitive subject. Be open and approachable. Listen to what the other person has to say, and try to understand their point of view.Growing apartLong-term relationships sometimes phase out because both partners have outgrown each other – people change over time, and perhaps you've both been moving in different directions. You might realise that the two of you have different ideas about life and what you want from the relationship.This could be because you haven't really talked to each other for a long time. Working on your communication could help bring you back together.
Hollywood has got a lot to answer for. Hollywood’s leading men are either tough guys, men’s men who avoid romance at all costs, or romantic virtuosos who go out of their way to romance the woman they want.But what about everyday guys? What about men like your husband? Most men don’t fall into either of those extremes. Men like and appreciate romance just as much as women, though sometimes their definition of romantic differs. And men absolutely shouldn’t take on the role of being the only one to do romantic things in any relationship. If you want to show your guys some romance, try out one of these ten easy ways to be romantic with your husband.1. Tell him what you love about himHearing what you love about him is affirming for your husband. Take a moment every day to compliment him. Do you love the way he always makes you laugh? Do you admire how driven he is in his career? Does he make the best marinara sauce you’ve ever tasted? Tell him! Make regular, genuine, compliments part of your day.2. Get touchy feelyNo, we don’t mean sex (though that’s fun too). Make touch a regular part of your life together. Hold his hand when you walk down the street, or give him a shoulder or foot rub when you’re relaxing on the couch together. Just tucking your arm around him or giving him a hug or a kiss on the cheek connects you both and promotes intimacy.3. Go out on a dateWhen you’re married, it’s all too easy to forget about dating. It’s time to rekindle that flame – going out on a date is a sure way to romance your husband. Arrange a sitter for the night and decide on a venue for your date. Get out and see a show or eat out. For added romance, get ready separately and meet at the venue, just like you did at the beginning of your relationship.Going out on a date is a sure way to romance your husband4. Send a love noteWrite him a note designed to put a smile on his face. Whether it’s sweet or saucy, x-rated or funny, write something you know he’ll love. Slip it into his briefcase or lunch bag, or tuck it inside the book he’s reading. It’s an easy, sweet surprise, that will make him feel appreciated and romanced.5. Have an adventureHaving an adventure together is a great way to put a little spark back in your relationship. Is there something your husband loves to do, or has always wanted to do, like skiing or learning a new language? Is there a place you’ve always said you’ll go together, or a restaurant you keep meaning to try? Now’s the time to do it. Take a night or weekend and have a little adventure of your own – doing something new and fresh makes your relationship feel new, too.6. Encourage a guys night outGuys need time with their friends just as much as you need girls’ time. Watch the kids for the night so he can head out with his friends. If you know there’s an event coming up that he wants to go to with his guy friends, encourage him to go for it. He’ll love that you support his right to a little guy time.Encourage a guys night out7. Give him time to relaxDoes he always cook dinner or take out the trash? Do one of his chores for a night and let him have the time to himself. Perhaps he’s stressed about a work project, or has been working extra long hours. Show you care with a foot rub, a cold beer, or doing some extra things round the house to support him till things calm down.8. Get your endorphins pumpingThere’s nothing quite like getting out and getting active. Regular exercise is good for your health – do it together so you can bond and enjoy each other’s company at the same time. Go for a jog in the local park, try out ice skating or tennis, or grab some friends for a game of frisbee. You’ll feel great and the time together will add some romance to your relationship.9. Wear something he likesNow it’s not the 1950s and we’re not suggesting you start dressing just for your man. There’s something to be said for wearing something you know he loves, though. He’ll love what he sees, and he’ll appreciate that you took the trouble to wear it for him. So next time he mentions he loves the way you look in that dress, or that you look so cute in that button down shirt, take note and wear it the next time you do something together.10. Flirt in secretA little secret flirtation is fun and naughty, and the perfect way to romance your husband. Send him a saucy text in the middle of the day. Lean in over coffee or during grocery shopping and whisper sweet nothings in his ear. If you’re out to dinner or at a show, write something just for him on the napkin or ticket and pass it to him – a suggestive secret that you only you share will quickly fire up the romance.Being romantic to your husband makes him feel loved and appreciated and adds sparkle to your relationship no matter how long you’ve been married. With these easy ideas there’s always time for romance, so why not try one today?
The Role of Romance in a Relationship and its Importance
In order to meet success, long-term relationships do take work. Many couples share in the sense that their relationships lack fulfillment after a period of time.While turmoil in any relationship is part of the course, long-term feelings of neglect, or no romance in a relationship are not.Indeed, partners often wonder why their relationships fail, where those loving feelings have gone, or why they feel under-appreciated by their partners. This generally happens after the “honeymoon period”.In some cases, couples may not experience a relationship without romance for years. But what about the couples that never seem discontented, whose displays of admiration for one another are apparent even after decades of marriage.Indeed, they are doing something right. Happily married couples with a long history together, have managed to preserve some of the elements that were present while they were in the early stages of courtship.Consider the time when you and your current partner were dating before things got serious. Though you had a lot of fun, you were probably putting in a great deal of effort to keep them interested.What were those things you did differently, and how does the past compare with the present?Is romance necessary in a relationship?Romance is one of the most crucial elements of happiness in relationships. The importance of romance in a relationship cannot be trivialized.Still, many partners do not really know how important is passion in a relationship or the benefits of romance.Understanding how important affection is in a relationship is a necessary first step for those interested in rekindling love.But what are the little things you did as a part of your marriage romance to get his attention, to keep him interested, to win him over? We’d be willing to bet those things are no longer happening.We often do not realize how much work we were putting in in the beginning, nor do we understand why romance is important in marriage, and how a lack of romance can lead to an emotional breakdown and stagnancy.What is the importance of romance in a relationship?To understand its importance, first of all, we need to know what romance is. Generally, romance includes one or more of the following: Small gestures: That convey affection, adoration, thoughtfulness, and love Activities or actions of novelty: Actions executed for no other purpose than to enhance feelings of joy and connectedness Class: Activities or events that add a touch of high living. Any actions which bring a couple closer or show thoughtfulness and adorationRomance needs to be a normal and necessary part of our lives.And the truth is there are no secrets to romance – you need to know what works for your partner; what makes them happy and apply them as often as you can to sweeten your relationship.Sustaining a marriage demands work, cooperation, and commitment. A couple is already accustomed to these things but marriage does not have to be all about ‘hard work’.You are in a marriage because the bottom line is — you love and cherish your partner.When you decide to use romance to enhance your marriage, you decide to use it as a tool to show that you care, that your marriage and partner are worth the effort.These small acts collectively will make your relationship stronger, healthier, and make it last longer. These are only a few advantages of romance in a relationship.How to rekindle or add romance to a relationshipYears after marriage there are couples who still struggle with the idea of how to be romantic in a relationship. Creating romance in a relationship becomes easy when you become mindful of the below:BondingCreated through experiences that bring partners closer. This can be brought about through acts of affection, gift-giving, reminiscing, meaningful conversation, laughter, and intimacy.FunRomance should be a joyful experience; and is often reflected through enjoyable activities such as going to the movies, the carnival, attending parties together, or playing games.HumorHumor is a major element to most romance. Couples with a good sense of humor will enjoy cheesy adages, funny greeting cards, comics, and laughing at the absurd.NostalgiaBeing together a long time, couples are able to share memories by reflecting on the past. Going through old photos or revisiting past hang-out spots can bring back old feelings and thus, enhance bonds.IntimacySex, romance, and relationships, all go hand in hand, sex in romantic relationships is integral to its health.Introducing new elements into your sex life, or simply engaging in sexual activities more often, will certainly increase romance. Although romance may lead to intimacy, intimacy and romance can fuel one another.AdventureSpontaneity – out of the ordinary activities that promote a sense of adventure, such as hiking in the woods together, getting “lost” on a drive, or doing something taboo- like visiting an adult book store- are great ways to create romance through the adventure.RespectRomancing your lover should convey respect and reciprocity.AppreciationRomance invites appreciation, likewise, appreciation will create the impetus to initiate romantic activities with your partner.PassionIt involves strong feelings of enthusiasm, and joy, and powerful or compelling feelings of love and desiring.Romance feeds the elements that comprise a loving relationship. Without it, desire and adoration for one another will almost assuredly fade, rendering the relationship dull and mundane.Understanding the importance of practicing romance in your relationships will add spark to your love life, prolong feelings of connectedness & result in your ultimate happiness for years to come.Here are 10 everyday romantic ideas to try:Now that we have established the importance of affection in a relationship, here are some everyday tips and ideas that can help you become more romantic: Get your spouse a wristwatch. Inscribe it with: “I always have time for you.” Buy a lottery ticket. Give it to your spouse with a little note that says: “I hit the jackpot when I married you!” Write “I love you” on the bathroom mirror with a piece of soap/their lipstick. When out in public, wink/smile at your spouse from across the room. Ladies: Send your hubby a letter sealed with a kiss. Send your spouse a trophy for being the “World’s Best Lover”? Wink, wink. Pick flowers for them from the side of the road. Don’t just go out to a movie on Saturday. Call your spouse from work on Wednesday and ask for a date. Best way to perk up a dull week. Have “your song” playing on the stereo when your spouse returns home from work. Cook together.From small gestures to grand ones, there is a lot that you can do to rekindle the romance in your relationship. All that matters is your ability to make those efforts.Source: marriage.com
Are you worried your relationship is losing its spark? First off, don’t worry; this is a common problem that many couples face at some point during their relationship. Has the “How was your day?” conversation over dinner become the only time you really sit down and talk with each other? Maybe you’ve found yourselves spending time on your phones rather than actively engaging in conversation? Or has the time you spend together in the bedroom gone from hot and frequent to cold or barely non-existent?These examples are unfortunate, but not uncommon. In fact, couples who have been together for a long time often go through a period of time during which they feel their romantic spark is fading. This can be a result of a number of issues, including not spending enough time together, work and life stresses, or just becoming too comfortable with each other. It’s true that relationships take work and dedication, but the spark between two people is about having fun with one another.The best way to get the fire roaring again is by spending intentional and meaningful time together. Keep these inexpensive date night ideas in mind for when you and your sweetheart need some spark-worthy quality time together.1. Fireside FunWho doesn’t love a night out under the stars while cuddled up close to a fire’s warmth? Grab some supplies for s’mores or even just a blanket and a couple of beverages. Fires have an uncanny ability to get people to open up and talk. Enjoy this peaceful time for reflection with your loved one and don’t forget to look at the stars!(Obviously, this one is a bit tough if you don’t have an accessible fire pit, but it isn’t impossible! Check with your local parks or beaches about their policies on fires. Some will give you a permit to build a fire after taking a quick fire safety course. Taking a quick, weekend camping trip is also an option.)2. Dress Up and Go OutMost people aren’t afraid of dressing up, but refrain unless there’s a special occasion. In this case, however, the special occasion is the two of you! While you can certainly visit your favorite fancy restaurant, getting dressed up and going out doesn’t have to mean you’re spending a lot of money. Consider dressing up with your honey and heading out on the town to some entirely average places to stay in your budget. The two of you may get a few looks when you show up to the local ice-cream parlor, burger joint, or movie theater in your finest clothing–but who cares!?3. Head to the ArcadesWho really wants to grow up? For those couples who have gotten just a little too good at “adulting,” hitting up the arcade for an evening of childish fun is a great option. Most arcades have a variety of games, so it’s likely you can both find a game or two that bring back some childhood memories. Look for games to play with each other, like skee-ball, basketball, or even air hockey. If you two have a competitive spirit, consider making the night into a game as well—whoever scores the least points or earns fewer tickets has to buy dinner or the next round of drinks!4. Volunteer TogetherSometimes, seeing how other people live can open your eyes to the gifts you and your loved one have. Consider finding a local charity and volunteer time together. Food banks, food kitchens, animal shelters, or even retirement and convalescent homes are filled with people who could really use your help. While you’re there doing charitable deeds for your community, you may even meet a person or two with a helpful story to tell. You never know who might have the perfect piece of relationship advice you’ve needed.5. Stay in and Get NakedYes, you read that correctly! As date nights go, they don’t get much more inexpensive than this! The spark in a relationship comes from a place that is both emotional and physical. You need to work on both aspects in order to really make changes in your relationship.So what does a naked night at home entail? It may seem counterintuitive, but your evening should have only one rule: try not to get physical with each other until the end of the night! The goal is to build anticipation—not jump right to it. That means you should plan some activities that you’ll both enjoy. To help ease into the concept, pick a board game or find a pack of playing cards. Whoever loses each round has to lose a piece of clothing. Then try out a new recipe to make together (remember to throw an apron on if you’re doing any frying!). You can end the evening by throwing on a new television series or a movie to watch together, snuggled up nice and close.While it may seem like your relationship is heading down the drain, you really shouldn’t jump to that conclusion. The fortunate news is that this problem is fixable. It will just require some intentional time working to rekindle the spark you and your significant other had before. The two of you became a couple for a reason; all you have to do it find and fan the flame again.Source: Weddingbee
How to Be Smart About Social Media Wedding Inspiration
Social media is a major source of influence for newlyweds-to-be. This is both a good and a bad thing. On the one hand, social media gives access to almost unlimited sources of inspiration without much effort. On the other hand, it can occasionally be detrimental to the wedding planning process which is already likely to be stressful.So, before you turn to Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, or any other social media outlet for wedding inspiration, keep the following advice in mind. You’ll maximize the benefits of social media without accidentally making things more difficult for yourself.Things Are not Always What They SeemThis should be obvious to you by now. We all know that social media is full of posts and photos where things look much better than in reality. This means everything—not just photoshopped or filtered pictures of people. Venues can appear bigger, brighter, or more modern—all you need is a good angle with good lighting. Flower arrangements might not be as colorful in real life. Dresses are often pinned back or tailored to the model. The list goes on. So, the most important lesson is to always take everything you see with a grain of salt.Narrow Things DownThere are millions of wedding-themed social media posts out there. Don’t know where to start? Once you have some idea about what you do or don’t want, make a list of what you’re focused on and find the appropriate hashtags. For example, maybe you’re keen on a beach wedding, roses, and braided hairstyles. Take note of which hashtags apply and start following them. This will not only save you time, but prevent you from getting overwhelmed.Look at Real WeddingsInstead of browsing posts from vendors, look up pictures from real couples. Even better, look for candid photos taken by a non-professional photographer as you’ll get a more authentic glimpse at the scene. Also, don’t be afraid to message people to ask them about anything that catches your eye—you might end up learning something useful.Don’t Be a CopycatAnother thing to remember is that you’re using social media for inspiration, not as a shopping catalog. Although you may see a few things that you absolutely will want to imitate, never try to copy everything to a “T.” It is your special day, after all, so make it your own!Get a Different PerspectiveWhenever you find something that catches your eye, figure out what exactly it is that you like (or don’t like) about it. Then, share that with the appropriate vendor. For example, if you see a pretty flower arrangement, ask yourself if it’s the color combination, the flowers themselves, or something else that stands out to you. This will help you hone in on your wedding vision, while also leaving the vendor some room for creativity. When you work with your vendor, they will be able to tailor the arrangement specifically to your big day.Keep in mind that your vision may change over time, so don’t hesitate to update your vendors as you go. Having said that, this doesn’t mean you should flip-flop on ideas all the time, but it is perfectly fine to see your vision evolve as time goes on and you get a better picture of what you want your wedding to look like.Don’t Have High ExpectationsMany vendors dislike social media for the reason we first mentioned. Things always seem better in pictures than in reality and newlyweds are always expecting that any vendor can make an exact replica of any scene. This isn’t true and it can be very frustrating. This brings us to the last and most important point. At the end of the day, even if you do your best to try to make things perfect, there will be details that fall slightly out of line. And trust us, every wedding has its flaws—despite what is shown on social media. Most importantly, don’t compare your special day to anyone else’s, and don’t be disappointed when things don’t turn out perfectly.
More and more brides are opting to do their own wedding makeup instead of enlisting in the help of a professional. Not only is doing your own makeup fun and cost-effective, but it gives you complete power over how you look on your big day. Even if you’re not an expert yourself, you can still do your makeup well for your big day if you follow the below tips and take the right steps of preparation.How to Prepare for Doing Your Own Wedding MakeupThere are several steps you can take to make certain that your wedding day glam application goes seamlessly.Practice Makes PerfectOnce you decide you want to do your own wedding makeup, you should immediately begin practicing as often as you can. This gives you the ability to see what you do well, what you need to sharpen your skills on, and it will also give you a more solid idea of what you like the looks of and what you don’t. Each time you practice, take photos of yourself so you can refer back to them to see your progress as you get better and better at perfecting your look.Get Your Skin in CheckYou also want to prepare to do your makeup flawlessly on your wedding day by getting your skin healthy leading up to your wedding. Nail down a skincare routine that works for you well before your wedding day, stay well hydrated, and get facials regularly. The more glowing your natural complexion is, the less makeup you’ll even feel compelled to wear on the big day and the better makeup will stay on your face, too. And if you’re getting married in the winter, you’ll want to take extra care to moisturize skin well leading up to your wedding to stave off dry, patchy skin that can really cramp your look.Consult the ExpertsAs you buy products to use on your wedding day, you might want to consult the experts that work at your favorite beauty stores for assistance. These sales associates can help you match shades to your skin tone and match shades of lipstick, blush, and eyeshadow to your complexion perfectly.Creating a Flawless Wedding Day LookThere are definitely some insider tips that will allow you to create your wedding-worthy look.Use PrimerPrimer will be your best friend when it comes to wedding day makeup. A skin primer helps to fill fine lines, minimize pores, and create an environment on your face that is ready for foundation, concealer, and the rest of the makeup you plan to use. You should also use primer on your eyelids, which will be a different type of primer than you use on the rest of your face. Using this on your lids will allow for smoother eyeshadow application and prevent discoloration.Avoid Heavy SPFSPF is so important to wear on a daily basis to protect your skin, but on your wedding day you should consider not wearing it at all—if you’re not going to be exposed to the sun very much—or wearing a lesser SPF than normal. If you choose to wear it, don’t wear one with a rating over 15. SPF can cause you to look washed out in photos due to the minerals in the formula. Since you definitely don’t want this, it’s something to think about when choosing face products to wear on your wedding day.Wear More Makeup Than NormalChances are that in your day-to-day life you don’t wear tons and tons of makeup on your face, and it may feel strange to pile it on for your wedding day. However, wearing more makeup than usual on your big day is normal. Remember that the makeup you wear on a regular day likely won’t translate to photos the way you expect, so going with the mantra “more is more” where makeup is concerned for your wedding is the way to go.Keep it TimelessEspecially if you’re nervous about doing your own makeup or about wearing a lot of it on your big day, you’ll definitely want to go with timeless shades that complement most skin tones. For instance, bronze, champagne, rose gold, and soft gray tones are classics that you can’t go wrong with! Warm colors like gold, peach, and copper will help you to look flushed rather than washed out, which many brides worry about when wearing white. You absolutely can’t go wrong with a timeless and classic look that plays on your natural beauty, so do keep that in mind when doing your wedding makeup.Wedding makeup doesn’t have to be intimidating or tricky, and you can easily prepare to do your own flawlessly before you say “I do.”Source: Weddingbee
What to Eat (And What to Avoid) in Your Pre-Wedding Diet
If you’re in the process of planning for your wedding, you’ve probably already started (or are thinking about) changing what you eat. While the main purpose of a pre-wedding diet is to assure you look your best, it can be so much more than that. Among other problems, good nutrition can help lower your prenuptial jitters and help achieve a stress-free wedding. When coming up with a diet plan, try to implement the following suggestions on what to eat and what to avoid. This way, you can be sure you’re in tip-top shape mentally as well as physically on your wedding day.More: Dark Leafy Greens and BeansDark leafy greens such as kale and spinach, as well as soy and black beans, are excellent sources of magnesium which is known to relieve anxiety. People who are stressed often have a diet low in magnesium and stress. Unfortunately, most people don’t get enough of this mineral, especially in the United States. Magnesium also offers other benefits, such as better sleep and lessened PMS symptoms. Aside from the examples mentioned above, you can also look to whole wheat, quinoa, nuts, seeds, and avocados to get your daily quota.More: Healthy FatsFatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines, are a major source of omega-3s, which are known to ease depression and anxiety. However, other healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds are also beneficial. You can also buy fish oil supplements, but it’s best to get your nutrients directly from the source if you can.Less: CaffeineA good cup of joe is something many of us look forward to in the morning. For some, it’s a source of liquid happiness, especially if we don’t roll out of bed easily. However, too much of it can backfire, causing symptoms of anxiety and jittery behavior. Caffeine, after all, increases cortisol. Not to mention, drinking caffeine too late in the day can interfere with sleep. While you don’t need to cut down on your caffeine if you don’t have any issues, it may be a good idea in times of high stress.More: Citrus FruitsVitamin C does miracles for stress reduction by reducing cortisol levels in the body. Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, and lemons are all great sources of this vitamin, but you can also get it from strawberries, bell peppers, and avocados.More: Eggs and MilkAlso known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D can be a wonder booster for your mood. It’s best to get it by spending some time in the sun, but you can also find it in eggs and milk. Eggs also contain tryptophan, which increases serotonin (the happiness hormone) levels in your brain. When it comes to vitamin D, be careful about supplements. It’s best to ask your doctor to check your vitamin D levels before taking it in pill form as it is possible to overdose on this vitamin.Less: AlcoholFor many people, alcohol is a go-to as a means of relaxation and reducing stress. And yes, it does have that effect at first. However, if you drink regularly or in large amounts, alcohol is known to worsen mental health symptoms, especially anxiety and depression. It’s better to limit your alcohol consumption to the occasional drink. Alcohol has a lot of calories anyway, and can easily sabotage any diet.More: Fermented FoodsYou might know that fermented foods are good for your digestion, but did you know that they affect your happiness as well? It’s true! A healthy gut is linked to a healthy emotional state. So load up on the yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha. You can also combine it with probiotic supplements for added benefits.More: ChocolateYes, you read that right. Chocolate is good for your mental health, but only in moderation. A Swiss study confirmed that eating a little bit of chocolate daily does reduce overall stress levels. However, not all chocolate applies. Opt for dark chocolate, at least 60% cocoa, and choose a variety low in sugar. And when it comes to portioning, limit yourself to 1-2 ounces a day or else the benefit will be counteracted by the calories consumed.More: Complex CarbsMost diets will tell you that carbs are the devil, but that depends on what kind of carbs you’re talking about (and how much of them you eat). Complex carbs, unlike simple carbs, are actually great for reducing stress. Not only do they keep your blood sugar stable, which means you’ll be less cranky, but many healthy carb-rich foods also contain the necessary vitamins and minerals to help you keep your cool. Some examples of beneficial carbs include whole grain bread, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, beans, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables.…And Less: Simple CarbsYou probably have heard this many times before, but too much sugar and refined carbs are pretty much always a bad idea. The spikes and crashes due to blood sugar jumps do no good for your nerves. Steer clear of added sugars, which can lurk in foods you’d never expect such as ketchup, beef jerky, pasta sauces, and packaged soups. Potatoes and bananas, on the other hand, are not as bad for you as you’d think and are actually full of complex carbs.Always Diet WiselyIf you do go on a diet, avoid anything drastic and don’t try to lose a massive amount of weight at the last minute. Crash diets increase the amount of the stress hormone cortisol, so the moment you stop following the diet, you might gain more pounds than you lost. It’s best to adopt any changes slowly and at least a few months before the big day. For example, don’t go 100% keto if you’re always had a sweet tooth. Try instead to first remove all sweet treats from your daily intake, and then substitute refined carbs for complex ones, and so on.Source: Weddingbee
How to Break Up With Someone: 18 Tips for a Kind, Clean Break, According to Psychologists
If breaking up with someone were easy, I wouldn’t be writing this article. The question isn't so much how to break up with someone but how to do it in a way that's not rife with sadness, awkwardness, and messy miscommunications. No easy feat.The truth is, breaking up with someone you love is hard for a variety of reasons: maybe you'll miss their family members, or the love and support you got from them during a certain time in your life, or the sex (which is totally valid). Maybe you're genuinely worried about hurting someone you care about or maybe you just don't want to come off looking like a jerk to your mutual friends. The point is, even if you know you need to move on, breakups are never fun. Unfortunately, there's no such thing as the “perfect breakup,” but if you’re the one bearing the bad news, there are a number of steps you can take before and during that dreaded conversation to make the experience as healthy as possible for both you and your partner. Here, a therapist and a psychologist share advice for how to kindly and effectively break up with someone.1. Make sure you actually want to break up.Before you break up with your partner, make sure that you actually want to end the relationship. “A breakup is something that you want to do once you've thought about it over time,” says Rebecca Hendrix, L.M.F.T, a psychotherapist in New York City.If you’re having doubts and concerns about your relationship, it’s important to share that with your partner before you breakup. “I've seen people do ‘surprise breakups' where you think everything is amazing and then the person is like, I'm leaving today,” says Hendrix. The shock this kind of out-of-nowhere breakup can be “very, very traumatizing and very hard to get over,” she says. The healthier (and kinder) option? Share doubts and concerns along the way. In some cases, the relationship can even be saved by this type of honesty, Hendrix says.Having a well thought out breakup also means that breaking up shouldn’t be a rash decision made in the midst of an argument, or a card you play in an attempt to control your partner (which is passive aggressive and perhaps even manipulative, adds Hendrix, and certainly not part of a healthy relationship).2. Give the conversation some thought.Once you’ve decided you want to end your relationship, it’s important to give yourself time and space to think about what you want to say before you actually say it. The conversation itself will likely be stressful, and when you’re stressed, you tend to lose access to the logical, rational parts of your brain, Hendrix explains. Writing down exactly what you want to say and practicing it in advance can help anchor in the message so that when you're in the heat of the moment, you’re able to effectively communicate your thoughts. Planning in advance can also help you evaluate the tone with which you’re delivering the message. Try to keep it “neutral, non-accusatory, non-blameful, compassionate, direct, and honest,” says Hendrix.That said, don’t try to craft the perfect script—it doesn't exist. It's natural to want to say all the right things so that your soon-to-be ex partner doesn't feel sad. But that's inevitable, says Hendrix. “You can’t avoid it—at some point it’s good enough and you just gotta say it.”3. Practice empathy.As you plan, put yourself in your partner’s shoes. “Empathy for the partner’s experience of being broken up with, and the ability to express it, can go a long way to assuaging the inevitable pain,” says Franklin A. Porter, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in New York City. When you first fall in love, empathizing with your partner is much easier, but by the time you're ready to end it, it might be tempting to not care how breaking up will impact your partner. But a little empathy can save you trouble down the road. “If you’ve been on the receiving end of a breakup in the past you would probably have a good idea how it feels, and recalling those feelings beforehand would be beneficial in managing your message,” says Porter. 4. Acknowledge that you won’t be able to control their reaction.No matter what you say and how empathetically you say it, you can't control how the other person will react. “There is no guarantee that the conversation will be effective, because one can only control the message sent, not how it’s received,” says Porter. That said, there are many factors that can influence how well the message is received, he adds, which is exactly the point of thinking ahead about how you want to have the conversation. For example, if you're so caught up in ending it that you forget today is their birthday, they're probably going to be extra pissed. 5. Remind yourself that it’s completely OK to breakup.It doesn't feel good to break up with a partner—especially if it’s someone that you care deeply about—but it’s also not wrong, so you shouldn’t feel guilty about your decision.“Remind yourself that it's OK to leave a relationship that isn't working for you,” says Hendrix. “It's a self-honoring choice that you're making because you don't see a future together. And if it's not a good fit for you, then it's not a good fit for them, even though they may not be aware of it as much as you are.” Do your mental health a favor and remind yourself that not every relationship is going to be right—that doesn't make your partner a bad person or necessarily mean they did anything wrong. You owe it to yourself—and them—to speak up when you know the relationship isn't serving you so that you can both move on to better things. 6. Deliver the news face-to-face.If you feel safe seeing your soon-to-be ex in in person, “you owe it to your partner to have the breakup conversation face-to-face,” says Porter. Yes, it's uncomfortable and harder than breaking up over the phone but doing so “shows that you care for them and that you care for that relationship,” adds Hendrix. But remember, while their feelings are important, your safety ultimately comes first. If you don't feel safe enough to meet to break up in person (either because of the pandemic or because you feel threatened by your ex) end it virtually by phone or FaceTime. 7. Pick an appropriate setting.There’s no one “right”location for this type of conversation, but Hendrix suggests putting yourself in your partner's shoes to determine where they might prefer to hear the news. Just keep in mind that settings rife with distractions—like a restaurant with loud music, for instance—probably aren’t wise choices. “You want to be able to be present and listen and ask questions and hear what they're saying,” she says.Porter suggests avoiding public places altogether. “It’s not fair to the one on the receiving end to have to try to temper a potential emotional outpouring,” he explains. “It’s an intimate conversation that calls for an intimate setting, ideally at the partner’s place, giving them the prerogative to show you the door at any time.” Again, this only applies if you feel safe. If you feel at all worried about what your partner might do, prioritize your own safety and meet in a public place like a busy park where a friend can wait nearby or end the relationship over the phone.8. Show up sober.It may be tempting to knock back a couple of cocktails before you start the breakup conversation—alcohol is a verbal lubricant, after all—but that’s a bad idea. “When we're drinking, we're not totally present,” says Hendrix. And during a breakup conversation, it’s important to be present so that you can be honest, kind, and remember the things you want to say, she explains.9. Accept that it’s probably going to be painful.If you and your partner have a deep relationship and have been together for a while, there's a high likelihood that whatever you're going to say is going to cause them pain, says Hendrix, even if you both know on some level it's time to move on. It can help to anticipate this pain while also reminding yourself that it's not your fault. “Remind yourself to give your partner the dignity of being on their own path,” says Hendrix. “Your goal is to share the information, but not to go into over-responsibility for how they feel.”Also important: “There's no explanation that you're going to give that's going to feel satisfying to them,” says Hendrix, so don’t go into the conversation with the goal of ending it on a positive note and a to go from being romantic partners to platonic trivia night partners.10. Use “I” statements.When communicating your message, deliver it from your point of view without blaming or accusing. “It's you who has decided that the relationship is not a good fit and it's you that has decided to leave the relationship,” explains Hendrix. “So the healthiest way is to take responsibility for your feelings using “I” words versus You don't really like my family or You don't like to go out as much as I do.”11. Be direct.Don’t beat around the bush or otherwise hint at the fact that you want to breakup without actually saying it. A less direct approach may seem kinder in the moment—but trust, it’s not. “The best thing to do is to just say the truth, which is we're not a good fit for each other,” says Hendrix.12. But don’t delve into the details.Avoid listing out the Rolodex of reasons why the relationship isn't a good fit for you. “These are things that are going to be hard for the other person to let go of,” says Hendrix.If your partner presses you for specific reasons behind the breakup, you can acknowledge that you totally understand why they’d want more details and perhaps give a reason or two, framing it from the “I” point of view, says Hendrix.In general, you should reiterate the overall sentiment that you just don’t think you’re a good fit. “The only reason to really go into all of those little details is if you want to work on the relationship,” adds Hendrix.13. Keep the focus on the relationship.Address the breakup as a problem in the relationship rather than any shortcomings in your partner, says Porter. “Couples break up for myriad reasons, but ultimately, it’s the relationship that runs its course, and relationships always take two, so acknowledge your role in it not working out,” he says.Hendrix puts it this way: “The relationship is this entity that you've created and that's what's not working out,” she says. “You're not a bad person, she's not a bad person, but it's the combination of both of you together that is causing you less happiness and less fulfillment.”14. Prepare to listen.Though you will be the one leading the conversation, you should also be prepared to listen—and listen carefully, says Porter. “You may not like what you hear. Your partner may react in any number of ways, but likely wants to be heard, if not have the last word,” he says. “Consider what your partners needs are at that moment and be prepared to address them and act accordingly.”15. Plan for a number of reactions.There’s no surefire way to predict how your partner will respond to the breakup, but you should prepare for a number of reactions.If they get angry. “Understand that comes with the territory,” says Porter. Both Porter and Hendrix suggest validating their feelings. You can say something like, “I get that you’re angry; you have every right to be angry.” This may help diffuse the tension slightly, says Hendrix. At the same time, stay calm and don’t rise to meet their anger with your anger, she says. It can also help to ask: Are you ok to keep talking? Do you want to take a break and like to talk again in a few minutes? Of course if the anger is abusive (or otherwise threatening), you should say “this is not OK or appropriate” and end the conversation, advises Hendrix. Remember, it is never OK to stay in relationships because you're afraid of how the other person will react. If they get sad. “Convey empathy as you would before the breakup—by a hug or some other gesture of affection, while being prepared and accepting of it being declined,” says Porter.If they promise to change. Let them know that while you appreciate that offer, the breakup is rooted in the fact that the relationship isn’t a good fit and even if they change, your feelings on the matter won’t be swayed, says Hendrix. Also acknowledge that you wouldn’t want them to change for you, and only for themselves if that’s what they feel they need, adds Porter.16. Don’t leave things open-ended.In the moment, you may feel tempted to lessen the blow of a breakup by hinting at the chance of future reconciliation, but don’t say that if it’s not a possibility; otherwise, you’re giving your partner false hope. “If you say Maybe after I take the bar exam, then they're going to be waiting for their phone to ring after you take the bar exam,” says Hendrix. “If you know that this person is not a good life partner for you and there's a 99% chance that you're never going to rekindle anything, then you just want to tell the truth.”17. Share a few positive sentiments.Though you should focus the conversation on the breakup, it’s also kind to share reflections on what you like about your partner. “You want to be real about why your life is better because this person was a part of it,” says Hendrix. These thoughts could be well-placed when the conversation is wrapping up. “At the end of the conversation, regardless of the reaction, thank your partner for all the good times,” says Porter. “Express appreciation, and regret things didn’t work out.”18. Check in with yourself. After the conversation, do a mini debrief with yourself, suggests Hendrix. Ask: How was that for me? How do I feel right now?Remind yourself that there’s nothing wrong with breaking up with somebody and while you may feel bad right now, the feeling is temporary.Also, acknowledge the fact that you just did something really hard. Even though you were the one who decided to break up, “you’re not in the clear with regards to feelings,” says Hendrix. As you work through tough emotions, be really gentle with yourself and practice self-care, says Hendrix. Do nice things for yourself: go to a movie, take a nap, cook a healthy meal.
For many of us, journaling started in middle school with a diary we’d probably now find a bit dramatic. These days, however, you might pick up journals for other reasons. Even if you’re not writing down your daily thoughts, many adults now embrace journaling as a way to track their mental health, dreams, travel, fitness, or career goals. Yet there’s one journaling topic you might not hear about as often: sex.Yes, I’m suggesting you keep track of your sex life. But I don’t mean just writing down the names of everyone you have sex with (unless you want to). “Journaling about sex can add a layer of mindfulness to your sex life,” says Shadeen Francis, L.M.F.T., a therapist who specializes in sex therapy and emotional intelligence. If you’re open to the process, a sex journal can help you reflect on your experiences, desires, and fantasies. Below, you’ll find a few good reasons to start a sex journal and some tips for using one.1. A sex journal can help you process your experiences.“Journaling, for so long, has been used as a therapeutic technique to help people reflect on their thoughts and their feelings,” says Madeline Cooper, L.C.S.W., a sex therapist who sees both individuals and couples. Part of the reason journaling works is that it encourages expressive writing and helps people contextualize past emotional experiences. Sex therapist Lisa Hochberger, L.M.S.W., adds that sex can be difficult to process at the moment, “so a sex journal gives you the space to interpret your experience.” Even if you’re not having sex with other people right now, you can focus on past experiences, future desires, or masturbation. No matter what your sex life looks like, a sex journal can help you process it.2. You might learn more about your sex drive.With a sex journal, you can explore both how sex feels for you and why you’re doing it. “Sometimes sex can be this thing people do just to get it over with or because they feel they have to have sex to be a good partner,” Hochberger says, adding that a regular journaling practice allows you to slow down and become more aware of your motivations.Tracking your sex life can also help you see patterns that might influence how, when, or why you want (or don’t want) sex. Maybe you’re really horny the week before your period starts, or maybe sex is painful at that point of your cycle. Maybe slow, sensual sex makes you feel connected with your partner. Or maybe you feel closest to them when the sex is rough. Keeping track of what happens and how you feel during sex can make these patterns clearer.3. Sex journaling might make it easier to communicate with partners.Sex can be a loaded conversation topic for partnered people, says Pamela Joy, M.A., a counseling psychologist and Somatica Institute–certified sex and relationship coach. Some of the most eye-opening discussions for couples who go to sex therapy involve what they did or didn’t like about their most recent encounters. This isn’t surprising. There’s significant societal pressure, especially for cis women who have sex with cis men, to be coy about sex. Fear around hurting a partner’s feelings can keep couples from being open about their likes and dislikes too. “I often find that without that talk, they would never really know what about their sex was exciting or fun,” Joy says.Whether you plan to share it with your partners or not, writing a sex journal gets that conversation started. If you know what you like (and don’t like) during sex, you’ll have an easier time talking about it.Here are a few ways you can use your sex journal.While there are structured sex journals you can buy, such as Sex: An Erotic Journal for Sexual Inspiration and Exploration (Amazon, $12) or A Sex Journal for Couples (A Sex Journal, $26), it’s easy to start your own. “The beautiful thing about journaling is that there’s no right or wrong way to journal,” Francis says. Your sex journal can be whatever you want it to be.1. Use personal-reflection questions.When you’re getting started, it can help to have a list of questions in mind as you’re freewriting. You might ask yourself what you liked most about the last time you had sex. Or you might think about what felt like it was on the edge of your comfort zone. Other questions can include: What else would you have wanted to happen? Was there a moment when your partner said or did something that sparked a turn-on, fantasy, or dream? There are tons of other questions you might ask yourself about how you felt during sex. Feel free to make up your own questions.2. Write about your dreams and fantasies.A sex journal doesn’t have to focus on sex you’ve had with other people. You can also write about masturbation, fantasies, or even dreams. All types of sex, even sex you only have in your mind, can teach you something about your desire. Just be careful not to put too much stock in those dreams and fantasies as something you actually need to do even if you’re not sure you want to. If you frequently fantasize about a threesome, for instance, maybe that’s something you want to try, but it might not be. “The reality of a fantasy is that we can have this experience in our dreams, or in our thoughts, but we might not really want it to come true,” Hochberger says. Don’t feel that you have to live all of your fantasies.3. Journal with your partner or alone.One of the most popular sex journals you can buy is made specifically for couples, but a joint journal might not be the answer for everyone. “One of the challenging things about doing it together is being honest,” Joy says. When you’re writing a journal just for yourself, it feels like a private inner world. But if you’re journaling with your partner, you might lose some of that security and be less honest about your desires or experiences. If you feel you can be honest in a joint journal, go for it. Francis suggests partners keep the book in a neutral space accessible for everyone and decide how regularly you want to use your journal. You should also determine how you want to read the journal together, she says. Or if it’s easier, each partner might keep their own sex journal and share what they’ve learned about themselves whenever they’re ready.4. Create a sexual menu.“Imagine you go to an Italian restaurant once a week, and every time you go, you get chicken parm,” Cooper says. “I love chicken parm. Chicken parm is delicious. But sometimes I might want a little eggplant rollatini.” Just as eating chicken parmesan once a week can get stale, having the same type of sex (in the same place every time) can be redundant, depending on what you like. In these cases, therapists often have clients create sexual menus, and this is something you can do in your journal.One way to go about it is to structure your sex menu like a three-course meal. For example: Your appetizer can be kissing, oral sex, light touching, or anything else you want. Your entrée might be vaginal or anal sex, or it might include sex toys. Finally, dessert might involve cuddling or some other aftercare activity. But you can also switch it up if you want to de-emphasize certain sex acts, such as penetration of any kind. Maybe your sexual menu is actually like tapas, or maybe the dessert is the most important part, so you start there. In any case, journaling about your menu pushes you to think about the different things you enjoy, Cooper says. And if you’re into it, having a partner write a sex menu might be something you journal about together and share.5. Draw a body map.Taking out your art supplies can be a fun activity to add to your journal. You can do this alone by drawing your own body, or you can do it with a partner. To start, you draw an outline (or a stick figure) of a body, and then touch your or your partner’s actual body to get a sense of likes and dislikes. As you go, you can write or draw on the map to record how those different sensations feel on different parts of the body. Whether you’re body mapping alone or with someone else, try exploring different types of touch—hard and rough, soft and gentle, with a vibrator, with a blindfold. You might start at the feet and work your way up the body with your hands, your mouth (especially if you’re doing this to someone else), a feather, or anything else you want, touching and taking note of how you or your partner reacts.Try not to worry too much about your artistic skills, Hochberger says. Instead pay attention to verbal and nonverbal cues. “Take notice of, ‘Hey, when I kissed or caressed their neck, they really liked that.’ Or, ‘When I kissed their neck, I felt their body move back, so I could tell that wasn’t something they were comfortable with,’” Hochberger says. And take as much time as you need. You can, for instance, work your way up to their head and have them flip over so that you’re exploring the back of their body too.Once you’ve filled in your map, check in with each other to make sure that the places you’ve marked are the spots and sensations they actually liked. And try not to look at your body map as a one-and-done. You probably won’t draw a body map every day, but desires change, and so might the places you like to be touched.6. Notice how sex journaling makes you feel.A sex journal is only helpful if it feels good or useful to write it. “Pay attention to how you feel journaling before, during, and after,” Francis says, adding that your journal is a place for self-reflection, and no one has to know what you’ve written.Additionally, try not to use your journal as a space to blame yourself if your sex life isn’t perfect. For instance, if you or your partner doesn’t orgasm or one of you has trouble with erectile dysfunction—there are so many reasons (both physical and mental) that a person might not climax or get an erection. Also don’t assign blame if you and your partner seem to have different libidos. If you find that your feelings are overwhelming and you’d like more support, reach out to a sex therapist or other health professional for guidance if you can. As a bonus, your sex journal can help you better address your concerns.Remember: This journal is a space for you to reflect on your own sexual pleasure and experiences. Although it can be a useful tool for better communication about sex in relationships, ultimately, a sex journal you start for yourself should be about you.Source: Glamour.com
When was the last time you went for a routine checkup to see if you’re healthy reproductively? Most people wish to have families of their own when they are ready, unfortunately, not all of these people can. For decades, we have lived under the illusion that it is easy to start a family, however, it is not easy to start a family these days. Besides the financial and physical constraints, the natural order of the human system has been altered in very negative ways and for that reason, it is quite difficult for such things as starting a family to happen naturally.As young people, we have responsibilities to care for ourselves for the benefit of our future however, we, unfortunately, contribute fairly to our inability to start families when we are ready. The issue with this kind of situation is, we hardly admit to being our demons. One of the most important things that should motivate you as a person is that hypothetically, you do not own your life. Your future depends on everything you do today and you must stay conscious of your actions. Fertility DefinedFertility is the ability to conceive within six months to a year of being sexually active and Infertility is the direct opposite. Research shows that many young couples within the ages of 20-30 have difficulty starting families due to underlining issues of which some cannot simply be explained. While some young women suffer from several reproductive health issues, the young men swim in a wide range of health irregularities.The fact that you are sexually active doesn’t guarantee that you are likely to be fertile. Some females ignorantly take tons of birth control medications that add to their already existing reproductive health issues or create very new ones for them. The funny thing is, they might not even be aware of the existence of health issues they might be having till the opportunity presents itself for them to start a family. According to studies, birth control medications have millions of adverse side effects on the female reproductive system of which most people turn a blind eye to. Others venture paths of the termination of fetuses which is popularly known as abortion. This is mostly accompanied by serious complications if not done professionally. Taking Charge of The SituationThere are many things you can do as a young person to ensure that you do not miss your chance of starting a family in the future. As a young woman or man, it is medically wise to do routine checkups where scans and tests will be run to ensure that your body is ready for the kind of future you wish for. During these checkups, doctors recommend a lot of medications if necessary to help you take control of your situation or simply keep your body in a perfect state. Some of the interventions a doctor may refer a young female patient who is threatened by a reproductive health issue to during a routine checkup includes hormonal therapy, egg freezing, education on In Vitro Fertilization, Surrogacy, Adoption among other interventions. All of these measures prepares you for the kind of future you wish for and offers you the opportunity to take control of your life. Male patients are also offered tons of interventions including sperm freezing for future use. It is a real shame that in our side of the world, topics of this sort and passionately ignored. Nobody tells us anything until it hits us hard on the face. Today in this country, young couples are handling issues of miscarriages, low sperm count, fibroids, cysts, PCOS, Endometriosis, unexplained infertility among others in silence and with no support because there is literally no support system. Women suffer in silence because they find it shameful sharing their infertility stories when truly, there’s nothing shameful about it. Creating fertility awareness among the youth is both important and exciting for me because we live in a day and age where infertility does not exist anymore per se. This is because medical innovations have made almost everything possible even though they might be pricey. Taking a moment to think about how you are preparing yourself is important. Living right and taking care of your body is the way to go if you want to take charge of your future. Investing in healthy components like body supplements that will be instrumental to your body will be a wise step to take today. It is my pleasure to introduce you to some of these supplements. Stay healthy and safe for your future! Source: highfivemedotblog
Remember a year ago when everyone had to re-learn the proper way to wash their hands? Before masks and ventilation, the government was telling you to sing Happy Birthday twice. (How young we were!) I remember one particular video making the rounds, with colored ink demonstrating proper technique. And I remember thinking it was silly to have to tell people how to practice basic hygiene—until I read a CDC report that a not-very-nice 69 percent of men did not wash their hands regularly. Living through this pandemic has hopefully changed this for good. So while we’re at it, might I also suggest the importance of washing your hands before hooking up? Your hands are the pioneers for all physical experiences involving your sense of touch, picking up billions of pathogenic passengers on the way. And nearly any orifice in a body is a warm, squishy, welcoming environment for microorganisms. Even the most PG of sexual contact involves the exchanging of some kind of bodily fluids. In fact, when you boil it down, a lot of common sexual acts involve putting your body parts into someone else’s body parts. And considering how your hands are some of your most important parts, they’re introduced to some very intimate spaces in your partner—spaces that are often fragile chemical environments with delicate pH levels that do not take kindly to foreign bacteria.As the owner of a vagina, I could tell you all about its fickleness, the essentials of an acidic pH environment, and all the uncomfortable and gross tantrums it can and will throw when that environment is compromised, but I'm also going to ask you to trust me. If you’re thinking, “Wait, I’ve never heard of this from my partners. It must not really be an issue,” I’m here to tell you that's not necessarily the case. I don't want to make assumptions of how communicative you are with your partners about genital health, but I do know that many women often feel societal pressure to downplay their genital discomfort, monthly or otherwise. There's a real likelihood that she’s telling her group chat about your post-hook-up havoc instead. So I'm taking it on myself to say that any simple thing you can do to keep the filth in your minds and not in your partner’s bits is a very good and sexy thing to do. But isn’t that a mood-killer? you say, perhaps imagining excusing yourself post strip-down to give your hands a rinse in the bathroom sink. Honestly, if your date flees because you took a moment to scrub up, it is definitely not you washing your hands that’s the mood murderer. But just build it in—taking a moment to excuse yourself to use the bathroom in anticipation of an approaching mood is just good planning. You do not have to announce, “brb gonna go polish these sex-hands now.”The same way some may think that applying lube or fumbling with a condom is an wkward enough interlude to skip altogether lest the delicate mood shrivels and withers away, we all power through it because it’s important for everyone’s health and comfort. So is making sure your hands are clean before you put them on a body.Would you suck on your own fingers after taking public transportation, having drinks at a bar, walking your dog, or going for a bike ride? I’ll bet not, because you know about germs. Even when your hands aren’t doing so many activities, there’s still the possibility of hangnails, bleeding cuticles, and other such little fluid-leaking incidences that seem like no biggie until it’s coming in contact with another person’s mucus membranes. It’s good manners to wash your hands before eating and it’s even better manners to do so before engaging in intimate contact with another person.In the past, I have definitely asked partners hey, do you mind washing your hands before we get started/keep going? No one has ever challenged the request (I mean, why would you if it was leading to sex?) The response is usually an obliging but slightly surprised, “Oh! Yeah, of course!” as if I’d told someone they’d forgotten to turn their headlights off when they parked their car. It’s not that I think men inherently have vile, filthy hands that will immediately lead to some sort of vaginal rot when introduced. But I, too, know about germs. I have thought a lot about those invisible fuckers lately! And while I do not mind asking, a partner thinking about hands-prep in advance before getting down would be incredibly attractive, and sexy, and mood-enhancing, for sure. Honestly, any gestures of care purposefully done with confidence are très très sexy. I cannot stress enough how attractive it is to show (not tell) your partner that you’re considerate of their well-being and pleasure. It can foster a sense of trust, which allows for greater vulnerability between both of you, which in turn leads to very good sex. And that can absolutely begin with the shit you should already have been doing like washing your hands. Source: GQ
21 Foreplay Ideas and Tips You will Be Dying to Try for Married Couples
Done right, the buildup to sex can be just as good as the main event—especially with these foreplay ideas. Whether you're in a long-term relationship or having first-time hookup, foreplay tends to get overlooked. Part of the reason? It's easy for foreplay tips to feel a little contrived: Start by making out, move on to some over-the-bra action, make your way below the belt. But foreplay doesn't have to be quite so paint-by-the-numbers. We asked sex therapists and experts to weigh in on how to foreplay while keeping things interesting. You're going to want to have this list handy the next time you get frisky.1. Relive your best moments.Relationship fact: The early days of your romance tend to be the hottest and heaviest. But that doesn't mean you can't still capture that gotta-have-you-now passion. Next time you and your partner are getting intimate, use those early hookups as inspiration to re-create one of your past encounters, says sexologist Barbara Winter, Ph.D., a certified sex therapist and fellow and clinical supervisor of the American Board of Sexology. This can start before sex—for example, going to one of your old date-night spots or wearing the same clothes you wore during a hot moment at the beginning of your relationship. Then, later in the night, break out a move you used to do in bed that really turned you both on.2. Start off outside the bedroom.Another hallmark of those hot early hookups is that they don't necessarily happen in the bedroom. If you want to make things more spontaneous, try initiating foreplay in the kitchen, office, garage, or anywhere else where you don't typically do it, says sex and relationship coach Claudia Six, Ph.D., a board-certified clinical sexologist. "It’s the unexpected that keeps things interesting," she says. You can either lead your partner to the bedroom afterward or just have sex right then and there. You might be surprised how many places to have sex you've been overlooking.3. Talk dirty.Dirty talk can be ridiculously effective for getting turned on—it's an especially good way to initiate foreplay. Not sure where to start? No need to overthink it. Sometimes the most effective dirty talk can be as simple as just stating exactly what you want your partner to do to you in your most seductive voice.4. Cool it.Heat and cold can both add a lot to the sensations you're already feeling. One often recommended (and maybe overused) foreplay tips for men is to suck on an ice cube before giving oral sex. In reality, the idea of a chilly penis might not be such a turn on for your partner, but you can still play with temperature in other erogenous zones—like running an ice cube down their neck on a steamy summer day. 5. Heat things up.To play with heat, try dripping warm wax on each other's bodies (just make sure to get your partner's permission first) or use a warming lube. Playing with hot and cold—or the two combined—should create "a delicious shiver," says Six.6. Do a little dance.Looking to up the ante during foreplay? Have your partner sit on the bed, put on an anthem that always has you feelin' yourself (cough, anything by Rihanna, cough) and give them a lap dance. For some added excitement, have your partner start off fully dressed so you can personally remove their garments one by one. Or if you're feeling extra bold, do your dance in the buff.7. Make foreplay an all-day event.Foreplay doesn't need to be limited to the bedroom. Whether it's sexy texts throughout the day or stolen kisses while you're doing errands, foreplay can start well before the main event. Tease each other throughout the entire day for extra heat.8. Do the unexpected.If all your intimate encounters are starting to look eerily similar, one of the best foreplay tips you can use is to switch things up. For example, if you always get down at night, trying initiating a sex session first thing in the morning. Normally leave the lights off? Try lighting candles instead. Or make a new sex playlist. Just like switching up where you have sex and engage in foreplay, you can switch up how you do it too.9. Tell each other how you feel.Okay, okay, before you cringe, remember there is a reason words of affirmation are a love language. Telling your partner what you like about them is a huge turn-on. Who doesn't like compliments?10. Act out a fantasy.Everyone has a sexual fantasy—acting one out is one of the most surefire ways to make all of your partner's foreplay dreams come true. Have them write down 10 fantasies they have—think: Eve and Villanelle on Killing Eve or Jamie and Claire from Outlander—on little slips of paper. Then choose one randomly and act it out. Admittedly, this can feel a little cheesy at first. To help you get past any awkwardness, the experts recommend just trying to keep it up for 30 seconds. Even in that short amount of time, you might find yourselves getting swept up in your roles.11. Don’t kiss.Sometimes almost kissing can be as tantalizing as kissing. Hear us out. Get face-to-face with your partner, either lying down side by side or with one of you on top of the other. Get close enough so that your mouths are just barely touching and your lips are parted—though not actually kissing. Instead, breathe in and out at opposite times, so you're "trading" breaths. It's simple but deeply intimate—you'll be surprised at how steamy things get. 12. Get a massage.Sometimes the best form of foreplay is as simple as relaxing. When your mind is on a thousand different things—the never-ending to-do list, that cryptic comment from your boss this week, school drop-offs—it can be a challenge to really be present and get in the mood with your partner (hence why chilling out is often included on lists of foreplay ideas for women). Giving each other a sensual massage is a recipe for relaxation. 13. Watch a sexy movie together.If you and your partner are both into porn or are at least intrigued by it, try checking it out together. Winter recommends talking afterward about what you each like and dislike and what you might want to try (or not). Sometimes it opens you up to ideas you might not have thought of before. Start by looking for feminist porn sites.14. Find a sexy story. If the visual medium isn't your thing, that's totally fine. Watching people have sex onscreen doesn't do it for everyone. But don't write all forms of porn off just yet. Listening to a sexy audio story or reading a piece of erotica that turns you both on can be a great way to get in the mood. Check out Dipsea for the sexy alternative to your favorite podcast. 15. Mime each other’s moves.Sometimes we can learn a lot about how our partner likes to be touched and kissed by observing how they touch and kiss us. Paying close attention to and mimicking our partner's moves is not only a fantastic round of foreplay, it can show you how to turn them on in the future. It's as simple as it sounds: Sit, stand, or lie down facing each other. Then begin miming the other's moves. If his or her hand reaches to slip your top off, you do the same to them. 16. Play a kissing game.Tell your partner to sit on the sofa or lie down on the bed. Kiss them—on the mouth, the cheeks, the forehead, the ears, the eyelids, the neck, hands, knees, you name it. Here's the catch: Your partner has to stay totally still. They can't move, or touch you, or try to kiss you back. The buildup and anticipation will have you both dying to get intimate.17. Be a tease.Have your partner lie on their back and proceed to play a little game of "getting warmer." Use your hands (or your mouth) to gently caress different parts of their body. You could start with random spots like the knees or forehead and then move to more erogenous zones. While you're moving about, ask how your partner is handling the temperature. Keep "getting warmer" until they can't take it anymore and then switch roles. 18. Practice your communication skills.Since everyone has different turn-ons, the best thing you can do is pay attention to what works for you and then try to re-create it, says Winter. Don't be afraid to let your partner know when they do something that you like. They'll probably be happy to keep doing whatever gets you going in the future, and they'll definitely appreciate the positive feedback. Next time you're having a quiet moment with your partner, start a conversation about what he or she likes during foreplay. Chances are, just talking about it might lead to more.19. Act like strangers.This is the perfect way to switch things up with your partner and bring back those first-date butterflies, says Emily Morse, Ph.D., host of the podcast Sex With Emily. Approach each other at your favorite bar (or a new one you've been meaning to try). Then come up with a fun back story, and chat each other up as if it's the first time you're meeting. "This is a chance to let go and act out a fantasy you’ve always wanted to try, or simply feel it out in the moment," Morse says. "You get the thrill of a 'one-night stand' without the hassle, or infidelity."20. Make a “yes/no/maybe” list.If you're looking for ways to spice up your sex life, downloading a "yes/no/maybe" list from the internet is a great way for you and your partner get started. According to Morse, these lists can help you determine what you and your partner are willing to try in the bedroom, and include everything from BDSM to sex toys and nonmonogamy. Each person goes through the list and marks which items are a yes, a maybe, or a definite no. Review the lists together to see where you and your partner land. "Discussing this can be arousing, but also lead to learning even more about your partner, and exploring something new that you might have never considered before," Morse says.21. Sext.Next time you're on your way home, send a flirty text. If you haven't sexted before, it can feel intimidating, so remember it's all about what makes you feel sexy. Maybe that's a photo, or a poem, or a description of what you're going to do to your partner when you get home. Source: Glamour
The morning of your wedding is probably one you’ve envisioned for a long time, and it’s an exciting one at that! As you get closer to the big day, you can do several things to avoid stress that morning and to start the day off in the most calm and serene way possible. With so much going on around you and so many emotions building in regards to this day, staying stress-free can be hard to do, but rest assured that it’s not impossible as long as you take the right measures ahead of time.1. Limit the People in Your Bridal SuiteIn theory, it may sound great to have as many loved ones as possible around you the morning of the big day. After all, everyone will be ready to celebrate! However, the more people you have around you, the more hectic your bridal suite will end up being. Limit the number of individuals you get ready with as much as you can to keep the amount of chaos to a minimum. This will certainly help to prevent stress and will keep the environment fun and relaxing.2. Delegate as Much as PossibleIt can definitely be hard to relinquish control of things that you’ve so carefully planned surrounding your wedding. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t delegate as much as you can, especially when it comes to the big day. For the morning of your wedding, put others in charge of items such as ensuring catering arrives, being a point person for your glam team, and fielding questions from guests. Delegate even the littlest things to your bridal party or family members, such as who’s in charge of bringing coffee or who is on music duty as you get ready with your bridesmaids. Taking as much off your plate as possible will lift a huge weight off your shoulders when you wake up on the day of your wedding.3. Eat a Healthy Breakfast and HydrateEnjoying a delicious and healthy breakfast when you wake up on the day of your wedding can help keep stress to a minimum. If you get overly hungry, it’s easy to become agitated and emotional. Prevent this from being even a remote possibility by eating something filling before you get started for the day. Consume some protein, like eggs or yogurt. Avoid anything too starchy, as it may make you feel tired or look bloated, which you definitely don’t want as you prepare to walk down the aisle. The same rule goes for staying hydrated; don’t skimp on water the morning of your wedding. Have a large glass of it right when you wake up and keep a water bottle on hand the entire day so that you don’t end up dehydrated.4. Keep Your Schedule ClearIt can be tempting to load the morning of your wedding with appointments. From a wax to a manicure, these small appointments will add up to quite a bit of time. If you do them all on the morning of your wedding, you’ll end up feeling rushed and overwhelmed. Keep your schedule as clear as possible that morning, leaving yourself time to relax, enjoy, and breathe. Stick with just hair and makeup, if possible.5. Adopt a Positive Mantra and MindsetMind over matter! If you have the right mindset going into your wedding day, you’ll be able to better combat the possibility of stress. A positive attitude and the mantra that the day is going to be fun, relaxing, and perfect will help you to achieve these goals and remain stress-free.6. Do Something Just for YouWhen you wake up the morning of your wedding, chances are there will be a million emotions on your mind. Take a few minutes to do something just for you to commemorate this special day and to clear your mind. Practice meditation, jot down your thoughts in a journal, or go for a run and take time to reflect. Start the day relaxed and keep the trend going for the entirety of the morning.7. Prepare the Day BeforeThe day before your wedding, take some time to get organized to avoid scrambling the next day. Pack a bag of everything you’ll need to get ready, and make a list of everything you need to do in the morning. Also be sure to get a good sleep the night before so that you awake refreshed and ready for a fabulous day.Taking these measures will help ensure a stress-free morning on your wedding day that you’ll remember forever. Source: Weddingbee
66 Ways to Say ‘I Love You’ (Without Actually Saying It)
As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. Hopefully you tell your spouse or betrothed on the daily that you love them, but sometimes it can be the easy way out, or words fall on deaf ears. From cooking her favorite dinner to being the first to apologize after an argument, here’s a list of 66 acts of service (in no particular order) you can do without saying a word to let your husband or wife know how much you care. For the ultimate challenge, complete this list with one action a day. You’ll be seeing hearts fly out of their eyes in no time.1. Surprise her with a hug.2. Hold hands with him.3. Plant a garden of her favorite flowers.4. Bake his favorite desert.5. Cook her favorite dinner and have it waiting for when he or she comes home!)6. Give him a shoulder rub.7. Wash her car. (Bonus points if you detail the inside!)8. Wash the dishes when it’s actually his turn.9. Make her a homemade greeting card instead of buying one.10. Write him a list of reasons why you love him.11. Make her a playlist of meaningful or favorite songs.12. Buy her flowers (for no reason!)13. Serve him breakfast in bed.14. Do all her laundry for the week.15. Leave him a love note on the bathroom mirror for him to find in the morning.16. Purchase them an item off his Amazon wish list.17. Write her a love poem.18. Plan a romantic walk or picnic outdoors.19. Do his least favorite chore for a week.20. Let her choose the music in the car.21. Plan a vacation to a place he has always wanted to visit.22. Make a photo album of your photos together.23. Text her a heart emoji.24. Write him an old-fashioned love letter.25. Surprise her with an unplanned date night.26. Prepare lunches she can take to work for the week.27. Watch his favorite movie with them (and make the popcorn!)28. Surprise her with a kiss.29. Laugh at his jokes (even if they’re not funny.)30. Compliment her.31. Massage her feet after a long day.32. Do the grocery shopping for the week.33. Make him laugh.34. DIY a gift for her instead of buying one.35. Serve him a glass of their favorite beverage while they’re watching TV.36. Draw her a warm bath and light the bathroom with candles.37. Ask him how his day was (and really listen).38. Schedule a professional massage for her.39. Be the first to apologize.40. Greet her with a hug and kiss when she comes home.41. Pick up his dry cleaning.42. Clean up after the pets for a week.43. Make eye contact from across the room.44. Offer her your jacket on a cold evening.45. Be a shoulder to cry on.46. Wait up for her to get home after a long night of work.47. Admit when you’re wrong.48. Let him have the last slice.49. Make a status update about how much you appreciate her.50. Make conversation with his parents.51. Plan a weekly date night with no other commitments except each other.52. Don’t start that argument.53. Let him win the argument.54. Ask him personal questions you don’t know the answers to.55. Buy tickets to see her favorite musician perform.56. Stock the kitchen with his favorite snacks for spontaneous cravings.57. Invite her friends over and cook (or order) dinner for the group.58. Make him coffee every morning.59. Participate in one of her hobbies with them.60. Get a pair of bikes so that you can ride around town together on the weekends.61. Take him on a shopping spree at his favorite store.62. Put your arm around her in social settings.63. Surprise him with a phone call to see how his day is going.64. Set a special mood for dinner every night with candles and soft music.65. Let him have his favorite seat on the plane.66. Open the door for her when she comes home.Source: weddingbee
It can be nerve-wracking to go through a period of being in a long-distance relationship, especially if you know that this person could be the one you want to marry. If the decision isn’t set in stone, couples can wonder whether they should work extremely hard and sacrifice career and personal goals in order to stay in the same proximity. At the same time, most people in relationships also want what’s best for the person they are with, so it can be difficult to decide whether to prioritize in-person contact or the goals and dreams that each individual has. There are some important questions to answer for yourself before you begin a long-distance part of your relationship. Are You Willing to Trust Your Partner?When two people date in person, it is easy to feel like you trust them; after all, you see each other so often and you know so much about the schedule of the other person. Some of that trust, however, is more like a feeling of being in control. You know you would find out if your partner was doing anything you disapproved of, so you don’t actually have to trust them not to do those things. This can create a rude wake-up call when you are parted from each other for a substantial amount of time. In long-distance relationships it can be easy to wonder how the other person spends his or her free time, leading to doubt and jealousy.What should be clear from the outset is whether or not you really trust the person you are with, especially when they have the opportunity to make poor choices without you finding out. Would you send him or her into a new unfamiliar situation full of new people and still know that he or she will be honest with you and committed to you?If you cannot answer yes, it may be a bad idea to be long-distance. That doesn’t mean that one partner will automatically misbehave; rather, no one likes being treated with doubt and constant questioning. Even if neither person in the relationship is ever unfaithful or involved in something negative, suspicion can be destructive to a relationship that is already going through the difficulties of distance. Can You Emphasize the Positive and Not Focus on the Negative?The negatives of long-distance are so easy to see that it can be tempting to dwell on them and mention them all the time. This means talking about how much you miss each other, how lonely you feel, and how much you daydream about being close again. Many couples stop having as much fun in their conversational life because their phone calls and video chats descend into repetition of how much they miss each other. This can slowly make talking to each other less and less positive, making you doubt what was good about the relationship in the first place.Being positive is harder, but it also increases your chances of making it through a period of dating long-distance as a strong couple. If you focus on learning what made the other person’s day great or on creating interesting question games to get to know each other better, you can use the time apart as a chance to notice what makes you good together, not just what makes you sad during your separation. Some couples who take this positive approach actually note that they find themselves growing closer during times of separation because they have to work harder to come up with topics that get to the core of their personalities, rather than just commenting on the daily life they share in common.You can get really creative about emphasizing the positive: write each other kind and thoughtful letters, create silly surprise packages, and send each other voice memos of songs or poems! If you make an effort, you can be just as much of a positive influence on your significant other during time away from them as when you are in person. Can You See the End Date and Celebrate Its Approach?It can be tempting to let long-distance relationships drag on long term if one or both partners are still in a place of uncertainty about where they want to be for the future. However, this kind of relationship can become deeply exhausting to both members, since they don’t get to count down the days until they get to date in-person again.Whenever possible, it is good to know how long the long-distance experiment will be; after that time, either a concerted effort to reunite or a determination of whether things are still working is in order. People who get into a long-distance relationship and don’t know when or if they will ever be done with long-distance have to measure by an interesting metric, namely, would they prefer having this long-distance relationship with the person they are now with, or an in-person relationship with someone else? When there is no end in sight for long-distance, many people tend to choose the latter after a long amount of time has passed.This isn’t to say that very long stretches of distance cannot work. For example, if one partner goes to medical school and residency for six years, there is some joy in knowing the end date is approaching. It means that you have “anniversaries” to celebrate regarding how close you are to being together, which injects more of that much-needed positivity into your relationship.In summary, long-distance relationships present a unique set of challenges when compared to dating in close proximity to your partner. However, there are reasons to make long-distance relationships work. These reasons include you being at a place where you truly trust your partner’s character, emphasizing the positives of being together rather than the negatives of distance, and knowing an end date, no matter how far off it may be. With these items handled, you can make the best of the time you do spend together and work hard to be a positive part of each other’s lives during the times in between.
5 Sexual Health Questions Your Husband Needs to Ask His Doctor
In 2019, the CDC reported that women were 33% more likely to visit the doctor than men—but, let’s be honest, this is hardly a surprise. Every woman has seen this statistic in action when they ask their clearly ill husband, father, or male friend if he needs to get a checkup.“I’m fine,” he’ll probably sniff stubbornly. “It’s nothing.”But when it comes to sexual health, your husband can’t simply take some NyQuil and hope for the best. He should be visiting his doctor and asking important questions to keep himself healthy—in fact, he should be asking questions like these:1. “What Is This Thing on My Penis/Scrotum?”Your husband is very well aware of how his genitals look and feel, so when something’s not quite right, it can be cause for alarm. Of course, sometimes a bump or irritation is no big deal (for example, ingrown hairs can cause acne-like bumps on the penis), but other times they can spell big trouble.If your husband notices something on his penis or scrotum, it’s very important that he visit the doctor and get it checked out. Early examinations can help the doctor intervene early if that “weird bump” turns out to be a cyst, a varicocele, or (God forbid) a tumor.2. “Can I Break My Penis?”It may seem counterintuitive (since, you know, there are no bones), but men actually can break their penises. This is because the penis has a layer of fibrous connective tissue around it called the tunica albuginea. When that tissue rips during intercourse, the penis effectively “breaks”—and that is a medical emergency.Men will want to know whether or not their “favorite organ” is at risk during sexual activity—but it’s even more important to recognize the signs of a broken penis. If your man experiences a loud, painful snap during sex, which is followed by losing his erection, go to the hospital IMMEDIATELY.3. “Is Erectile Dysfunction Normal?”This question can be a complicated one. If the man asking is under age 50, then the answer is no; the risk of erectile dysfunction (ED) for 50-year-olds and under is less than 5%. Erectile dysfunction becomes increasingly common as men age, but the stigma that accompanies it keeps men of all ages from asking their doctors about it.If your man is struggling with ED, talking to his doctor is the first step toward regaining a fulfilling sex life. Additionally, ED can sometimes point to other issues, particularly in young men—for example, diabetes or hypertension. Talking to the doctor can be instrumental in preserving his health.4. “Is a Curved Penis Normal?”Peyronie’s disease is a condition in which scar tissue inside the penis causes it to curve. If the case is mild (AKA, if the curve is less than 30 degrees), there’s no real issue and your man can use his penis normally. However, if the curve is too great, it can cause pain during intercourse or conditions like ED.Peyronie’s disease is rare in most young men, but it becomes more common as men reach their 30s and older. In fact, 4 out of 100 men between age 40 and 70 have some form of this condition. If your husband is noticing an increased curve in his penis, it’s important to have his doctor take a look and make sure it’s not too serious.5. “Do Men Go Through Menopause?”Menopause refers to the end of a woman’s fertility, marked by the end of her menstrual cycle. Obviously, men don’t go through this specific experience—but they do experience a drop in testosterone as they age. The process, known as androgen deficiency in the aging male (ADAM), starts as early as 45 or 50, but it becomes most notable after age 70.If your man starts to experience fatigue, weakness, or a decrease in sexual desire, this drop in testosterone might be to blame. However, other issues could be at play as well—which is why it’s important to see a doctor for a thorough check-up.
Engagement ring shopping is an exciting process, but it can be confusing, too. There are so many things to know before you even visit the first jewelry store. Knowing all the right stuff before you embark on this journey is sure to make the process that much more seamless, putting you closer to popping the question and then walking down the aisle.Plan Ahead and Manage ExpectationsYou’ll want to plan ahead when it comes to shopping, as it may not be as simple as walking into the store and walking out that day with the ring. It takes time for some rings to be made exactly to your specifications, so be ready to wait a bit between the first step of the shopping journey and when you actually have the ring in your hands.Is Three Month’s Salary Necessary?One thing to know is that while there’s an old “rule” that you should spend three month’s salary on an engagement ring, it’s not something closely followed in today’s world. When that sentiment was popularized, it was a time when salaries were lower, as was the cost of living. Financial health and debt mean something much different in today’s world, so focus less on this “rule” and more on spending what you feel comfortable with.Know Your Partner’s TasteWhen you’re planning on proposing, you’ll definitely want to make sure you have a good idea of their taste and preferences. An engagement ring is a deeply personal piece of jewelry, as it’s one that will be worn every day. For that reason, you will want to ensure you get your future spouse something they’ll love! Look for hints in the jewelry they already own or enlist in the help of someone close to them, such as a sibling or friend. You may even want to check to see if your partner has a Pinterest board dedicated to wedding-related items, to see if there are any rings saved to serve as inspiration.Decide on Your Partner’s InvolvementGoing along with the last point, you’ll want to figure out how involved your partner will be in the shopping process before it begins. Talk to her about this to understand her desires and express what you envision for this journey as well. There’s no right or wrong answer to this; some couples go through the entire process together, some do it completely independently, and some do a mix of the two. Whatever you’re both comfortable with is the best route for you!Diamonds Aren’t the Only OptionMany people erroneously believe that an engagement ring must feature a beautiful diamond. And while many engagement rings do, that’s not the be-all and end-all of this piece of jewelry. Especially in recent years, other gemstones have become more and more popular in engagement rings, providing more unique options for this special piece of jewelry. Sapphires, emeralds, or even pearls are all options as engagement pieces. Really, the possibilities are endless! This comes down to the taste of your partner. If your future spouse has a more eclectic style or is maybe looking for something untraditional in an engagement ring, an alternate stone may be a great option.What About Return and Insurance Policies?Before you start shopping, you’ll want to think through what type of insurance you’ll want for the ring and whether or not you’re concerned with buying a ring that comes with a return policy. Regardless of what you decide, it’s a good idea to ask about these items when you’re shopping, too.There’s No Specific TimelineShopping for an engagement ring is a huge step in a relationship and is a very personal process. With that being said, don’t feel like you need to rush through it or are pressured to make a decision. Before you begin shopping, know that you can navigate this process however you feel most comfortable, using as many resources or as much time as you feel is needed to get the ring you’ve been dreaming of for your future fiancé.Finding the perfect engagement ring can be a labor of love, but it’s surely worth it once you see the excitement in the eyes of your future spouse when you drop down on one knee.
Whether you recently got out of a serious relationship or you’ve been consciously single for a long period of time, getting back into the dating pool can feel a little awkward and overwhelming at times. Putting yourself out there can be scary, exciting, fantastic, disappointing, and every emotion in between. Here’s how to get back into dating one small step at a time.First Things First, Do this For YouYour family and friends may equate singleness with unhappiness, and therefore may put unnecessary pressure on you to get back out there and find a mate. Just remember that you should only start to date if you want to start dating. No one else’s approval or opinion should matter when it comes to your love life.However, if you feel like you want to start dating again or meet a companion, then pursue it in a way that makes sense for you. That means if you don’t feel like being set up with your mother’s dentist’s cousin, then it’s perfectly fine for you to politely decline the invitation. It also means that your friends or family members shouldn’t pressure you to set up an online dating account if you would rather meet someone in a more organic way.Start Looking AroundWhen you were in a previous relationship or weren’t looking for a partner, it was easy to just go about your life and not pay too much attention to strangers or acquaintances that you came across on a daily basis. Once you have actively decided to pursue dating again, stop and take a look around at all of the people you are interacting with on a daily basis. Maybe that barista you love that has memorized your very specific coffee order should be given a second look. Or maybe the guy who services the copy machine at your office who always makes small talk should be paid more attention to. The point is, take stock of the people who are around you and you’ll never know what kinds of friendships or even romantic relationships may happen for you in the future.Ask for a SetupFive years ago you may not have even considered having your friends or family members set you up with another single person, but now you may be rethinking that decision. Who better to set you up with another person than the people who know you best? Sure, there might be a chance that the date could be a complete flop, but so could a date with someone completely random.Ask your friends or family members if they know anyone single who you might be compatible with. Tell them that what kinds of qualities you’re looking for in a date or potentially a future partner. Have them take it seriously (and not just find the only single person they know). You never know when their connection with someone could lead to romance!Join a New Club or Hobby GroupDo you love to go to art museums or drink wine? Are you a movie buff who is dying to talk shop with other cinema lovers? Chances are, whatever your hobby is, there’s a group out there you can join to meet up with other hobbyists. Although it’s not guaranteed that there will be other single people there, it’s a great chance to get you out of your comfort zone and meet new people. You never know if someone in your new cycling group could be your next best friend or maybe your next great date. Put yourself out there by joining new groups and you’ll be surprised at how easily a connection can form with someone new.Sign Up for Online DatingYes, this is the 21st century and online dating is an extremely popular way to meet someone new. There are certainly drawbacks to meeting someone in this way, but it’s hard to deny some of the results that you hear about from happy couples that have found success. There are many, many online dating sites and apps, so be sure to be selective and choose one that fits your needs (and one that’s recommended by your other single friends). Algorithms that predict your interest in another person can often turn out to be really accurate, but sometimes you may have a date that’s a dud. Take it in stride (and maybe with a chuckle) and move on to the next.Do What Makes You ComfortableWhen you’re putting yourself out there for the first time in a while, dating can seem a little overwhelming and often frustrating. The most important thing is to check in with yourself and ensure that you’re having fun and enjoying most of the experiences that you’re having. If you find that most of your experiences are less than desirable, don’t be afraid to take a break. A little bit of self care while you’re dating never hurt anyone.
How Long Should You Date Someone Before Getting Married?
It’s a story we all know and love: two people meet, seemingly on accident. They bump into each other on the street, their dogs get tangled up on an afternoon walk, they try to buy the same box of cereal at the store. But from the moment they look into each other’s eyes, it’s clear that this was no accident. No, this is fate— and they are each other’s one true love.When we see this story in the movies, it seems like our heroes should just hightail it to the chapel right then and there. After all, it’s just so obvious that they are meant to be! But when it comes to our own love stories, it’s much tougher to be certain of our feelings. Is he really “the one”? Is it too soon to ask her to marry you? Are you insane for even thinking about the church and the white dress (much less the future that follows)? When, exactly, is the “right time” to get married!?Look around and you’ll see couples with wildly different stories and success rates in their marriages, from your neighbors to your favorite celebrities. Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky got engaged after 10 months and have been married 10 years. Brad and Angelina, however, lived as partners and co-parents for nine years, but divorced after two years as husband and wife. Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande are currently filling our Twitter feeds with the fallout of their brief engagement (which happened after only two weeks of dating). Oprah and Stedman have been going strong for over 30 years with no plans to “make it official.”Even in my own life, the data is pretty inconclusive; my parents had known each other for five whole months when they got married, and they just celebrated 30 years of marriage. My husband and I dated for eight years before getting married (and while it’s only been three months—so far, so good). It seems like there may not be one “right time” for couples to wed. But while the rest of us have struggled to suss out an answer, psychologists and researchers have been studying the issue with the best tool they have: cold, hard, data.Learning About LoveA young newlywed couple laying on the floor and looking at each other with moving boxes in the background.Back in 2015, Andrew Francis-Tan and Hugo M. Mialon, who are both researchers at Emory University, published a study in Economic Inquiry. The study aimed to determine whether a marriage’s success could be predicted based on how much money the couple spent on their big day. They questioned 3,000 couples on the details of their nuptials, from how much the ring cost to how many guests watched them say “I do.” Their conclusion: if you want your marriage to last, spend as little as possible (they even suggested spending no more than $2,000 on the ring), but also invite as many guests as you can.Of course, spending isn’t the only factor that decides your happily ever after, so Francis-Tan and Mialon also looked at other variables, including how long the couple had been dating. What did they find? Simply put, longer courtships lead to longer marriages. According to data, dating for one to two years before getting engaged can reduce your risk of divorce by 20%. Dating for three years or more can have an even greater effect, dropping the divorce risk to half that of couples who’ve been dating less than a year.The Right QuestionYou may be thinking, “The longer you date, the more successful you’ll be?! That should have been pretty obvious.” But it turns out that this isn’t even the whole story. In a 2017 study from the Journal of Experimental Psychology, researchers Laura VanderDrift, James McNulty, and Levi Baker performed six studies on various couples to determine their marital success. According to their findings, the length of time you’ve known your sweetheart doesn’t mean much—if you’re not willing to work on your relationship.In fact, this team’s research revealed that the most successful couples are the ones who work hard for the future of their relationship. This can mean many different things: working together toward a common goal, making sacrifices for your spouse, or adjusting your plans to better serve the relationship. People are always changing and growing, and over the years the person you love may become someone totally new, but those couples who are willing to work at it will always stick together.Perhaps we’ve been asking the wrong question all along. Deciding to get married shouldn’t be about the “right time”; plenty of whirlwind couples have stuck it out over the years, and plenty of long-time loves have eventually fallen apart. Instead of asking “Is it too soon?” ask yourself “Am I willing to make it work, whatever it takes?” By reframing the question, you can get down to the crux of what makes a marriage last— and your relationship will be all the happier for it.
It can be one of the most daunting parts of a relationship—meeting your partner’s friends. The anxiety of meeting your partner’s friends ranks right up there behind meeting his or her parents. What if they don’t like you? How do you act? What should you do to impress them?We’ve got a few ways to help you through this exciting and anxious time.Be Yourself Around His or Her FriendsBringing two worlds of friends together can be scary because you want them all to fit in together like a perfect puzzle. You’re partner has known this group of friends since before you met one another, so they know him or her pretty well. The first thing to remember is you have to be yourself. You can’t walk into a room of your partner’s peers as a different person. You can’t be fake or they’ll see right through it.Remember, they know your partner loves you for a certain reason, so they probably aren’t going to be too hard on you. Don’t worry so much about putting on an act of perfection, or they might not like you. You don’t have to show up without makeup and tell them about all your flaws, but you do have to be sociable and friendly. You may be shy, and that’s just fine. They’re going to love you for exactly who you really are.Have a Party with Your Partner’s FriendsIt’s a great idea to have a party at your significant other’s house or some other mutually comfortable place, so you can meet all his or her friends. Getting everyone together during a fun occasion will create an exciting atmosphere. Everyone will be having a good time and it will take the stress off of you trying to impress them.The bonus for you is that you’re accustomed to your partner’s house, or favorite hangout spot, so you will feel more comfortable meeting them there. You can talk in groups or sit with their best friends on the couch just sharing stories. This is easier than meeting everyone at a dinner or a sporting event because you get to actually have one-on-one time with some of them. You get to party and meet one another at the same time, so everyone wins.Ask About Your Partner’s LifePeople love to talk about themselves. Ask your partner’s friends all about their family lives, work lives, where they grew up, etc. They’ll probably ask you the same things in return so the conversation is easy and flows. Listen to their answers and follow all of their stories. You might be bored to tears looking at pictures of some guy’s son playing pee wee football, but your face should shine with excitement.The next best subject is asking the friend how he or she knows your partner. Let people tell you about funny college stories or old nicknames they have for one another. You’ll have a blast hearing crazy stories that you’ve never heard before and create a new bond at the same time. You’ll also have something to rib your partner about for years to come.Don’t Isolate YourselfIf you go to meet your partner’s friends and end up staring at your phone all night, you might not make the best impression. It’s one thing to be shy, it’s another thing to be rude. Try not to isolate yourself even if you’re shy and like to be in the corner. It’s easy to want to play on your phone to busy yourself, but make yourself put the phone down and engage with others. Just listen if you are a little too scared to talk. Your presence will be remembered fondly if you make at least a minimal effort to socialize with your partner’s friends.Meeting your partner’s friends is a big step in your relationship. With some planning and effort, you can make sure that the new relationships you will have with your partner’s friends will be positive.
5 Financial Mistakes to Avoid When Moving in With Each Other
Moving in with your partner is a pretty big deal. It’s a major step in a couple’s relationship and in many cases, it serves as a “trial run” for married life. During this time, you’ll learn a lot about your partner, from their grossest habits to their favorite song to sing in the shower. But most importantly (if you want to keep the household running), you’re going to learn about their money.Most folks know that when you share a living space with someone, it’s essential to know at least a little about where their money is coming from. They need to know when everyone gets paid and how much money they have to contribute, so you can divvy up costs in a reasonable way. But when it comes to someone you love…people tend to get a little sloppy with the financial decisions. Here are five major money mistakes couples make when they move in together, and what to do about them.1. Not Talking About MoneyWhen you’re in love, you feel invincible. You and your partner can conquer the world—all you need is each other and the love you share! While this is a beautiful sentiment, it’s also the kind of thinking that leads to reckless decision-making…like moving in together without discussing finances at all.Before you decide to move in with someone, you need to have a rough idea of their money situation. Do they have bad credit? That can make finding a place to rent difficult. Are they heavily in debt? That can affect their ability to contribute to household expenses. These little things all form a big picture of your partner’s financial health and habits, and that picture can make a big impact on your life together.Make sure you have an honest conversation with your sweetheart before you decide to move in together. Get a clear understanding of both your finances and speak honestly with each other about how you’d want your finances to look once you’re in the same house.2. Not Having a BudgetBudgets are just a fact of life. There’s only so much money coming into your household, and you have to make sure you have enough to cover all your expenses. But too often, people try to just “wing it” with their household finances, paying their bills on a wing and a prayer.The budget-less life is a risky one, and it becomes even more so with more than one salary in the equation. Even if you don’t plan to merge your bank accounts (which I wouldn’t recommend until you’ve officially tied the knot), it’s important to make financial decisions that support both yourself and your partner—and part of that is making a budget and sticking to it.3. Not Setting Financial GoalsWhen my husband and I moved in together in 2014, we knew that co-habitating was a temporary situation. We told each other that we were living together only briefly and that we’d get engaged (and subsequently married) “as soon as we can afford it.”Our intentions were noble, and our plans were lofty (traveling the world, having an extravagant wedding), but we forgot one major detail: we didn’t set a goal for our wedding date. You can probably guess what happened—four years passed, we hadn’t saved anything, and it seemed like getting married was never going to happen.Luckily, our parents were willing to support us when we did decide to get married (and we scaled back our nuptial plans considerably to save on costs), but this could have been avoided if we’d just decided to set some goals. Talk with your partner about things you want to achieve (buying a house, getting out of debt, taking a vacation to a far-off place) and plan to make it happen!4. Not Having an Exit PlanNo one wants to talk about the possibility of a break-up. It’s not fun, it’s often messy, and when you live together it can be a real headache. But here’s the thing: if you set up an exit plan from the start, you can avoid the logistical hassle of decoupling from your live-in partner.What exactly does an “exit plan” entail? That depends on you and your partner. Maybe you want to keep your bank accounts separate for a while to ensure your income stays your own. Maybe you want to draft up a “relationship agreement” (sort of a pre-prenup) that details what happens should you break up. Planning for these scenarios in advance (before the emotional rollercoaster of a break-up) can help you calmly manage the logistics of moving out and splitting finances. Unfortunately, healing the heartache is all on you.5. Pinching TOO MANY PenniesThe final financial mistake couples make is one that plagues nearly everyone. It doesn’t discriminate by class, age, or income level. It doesn’t care if this is your first live-in relationship or your fifth. And no matter where you are in your life, how much money you have or how in love you are, this mistake ALWAYS sows seeds of discontent.At first glance, it may seem like saving every cent you can is a great idea when you first start cohabitating. After all, you don’t yet have a rhythm with this person or your new household yet—why wouldn’t you want to set up a little nest egg? The problem comes when this saving mentality is taken to the extreme: you two never go out, and you never splurge on anything (not even groceries for a nice meal at home)! This ultra frugal behavior will suck the fun right out of your relationship.Now, obviously, I’m not saying that you need money to have fun. But putting yourself on a strict financial diet can be stifling, and too often couples will lash out at each other if they don’t have a little wiggle room for fun in the budget. So, make sure you have some money to spend on each other and use it on activities or things you’ll both enjoy!
The Pros and Cons of a Private vs. Public Proposal
When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time thinking about my future proposal. I probably thought about it more than I thought about actually getting married! There was something so exciting to me about that special moment, when the love of your life officially asks you to turn your two lives into one.Every time I watched a romantic comedy, the proposal depicted on the screen became my new life goal. I watched Serendipity and wanted to unwrap one box after another in my living room until I found the box with a ring inside. I watched The Wedding Singer and wanted to be serenaded on an airplane (though hopefully not with my cheating fiancé at my side). Anyone who’s not a love-crazed preteen would realize that those two proposals are vastly different—but which one is better?Public and private marriage proposals each have their own pros and cons, and the question of “which is better” really comes down to personal taste. But just for fun, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of these two ways to pop the question.The Public ProposalAt its simplest form, a public proposal refers to asking someone to marry you when other people are present. The specifics can vary drastically, depending on what you’ve planned; a proposal at your weekly family dinner and a big, romantic gesture on the jumbotron at a Lakers game are both considered public proposals.The fact that you can involve other people is one of the primary pros of a public proposal. If family and friends are very important to you and your sweetheart, asking the question in front of everyone can be a great way to share this special moment with everyone you care about.A public proposal is also a wonderful choice for those couples that love big displays of affection—complete with a theatrical flair. If you want to show your partner just how much he or she means to you (and if you’re sure they don’t mind a little attention), the good old-fashioned flash mob just might do the trick.Of course, a public proposal can come with its fair share of cons. Firstly, it’s very tough to control your environment when you’re in a public place. You may want to propose to your princess in front of the castle at Disneyland, but that won’t stop countless families from taking their own photos—or stop toddlers from having a mid-day meltdown in front of you! If you’re going to do a public proposal, you have to be ready to roll with the punches.And, of course, whenever you propose to someone, there’s always that unspoken worry: what if they say no? A public proposal puts a lot of pressure on both the asker and the askee, as a negative response could mean awkwardness and humiliation in front of a lot of people. In fact, your partner may feel obligated to say yes in the moment, only to break off the engagement once you two are alone again.The Private ProposalOn the other side of the proposal spectrum lies the private proposal. Once again, this proposal takes on many forms, from a romantic picnic on a secluded beach to a casual question at the dining room table. The key is that you keep the proposal private, with only you and your partner (and maybe the photographer you hired to hide nearby) there for that special question.Just like the public proposal, there are many pros to this method. For one thing, it’s exceptionally intimate. A private proposal immediately becomes this romantic moment that no one else shares, something you both will remember fondly for the rest of your lives.The private proposal also gives you a little more creative control over the evening (or afternoon—ask whenever you want to). While public proposals have to work around other people—literally, if you’re doing it in a public place, or figuratively if you’re trying to coordinate schedules—a private proposal gives you carte blanche to create the perfect moment for the two of you.However, the private proposal can have some cons as well. While you may have the freedom to create whatever proposal you’d like, you might be limited by your own creative abilities, particularly if you don’t want other people to spoil the surprise. Asking your girlfriend’s sister to paint you an amazing “Will You Marry Me?” banner is a tough sell if she can’t be there to see it unfurl.This actually brings me to the second con: no one else is there to celebrate! Being in love is great; it makes us want to jump up and down and shout it from the rooftops. But if no one is there to hear us, it’s not always as fun. If you’re getting engaged to someone who loves celebrating with family and friends, a private proposal can be a little anticlimactic.So, which proposal style is best? Honestly, it really depends on you and your partner. If you guys are the life of the party, a public proposal might be a blast. If you’re more introverted, a private moment will be much appreciated. Or you could always compromise and have a private proposal with a party immediately after! Think about your relationship and what will make your future spouse happiest—you’ll know exactly how to ask.Source: WeddingBee
Whether you just started dating or have been in a relationship for months, meeting your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s parents for the first time can seem like an extremely daunting task. After all, what happens if they don’t like you? Thoughts like this can get out of hand quickly. As such, it’s best to avoid them when possible. There is no sense in fretting over a possibility; wait until you have actually met the people!It is important to remember, however, that first impressions last. If you are serious about this relationship, you will want to make the first interaction with their parents a good one. While it’s impossible to account for everything, the following do’s and don’ts can help you make a positive impression that will last.Do: Dress AppropriatelyDressing appropriately means different things in different situations. Take time to consider where and when the meeting is supposed to take place. Base what you wear on these factors. It’s also a good idea to ask your significant other what they’re wearing as a gauge.Do: Be on TimeBeing 15 minutes late (or early) is not fashionable. Try very hard to arrive as close to the designated time as possible. That said, if you know you are running late, make sure you communicate this openly with your significant other. Let him or her know where you are, why you are running late, and what time you do expect to arrive. Everyone involved will appreciate having this information.Don’t: Be RudeBeing yourself does not give you the right to be rude or crass. Think of all the polite things people generally do when they meet other people: shake hands, say “please” and “thank you,” wait for your turn to speak, and chew with your mouth closed. These things show you have good manners and will be noticed.Don’t: Be DefensiveAs conversation progresses, you may become uncomfortable with a certain topic or line of questioning. Do not get defensive. In most cases, they are simply trying to learn more about who you are. If there is a question you feel is judgmental, try to give them the benefit of the doubt. Answer the inquiry to the best of your ability and move on. Reading into things incorrectly so soon can set a negative tone for future interactions.Do: Be YourselfAbove everything else, it’s absolutely vital that you be yourself. Your significant other’s parents are more likely to dislike your insincerity than they are to dislike the real you, even if you are a little quirky! While they may not be looking for inconsistencies or disingenuous sentiments, they are highly likely to notice them.Do: Let Your Affection ShowSome people feel uncomfortable expressing their emotions in a public setting. Do not, however, feel that you have to hide how you feel about your significant other in front of his or her parents. If you are normally lovey-dovey, don’t feel like you have to turn that piece of you off. While the gathering may be so you can all meet, your boyfriend or girlfriend should still be a priority. Smile at them often, make eye contact, and hold hands if you both want to.Don’t: Bring up Sensitive SubjectsAs a rule, it’s a good idea to avoid potentially touchy subjects the first time you meet your significant other’s family. This means you should think twice about sharing anything religious or political. The goal is to establish a good relationship with these people, not to start a debate.Don’t: Spend Time on Your PhoneThis is a big one. It can be very easy to become distracted by your cell phone while with your significant other’s family. This is especially true if you are not really enjoying the outing. Do not, under any circumstance, spend the entire time on your phone. You may not be doing it to be rude, but that is absolutely how the action will be perceived.Do: Offer to HelpUnder any circumstance, it’s polite to offer to help when you have been invited over to someone else’s house. Always ask if you can assist with serving or washing dishes. Do not, however, force help upon anyone. If your offer is declined, accept that they have everything handled. There will be plenty of opportunities to show that you are courteous later.Don’t: Question Their Parenting DecisionsYou may be dating someone who grew up very differently than you. Every family is different and every household has different values and traditions. While you may have heard some things about your significant other’s parents that you do not like or agree with, the first time you meet is not the time to address these things. Try to accept that their decisions have likely come from a place of care. Do not judge them for their actions until you have gotten to know them better.Source: WeddingBee
5 Things to Discover About Your Partner in the First Year of Dating
The first year of dating is as important as it is exciting, especially if you’re looking to make it a long-term commitment. Yes, making it to your one-year anniversary will come with its fair share of challenges, but it will also be a journey of discovery, love, and fun. The trick is knowing which types of things you should be learning about your boyfriend or girlfriend. Here are five things you will want to discover about your partner in the first year of dating if you want your relationship to last.1. How Do You Communicate Together?This is probably the most important thing to know and understand about your partner since communication is the foundation all successful relationships are built upon. While it’s unrealistic to assume you’ll ever have perfect communication, it’s important to understand how your communication styles differ, and whether or not you’re able to work through your issues in a way that benefits both of you. How do you communicate when things are good? How do you communicate when you disagree or even argue? How often do you communicate? Can you communicate your true self to each other? These are questions you should ask yourself, and their answers will reflect your long-term compatibility. 2. How Do You Play Together?Sex and physical intimacy aside, it’s important to know that you’re able to have fun together and enjoy each other’s company as friends. Being friends with your partner is the start of a solid base that includes companionship, shared values and goals, and indicates that you not only love each other, but like each other, too. Plus, being able to act goofy and uninhibited around your partner is a surefire sign you trust each other.3. What’s Their Relationship History Like?In order for your relationship to flourish in a healthy way, it’s vital to clear away any outstanding baggage from past relationships whether they be romantic or familial. While some stuff might never be truly gone or healed completely, especially if there’s been some trauma involved, it’s crucial to be able to talk about these issues with each other so that you’re both able to fully love and accept one another and both trust in the fact that you want this relationship to work out no matter what your past looks like. 4. What Are Their Interests?What does your partner like to do in their free time? What’s their passion in life? What are their favorite hobbies and activities? Even if you’re not super into their comic book obsession or can’t understand why they like rock climbing so much, taking the time to get to know their interests cements your relationship. Plus, if they’re into something that you really cannot stand or respect, then that might be a telltale sign they aren’t the one for you.5. What Are Their Quirks?Newsflash: your partner isn’t perfect. Sure, you mistook them for perfection when you first started dating, but that shiny veneer will soon wear off after a year and you will be able to see them for who they truly are: human. If you want your relationship to work, it’s important to accept your partner for who they are and not for who you want them to be. So what are their quirks? Do they sing off-key? Do they routinely forget to put their dishes in the dishwasher? If you want to have a lasting relationship, you’ll need to love them as-is and not want to change them.Maintaining a long-term relationship, especially one that you hope will lead to saying “I do,” takes time, effort, and the willingness to show up authentically. But if it means leading you to the person you’re meant to be with, then it’s all worth it. Source: Weddingbee
Weddings are such an exciting event in the life of any bride or groom-to-be, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t pricy. These monumental events can run you a pretty penny, but there are luckily many different ways to change that. Use the below ideas as methods of saving money on your wedding reception to avoid spending an arm and a leg on at least this particular part of your big day.1. Be Strategic with Food, Flowers, and DrinksWhen you’re choosing food, flowers, and drinks for your wedding reception, be strategic in what you pick to save some money. Choose things that are in season and easy to attain at that time of year in order to bring down the cost of these items. Also consider choosing products that are locally attainable to further mitigate costs. This is also a way to make your wedding more sustainable and eco-friendly, which is definitely a plus. 2. Reuse Ceremony DecorYou likely will have ceremony decor as a part of your wedding, but that doesn’t mean you can’t repurpose it to be used at your wedding reception! Make the most of these flowers and decor pieces by asking your wedding coordinator to move it during cocktail hour from the ceremony location to the reception area, helping you to cut down on reception florals and decor cost overall. 3. Simplify DrinksServing cocktails at your wedding reception can be quite costly. Try simplifying things to save some money for a lessened bill and offer only a few options of each to save further.4. Have a Small CakeA small wedding cake can save you a surprising amount of money. Getting something small to use as part of the cake cutting ceremony while serving regular sheet cake to guests is a great way to save some money. Plus, guests won’t even know the difference! Another way to save money on your cake is to opt for buttercream instead of fondant, as it’s a more cost-effective option.5. Don’t Print Individual Escort CardsEscort cards are nice to have, but they can be a large and unnecessary expense. Instead of opting to give each guest a card that they’ll likely throw out anyway, have one master list on display for guests to look up their table number. This can be displayed on an easel and easily (and inexpensively) printed in an elegant fashion.6. Make Food CasualA way to majorly save during your wedding reception is to offer more casual food options. Instead of a plated dinner, you can go with stations or a buffet for something more cost-effective. If you want to cut down costs even more, you can do something untraditional like food trucks, which could save a lot of money.7. Use a Framed MenuIf you want to put menus on your reception tables, you can save some money by framing one menu per table instead of having them printed for every place setting.8. Create Simple CenterpiecesInstead of large and extravagant centerpieces, opt for something smaller and more understated. Colored bud vases with large blooms or centerpieces that rely more heavily on candles instead of flowers are more affordable options. You could also do larger centerpieces on half the tables and more cost-effective pieces on the other half to cut your centerpiece cost somewhat.9. Hire a DJHaving entertainment at your wedding reception is likely a must-have, but that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank to facilitate it. Opt for a DJ instead of a band as it’s usually a more cost-effective measure. If you feel inclined, save even more money on entertainment by making your own playlist and connecting it to speakers for your reception.As you can see, there are many ways to save money on your wedding reception, without significantly changing your event!Source: Weddingbee
What to Know About Family Planning Once You’re Married
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage—but only if you want it to.Whether you waited to have sex until the wedding night or you lived together long before you even got engaged, family planning is a serious conversation that all couples should have before they tie the knot, even if one or both of you already have children. We can’t stress this enough: having a 100% understanding of how your partner feels about children, when or if they’d like to start a family, and what methods of birth control you’ll be using is crucial before you even set the date.So, no matter if you’ve got baby fever or the thought of a baby is completely off the table for you right now, it’s important to plan, talk, and visit your physician if you have any questions or concerns. Here’s what to know about family planning once you’re married.If You Want to Start a Family Right Away, Make a Doctor’s AppointmentDo you and your spouse have babies on the brain? Can you not walk past a child without dreaming about what your own kid will be like? If you and your spouse are ready to take that plunge into parenthood together, you’ll need to determine the healthiest and safest way to stop your birth control methods shortly after the wedding (or even before, if you’re really ready right now).If you’re currently using the pill or an IUD, your doctor will recommend when and how to stop as well as give advice on what prenatal vitamins to start taking. She will also teach you about your ovulation schedule, when the best days to conceive are, and the next steps to take if you’ve been trying to conceive with no luck so far.The most important thing is to relax and don’t panic if you can’t conceive right away. Just because you don’t get pregnant immediately doesn’t mean that there are any fertility problems present.Want to Wait? Continue or Start Birth Control MethodsIf the thought of having a baby right now just isn’t in the cards or you simply aren’t ready yet, you’ll need to either continue or start effective birth control methods immediately. Luckily, there are many forms of effective birth control that you can choose from, and it’s absolutely worth having a conversation with your doctor to determine which method is right for you.The most common types of birth control for use by women are the following: The birth control pill The intrauterine device (IUD) The birth control shot The birth control patch The vaginal ringDon’t Want Kids? Talk to Your Doctor About OptionsNot everyone is meant to be a parent, but it’s likely you don’t want to spend your entire marriage going through boxes of condoms or calculating when you’re ovulating. If you and your partner are pretty dead set on not having children, then you should consider your options of permanent birth control, which can include a vasectomy, a tubal ligation, and a non-surgical permanent form of birth control. All of these options have their pros and cons, which you can weigh out with your trustworthy physician who will guide you in making the right decision.If you suspect that you might want to have children in the future, you shouldn’t do anything permanent until you’ve firmly made a decision one way or the other. Remember, there should be no guilt or shame associated with whatever decision you make, just as long as you can reach that decision together.Completely Unsure? You Should Still Be Using Some Form of ContraceptionIf you and your partner are still unsure of when or if you even want to start a family, it’s best to use at least some form of contraception, whether that’s a condom or a diaphragm. Although less effective, there are also “natural family planning” methods that some couples prefer to use that rely on tracking a woman’s menstrual cycle instead of taking pills or using devices to prevent pregnancy.Traditional methods of contraception such as birth control pills and IUDs are, however, the most effective tools to preventing unwanted pregnancies. Talk to your physician to see which method would be the best option for you.Source: weddingbee
Cooking With Your Spouse Strengthens Relationships
Did you know that 70% of surveyed married couples actually like to cook together, and those couples that do enjoy cooking together are significantly more satisfied in ALL areas of their lives than couples who don’t cook together?This was the surprising result of a study conducted by noted relationship expert Dr. John Gray. If that’s not a catalyst to get you into the kitchen with your husband or wife, then I don’t know what is!Happily for me, my husband and I both love to cook, and we love to get into the kitchen together.Even if only one of us is preparing the meal, often the other will just hang out in the kitchen, and we’ll talk about everything under the sun while the food is cooking.I have found over the years that this relationship in the kitchen really has a profound impact on all the areas of our marriage, so I guess the results of that study aren’t that surprising to me.If you’re skeptical about all of this, let me give you a breakdown of the ways I have found that bonding over the stove positively impacts our relationship and give you a few pointers on how to get your spouse more involved if he or she isn’t a big fan of cooking.How Can Cooking Together Help Improve Your Marriage?For me, the most obvious change in my own marriage is better communication. When you’re cooking a meal together, from picking out recipes to try to putting together a grocery list to the actual preparation of the meal, communication is the key to success.This is even more the case in your relationship, so it stands to reason that developing strong communication skills in the kitchen arena would only strengthen your ability to communicate well in other areas of your life.You’ll be forced to buy food intentionally when you sit down together and write out a menu plan for the week, which is in itself a practical exercise in communicating expectations to each other. This also helps to ensure that, in this area at least, you and your spouse are on the same page.Plus, let’s face it: once you become comfortable in offering constructive criticism on how your husband is chopping an onion, it will be that much easier to verbalize how you’re feeling during a discussion about how to be more intimate together.Secondly, it’s a known fact that couples who share activities together have stronger marriages. Not into going out hunting with your hubby?No problem!You both have to eat, right? Why not start helping each other in the kitchen?My husband will even watch Food Network with me and actually be interested in what they’re cooking. If you don’t have many common interests with your spouse, cooking is something that you can both do, become better at, and maybe even teach the other a thing or two. It can become an intimate experience, too.Have the kids sleep over with their grandparents and make a date night out of it. Cook foods that are known aphrodisiacs, like shrimp, light some candles for a little mood lighting, and enjoy the fruits of your joint effort with a glass of wine.When you’ve both put in the effort, it gives such a sense of satisfaction to share a meal together, and it doesn’t hurt to be able to compliment each other’s cooking to get the feel-good mood just right.Having a special at-home date night where the two of you cook the meal together can become a weekly or monthly ritual that you can both look forward to. Having that special time to look forward to helps keep good feelings in your relationship at a high level.Teamwork is another area of the marriage that’s strengthened by working together in the kitchen. Making meals together teaches you how to tag-team a situation and work together toward a common goal.You have to divide up the tasks in the kitchen, either by working together on the same dish or each of you making a certain thing for the meal, and work to have everything ready at the same time.Of course, this is strongly tied to communication, but this also teaches you how to have a fair division of labor. Even if one of you hates to cook, agreeing to keep the kitchen cleaned up during the cooking process and to do the dishes later works out the same way.You are still working together to get the job done, as a team.Sit at the counter with a glass of wine, keeping your spouse’s glass filled while you’re at it, will only build on the sense of intimacy that working together can bring. One final point I’ll make about cooking together is that it can bring some of your partner’s strengths to your attention that you may not have noticed before.In my own marriage, my husband’s skills in the kitchen mirror his life skills exactly, and watching him cook has really highlighted these strengths for me so that I’m more appreciative of them than I might be if I didn’t cook with him so often.For example, I’ll go into the kitchen, peer into the pantry, fridge, and freezer, and declare, “There’s nothing to eat in here!” My husband will look at the exact same things and miraculously create a fantastic meal as if out of thin air. He is the king of making something out of nothing.Me, I need my recipe to follow and all of the exact ingredients called for. Him, not so much. It never ceases to amaze me how he can make such great food when we are down to the bare bones of the cupboard.He’s the same way outside of the kitchen. I’ll view some problem as insurmountable, thinking there is no way to fix a situation, and then he comes along, takes a different view, and, like magic, everything is resolved. This same characteristic also reflects his spontaneity.I always like to have a plan for the way everything should go, and, if things go awry, I lose my cool. For him, he can roll with the punches better than anyone I’ve ever seen. I really feel like I am so much grateful for these aspects of his personality than I would be if I hadn’t seen them at work in the kitchen.How To Get a Hesitant Spouse Into the KitchenSo, if you want to get cooking with your spouse, but you’re married to someone who either is all-too-skilled at burning toast or who has never set foot in a kitchen to cook before, I have a few tips that might help get the ball rolling in the right direction.First and foremost, make it a family affair to begin with. If you have kids, get them in the kitchen with you. Kids love to help cook; I think it makes them feel grown-up or something.Even if your husband is just helping your son butter the bread or organizing the setting of the table, it’s a start. Maybe make pizza together and have everyone in charge of putting a different topping on. Start small.Sometimes it’s fun to teach your spouse something new. If your husband has never chopped an onion before, take the time to show him how, and let him become your sous chef and get all your veggies chopped and ready to go.Since it’s prep work and he won’t be holding you back when you’re in the midst of the actual cooking, he can work at his own pace, even if he’s slow as molasses, and still be contributing to the meal.I love to be my hubby’s sous chef. I especially love it when he calls me his sous chef.Try baking first.If your wife has no clue how to do a thing in the kitchen, have her follow a basic cookie recipe first. There is nothing simpler than following the directions for chocolate chip cookies on the back of the chocolate chip bag. It’s easy, and the instructions are very exact, so there’s really no way to mess it up.It’s best to try the easiest things first, and you can’t get much easier than cookies. Or spaghetti, for that matter.Showing someone how easy it can be to follow a recipe is usually all it takes to get them to feeling more comfortable in the kitchen.Finally, if your significant other has a favorite restaurant dish, you can always entice them into researching how to make it at home. This could be the start of your special at-home date night!Google the recipe online and look for what seems like the closest match to what you would normally get at the restaurant. Then, make a special trip to the store the get the ingredients you’ll need.Work on making it together and following the recipe exactly. It’s fun to see how your version stacks up to your inspiration.Is it better or worse?Brainstorm together ways you think you can change the recipe to make it closer to the original. You may notice a certain flavor lacking but not be able to put your finger on what it is.You might then be surprised at how good your husband is in identifying what’s missing. This is such a fun way to start working together in the kitchen!Well, I hope I’ve given you a few ideas on how to get started cooking with your spouse in the kitchen, not to mention a few reasons why you might want to in the first place. Now, get into that kitchen!Source: Foodal.com
Maybe bad hygiene is a bigger turn off for women than men, but I can’t imagine too many men standing in line to talk to a woman in sweat pants who hasn’t bathed in days (unless she’s a celebrity). Women may be more vocal about the issue of hygiene, but both men and women appreciate those who bath and groom regularly.When I left for college, I had no idea how blessed I’d be in the roommate department. I was roommates with a friend from my hometown area – and though we had our normal share of roommate squabbles, I am pleased to announce to the world that she bathed… daily! This may not seem like a big deal to some of you, but I was amazed at how many females in our dorm complained about their roommates not taking hygiene seriously. It’s hard enough living in an apartment with someone who doesn’t shower, wash clothes, or brush teeth, but when you are forced to live, eat, sleep, and breathe in the same room with someone, how that person smells becomes important.Gentlemen, I’ll start with you only because I have a little more experience with the female opinion. In general, ladies have a very good sense of smell. So good, in fact, that if we are around an unpleasant aroma it will completely zap our train of thought. All we can do is seek shelter from the overwhelming, penetrating fragrance!Men are more likely than women to have physically demanding jobs that come complete with layers of sweat. Women do like men who sweat; it shows a manly strength that is attractive – so, I’m not suggesting that men stop sweating. What I am suggesting is that if you want to keep your lady happy, always take a few minutes to shower in between sweaty work or play and time spent with your woman. Most locker rooms I’ve seen come complete with showers! ~smile~ (And if you’d rather not shower in public, then a quick one at home would work nicely.)If a woman is already in love, no stench is going to make her lose that lovin’ feelin’ (though she may make herself scarce while her man cleans up), but if you are approaching a woman for a date, or just to talk, make sure to be clean and well groomed.This does not mean you need to get dressed up anytime you want to talk with a lady. If you are a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy, then be yourself and wear jeans and a t-shirt! Just make sure they are clean, that you are wearing deodorant, and if you want to go the extra mile, try wearing a little cologne or aftershave. Women are generally suckers for good-smelling men. Believe me: five to ten minutes of preparation can make the difference in a woman taking you seriously or not.Now ladies, we’re not off the hook. Just because the nursery rhyme tells us that girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice doesn’t mean we don’t have to put effort into our own cleanliness. We can stink with the best of them if we set our minds to it. Men are primarily visual, so take a little extra time in the grooming department. I’m not suggesting that you break the bank getting a manicure and/or pedicure every week, but get out of bed a little earlier and put that extra five minutes into your daily grooming routine. It’s not fair to complain that men are shallow and only interested in appearance if you don’t take any time to appear interested in taking care of yourself. We don’t take men seriously who are unkempt and sloppy, so why is it okay to label them as shallow for not taking us seriously in our sweats and unwashed hair?Sometimes hygiene problems don’t rear their ugly heads until after marriage. It is can be easy for a man to feel as though he has conquered the task of obtaining a wife after marriage. So, the same man who washed his car, got a haircut, spent a fortune on clothes and cologne, and bought flowers before every date now lies around the house in dirty clothes, and producing borderline illegal smells (yes, I’m aware that sometimes smells cannot be helped ~smile~).On the flip side, it is easy for a woman who spent so much money and energy keeping fit, squeezing in the trendy clothes, and trying all the new care products and makeup, to breathe a sigh of relief. “I’ve been caught. He loves me. Now I can be comfortable!” I am a lover of comfort, so I’m not suggesting that you never be comfortable. But, it is important not to completely let yourself go. Just as your boyfriend likes to see you made up, your future husband will like it too. It may not happen as often as before marriage, but it should still be worked into the priority list. And a side note to the men – women are still suckers for cologne after marriage too! ~wink~This turn off is so unnecessary. Though it can be hard to change ingrained habits such as bragging and bad manners, it only takes a little extra effort in the hygiene department to make a world of difference. So, take that time to clean up and smell good!Some attribute falling in love to a certain song, dimly lit restaurant, or stroll on the beach at sunset. Instead, it could be that your soap is the item to thank!How does bad hygiene turn you off to someone of the opposite sex?
It's strange and funny how so many people go on a long sex vacation when they get pregnant or abandon their wives when they get pregnant in terms of sex. The reasons or excuses are many but before I touch on the many misconceptions some have, I will like to encourage pregnant women who will like their husbands to have sex with them to also put in some effort to get them attracted. Just because you are pregnant does not mean you shouldn't take good care of yourself. Bath well and regularly because of the numerous hormones in your system due to the pregnancy. Dress well and look good but don't stay down and look unattractive and expect your husband to come. Don't keep saliva in your mouth for long otherwise, it can put your partner off.When it comes to misconceptions that people have about sex during pregnancy, notable among them is that the semen will spill on the baby and might kill it. The penis might be hitting the baby's head and affect it. The woman wouldn't feel for sex during that stage. She will get pregnant again.When a woman conceives, her cervix is closed. When she engages in sex, the semen cannot go through the cervix because there is also a mucus plug to prevent anything from entering. The penis cannot pass through the cervix into the womb. Most women rather feel for sex when they get pregnant. When a woman gets pregnant, the hormones prevent ovulation which is the release of the egg from the ovary. Imagine the disaster or the trouble of your husband or wife or your partner to wait throughout the 9 months plus delivery, to resume having sex with you. How many people will be able to wait till that period?The only exception is when the doctor or midwife has indicated that sex can cause a problem for the pregnancy due to vaginal bleeding, repeated miscarriage, early labour treatment, or anything else that poses risk.Now let us take a look at some of the benefits of having sex when pregnant.1. Sex during pregnancy is a form of exercise for the lady. This also keeps her active and healthy because it burns out the calorie and keeps blood pressure in check.2. Sexual intercourse can activate the feel-good hormones in the system. If the pregnant woman is happy, it makes the unborn happy because of their connection.3. During pregnancy, it offers the couple or partners the opportunity to explore certain sex positions they may not have tried before. Sometimes you even later adopt those as your favourite even after delivery.4. It creates a bond between the partners as the two people do not have to sexually fast for over 9 months. When sex continuous during pregnancy it doesn't break the flow between them.5. Sex is even more enjoyable during pregnancy especially for the woman because of the different hormones in her system and also the blood flow in her vulva.6. During pregnancy, the woman experiences different hormones which can be very uncomfortable but sexual intercourse during pregnancy can help clear most of it as sex can make her sleep soundly.7. Sex during pregnancy can make delivery easier, this is because the sperm is rich in a hormone known as prostaglandins which help in uterus contractions.It is equally important to say that not every pregnant woman feels like having sex. Respect the decision of the woman if she doesn't feel for it or not comfortable with having sex.Care needs to be taken so as not to contract any sexually Transmitted Infections as this can also affect the unborn if care is not taken.Sex during pregnancy is not harmful and can happen throughout the nine-month or the pregnancy period unless the doctor has said otherwise. By Cons. Michael Tagoe
Ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day and stay safe from COVID-19
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently listed six different ways for people to celebrate Valentine’s Day amid the coronavirus pandemic.The CDC said the safest way — and this shouldn’t surprise anyone — is to celebrate virtually or with people who live with you.“If you plan to celebrate with people who don’t live with you, outdoors is safer than indoors,” the CDC said.So what are some of the activities you can embrace this year? Here’s the quick list:1. Make Valentine’s Day cards and drop them off at your loved one’s home.2. Take a walk with your loved one, preferably outside.3. Prepare a special meal or dessert. (It’s unclear if you would eat this virtually or share it with someone in your own home.)4. Plan a special movie or game night.5. Have a picnic outside.In general, the CDC said people should wear a mask and stay 6 feet away from people outside your household if you’re trying to make the holidays safer.
Valentine's Day doesn't have to be the only opportunity to show your love for family, friends, and yourself. Guest blogger Marilyn Liepelt explains how to spread the love throughout the month of February (not just on the 14th!). Ah February—a wonderful month where, mid-way through, we get a day to celebrate love. This opportunity comes in the form of Valentine’s Day, and provides a holiday for us to truly appreciate the love that is all around us. Some with a more cynical perspective view the holiday as another ploy to separate us from our money. Likewise, currently single or broken-hearted people may view this time with sadness and longing; another reminder that love seems elusive.Regardless of our relationship status or cynicism, we all want love. It feels good to show our love to others and experience love’s sweetness. Endless songs, poems, and stories proclaim ‘love makes the world go ‘round." Religions tout the power of love. Science is discovering the medicinal and healing nature of love. Instead of compiling all that appreciation into one day, let’s reclaim the whole month of February as our ‘Month of Love’!Here are some thoughts and ideas to help warm your heart with the heat of love during this chilly month:First, ask yourself: ‘who needs to be reminded of my love?’Are you in a relationship?No matter how long you’ve been together, chances are you began by exploring the wonders of your new heartthrob. Why not take each day to consider one thing that you appreciate about your Sweetheart? Maybe you’ll decide to show them your love in small yet creative ways, doing something out of the ordinary each day to show you care. Spontaneous affection without expectation of anything in return is a timeless gift.Do you have kids?Perhaps you’ll choose to find something new to praise each day this month. Maybe you’ll decide to be generous with love and affection while minimizing guilt and criticism. Since the gift of our time is extremely precious, why not give some to your children where they can experience 100% of your attention? Even if you’re currently unable to spend the quantity of time you’d like with your children, consider how you can show your love to them during the precious time you do share. Try to spend quality time with them so that there’s no doubt in their minds that they rock your world!And last but certainly not least, what about yourself?So many of us think that we need to indulge or treat ourselves to something unhealthy or addictive as a way to pamper and love ourselves. Instead, how about taking the month to care for yourself as you would a new love interest? What would that look like for you? Here’s a few ideas to get those creative juices flowing: -Find something different you like about yourself every day -Notice any unkind thought about yourself and replace it with a caring, loving thought -Smile at yourself when you notice your frailties and forgive yourself when you make mistakes -Take a few minutes each day to do something fun and enjoyableWith so many ways to show love this month, February just might become one of your favorite times of the year. Give it a try! Happy loving!Source: wellspringfs.org
Good sexual intercourse lasts minutes, not hours, therapists say
Erie, Pa. -- Satisfactory sexual intercourse for couples lasts from three to 13 minutes, contrary to popular fantasy about the need for hours of sexual activity, according to a survey of U.S. and Canadian sex therapists.Penn State Erie researchers Eric Corty and Jenay Guardiani conducted a survey of 50 full members of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, which include psychologists, physicians, social workers, marriage/family therapists and nurses who have collectively seen thousands of patients over several decades.Thirty-four, or 68 percent, of the group responded and rated a range of time amounts for sexual intercourse, from penetration of the vagina by the penis until ejaculation, that they considered adequate, desirable, too short and too long.The average therapists’ responses defined the ranges of intercourse activity times: "adequate," from three to seven minutes; "desirable," from seven to 13 minutes; "too short" from one to two minutes; and "too long" from 10 to 30 minutes."A man's or woman's interpretation of his or her sexual functioning as well as the partner's relies on personal beliefs developed in part from society's messages, formal and informal," the researchers said. "Unfortunately, today's popular culture has reinforced stereotypes about sexual activity. Many men and women seem to believe the fantasy model of large penises, rock-hard erections and all-night-long intercourse. "Past research has found that a large percentage of men and women who responded wanted sex to last 30 minutes or longer."This seems a situation ripe for disappointment and dissatisfaction," said lead author Eric Corty, associate professor of psychology. "With this survey, we hope to dispel such fantasies and encourage men and women with realistic data about acceptable sexual intercourse, thus preventing sexual disappointments and dysfunctions."Corty and Guardiani, then an undergraduate student and now a University graduate, are publishing their findings in the May issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, but the article is currently available online.The survey’s research also has implications for treatment of people with existing sexual problems."If a patient is concerned about how long intercourse should last, these data can help shift the patient away from a concern about physical disorders and to be initially treated with counseling, instead of medicine," Corty noted.Source: news.psu.edu