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
Body count: Stop asking your girl for it, you don't need to know
Women don't police men's body count. Men need to stop taking inventory of theirs. Before explaining why body counts should not be a subject of conversation in your relationship, it is important to explain what it means.Simply put, body count is the number of people you have sex with. It does not matter how intimate the make out was, or how much stuff you have done with someone, if there hasn't been penetration, it does not count as sex in this context. Body count here refers only to the number of people you have had penetrative sex with.Sharing the past in new relationshipsFor every new relationship you find yourself in, there comes a time when you and your partner speak of the past and plan for the future, especially when things are becoming pretty serious and commitment is becoming genuine.As explained in previous articles; there are financial conversations that are important at this stage as there are sexual conversations that one must have, too. Of all the sexual things you can ask from bae/boo though, the body count question is not necessary.And this is simply because some things are just better left unknown, some information better left undiscovered. Let people divulge it willingly if they choose to. And if they don't, that's fine too. Don't bother them for it. Don't stress them about it.Whom a woman has slept with in the past should not suddenly make them unattractive to you, and should not affect their standing with you. Women don't think of the number of women a man has been with before loving them as they should. Why can't they be accorded the same courtesy? Besides, there's no assurance that the figure she'll tell you is the accurate thing. And how would you know if she downplayed the numbers just so you don't run off or start acting strange because of the truth?Really, it's simple; if you think she is kind, smart, intelligent and fun to be with, how does her body count suddenly change all of the positive vibes you feel with her?You can ask if there have been any abortion; that is also a valid question to ask. I mean, this is someone you are getting serious or intend to get serious with, so that question is not unreasonable and deserves an answer, just as women deserve an answer when they ask if you have ever impregnated anyone or if you have a child somewhere.The truth always hurtsWhen you think about it, there really is nothing to gain from the body count information except that it satisfies your curiosity.Most times, guys can’t even deal with the truth especially when the babe in question is one that has truly explored her sexuality before they came into the picture.There is no way to know the correct Nigerian stats, but in England in 2017, it was revealed that the average woman sleeps with eight guys before settling down. We think a huge number of Nigerian guys will estimate that as being too much.This is where I get to talk about how unfair it is that guys could have slept with over 10 girls and will be hailed a champ and a woman does the same and she’s a tramp. That just doesn’t seem right especially now that gender equality is being called for more.Back to the body count subject; to ask about your woman this question also puts your relationship in a precarious balance. If she’s been with more than a few guys and presumes that you’ll be staggered if she tells you, this will prompt her to come up with a lie; which of course is not what you want in your relationship.If she trusts you with the truth, you may never be able to handle it. If your relationship is in a good place and everything is going great between your woman and you, you really do not need any inconsequential thing to upstage it. Let sleeping dogs lie, my guy.If there ever was a list of information that do not have any bearing on that beautiful relationship/marriage happiness you seek, the body count question surely has to be in the top five.It’s that unimportant.Source: Pulse Nigeria
I’ve been getting alot of questions regarding this lately, I guess because it’s the season of love and new relationships. To respond to this question, you have to remember that people with sickle cell are people first. This means that just because we have a chronic medical condition doesn’t mean that we sprout wings and fly around the place. We are not abnormal creatures, we are people, just like you. We have emotions, feelings, dreams, hopes and desires. We want to be in a a good relationship with someone that loves us and treats us well. This applies to every human, and just because we have sickle cell does not exclude one from this paradigm.I will acknowledge that dating and being in a relationship with someone that has a complex medical condition can be challenging, but it is DOABLE. Many people with sickle cell have the most loving and beautiful relationships that I have ever seen. The greatest advice that I can give you is to educate yourself on sickle cell as much as you can before you tie yourself to a sickle cell warrior. This way, you have a general idea of what you are stepping into before one gets too involved.In addition, know your phenotype. You can get tested at your doctor’s office, and know what your phenotype is. If you are AA, then you have no chance of passing on the sickle cell disease if you do have a child with someone that has sickle cell disease. Your offspring will have the trait however, and must be properly educated on how to avoid passing the disease on to your grandchildren.However, if you are AS, then more deliberation is needed. This means that you are a carrier of the trait of sickle cell, and that you have the potential to pass the full blown disease on to your children if you mate with a sickle cell warrior (SS). There is a 50% chance with EVERY pregnancy that you can pass the disease on. So you have to be more cautious, prayerful and knowledgeable about this condition if this is the case.I know many people with sickle cell that have children that do not have sickle cell disease. And I know many people with sickle cell that have children with sickle cell disease. So the chances can be either way, and if you are serious about being in a relationship with this person, then you have to be aware of the chances.Another issue is that due to the chronicity of the condition, people with sickle cell do have emotional upheavals. I recently was hospitalized for 9 days, and when I got discharged, I was an emotional wreck, and nothing like myself. It took about 2 weeks to feel emotionally ‘normal’ again, and this has the potential to happen often. There is also an element of depression that might exist, and unexplained anger. It can be an emotional rollercoaster, and not everyone is up to the challenge.You might have to take on the responsibilities of the household when the sickle cell warrior is ill, and may have to shoulder majority of the burdens at times. You might have to assume the caregiver role, as well as being a bulwark of support and patient advocate. You might have to be the trailblazer searching for new treatment methods, or nagging your loved one to take their meds. You might have to pack an extra sweater just in case, or suffer through heat because your loved one is cold.I will always maintain that it takes a very special person to be able to love and adore a sickle cell warrior irrespective of that condition. To me, it just means that when you find the right person, nothing can shake that love. And that is really what everyone is searching for.Source: sicklecellwarriors
After a Breakup: When Should You Begin Dating Again?
After a bad breakup, you may feel that you never want to trust another soul with your heart ever again. For some, the sense of loss or abandonment felt after a breakup is similar to the feelings experienced during bereavement. When you lose a mainstay that gives shape to your daily life, even if the relationship was rockier or less functional than ideal, you may feel painfully bereft.Put the Pieces of the Broken Relationship Together in a New WayOne of the most productive ways of getting through a breakup is through the process of reflection and meaning-making. When we’re able to take an objective look at what happened in the relationship and what our role in its development and undoing had been, we are actually doing healing work.Rather than focusing solely on the dissolution of the relationship, focusing on the events within the relationship and personal development that was driven by experiences within the relationship, you can explore the ways in which you functioned in the relationship and ways in which events offered lessons that added to your own development. Being able to take this stance suggests that you will be less likely to experience depression or other negative effects of the breakup down the road (Frost, Rubin, & Darcangelo, 2016). Not only that, if you take responsibility for the breakup, and do so with compassion for yourself, you are even more likely to avoid significant breakup adjustment down the road (Zhang & Chen, 2017). Own your share of the breakdown and you’ll more easily move forward in life.Are you ready to move on? Are you ready to date again?First, ask yourself a very basic question:Do I feel that I’m ready to date again?When friends try to persuade us to get back out there, we should agree because we feel ready to give relationships one more shot or maybe because we feel ready to take a gamble—not because of “peer pressure.”Other questions you might want to ask yourself:How does my body physically feel when I think of saying “yes” to a date with a particular new person?If you’re nervous because you’re excited about going out with this new person, that can be a good sign—you’re imagining a new scenario, not dwelling on what was. Butterflies in the stomach suggest that you may be attracted to this person, but if the thought of going out with someone makes you feel repulsed or cold-all-over, it’s probably not time to date—or at least not the person you were considering seeing.Can I spend time with a date and not feel the need to compare this person with my ex?If all you ever think about is how the new potential partners you meet stack up against your ex, you are not going to be able to truly see a new person for who they truly are just yet. If your ex was a horrid person who treated you poorly, then it makes sense that you assess the character and demeanor of new potential dates against the “biohazard baseline” that your ex represented. But if you’re thinking, “this person’s not as good looking/smart/funny/hot/intelligent/etc. as my ex," then you’re keeping yourself stuck in the past and in a space where you probably still see yourself as “less than” your partner and maybe in a space where you don’t yet believe you deserve a happy ending with a quality partner.Source: psychologytoday
Techniques for Preventing Premature Ejaculation for married men
Premature ejaculation occurs when you ejaculate during sexual intercourse sooner than you or you partner would like or before you've achieved satisfaction.Premature ejaculation is a common complaint. One out of three biological males say they've experienced it. It often occurs early in relationships when sexual excitement, anxiety, and overstimulation are common.When it occurs infrequently, premature ejaculation is not generally a reason for concern.CriteriaPremature ejaculation is identified using the following criteria: -Ejaculation occurs within one minute of penetration -Ejaculation cannot be controlled or delayed in all or most cases over a period of at least 6 months2 -It causes frustration, distress, and a tendency to avoid sexual interactionCausesYou're more likely to experience premature ejaculation when you're young and still learning about sexual activity and relationships or at any age if you've had a long period of abstinence.Premature ejaculation is rarely caused by any underlying disease, structural abnormalities, or physical problems.Performance anxiety may be the major cause of premature ejaculation, and talking to your sexual partner(s) about your feelings may help in dealing with the issue. Remember that it's a common experience. Find ways to relax more, and the problem often goes away.3If you're experiencing premature ejaculation, you should consider visiting a urologist. Sometimes a questionnaire like the Premature Ejaculation Diagnostic Tool will be used during the office visit.Treatment includes behavioral techniques, therapy (such as cognitive behavioral therapy or psychotherapy), and medications. Behavior TechniquesA doctor may suggest these techniques to you, but you can also try them on your own.Self-DistractionIf your arousal levels are getting too high and a climax is beginning, take a deep breath and think about something else—something very boring if possible. You've probably heard the pop culture advice, "Think about baseball!"When you are less aroused but maintaining an erection, you can then continue."Stop-and-Start" MethodIf you find yourself nearing climax, withdraw your penis from your partner and allow yourself to relax enough to prevent ejaculation.By starting and stopping sexual stimulation, you can learn to prolong the sexual experience and delay ejaculation."Squeeze" MethodThis method involves either you or your partner squeezing (fairly firmly) the end or the tip of the penis for between 10 and 20 seconds when ejaculation is imminent, withholding stimulation for about 30 seconds, and then continuing stimulation.This can be repeated until ejaculation is desired. The stop-and-start method can be used with the squeeze method as well.5More ForeplayStimulate your partner to a state of high arousal before you have your genitals touched. That way, your ejaculation and their orgasm can be achieved at about the same time.MasturbationPractice different methods by yourself to learn how your body responds to stimulation and how to delay ejaculation.Getting to know your feelings and sensations gives you the chance to gain confidence.6MedicationsEither creams or oral medications can be effective for treating premature ejaculation.Desensitizing CreamsCreams can be used to desensitize the end of your penis. They act like a local or topical anesthetic.These medications include creams, gels, or sprays such as lidocaine, prilocaine, or benzocaine, which cause reduced sensitivity of the penis.Thicker condoms can also desensitize you by decreasing sensitivity and therefore stimulation, thus prolonging the sexual act.7Prescription MedicationsOral medications include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, which are prescribed for use as needed (“on demand”), or, as with paroxetine, as off-label daily dosing.Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, such as Viagra (sildenafil), may be used effectively if premature ejaculation occurs with erectile dysfunction.Opioid medication such as tramadol (prescribed off-label) may be considered. A combination of both anxiety reduction and medication can be used as well.A Word From VerywellRemember that getting good at sex and overcoming premature ejaculation can take a bit of time. Practice makes perfect.If you find that things are not improving, then help is available from sex therapists who are experts in this field. Source: verywellhealth.com
13 types of kisses that will have you both craving more
'’A kiss is a lovely trick to stop speech when words become superfluous’’. It is a gesture that communicates your emotions without having to say them! Kissing is not just a concept but an art and can be as creative as you want it to be!Be it a French kiss or an American Kiss (yes, you read it right), everyone wants to master the art of kissing. Trust us, it's not easy to learn the tricks of a perfect kiss, but like all other skills, kissing too needs a bit of preparation and practice. No wonder, a kiss may break or make a relationship and it's very important that you do it right. Top of the head kissAww, cute. You probably remember receiving these from your parental units wayyy back when you were cuddled up on the couch. "A top of the head kiss is perfect for building trust and intimacy,” says dating coach Damona Hoffman, host of Dates & Mates podcast. “When you feel bonded to and protected by your partner it can deepen emotional as well as physical intimacy. We all need tenderness, especially at such an uncertain time.”Royal Hand KissA person kissing the top of another’s offered hand is the most formal of kisses. The traditional ritual doesn’t imply affection—it's more a polite and respectful greeting among strangers meeting for the first time. Air KissAir-kissing is a social gesture that involves pursing your lips and leaning in as if you’re kissing, but without actually touching the other person’s cheek (the little “mwah” sound is optional). It can be a hello or a goodbye and communicates endearment—like, something you may do with a friend or family member when you're saying goodbye. Cheek KissVery popular in Europe, one or two light kisses on the cheek is a friendly greeting that says “happy to see you” between friends, family, partners, and sometimes, strangers. But say it happens with a romantic partner post-date, assume it's their respectful way of telling you they had a great time, but want to take things slow.Forehead Kiss“The forehead kiss is atypical, which makes it more memorable,” explains Richmond. Perhaps this is the reason #foreheadkisses have been tagged 33.8k times on Instagram. Not only is it compassionate and warm, but it communicates love in a non-sexual way. The gesture is typically reserved for someone special, like someone you're really feeling. Eskimo KissSome think it’s corny, but some couples love to rub noses because it’s “their thing” and unique to the relationship. There’s no lip-touching in an Eskimo kiss, but it’s intimate without being sexual. “You have to be very close to someone, whether you’re looking into their eyes or closing your eyes and feeling their breath,” says Richmond. Single Lip KissThis seductive, warm-up move involves kissing the person’s bottom lip while they kiss your top lip (or vice-versa). The single lip kiss is a playful tease; an offer that maybe there’s more to come...French KissOui, oui! The open-mouth kiss with tongue is all types of erotic—there’s almost no other kiss that connects two people more. But keep it for the bedroom, mmk? It's probably not supes appropriate when you're tonguing at a funeral or a Starbucks.Bite KissKissing and playful biting on the lips, cheeks, jawline, collarbone, or neck can be really tantalizing (but no hickies, please!). How hard you nibble is of personal preference, so make sure to tell your boo what really drives you crazy. And while it makes for a seductive first-time hookup, introduce the idea slowly. “Go easy to start and you’ll know if it’s well-received,” says Richmond. “If the person pulls back, it’s off the table.” Lizard KissJust tongues, and that’s it. The lizard kiss is an unconventional type of foreplay that two people really have to find sexy… but, hey, don’t knock it ’til you try it!Neck KissNeck kisses are highly depicted in movies and most often referenced in romance novels starring Fabio-esque male leads, but they’re even more sensual IRL. The neck is an underrated erogenous zone full of delicate, sensitive nerve endings, making for very fiery foreplay —especially for women.Body KissBesides the neck, there are tons of other areas on the body worth kissing, including the chest, stomach, torso, feet, and booty. All this depends on an individual’s sexual preferences and ticklish meter. Remember, what feels good to one person might not feel good to another. “If you really pay attention to your partner's body language, you’re going to get a lot of information," says Richmond. Nipple KissKissing, licking, and sucking a partner’s nipples is a body kiss deserving of its own category—and let's be honest, it feels pretty effing amazing for both women and men. But again, everyone’s sexual proclivity is different and this is an area that requires staying attuned with intimate communication advises Richmond. If your partner is moaning and moving towards you, that’s a green light. If his or her body recoils or tenses, take that as a no-go.Genital KissIt’s a sultry tease to kiss your bae through their underwear, using only your lips for epic foreplay at the spot where they really enjoy it. With your partner begging for more, remove the barrier, introduce tongue... and enjoy the grand finale. Are you seeing sparks yet?Source: cosmopolitan/seventeen
15 different types of hugs between men and women, and what they mean!
Every couple has a secret language that no one else can understand. This language usually includes body language, and it actually says a lot about every couple. Hugs are a big part of a couple's body language, and the different types of hugs have the power to deliver a message to your loved one, without even speaking. This is why we decided to breakdown 20 types of hugs between men and women, and what each of them really means.1. The quick hugWhen a hug only takes a few seconds, it actually means that your partner really wants to touch you and doesn’t want to lose physical contact with you. So don’t think that it’s nothing, the quick hug is a type of hug and it actually means a lot.2. The long hug is the classic type of hugThis type of hug would make you feel like it will never end, and you don’t want it to end. It means that you both need each other, and you find it hard to let go of each other. It represents deep and real love.3. The hug where a man elevates a woman from the ground This is the type of hug when a man lifts a woman up while hugging her, it shows sincere happy feelings, and excitement to finally see her.4. The hug where a man lifts up a woman and twirlsThis type of hug is a lot similar to the one before it; we usually see these types of hugs in weddings. These kinds of hugs happen between couples who are happy and relaxed in their relationship.5. The squeeze hugThis hug’s meaning differs from one situation to another, but it’s usually a sign that your partner is need of some comfort and assurance. The squeeze hug is a type of hug that is a favorite among many. 6. The hug from the backThis type of hug is differant between men and women. For men, when they find their partner busy doing something and they give her a hug from the back, it means they want her attention and they want to share with her whatever she’s doing even just by standing there. For women, when she hugs a man from behind, she’s usually in a bad mood or sad and trying to lean on him for support.7. The side hug is a classic type of hugSide hugs are a type of hug like strolling hand in hand, couples who do that like to keep the physical bond going, and they enjoy each other’s company.8. Petting and hugging at the same timeTalk about showing affection and kindness. Petting your partner sometimes might be a sign of reconciling each other in a cute way. It's also the type of hug that you do to comfort someone and let them know that when things get tough it will be okay. 9. Hugs with deep eyes gazingThis type of hug is loud and clear “I love you” to each other, couples in love like to do that.10. Bear Hug is the best type of hugThis type of hug is a hug where not only do your bodies touch, but your souls collide. It's a huge hug that usually happens when two loved ones reunite after being apart for so long. It included a hug, a lift, a twirl, all of the hugs in one. 11. The group hugYes there are types of hugs that include more than two people. Sometimes all you need is a group hug from your friends to spread the love and comfort.12. The butt grab hugThis is a sexy type of hug, usually takes place among newlyweds or even on anniversary trip, where two couples hug rest their hands on the butts, or the pockets of the pants. 13. The hug with the resting heads This is a type of hug that involves a lot of comfort, simply by resting your head on your partners shoulder. This hug usually is a long one, as both bodies just absorb energy from each other.14. The dancing hug The dancing hug is a very romantic type of hug. It usually happens when a hug turns into a long hug and the couple slowly sway into a slow dance. It's the type of hug filled with joy, like after a beautiful night out. 15. The happy hug This is the funniest type of hug out there. It's the hug you give someone when you get some good news and the only way you can express yourself is with a hug.
He'll look at you, until you turn around, then boom, he's looking the other way.You may 'feel' like he's watching you - but he's hard to catch at itHe may do something physical - like grab you in a play way, poke you, play with your hair...(Remember when you were really young and the guy you liked punched you or tackled you?)He may be working really hard to pay attention to you, but doesn't quite know how...He may ask a friend of yours about you - he'll say it's just for "friend of mine" that wants to know about you.He talks to everybody else - but when you're around he turns silent, or chokes up.You seem to accidentally bump into him a lot of different places.He may not say a word to you, but he shows up in the same line, at the same movie, etc.He'll give you a little smile from across the room, but if you get near, he won't look up.Basically - the BIG clue is that his behavior changes when you're around (compared to when he's around his buds or other girls).Source: .links2love.com
7 Kamasutra sex positions married couples must know
According to the Kamasutra, there are 64 types of sexual acts one can try during lovemaking. They vary, of course, from being complex muscle movements to soft, sexy postures. Have you ever wanted to try all of them, and wondered, at the same time, if there is one meant specially for you?Technically speaking, sex is a weird peculiar thing: we have two people sitting in positions that seem to defy the gravitational laws, puffing and moving rapidly while they are exchanging fluids. Sex can, in fact, become fatiguing and unpleasant as it equally is satisfying and beneficial.The more creative you are and the more you try to create a pleasant atmosphere in bed, the better you will feel, because you will be able to communicate positive feelings to your partner. If you count among those who have sex for pleasure and if everything happens naturally and thanks to your body anatomy, good for you! But if you or her have certain weight issues and you cannot really afford to try any wild stuff in bed, here are some of your options for different types of silhouettes...Doggy styleIf you are both confronting some unwanted kilos, you can try the following: she lays on her back and easily bends her knees, and you stand between her legs and raise them during penetration. Another suitable position for you is the doggy style, which in general is a pleasant one for both partners.Butterfly positionIf you have an optimal weight, and your partner is very voluptuous, she will stand on a side, while you raise her leg to the chest level or as much as her flexibility allows her to. Then gently slide towards her and hold her leg while penetrating her. Also, you can stand in front of your partner, whose legs dangle over the edge of a bed or some other platform like a table; with your partner’s legs lifted towards the ceiling and resting against you, this is sometimes called the “butterfly position”. It can also be done as a kneeling position.Reversed Cowgirl positionIf she has the optimal weight, and you are overweight, sit on your back, while she stands above you with her face oriented towards your legs. Bend your knees, while she moves standing on your knees. This position is called the “reversed cowgirl”.Spoon positionIf you are very different in terms of height, the “spoon position” is the ideal one for you. You both have to sit on a side, with you being behind her. You will enjoy some rather cool moves as this position is extremely intimate, pleasant and suitable to any body type.Janakurpara positionIf you and your partner have fit bodies, then Janukurpara position is just for you. It requires both of you to have strong abs, and you might end up burning a lot of calories. Start with lifting her up and locking your elbows under her knees to get a better grip. Hold her butt with your hands and let her hold you from your neck.This position offers extra deep penetration, and ergo- lots of pleasure. Plus, it leads to a lot of eye contact that adds to the experience. Janakurpara position is the reward for all the challenging exercise you have done in the gym to get the fit body.Tripadam positionThis sex position works best when both the partners are of same height, but it's also a great try when you are in a mood of a quickie, Tripadam position can prove to be amazing for you- it's short, fast and you don't need a bed for it.In this position, you both stand facing each other. You lift one of her knees and place your hand under it. This position is referred as Tripadam or tripod, and does not allow deep penetration.Like all the other standing positions, this position also promotes maximum blood flow to your erogenous zones, and makes sure you have a good time.Piditaka positionPiditaka is comfortable, laid-back position and can be done by anyone, at any time of the day! Let her bend her knees and place on your chest. Meanwhile, place your knees on the either side of her buttocks, and lift her thighs a little bit, and enter her.This sex position guarantees pleasure as the vagina is narrowed when the legs are up. Plus, you can convey humility, affection and tenderness by letting her legs touch your mouth and feet.Nevertheless, the most important thing you and your partner should keep in mind is that there are no strict rules in bed; you should give yourself to your partner and receive her affection as you please, letting your imagination run wild. There is no similar feeling to that of giving and equally receiving pleasure from the person you love.Source:TimesofIndia
1. BE THE CENTER OF ATTENTIONWant to be the one who gets noticed? Stand in the center of the room. According to Dr. Albert Mehrabian, the author of several books and nationally-known expert in the field of spacial psychology, where you are in a room (and what you're doing) has a lot to do with your ability to attract the opposite sex. Secrets of attractionWhere should you be for the highest impact and the greatest number of interested cuties? Smack-dab in the center of the room, standing up and moving around a bit. (But don't pace a track on the carpet for goodness sake...) If you're in a bar or nightclub, the best place to be is at one of the corners on the bar. Not only will you meet more people, but, according to Mehrabian, bartenters tend to gravitate toward the corners as well.Interesting conversation AND a full drink? You'll feel like you've died and gone to dating heaven. The worst place to be seen? Hanging out near the wall or sitting at a table. That hot stranger approaching your table and asking "may I join you" only happens in the movies.2. THE COLOR LUREWhat color can you wear to compel the opposite sex to approach you?According to Color Consultant Leatrice Eiseman, Director of the Pantone Color Institute and author of Colors For Your Every Mood, women are attracted to men wearing the color blue. And why wouldn't we be? According to Eiseman, guys who frequently wear blue are "stable, faithful, constant and always there." The blue guy is a fantastic candidate for a long-term relationship -- someone who's dependable, momogomous and can match his own clothes.Women Should Wear pink And what about the ladies? Eiseman says women should wear a pink- peach to make themselves most approachable. The color is "very flattering to most skin tones, it gives you healthy glow," and according to Eiseman, projects "a little vulnerability which brings out something protective in men."Want to wear a color that weeds out guys who can't handle strong women? Try a deep red, burgundy or plum. Men who aren't attracted to strong women will steer clear.Of all the colors, red is the most sensual. But, wear red with caution. "Red is the color of sex and power," says Eiseman. Red adds an element of excitement and attracts two types of men - men interested in sex, and men attracted to powerful women. Sure, you'll probably have to fend off a lot of freaks, but you could also end up attracting a guy that isn't threatened by the fact that you make a bigger salary.3. BODY TALK THAT REELS 'EM INHow do you use body language to attract the opposite sex?If you're a woman, the key is to make yourself approachable. According to nationally-respected body language expert and professional speaker, Patti Wood, you want to make yourself a "safe" (read approachable) target. How do you accomplish that? Don't take up a lot of space (which is a sign of power and superiority.) Wood says, "we are strong women, but remember, we're trying to get a man to come over and talk to us." She explains, "you have to show you have room for someone else in your life."In addition, Wood says "to be very approachable women should stand with their feet no farther than 6 inches apart with toes pointed slightly inward. " Other key moves, the nod and the head tilt - signal you're listening to what the other person has to say.For men, appearing more dominant effectively draws the attraction of women. To attract women, stand with your feet 6-10 inches apart, and toes pointing outward. Feel free to take up some space. For men who are victims of the "nice guy" badge, or who appear to be too submissive to attract women, try taking your Y chromosome out for a spin. According to Mehrabian, men should "try wearing bulkier or more conservative hairstyles or clothing," hold your head up, and speed up your speech and gestures to be more assertive.Body language tips for both sexes: Don't fold your arms and don't chew on gum, ice or your fingernails. According to Wood, the chewing indicates anxiety or frustration, neither of which are very attractive emotions.4. THE POWER OF A SMILEPsychology and body language experts agree that one of the most important things you can do to make yourself more attractive (and approachable) is to smile. Not a great big plastic game-show smile, just your normal "I'm having a great time and I'm happy to be here" face will do the trick. According to Wood, "the smile is the international signal of friendliness."5. TEMPTING WITH SCENTStudies show that men associate the scents of cinnamon and vanilla with love. To make the scents work for you, try baking some ready-made cinnamon rolls about an hour before your date arrives, or, wear a cinnamon-vanilla scented perfume (there's a fabulous vanilla perfume called "Dulce Vanilla icon" ). Aromatherapy experts have long-believed cinnamon to be an aphrodisiac.According to Laura Davimes, aromatherapy and herb expert, and owner of Herban Avenues, "certain aromatic plants exude oils similar to our own sexual secretions or pheromones. Wearing cinnamon/vanilla blends increases the presence of pheromone-like substances and dramatically increases attraction."The scent of a woman? Women, according to a recent study, are attracted to a black licorice scent. So, be sure to pick up licorice or Good 'n Plenty at the theater snack bar. And, if you're at a club and happen to spill a little Jaggermeister on your shirt, don't worry about the stain, just consider it your lucky night.Source: .links2love.com
Kamasutra sex techniques that make missionary sex position better for married couples
Missionary is fun but you may thrust in the conventional in an out way—same hip motion, same speed and depth. With a few Kamasutra techniques, you can create more pleasurable sensations for both you and your partner. Try each one of them.Rubbing: Yes, rubbing the G-spot can make your woman go crazy but rubbing the backside of her vagina will also create a totally different sensation which she will love. So thrust your penis in the downward direction rather than upward when you are in the missionary position.Boar’s blow: As you thrust, put continuous pressure on one side of her vagina. Aim your penis to either the left or right of her vagina and she will love all the thrusts.Sporting of a sparrow: Your woman will love it when you make some shallow in and out strokes without fully removing your penis. The first inch of the vagina is super sensitive and proper stroking can make her go wild.Piercing: As she lies on her back, climb higher up than you usually are such that your shoulders are in line with her head. In this position, your penis will slip back and forth along her clitoris as you slip in and out, giving her that extra stimulation.Buffeting: As you thrust pull out completely and then strike again fast. Many women love it love it as a combination of teasing and lusty thrusting.
It sounds terrible! We've been dumped, abandoned, left and bereft. How do we cope? Better yet, how do we get back to the business of being happy as quickly as possible?STEP ONE: Don't hold in or deny the feelings of pain and lossLet's face it. It isn't easy. As a matter of fact, having our hearts broken feels like major surgery - a piece of ourselves has been cut out and we are left open and bleeding, only, empty, and miserable.We lose our appetite, binge eat, drink too much, lose sleep, grieve, cry, rage, withdraw, scream and carry on in general. Actually, while self-destructing only makes things worse, emotional release does make us feel better, at least temporarily.Not recommendable is the stiff upper lip, "everything's fine" attitude. This type of charade only prolongs pain, since, if we keep everything inside, unfortunately, that's where it stays.STEP TWO: Lean on a good friendMost beneficial is to utilize the support of a close friend, one who understands and is prepared to fulfill the unwritten contract that says, "Be there when I need you!"Friends help This is when you need that friend, even if it means spontaneous calls, texts, visits, or camping out at his/her house on a lonely evening. There is absolutely no virtue to suffering alone and in silence, unless of course, you wish to be nominated for sainthood.Friends remind us that we are likable, intelligent, interesting and still desirable. They help put our pain in perspective and remind us that, regardless of our present loss, we are still worthy of being loved.Source: .links2love.com
4 Kamasutra sex positions for newly married couples!
You might be aware of quickies and sex positions to last longer in bed. But did you know there are simple sex positions you can try for a rocking night and deep penetration? To know how a slight advancement of missionary position can help you hit the G-spot, check the next slide.The Toad: An advanced version of missionary, in this position, instead of the woman bending or folding her legs, she has to wrap her legs around the man’s waist like a toad. The position allows for deeper penetration and also enables the couple to move in circular motions.The Anvil: In this position, the woman has to lie on her back such that her legs are resting on the man’s shoulders. As the man balances himself on his hands and knees, the woman can raise her thighs for deeper penetration.Half-pressed position: Known to be a pleasurable position, in this the woman has to stretch out a leg whereas the other one is contracted against the man’s chest, giving it a half-pressed look. If you are planning to try something different and aim for deep penetration, you can’t miss this one!The wheelbarrow: The woman has to lie on the edge of bed such that the man has to kneel down to reach her vagina. To enable deep penetration and stimulate the vagina, the man can pull her woman closer as he kneels on the floor. For maximum fun, ensure that the level of the bed is not too high but comfortable to hit the spot.Source: thehealthsite.com