Are Destination Weddings “Selfish”?

From the mailbag!

We were asked what we thought about destination weddings and if they are selfish.

After all, it’s your big day, right? Weddings are all about making a single day of our lives exactly the way we’d picture it and completely magical. Everything has to be perfect down to the locale…but when you told your mother about it, did she say something like, “Well, that’s very selfish of you…”?

Maybe we pictured saying our vows at a castle in Scotland or a Caribbean beach. We want the wedding pictures of us all in white looking tanned and happy with our bare feet in white sand.

So is it selfish to ask your friends and family, to take one single day out of their lives to commit to making our dreams come true?

Absolutely.

But hold on. Let’s talk a little more about it. Sometimes being selfish is warranted. Maybe the word has a bad connotation for you, but sometimes being selfish is a necessary evil when it comes to living your own life. Sometimes there are times when thinking of yourself needs to take priority. Your wedding day is one of those times.

However, there are some things you need to realize about the touchy subject of destination weddings.

people sitting beside table
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Not everyone can afford to go.

The biggest piece of advice we can give is to never make a cash-strapped friend pay to participate in your wedding. As much as they love you, being put in this situation will almost always cause resentment. If you’ve already made her buy a $200 bridesmaid dress and now want her to pay $1500 for airfare and another $1800 in hotel costs…Even the best friend in the world is going to be angry with you. I’ve had a bride tell me asking friends to pay all this is fair because she and her family are paying for the facilities, the DJ, the photographer, etc.

Yes – A bride will pay thousands of dollars for the best day of her life. You can’t ask a mere bridesmaid to share that kind of enthusiasm. The worst thing you can do is to insinuate your friendship should mean more than money. While she may be thrilled to be there and support you because she loves you so much, the value of the experience in monetary terms does not add up.

Wedding Couple experience:  Marry the person of your dreams, wear a beautiful gown/handsome suit, look better than you’ve ever looked in your life, create memories you will be telling your grandchildren about, have beautiful photos and videos commemorating the experience, in the place you always dreamed it would all happen?

Cost:  Completely priceless

Wedding Party Experience:  Fork out money for an ugly dress/rental tux you will never wear again and have no idea what to do with when the wedding is over. Use up all your hard-earned vacation time in which you planned to go visit relatives out of state, spend exorbitant amounts of money to play a bit part in someone else’s dream, create memories that will never rank up there as the best time of your life, be photographed wearing the same ugly outfit everyone else is in photos you will never really want, going to some hot, sticky almost third world country the bride insists is sooo romantic and smack at mosquitos through an uncomfortably long ceremony after several days of helping the stressed-out couple solve last-minute wedding catastrophes. While you love your friend…Oh my God.

Cost: Waaaaaay more than they get back out of it

women wears white and yellow tube strapless dresses holding white red and yellow bouquet
Photo by Blake Newman on Pexels.com

Not everyone can escape responsibilities like work, children, etc. to go.

Maybe your job is generously offering you three weeks paid vacation in which to have your wedding of the century, but not everyone is as lucky. Their bosses aren’t as understanding. They’ve been saving a whole year and were finally getting to plan the vacation they have been needing for so long.

Then, they get your invitation…

They would have to cancel their dream vacation to go to your dream vacation destination. If they have personal boundaries, they may just reject the invite outright, but if they are an overly nice type that doesn’t want to hurt your feelings, they may just say yes, cancel their own plans and seethe in resentment against you secretly.

Your friends and family with children are going to be completely shut out. Getting a sitter for multiple days is another expense on top of everything else.

adult adventure baby child
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Not everyone will want to go.

Uncle Bob just hates weddings. Way too fancy, long and boring. He is eager to get back to his recliner in his comfy living room and watch TV. Sure. He will suck it up and go to local weddings because he can get it over with, go back to life, and dodge out of the reception after dinner. But asking him to go to Jamaica? Ha!

It’s not just him! Your best friend may not have any desire to go to Jamaica either. Your dream destination isn’t necessarily hers and while she loves you, she really doesn’t want to go.  Not everyone likes weddings. Even your wedding.

If your dream wedding includes a full panel of bridesmaids and groomsmen, you’d better keep it local. You’ve got to consider what makes it a dream wedding to you. Is it all your friends and family celebrating with you or is it just you and your new spouse lost in each other? You can still have the latter on the honeymoon, but you can’t recapture the former.

pink and white roses centerpiece on top of table
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If you don’t approach the situation carefully, you could permanently alienate friends & family.

I knew a friend once who told me she really wanted me to go on their wedding cruise with them. She planned on doing a Caribbean cruise and the wedding would take place on the boat on New Year’s.

“But I have plans on New Year’s…” I sighed, “I’ve been planning it for a long time…”

Not to mention I couldn’t afford it and couldn’t get off work. Her reaction surprised me.

“Fine!” She stopped talking to me. I later found out so many people had said they wouldn’t go, she canceled the wedding in tears and cursed out everyone telling them what bad friends they all were and how selfish they were for not accommodating her big day. Multiple people saw her true colors and she lost a lot of friends.

selective focus photography of bride holding right shoulder
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“But I still want to have a destination wedding…”

That’s fine.
After all, it is your day.
What we hope you will learn is to separate the reactions of your friends and family from the truth. The truth is probably that you had the best of intentions. In your eyes, you can see how great and how much fun it would be if everyone would just play along and fulfill your dream of a resort weekend of family bonding culminating in a wedding like in the movies, but we are dealing with human beings with free will here. It’s not always that easy.

So how do you mitigate the damages to your relationships?

Start off with your approach. If there are friends you want, must have, need to be there, call them first. Go out for coffee. Ask them honestly if it would be a huge inconvenience. Ask them if it would bother them. If it’s crucial they be there, tell them it’s more important that they are there and happy with you than it is to be getting married alone on a beach. Note their reactions. If they are gushing, excited and saying, “Oh wow!! Yes! Let’s make this happen!” then you have a blessing.

If your friend seems to hesitate, wonders about money, etc. or even seems a little upset – Do not be angry with them. They are upset because they want to be a part of your day but reality might not allow it. You would feel like you were missing out if you were the only one who couldn’t afford to be there for a friend’s destination wedding, too.

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What about invitations?

Be careful. How you word them is everything. Sending out standard invitations may not be the best thing to do. Some may RSVP that they will attend not realizing that your wedding is literally in Bermuda. Others may feel anxious thinking everyone else is going and taking this awesome trip, but they know they can’t do it. Some may even roll their eyes at you and form opinions about how entitled you are. Let’s face it, destination wedding brides can get a bad rap.

Make sure to stress you don’t expect them to come, but that it would be great if they could.

“It has always been our dream to get married on the beaches of Hawaii. Next summer, on June 23rd, 2020, we are making that dream a reality. While we would love it if everyone could be there to celebrate with us on our special day, we realize the costs of travel and other inconveniences may not make this possible and we completely understand.

However, we do want to extend the invitation to our friends & family to make the trip to see us become Mr. & Mrs. Smith in Oahu, Hawaii. We have contacted the Beachside Hotel at 123, W Beachside Paradise Dr. and were able to get a group rate of $300 per night for a block of rooms if we book by October 1st. 

Please call 1-800-555-5555 to book your room if you want to attend. The wedding will be beachside, followed by a reception in the hotel’s ballroom or a smaller convention room depending on the number of guests. Again, we really would love it if you can make the trip. You all mean the world to us and we’d love to have you there.”

women s brown and green floral dress
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“I’ve tried being nice about it, but people are still being hateful!”

You’ve got several types of people who may be upset about this. The first are likely the ones who care. The only reason anyone is upset with you is because they would totally come to you wedding. They would love to see you tie the knot, but by moving the wedding outside the bounds of reasonable affordability, you’ve excluded them and they are likely hurt. Please understand the option you’ve chosen is one that is going to step on a lot of toes. Everyone has different ideas about expectations for weddings — Which is why nobody can ever get married the “right” way for everyone else’s standards.

The second type are those who you’ve probably had issues with about…well, everything. If they are a difficult person in your life, anyway, expect them to use this incident to make you seem like Satan. Include the difficult mothers in this group who will never be happy with any decision you make anyway. And you know what? Ignore them.

So, are you putting the idea of a destination wedding above your friends and family? Absolutely. Even though it seems cold, don’t be afraid to acknowledge this. This is a rare exception towards when it’s okay for you to be selfish. It’s about the two of you and the moment you say your vows and the memories you create. You will not be bringing everyone with you on the anniversary trip to visit the place where you said your vows. So say them someplace meaningful to you if that’s what will make you happy.

What is NOT okay is expecting to control how others feel about your destination wedding, demanding your friends be there and insisting they are “bad friends” if they can’t, making them pay to be there unwillingly, or feeling they should be grateful to you for such an awesome forced vacation. You can’t control others’ reactions. You can only check yourself to make sure you are being reasonable.

Want a wedding it would be really hard to be mad at you for? Pay everyone’s airfare, hotel accommodations and give them a per diem for meals! If you can’t do this, then be ready for the criticism because it will come.

Eloping is always a peaceful and much less expensive option if you don’t need all the attention and the criticism that comes with it. While it’s your day, if you plan on sharing it with others, be kind, loving, and gentle keeping in mind that a wedding is one day. Relationships with friends and family are for a lifetime.

man and woman standing on brown rock under blue sky
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5 Ways You Will Know They Are “The One”

“When you stop looking for love, it will find you.”

Yet, sometimes we search to the ends of the earth to find the person who perfectly complements our soul. Yes, we can stop actively looking, but to find that one-in-a-million, we must always be awake, open to the people around us, searching beyond to find possibilities we wouldn’t have found had we not expanded our horizons.

Sometimes we must choose to look for love.

In the end, we always have a choice in who we love and owe it to ourselves (and that special person) to make the best choice we can possibly make.

1.  Choose the person you instantly connect with

Choose the person whose soul instantly connects with yours across the room, leaving the air sizzling with possibility between the two of you – A connection which translates well to sexual and physical chemistry. You never realize how important this chemistry is until you are in a relationship where it doesn’t exist. Maybe “Love at first sight” does not exist – But there IS this. Whatever it is; That inexplicable, energetic, magnetic, hypnotic attraction between two people. It’s not lust. It’s something bigger.

It’s a connection which makes you want to kiss them when they come close. You’ll feel it around certain people. You will be pulled to them like a moon orbiting the Earth.

Some might say this chemistry is not the most important component in a strong relationship. They are wrong. It is the absolute foundation. This connection is what’s going to have you pausing in the kitchen and hallways to hug and kiss each other, naturally, for years to come.

It’s the propelling force for friendly butt slaps and the desire to touch each other. It’s the desire to hold hands, to crave the feel of their lips on yours, the forging of the ache whenever the two of you are apart. And when things go wrong or you have a period of time where you fall out of love with each other, even slightly (which happens in every relationship), this foundation will draw you back to him or her, time and time again.

Don’t get it wrong – This connection is not based on physical attractiveness or looks alone. Someone doesn’t have to be conventionally attractive to possess chemistry that interacts with yours. It’s not a physical reaction to their beauty at all – It’s a reaction to their energy. Some will have a harder time connecting to others in this way. Empaths may find they make connections this way very easily. It’s the one that sparks myths, legends, tales of ‘Twin Flames’, soul mates, etc. Is there only one person for everyone? Doubtful. But there are souls whose energy matches yours or combines pleasantly with yours. It may sound like new age hoopla, but even the skeptic will be taken aback when they experience the phenomenon. “Chemistry” is very real. You may have noticed it between actors who excel at their professions, musicians, etc. who take advantage of this force of nature to sell their performance. Like these two…

Lady Gaga Bradley Cooper Credit: ABC

2.  Choose the person who is good for you

Not the person who is good for your parents. Not your friends. Not your religion. Not your kids. Not your pets.  Not your brothers or sisters. Not your co-workers. Not your bank account. Not your hobbies. YOU.

“But wait a minute – These things are me!” You’re saying.

At the very core, you are your body. You are your soul. You are your thoughts. You are your waking life. You are the breaths you take in and out. You are not all those other things. You are not an extension of someone else. Your life is your own.

Simplify everything down to you and your special someone. You are the last two people left alive in the world after a terrifying apocalypse. There are no parents to give their stamp of approval. Your friends aren’t there to be impressed or envious over how hot your significant other is. There are no churches preaching the constraints of their religion against your partner’s religion. If you had kids, they are gone, too. There is nobody left to judge your partner based on their profession, looks, hobbies, etc. Money no longer matters after the apocalypse.

In this post-apocalyptic world – Do you still like this person? Do you feel like you would get tired of each other quickly? Is the post-apocalyptic world an adventure with them? Do you feel safe with them? Do they keep your spirits up? What would you talk about? How do you feel in their presence? Do you feel trapped? Do you feel like you are not allowed to speak your mind? Do you feel like you will be physically threatened? Does the person’s energy agitate you? Is their sense of humor compatible with yours? Can you both laugh at the same things?

Basically, are the two of you compatible? You don’t necessarily have to make this a line item examination. It’s okay to have differences. What matters is how you feel around each other. Take careful note of how you feel in the other person’s presence. If you do not feel like a better person, don’t respect them, or don’t trust them – Don’t choose them.

Nobody realizes the alternate reality they are sometimes choosing a life partner in – An alternate reality of everyone else’s expectations and opinions on who is best for you. Be conscious and present when choosing your life partner. If you are choosing someone to make all these other people happy and thinking how much certain people in your life are going to love them – You are not making YOU happy. You are living to please others. It’s a situation which will eventually self-destruct.

man and woman facing each other while hugging near river
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3.  Choose the person who accepts your imperfections and helps you to grow

This one has two parts. But let’s start with the first. Let’s start with YOU. You are not a perfect person. Repeat after me:

I am not a perfect person.

Most people are painfully aware of this. Yet, it is the reason why 100% of marriages end. Because one or both parties in a marriage are not perfect people. Amazing, right?

What is truly rare, truly amazing about marriage and should honestly be in every marital vow everywhere until the end of time — is the admission that we are not perfect people. What if we vowed to be thankful and grateful to our partner for living with our limitations and imperfections as we learned how to navigate life together?

How beautiful would it be if two people vowed to love each other through their imperfections, helping each other in growing towards becoming more perfect people?

What all this translates to is choosing a patient partner. Choose the one who sees you screw up. Choose the one who listens about your past screw ups. Choose the one who praises you for making it right. Choose the person who watches your great business idea fail miserably, dusts you off and says, “Hey, you tried.” Choose the one who picks you up every time you fall and encourages you to keep moving forward. Choose the one who enriches you and encourages you to be your best. Choose the one who provides an environment in which you can grow and be who you’ve always dreamed of being. Choose the one who supports your hobbies, even if they don’t share them (and assuming they are healthy hobbies). Choose the one who isn’t disgusted by what you look like with no makeup on. Choose the one who sees you get angry, lose your shit, do things you’re not proud of, but loves you anyway. Because they know that behavior isn’t you. Because they have faith in you. Because they are invested in you. Choose the person that believes in you and your potential.

men s black zip up jacket
Photo by Edgar Serrano on Pexels.com

4.  Choose the person committed to their own personal growth

Here’s part two – Your partner. Repeat after me:

They are not a perfect person.

Too many people have checklists of what they consider the perfect man or woman, talking about what they must “have”. They fail to realize that most of the traits of the perfect man or woman are traits developed by being surrounded by loving, positive people. They give unrealistic lists of what essentially amount to the ‘After’ photo of someone who has worked hard to become that person or someone who may exist on paper who will never love them in the way they wish they were loved. They neglect all the ‘Before’ photos walking around them. So many good people with so much potential.

Choose the one who has dreams. Choose the one who has objectives. Choose the one who may not know what they want to do with their life, but they’re good at things and are on their way to figuring it out. Choose the unloved one who never had someone reveal their worth to them. Choose the one who is curious. Choose the one who reads books and watches documentaries and has a genuine interest in the world around them. Choose the one who is humble. Choose the one who listens well. Choose the one always open to new ideas. Choose the one who is aware of their flaws and points them out. Choose the one who is working on their problems. Choose the one who is hard on themselves. Choose the one who apologizes. Choose the one who admits they sometimes think you deserve better. Choose the one who says, “I screwed up”. Choose the one who hesitates to judge others because they screw up themselves. Choose the one who seeks spiritual and emotional fulfillment. Choose the one who sees your mistakes and smiles, not to mock you, but in sympathy because they make mistakes too. Choose the one who loves you all the more for that. Choose the one who will never stop trying.

When you choose someone committed to personal growth, you are choosing someone who gives a damn enough about themselves to become a better person for them and who gives a damn enough about you to think you deserve more than their worst. A person doesn’t have to be PERFECT to deserve your love. They just have to be ever-evolving and growing and have the ultimate desire to be the best human being they can be.

And you should, too!

silhouette of couple on seashore
Photo by Ibrahim Asad on Pexels.com

5.  Choose the one whom with communication is easy and open

It’s said so often that it’s almost a cliché, but communication is definitely key.

You must be able to talk to your partner about anything and they must feel comfortable talking to you.

There is no compromise on this. You have to set aside time to communicate with your partner. They need to be able to come to you with what is bothering them. You need to be able to go to them. You need to be able to put down your phone, turn off the TV, stop driving, stop doing whatever it is you are doing and listen to them, even if it “inconveniences” you and they need to reciprocate in kind.

What’s more inconvenient? Losing your relationship or giving your partner a few hours of open, honest communication? If you give your partner more communication time, they will need less and less of it as they feel their needs are being met. Instead of hours of talking, it will turn into minutes. They will be happier and your relationship might grow in ways that may surprise you.

You’re not in a relationship with a robot. You’re in a relationship with a human being who has human needs and a human psyche. However, like a piece of machinery, look at communication time as an oil change. It’s routine relationship maintenance. In the beginning of a relationship, it’s easy, but communication is something that shouldn’t ever be stopped just because a relationship is in the “comfortable” phase.

Being in a relationship is more than just sex, sleeping next to someone, or having someone to go do things with. It’s having a companion who gets to know your soul, your thoughts, and becomes the closest human being to you on earth. This is what a relationship is. Communication nurtures and waters the soil for the rewards of the relationship to bloom in. Without it, the garden dries up and dies, or even worse, someone else will come along to tend to the garden you thought was worthless.

Choose the one who gets to know you inside out and never stops valuing your need to express yourself and never stops expressing themselves, letting you get to know them. It’s a beautiful thing when the walls come down and you let each other in, fully. This creates a lifetime bond and a bridge of trust. Never take for granted that someone loved you enough to let you inside.

Choose wisely and live well.

man in gray coat carrying woman wearing pink coat in beach near shoreline and body of water
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Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas That Don’t Suck

Want to get something for that special someone that isn’t… well, lame?

Yeah, yeah – The stores have stuffed animals, flowers, chocolate – All that crap. While women are wanting to get him something but not even sure what he would like, men are buying stuffed animals. Cute. But useless clutter after the holiday has come and gone.

We know the best gifts are sometimes the gift of creating memories together, but sometimes you just want to give something special too.

We’ve looked high and low, scaled the scariest depths of Amazon, looking for gifts for REAL people. Useful gifts. Sentimental items that won’t cause resentment because our new Marie Kondo fixation says we shouldn’t be holding onto items that don’t bring us joy (but will make us feel guilty as hell to throw away). Quirky, practical, cheap, interesting – Your guide to guilt-free giving starts here:

For Concert-Lovers, Musicians, Motorcyclists or Sound Anxiety Sufferers

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My brain and ears have been having this fight for years…My brain loves music. My ears hate extremely loud noise. These earplugs are the compromise.

I didn’t have an “eargasm” but the part of my brain that likes music while hating painfully loud noise was happy. Unlike foam earplugs, these won’t totally kill your listening enjoyment. They are decibel-reducing earplugs which preserve the fidelity of sound while blocking harmful frequencies. It’s like putting a volume control on the room you are in. Pretty cool!

They are fantastic for musicians who rely on being able to hear bandmates while preserving their hearing (Also great for vocalists who still need to hear pitch while dulling sound). Along with a pair of concert tickets, this is one gift your concert-going love or musician would likely never think to ask for, but they’re pretty awesome, super easy to insert in your ears, and they come in smaller sizes for those of us with smaller ear canals (you can get those here: Eargasm Smaller Ears Earplugs).

Anxiety sufferers who are noise-sensitive will also love these. If you still need to hear, but need to dull the sharpness of sounds around you, these are for you. We highly recommend also getting the Eargasm Earplugs Connector Cord  so you can take them out easily and keep them handy. Also recommended for motorcyclists.

For the Handyman


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What do you get the man who has everything? Or what do you get the husband who has been sitting on the couch for three weeks straight after we asked them to hang a ceiling fan? This thing right here – A magnetic wristband made for holding screws, bolts and nails.

This is another gift we’ve actually purchased because of the amazing reviews. There are a ton of variations on this product on Amazon, but all with the same concept – This product eliminates the need for something or someone to hold your screws and bolts while you’re working. This way, they are always handy and you don’t need your wife or kid to hold onto them for you and hand them to you, one by one. Just think! If Ralphie’s dad had one of these in ‘A Christmas Story’, he never would have uttered the F word and had to sit with a mouth full of soap.

For Anyone…Really


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There is no limit to the number of things that can be personalized, these days. We are big fans of personalized gifts as long as they provide some function. From beautiful wall art, personalized throw pillows, dog tags, coffee mugs, cool picture frames, necklaces personalized with your photo or pet’s photo, or even SOCKS with your face on them – What is a funnier or more creative gift? Our personal favorites are the double photo frame above. Put your favorite song lyrics or poem on one side and a photo of the two of you on the other. Instant hit! It’s a gift most would absolutely love.

The pendant locket above is not only beautiful on the outside, but you can put your favorite picture inside. There’s a sweet video on the product page of someone giving this to their mom! Lockets sure aren’t as typical or cheesy as they used to be.

Finally, check out the hammer reading ‘Let’s Build More Memories Together’? Say it with me: “Awwwww” Even the most manly man might have their eyes start sweating a little. This one is great for a man when you want to give him something sweet and sentimental but not too knick-knack-ish or sappy.

For the Guy Who Likes Tailgating

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These gifts are just FUN. It’s another one we’ve tried and tested. I bought the scoreboard for my cornhole-loving husband. If you don’t know what cornhole is and are looking at us like we’re crazy, think “bean bag toss” (pictured above). It’s become such a serious sport, they even have Cornhole championships on TV now. It’s a good, fun party game and very popular with tailgate party-goers.

If you already have a cornhole set, the scoreboard is an awesome setup to not only keep score, but to keep you from throwing out your back repeatedly bending over picking up your beer. One of the reviews for this product even says it has a great double usage for scoring points in fights with your significant other (Haha!). But hey, this is a Valentine’s day gift post so let’s not go there…

For the Fashionable Guy Who Has Everything


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Since clothing is really personal, it’s rare we put anything related to clothing on a gift list. When shopping for someone else, it can be hard to get their style just right. But when we come across a find like this, it’s worth mentioning.

This jacket simply looks cool on anyone. One of our writers ordered it for her son, tried it on for fit, and immediately wanted one just like it for herself. It looks great on her, looks great on him, is very high quality, and reasonably priced. She said her son’s eyes lit up when he saw it and he didn’t take it off for a week. And her husband even remarked what a nice jacket it was…and kinda wanted one, too.

For the Woman Who Wants to Get Organized

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OMG. Take our money! Where has this been all our lives? Men, why would you not buy this for your lady? If the mess she leaves all over the bathroom counter annoys you, we see that makeup carousel helping immensely. Jewelry – Everywhere? Take a look at that mirror that doubles for jewelry storage.

As an added bonus, maybe being organized will help her get ready a little faster not having to search for what she’s looking for? Seriously, this is a win-win for both of you. What are you possibly waiting for?

Stupid Gifts…Because Neither of You Take Valentine’s Day Seriously Anyway

      
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What the hell IS this stuff? Mini-golf…for the toilet?!

There are lots of reasons why this could make an outstanding gift, such as; He won’t be using his smart phone, getting poop germs all over the screen? Or maybe you feel sorry for him because you kick his ass at mini golf and he needs practice? Next, we have the beer fortune teller, which promises 20 different fortunes in the bottom of your glass. It’s a good excuse to drink to find the answers in the bottom of a beer!

An inflatable tube man (desktop size and comes with an adapter! Yay! No batteries!). This is great for those weirdly obsessed with these things and get all their best dance moves from them (Let’s Just say we know people). Another source of endless joy until the last crayon runs out, is the ‘Gangsta Rap Coloring Book‘. We don’t even have words for the joy this could bring many 40 year-old suburban moms who miss the days of cruising the local strip mall to the sounds of Tupac.

Last, and perhaps, definitely the least, we have the gift of absolutely nothing. If it doesn’t bother you too much to pay for nothing, it’s the perfect gift. Packaged beautifully and all set up to bring…not much joy. It probably won’t get you laid, but it will teach a lesson the next time they tell you they want “nothing”. Well, here ya go…

For the Woman Who Is Ready for Summer Already 

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We are living in the best times. They make lawn chairs now with holes for your face…and your boobs! How great is that? So, we were leery reading all the Amazon reviews of this chair, but gleaning a lot of the negativity is because it doesn’t hold up well for holding…Err, a lot of weight? So maybe it’s not the best chair, yet, for ladies who are all about that bass, but we sincerely hope one is manufactured which caters to EVERY woman’s dream of lying face down and reading her book on the beach. That should be a God-given right. Someone get on it!

In the meantime, if your girl is more on the petite side, reviewers are stating they can’t live without this. So it’s kind of a big deal. And we’ll be honest, this chair sounds like heaven.

For the Couple Who Want a Good Night’s Sleep

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1, 2 – Menopause is coming for you…
3, 4 – Won’t sleep no more…
5, 6 – Might wanna buy this…
7, 8 – No more staying up late…

We kid, we kid. The BedJet V2 Climate Comfort for Beds comes with a cooling fan + heating air with biorhythm sleep technology. This model is a single zone control, at $349 topping as the most expensive item on our list. You can get a dual zone for a King bed at a whopping-but-worth-it $789 (also available if you click the photo and choose the dual zone option). It’s built just to keep you cool…or toasty and warm on these winter nights. The manufacturers also state that the product keeps things a little drier under the sheets and less prone to smelly bacteria and other nasties from moisture expended while we sleep. Now, that’s cool! Or warm…or whatever!

Look at this as two gifts in one. It’s a gift for both of you and has so many uses. The reviews of this product truly show the dollar value is well-compensated. If she’s freezing, she can crank it up and at least warm her cold feet before she shoves them into your back. You can also include aromatherapy in the uses of this product. And it’s all controllable via your phone! Who wouldn’t want this? Sounds like it’s worth every penny.

For the One Who is Obsessive About Keeping Stuff Like New

  

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Don’t f*ck up the table!” Did we stutter? These slightly crude, but hilarious coasters make the perfect gift for your foul-mouthed friends or for your significant other who is always f*cking up the table. You can’t be around to remind them 24/7 so this is the next best thing. Dare you to leave them out when the in-laws visit…

But if you like to keep your mouth as clean as your table…We’ve found some pretty cool coasters in the shape of 45’s.

For the Armchair Politician


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Is your husband a news and politics junkie? Being that today’s news is about 90% politics and 10% actual stuff going on in the world that does not involve politics, perhaps it’s not FAKE NEWS that he’s chosen his side and tells the world about it? God bless him. If politics are the main squeeze of your main squeeze, get them a little something sure to bring a chuckle. Politics: The new team sport. Don’t build THE WALL between you. Support his political habit!

For the Every-Now-and-Then Wine Drinker or Collector

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If your wine drinker gets aggravated because they only want a glass every now and then and the bottle goes bad because they don’t drink enough, this is a great gift. The Coravin wine system allows you to insert a tiny needle through a bottle’s cork to extract wine while leaving the bottle sealed, replacing the siphoned wine with argon gas. This means you don’t have to commit to opening a bottle and drinking it within the next week. Maybe they’re faithful to you, but it’s great for those with commitment issues to drinking.

On the other end of the scale, this one is perfect for the wine collector. You can get a sample of any wine in your collection without opening the bottle. It’s a wonderful gift for anyone with a palate for wine. And it’s used by many professional wineries and restaurants now. Also by the writer of this article! This is a ‘must have’ for wine enthusiasts.

For the One Who Entertains or Likes His Music to Create a Mood


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Right before Christmas, we were wandering Best Buy in search of gifts for the kids when we saw a guy fooling with this speaker. He was connecting his phone to it and music came bursting forth from it with a light show, a strobe and beautiful sound with tangible bass. My husband and several other men were drawn like moths to flame.

“Wow! That’s great!” my husband’s eyes lit up.

“Yeah, it’s pretty cheap, too!” the guy said.

“Oh, I kind of want one…This is fantastic!”

By the drawing crowd of fascinated men and with a price tag under $250, I knew exactly what I was getting for him. The whole house uses this speaker now. It’s well-loved by all as our Ultimate Party Speaker and the light show is super cool.

For the one who Likes Tech That Makes Life Easier


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“I just want to watch my YouTube cooking show…IN the KITCHEN! Ugh!!!” but the WiFi craps out if you are outside of the office. Great. The Rock Space WiFi Extender is that gadget thing you may never have heard of…that you never even knew you needed. The promise of extended WiFi? Adding to shopping cart. Can’t live without this.

The ScreenBeam also allows you to watch content from your phone on your TV quickly and easily. Even more cool? Reviewers are saying you don’t even need WiFi to do this. The device creates its own network and works with most phones, laptops and tablets.

 

For the One Who Buys What They Want, When They Want It
Okay, we’ve found some of the “weird” and “wonderful” for you, but if your spouse is the type that knows what they want (which makes them a real challenge to buy for) and will just get it when they want it, make sure they have an Amazon Prime Membership. It’s so worth it. Not only do they get expedited shipping with it, but there are a ton of benefits including a Netflix-like service (Amazon Prime), photo storage, etc. Your whole household can use a single membership so you can buy anything on this list…and get it faster!

Did you find your perfect Valentine’s Day gift on this list? Are we missing something amazing? Let us know! We’d love to hear about it!

Should You Update Your Relationship Status on Facebook?

Getting into or out of a relationship can be precarious. Not only in reality, but in breaking news to extended friends and family through social media.

There is no etiquette book on how to proceed with these situations without looking like a complete and total jackass, looking desperate or alienating others in stating the simple facts of our love lives.

Yes, there are the hipster couples who believe their love is above the tawdriness of social media. They look down their noses at those who feel the need to declare their ‘status’ on Facebook. They laugh at those who fall prey to the groupthink of social platforms. They don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. They don’t need Hallmark holidays. Etc. Etc.

Yeah, yeah, whatever. But for the rest, their online lives are tied to their real lives so when there is a big change in one…It’s only natural to want the other to reflect it, right?

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The New Relationship

Thrilled to be in a new relationship with Aaron and after a wonderful date the night before, Candace opened Facebook the next morning and updated her relationship status.

‘In a Relationship with…’

She selected his name from her list of friends and smiled.

The congratulations started pouring in. Old friends started asking when they might get to meet this new man in her life. Other mutual friends were saying, “About time!

These friends had been out on dates with Candace and Aaron, had a great time, and were genuinely happy for the couple.

Two months is good, right? Candace thought so. It wasn’t too soon. In fact, she’d seen people change their relationship status within days of meeting someone. So imagine Candace’s shock when Aaron refused to accept her relationship status invite.

“I don’t need that on my profile!” he rolled his eyes, “We’ve been dating two months! It’s too soon.”

A lengthy fight ensued and the couple called it quits.

In the days that followed, it haunted Candace. She had really liked Aaron. What if she was in the wrong? What if Aaron was right and they didn’t need to broadcast to the world they were in a relationship? Maybe she really screwed up a good thing.

But let’s take a look at reality – If someone is upset over others knowing they are in a relationship with you, there are reasons why and none of them are likely good unless they are in the witness protection program.

Candace’s Side

“I really love Aaron. I am almost certain that he’s The One. We’ve been dating for months and everything about it just feels right. He’s funny, intelligent, handsome, has a good job, would be a good dad, definitely marriage material…I want to be with him for the long haul. I really do. So I didn’t see the harm in making it Facebook official to our friends and family. Normal people would be okay with this, right?”

Aaron’s Side

“Yeah, Candace is cool. But I just don’t know. There are a lot of women out there. I’m definitely not seeing myself getting married in the next five years. I am not ready for all of that. And Candace is sexy…Really sexy. She doesn’t try to hide that and I’m not quite sure I want my family seeing some of the pictures she posts. To be honest, they’d think she was a tramp. Oh…and my friends. For one thing, they’d all have to check her out and give me a hard time about it. Then, every time they ever saw me so much as talking to another girl, they’d start asking me ‘What about Candace?” and I kinda want to keep my options open, you know? It would take someone really special to make me totally shut down all options and reserve myself for only her. I just don’t think Candace is that person. I want to keep dating her, but I don’t want to put it up in lights just yet. Or probably ever.”

Ouch.

In the case of relationships, unless you are that aforementioned hipster couple, if one half of the couple wants to update their status and the other doesn’t, there is hesitation there. And hesitation is always worth talking about.

If the reasons why aren’t legit, then maybe it’s time to abandon the ‘ship. A relationship status change to ‘In a relationship’ shouldn’t make you cringe. If it does, it’s time for a talk.

There is always the case that it’s too soon. So when should you tell the world? For a new relationship, that guideline is:

When you both can’t wait to tell the world about it.

You’ll know it. Be with them after a great date or a magical moment and say, “You know what I would love to do? I’d love to be able to make it public that I’m with you. Should we update our relationship status on Facebook?”

This simple conversation can save a lot of heartbreak if feelings are not mutual.

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For the Newly Single or Divorced

This can be one of the hardest things to do after a breakup and you’ll never know it until you are there, staring at a drop down box with options in front of you, realizing the finality of letting someone go (And how stupid it feels that you are crying over a selection on Facebook).

It’s especially tough after a relationship which lasted many, many years. It’s easy to go on with life and forget it’s there somewhere on your social media profiles. ‘Married to Sarah Smith’.

The good thing, for you, in a divorce situation, sometimes your ex-spouse will do the honors for you and change their status first. Gratefully, this defaults your status to just ‘Married’ – No name attached, just ‘married’.

Here’s the thing about Facebook:  Your every move is announced. If you change your status to ‘Single’ or ‘It’s complicated’ – Everyone will know and you will get the questions from everyone. The answer to the question, “When do I change my relationship status on Facebook after a breakup or divorce?” is this:

When you know for a fact it is over, a respectful amount of time has passed, and you are ready to talk about it.

If you’re not ready to talk about it, don’t change your status. If there is still hope for resolution, don’t change your status. If you and your spouse just had ‘THE fight’ – That final showdown you are convinced will end everything…

Wait.

In the case of breakups, there are only a few reasons to change your relationship status. Think about these things before you hit that button:

  1.  Does everyone really need to know your business?
  2. Has a significant enough period of time gone by in which you know you’re not going to work things out? What’s a significant enough period of time? It’s very relative to how long you’ve been together and how well-established you are as a couple. There is no wrong amount of time, but there are amounts of time small enough where you will face more blowback, social damage and judgment.
  3. Are you ready to answer all the questions about what happened to well-meaning people on social media who may say insensitive things?
  4. Are you in an intense emotional state, right now?
  5. Are you itching to change it to ‘Single’ just to show your ex or to advertise to everyone on Facebook that you are now available to start lining up dates?

Remember, while changing your status can cause chaos, there is NO harm, even if they moved on and are already with someone else, in keeping your relationship status as it is for as long as you want, as long as you are not actively seeing other people.

If you’re wanting to stick it to them by being ‘single’ on social media – This is when you should definitely pause because it can backfire in serious ways, making the one who changes their status look like the cold, uncaring one.

Try using the in-between, more respectful status of ‘Separated’ before jumping straight from ‘Married’ to the desperate-sounding ‘Single’. Remember, attorneys are bringing social media actions into the courtroom now so tread lightly during dirty divorces.

While it seems like such a small thing, knowing when or when not to make it ‘Facebook Official’ can cause real tears and emotions. It’s not “Just Facebook”, it’s a mirror reflecting our lives, how they are, and how we want the world to see us and our relationships.

 

 

 

Devil’s Advocate: When a Man Doesn’t Stick up for you

A wise, emotionally intelligent person knows when to offer an alternative Devil’s Advocate viewpoint, when to shut their mouth, when someone is “venting” and when someone just wants them to act as a mirror to assure they are justified in feeling the way they feel.

His name was Matthew. He was my ex’s friend.

Maybe the reason my ex is now my ex is because he never defended me against people like Matthew.

My ex and I kind of had this thing going where we were each other’s cheerleader. We would work out together and when we started feeling “fat” one or the other of us would encourage the other one to get up off the couch and get active. It worked well. For years we inspired each other.

So when my ex-husband fell into a funk and I noticed it, I made a post on Facebook with a great fitness article which really inspired me.

“Come on, babe!” I encouraged, “Let’s get going! We can do this!”

Enter Matthew, stage left.

Matthew, who was just a casual friend of my husband’s, took what I said the wrong way and went on a tirade about how much of a bitch I was. In Matthew’s opinion, I was telling my husband he was fat (I hadn’t said those words, at all). He then took it further, with a rant about how women ruined everything for men from the beginning of time.
Matthew was probably projecting his own insecurities, but yes, it was epic insanity.

In anticipation, I waited for my ex to defend me against Matthew’s attack. Instead, he laughed at his comments and said nothing. Then went on to talk with him like he hadn’t just called his wife a bitch.

Men, for the love of God, I don’t care who it is – Your dad, your brother, your mother, your sister, the mailman – If someone calls your wife a name like that, you’d better be defending your wife.

When I told him I was disappointed he didn’t defend me, he asked me what I had done to provoke Matthew.

Fighting words. I’d done exactly nothing and told him this.

“Oh. Guess he’s just being a jerk.”

That was the end of it, as far as he was concerned. I was still furious. The whole conversation between Matthew and myself was right there on Facebook and he blew it off as if it were my fault or like I had deserved his friend’s treatment somehow.

It was one of many times where he didn’t stick up for me. I can’t imagine ever letting one of my friends disrespect him that way. No way would I stand for someone talking to him the way his friend did to me while saying absolutely nothing. Years of this kind of behavior ended up being one of many things that did our marriage in.

Playing devil’s advocate can tell your spouse that their opinions and feelings do not matter. It minimalizes and trivializes problems. When one person in a relationship does this to the other, it can cause irreparable harm.

Even after this relationship was over, it was experienced in another relationship. As someone fairly level-headed, I thought, “What if he’s right? What if I do overreact? What if I am not giving the benefit of the doubt enough?”

And so I’d be more patient, flexible, more understanding…and get hurt over and over again. I’d take blatant insults from others repeatedly because the voice in my head told me “It’s probably your fault…Maybe you are overreacting.” Until I realized, my feelings were completely valid! I had every right to be pissed off when someone disrespected me.

There are reasons why people play Devil’s Advocate. Some are part of their personalities, some are well-intentioned; Others are more insidious.

Playing Advocate for the Devil’s Advocate

When someone plays devil’s advocate, there are several reasons. It’s not always a bad thing when done from a place of concern and reason. On a bigger scale, society needs Devil’s Advocates. They keep thinking from all going one direction. They break up sheep mentality. They keep us intellectually fit and mentally stable. Are they annoying? Yes. But you must examine intentions. When you’re in a relationship, things get trickier.

A wise, emotionally intelligent person knows when to offer an alternative Devil’s Advocate viewpoint, when to shut their mouth, when someone is “venting” and when someone just wants them to act as a mirror to assure them they are justified in feeling the way they feel.

Some people who are fantastic Devil’s Advocates in the arena of public thought may end up not making the best relationship partners unless they learn to turn off their advocacy within the boundaries of their most cherished relationships.

There are several different kinds of Devil’s Advocates and some are better in relationships than others. Some are wise enough to know when to “turn it off”.

So why do some continue to bring their passion for advocating for the Devil into the relationship?

  1.  They are simply trying to provide an alternative viewpoint to be sure you are thinking of things from all angles

    They want to be sure you’ve thought of everything. Really. The friend who just stabbed you in the back you are telling them about – Do you really want to cut off ten years of friendship over one fight? They are trying to provide an objective voice of reason…because they are reasonable people.

    However, this can be highly insulting if you are one of those people who think things into oblivion until your very brain cells are exhausted. Chances are, you already know in the back of your mind what you are going to do about a situation. What you really wanted was to hear the person you love most in the world say was something like, “Damn, that sucks. You are absolutely right.” to validate the way you are feeling, “Yes, I’d be hurt, too.”

    Instead, they question every feeling you have. The truth is, your Devil’s Advocate probably means well if, in every other regard, they show their love for you on a consistent basis and you have no other reason to question the way they feel about you. Their ability to see all sides of a situation is what they are proud of about themselves and it’s possible they don’t realize the pain they cause.

  2. This is their personality.

    They are difficult people. They like to stir the pot. They like the drama of giving a “Did you ever think about that?” response and then sitting back, smirking, arms folded to watch your brain scramble to defense. They are bullies of an insidious nature who throw acid on your every thought or idea and then claim, “I was just offering a different viewpoint/giving a different solution/providing some food for thought/trying to help, etc.”

    If they are smirking while listening to your problems or laughing about them while giving sarcastic responses, chances are this is what you are dealing with – Someone who derives pleasure from being a pain in the ass, or who doesn’t know when to be serious. For five seconds.

    They can’t stand attaching labels to themselves because they like to be able to make fun of everything without giving anyone else some perceived weakness to latch on to. They may be politically moderate. They won’t confine themselves to a genre of music. They will dress “boring”. They won’t reveal much personal detail about themselves. They are a moving target. Chances are, they became this way after being picked on a lot themselves. So they figure a vague life without being committed to any idea is the way to escape criticism while criticizing everyone else from their swiftly-moving cloud. They have found refuge in playing Devil’s Advocate to take the focus off their own insecurities.

  3. They truly don’t care about your problems and are trying to shut you up

    You are annoying them. They don’t have the patience to deal with you and your problems. They don’t want to listen. They’re not even trying to play pot-stirring games with you. They just want to drop a bomb on you in the form of making you feel stupid so you will stop…talking.

    They will typically be more abrupt and point out one of your faults to take validation away from your feelings by using how you are imperfect against you.

    “Oh yeah? So some woman at the grocery store asked if you are pregnant? Like you don’t see how someone might say that?” (staring at your gut)

    “Alexandra asked someone else to photograph her wedding? Well, let’s face it – You’re not a very good photographer.”

    These are the typical responses of a Sociopath. Things as such might be completely true, but there are people on this earth who have not learned the fine art of diplomatic response, kindness and protecting the fragile sense of self of others. There are friends who are honest with you and then there are those who fire off statements, such as above, without thought or care to the impact those words might have on others. These people aren’t just “Devil’s Advocates”, they are the Devil, himself.

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Are you the Devil’s Advocate?

Maybe you have seen your advocacy ruin relationships with people you cared about.

Assuming it’s not that you don’t really care about the person or the psychological well-being of the person you are advocating against, maybe it really is just your personality to be this way as a form of protection. Maybe you can’t stand to have any discussion without exploring all sides in your quest for truth and knowledge.

If Devil’s Advocacy makes you feel protected, maybe it’s because people make you feel stupid every day. People don’t take you seriously. So why should you take them seriously? You can find the flaw in every situation and you’re not afraid to say it. You believe yourself to have a relationship with the truth – But you are ignorant of feelings and emotion.

It’s foreign to you why anyone would disclose so much personal information or leave themselves wide open and vulnerable by bleeding out their problems to someone else’s listening ear. When in a relationship with one of these people – You don’t get it. Instead of accepting that this is the way some people are, you try to change them to be more like you. You try to encourage them to be cold towards these issues…like you. This survival technique works for you, so why won’t they stop being stupid and learn it?

With every devil’s advocate comes a bit of arrogance. It’s arrogant to demand all people handle problems the way you do. Some people need to talk their problems out. Some need to let out an emotion and have someone echo back, “I hear you”. Just because you don’t does not mean the world will adjust to suit you. You don’t need to talk about problems and that’s great…or possibly not. Because even advocates sometimes eventually end up needing to see therapists.

You’ve probably been looking at emotive people as “weak”, “fragile”, or a burden without really seeing them for the gifts they are. While you believe you are on a quest for Truth via advocating for the devil, these people give you truth every day in the form of genuine expression.

Only a wise Devil’s Advocate will recognize this and begin to appreciate the color an empathic, emotive person who discusses their day at work, who talks about their plans, who tells you about their problems brings to the black and white of a fully advocated world.

Dear Devil’s Advocate – You seek truth and they are giving it to you. In return for their gift of beautifully emoted truth, it is you that may need to do the adjusting to give them back what they need – An affirmation of the world as they see it, the pain they are feeling, or their reasoning behind the decisions they make daily.

Okay, all This is Great, but Where is my White Knight?

Okay, establishing that not all devil’s advocacy is a bad thing, the part that is more worrisome than anything – The lack of defense from the partner of a Devil’s Advocate.

The people who spurned you, your partner cavorts with. The ones who stabbed you in the back, they still show kindness to. Their advocacy has made them seek the truth, but acting on it in reality is another matter.

First things first – Please examine the reason your partner did not stick up for you. Were you out of line? Did you take something too far? Or were you making a reasonable attempt to stand up for yourself? If you swear you are acting reasonably, there is no way to mince words – A devil’s advocate must realize the line where his/her advocacy ends and their relationship begins. Failing to recognize this will spell an end to even the best of relationships.

When someone insults your partner and you defend them, your penchant for advocating for the devil has become more important than your relationship. Beyond initially questioning, continuing to defend someone who has wronged your partner or failing to stand up for your partner is sheer cowardice. This shows you choose your reputation or friendship with other people over your relationship with your spouse or partner.

Maybe you feel your partner is overly sensitive and allowing petty disagreements to continually come between the two of you and good friendships — And this may be true.

Why do you feel your partner is being paranoid? Why do you feel they are exaggerating? Why do you feel the problem is theirs and not the other party’s? Could it be because you spend more time with your partner and have seen their faults? Is it possible that if you spent a large amount of time with the other party you might see that their viewpoints are more illogical than those of your partner?

In the end, you owe it to the one you love to take them at their word. If you doubt their word that much to the point you more often than not feel they are over-exaggerating every slight that comes their way, it’s possible the relationship is not for you.

And if you are the one who feels unheard or are being made to feel crazy, illogical, paranoid or consistently in the wrong even during times most people are agreeing you are right; Likewise, it may be time to think about your choice of mate.

Why Hasn’t He Proposed?

You’ve been the best girlfriend imaginable…So what gives? Why is he taking so long? All around you, friends who have been dating less time than you two have are already engaged. And here you are, biding your time, waiting, and being aggravated when people throw things like, “So, when is your man going to pop the question?” at you as if you had anything to do with it.

There can be many reasons why you haven’t heard those four words, just yet. Everything happens in good time.

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It hasn’t been long enough

Some people believe in whirlwind romances, getting married on a whim while the feeling is still strong. Other people believe slow and steady is the way to go when it comes to love.

What’s the hurry? Don’t close the door on this chapter of your love, just yet. This is the time when it’s exciting and you are still getting to know each other, developing an idea of why this might be the person you want to be with for the rest of your life. Giving it time allows the “new love” feeling to fade enough to see flaws and if those flaws are things you can both live with. The “new love” feeling usually fades after 2-3 years. This is when reality sets in.

I know you hate the “boyfriend/girlfriend” title and long to use the more eloquent “fiancé /fiancée” but NOW is precious. Enjoy this time of blooming romance and excitement. When the ring comes, the stress about how to get married comes. Enjoy this blissful time of growing in love.

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He’s not sure that’s what you really want

Maybe he’s ready, but not sure about you. Some women are not the type to broadcast, loudly and clearly, “Hey! I want to marry you!” They just wait patiently and see if he takes the hint. If the two of you are lackadaisical on the communication front, there’s a chance neither of you are quite sure what the others’ thoughts are regarding making your commitment more permanent.

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He’s not ready, commitment-wise

He knows it, but doesn’t know how to tell you. He may find his mind drifting. Maybe he can’t stop thinking of other girls. Maybe he’s only focused on you, but the thought of committing himself to you – forever – scares the holy hell out of him. He doesn’t know exactly what that will mean. He doesn’t know if he’s ready for all it could mean. Does it mean he has to stop going out with his friends? Does it mean fatherhood? Does it mean a house with a white picket fence in the suburbs when he always pictured himself living in a swanky high rise in the city?

Pay attention to what he has told you he wants out of life. It’s possible to be with someone for years without admitting that a wedding dress, house in the suburbs, and children are not in his plans.

A man who says, “I never want to get married” or “I do not want children” should always be taken for his word. Yes, sometimes people do change, but do you want to risk the best years of your life on someone who doesn’t know what they want?

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He’s not ready financially

He knows you’re the one. However, he wants to be at a certain place in his life before making that kind of leap. He wants to be able to provide for a family. He wants to be a man you can be proud of. Maybe his parents always stressed old-fashioned values regarding where a man should be in life before he takes on responsibilities like a wife and family. If so, consider yourself lucky. This is a man that views caring for you as a top priority. He’s being smart and thoughtful. He’s planning for your future together and he’s not going to do things half-cocked.

You can tell him you don’t care about the size of his bank account and how it has no bearing on your love for him. He probably already knows this; But it’s his personal sense of duty and responsibility to make sure he is on solid ground before inviting you to step onto that piece of ground with him. It’s a noble stance. Respect it.

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He wants to give you the ring you are expecting

Maybe you’d be happy with a ring from the dollar store, but he saw your eyes when you saw your friend’s ring. He’s been taking note of all his friends’ fiancées rings. Nevermind the fact that he never even noticed things like rings before, now he’s a man obsessed. He wants to do right by you. He doesn’t want you being envious of other women’s rings.

Or maybe he’s totally clueless and doesn’t know what the hell to buy you. He may even think it’s a silly, antiquated tradition. Then again, maybe you have practically shoved in his face the ring worth more than ten times his yearly salary and the poor man is stressing because he has no idea how he can ever afford what you want.

All this stress over a ring? Absolutely! It happens. Men know women make a big deal out of this ring business…and they know your friends are going to judge him by how he “did” with the ring. That’s enough to make any man sweat bullets.

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He has doubts

There are things about you he still doesn’t “get”. Maybe there are things about your relationship that leave him questioning everything or less than fulfilled. If so, he knows he’s playing a dangerous game staying in a relationship where he feels like all his wishes in a wife are not met in you.

Maybe there are things you do or like that he doesn’t know if he can live with. Maybe there are glaring incompatibilities, but there is something keeping him from walking away. Maybe you’re both just together because it’s better than being alone.

His head is full of doubts he isn’t brave enough to express. But until they are resolved, he can’t even think about being with you forever. It’s a brutal truth, but one that must be acknowledged. There could be a flaw in the relationship which prevents him from committing further. Chances are, you may secretly know what these areas are. It’s time to examine if these are flaws that can be fixed so the relationship can move forward.

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He’s afraid there’s a chance you might say “No”

Every man pondering the seriousness of proposing comes to this terrifying thought, “What if she actually says ‘NO’?” and suddenly, they are panicking over the purchase they just made. It’s burning a hole in their pocket. You could say “No” and they could be left down on one knee feeling like a total fool. Could they take the ring back? Could they walk away with their dignity intact? What would happen to the relationship after that? Where do you go after that kind of rejection? You bet he’s thinking it.

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People in his life aren’t happy about the impending proposal

He broke the news to his family or best friends and didn’t get the reaction he was hoping for. Who knows, maybe he even called your father for permission and got a disheartening response. So now he’s in limbo. His mother may have objected and he could be waiting for her to see just what he sees in you. He could be waiting for your father to come around. The thing that sucks the most? You are likely the first person he wants to talk to about all this…and can’t!

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He believes marriage is forever and doesn’t take it lightly

This is a big, big deal. His parents have been married for fifty years! How did they do it? They tell him so much of it was just in choosing the right person. Yet, he looks around at all the divorced people in the world. Did they all choose the wrong people? How do some people make it work and some fall apart? He’s terrified. He doesn’t want to marry the wrong woman. He doesn’t want to end up divorced, paying child support, not being able to see his children, or living alone the rest of his life because his heart was too broken to ever love again. Marriage scares the hell out of him because he so desperately wants it to work and there are no guarantees. He has to be sure it’s going to work.

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He doesn’t want to get married

There are many people like him. Maybe he was married before and burned. Maybe marriage has no appeal for him. Some people just don’t believe in committing to one person or think that the commitment is unlucky or useless. It doesn’t mean your relationship is completely doomed. Some people have lived together their entire lives without formalizing the commitment through marriage…but will that make you happy? Know what his ideas on marriage are, why, and don’t convince yourself he will change.

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He’s waiting for the right time

Men can’t always read our minds, but suddenly, in addition to the stress over the type of ring, there is the stress of how to actually do it.

Is she the type who will get embarrassed if you make it a big ordeal? Or will she be disappointed if the proposal is too simple?
Should it be romantic?
Should it be spontaneous?
Should it be a surprise?
Should it happen with friends or family witnessing?
Should it be intimate? What if he makes it too big a deal? What if it’s not a big enough deal and she’s disappointed? What does she have going on in her life? Does she have exams going on? Is the proposal going to be too much distraction? Should he postpone it till a better time? Proposals are a stressful thing!

Rest assured, if you are both in love, have both expressed thoughts of getting married eventually, he’s got an idea of the type of ring and how you want to be proposed to someday…It’s going to happen. Remember, even though it’s easy to get wrapped up in your own self pity and fears, most of the work in orchestrating the perfect proposal, working through his fears, working to save up money, etc. are all on him.

Patience should bring those four words in sweet time; And a proposal when both parties are fully ready will be sweeter still.

Being a ‘Good Girl’ In a Hookup Culture

I’ve always been one of the ‘good girls’.

Even my attempts to be a bad girl have come off horribly flawed. Kind of like Sandra Dee in ‘Grease’ turning into ‘Bad Sandy’ – Nobody ever bought it.

My anger comes off more like an angry kitten mewling than a lion roaring. I can’t be mean. I don’t know how to hit others below the belt. I don’t know how to let my inhibitions carry me away to do and say things totally out of my element.

After many, many years… I’m okay with this.

In high school, all my friends were losing their virginity and telling me about it. I didn’t want anything to do with any of that mess, but I had a serious boyfriend and felt pressured so I eventually caved to the pressures of teenage boy lust. I didn’t know what else to do after that so I ended up married to him. Then, we ended up divorced.

Throughout my twenties, my friends would hook up randomly with guys we met when we went out dancing. I picked them up from their walks of shame and took them back to their cars and heard the sordid details over breakfast at Denny’s.

I relived the glory of their one night stand stories with them. I held them in my arms as they cried when the guy didn’t call them a week later. I went with them to buy pregnancy tests when they were late and scared.

I was the “support friend” and I was damn good at it.

However, I never had a shortage of men wanting to date me, either. Most of them were all about hooking up and I knew it. I knew when they would try to kiss me on the first date (Ladies, just so you are aware – If he leans in for a kiss on the first date, he’s going to go after more the second date).

This ended up being the majority of guys I dated. Lots of one-and-done dates. We would go somewhere and then he’d lean in for the kiss and I would never call him again — Or, more often than not, upon hearing that I didn’t kiss on the first date, they would never call me again. It is amazing how much this simple rule saved my ass.

Don’t kiss on the first date if you don’t want your heart broken. You want to make sure the guy is really for real, make him wait three dates. Actually, I hate the whole phrase “make him wait” anyway. Is it really making him wait? In reality, shouldn’t you want to know someone before exchanging saliva with them. Is that so bad?

Meanwhile, my friend was making out on the dance floor with the hottie she had just met. Welcome to Herpes, may I take your order?

You can only live like this for so long before you start getting really irritated with having to pull your friend off a guy at a club after closing time at 3 a.m.

“But I’m going to Jake’s house!”
“No, you’re not.”
“Yes, I am. He’s soooo sweet. And look at him…”
“You don’t know Jake.”
“Yes, I do! We’ve been talking for an hour.”
“Jake could be a serial killer.”
“Oh, he is not! Stop it.”
“Come on, let’s go…”
“Stop being a prude!

And there you have it. The word that follows around girls like me.

Prude.

At first, it hurts. But when you think about it, your alternative is to be a “whore” or a “slut”. So…Which would you rather be? Pick your poison, ladies.

I was only concerned about the well-being of my friends and that was the label cast upon me, repeatedly. Not once did I look at them and tell them to stop being “sluts”. Quite contrarily, I would still pick them up when some drunk asshole refused to take them home. I would still talk to them for hours when some guy they thought for sure was the real thing never called them.

One of my best friends was always being passionate and going with the moment. She slept with men on the first date continuously. She slept with anyone she wanted to and told me she felt free. I always thought she was happier than I was and probably had more fun so I really envied her carefree life. But it should have been obvious with who was drying whose tears more often.

I remained guarded and always seemed to end up in long term relationships. Maybe because I didn’t give in to short term guys.

I wasn’t a prude. It had nothing to do with being overtly religious. It just had to do with the fact that I held the sexual act in high regard, and almost as a sacred ritual. It wasn’t to be dispensed cheaply. I was very passionate, but believed in keeping it under wraps. The few men who knew this side of me believed they were receiving something special that not just any man could have and our sexual relationship was one to be cherished.

Because of my philosophy, I’ve ended up in a relationship with a really good man. He was being actively pursued by quite a few women, but he wasn’t into the hookup scene. He was polite, holding doors for me and didn’t move in to kiss me once. In fact, I made the first move and kissed him. And I realized something — By the way he treated me, it also made him seem as if he were the man not just any woman could have. So I wanted him more.

It’s such a simple philosophy, but one that has led me into the arms of a really good man while still watching friends painfully struggle their way through painful hookups and short-lived relationships with jerks.

It’s a mistake I see them make over and over again and I am powerless to tell them what I see them doing wrong. They will take it the wrong way, call me a prude or tell me that the lifestyle they live with no strings attached makes them feel powerful or free.

I’ve seen a friend change, though. She finally realized she was sick and tired of men who were not as committed as she was, tired of having short, passionate flings, and so she changed the behavior and has since attracted a good, steady man who treats her well. It’s not an easy thing to admit, but going with the flow with your sexuality with wild abandon is anything but “freeing”. I’ve got to say it — Being free is worse than being cheap. Especially when you realize how much value you actually have. We are worth so much more than that.

There is a reason behind clubs, brands, etc. having velvet ropes and an air of “exclusivity” – It means not everyone qualifies. Not everyone is deserving. When you start looking at yourself and your personal brand, you will realize if you want to raise your value, you must make yourself more exclusive.

Being a ‘Good Girl’ is far from being boring. I promise you the best sex you will ever have is the sex in a committed relationship with someone committed to pleasing you because they believe you are something special and want to make you happy.

The best sex is when you know every line of their body and are in love with their mind and soul, as well. The best sex is felt through a soul connection with someone else who knows their worth and value and chooses to share it with you because they love you. You can have wild sex, gentle sex, rough sex, slow sex, etc. with someone you know intimately, too. And the best part of it all is knowing they will be there when you wake up, again and again.

I know this should all be common sense, but we so seldom follow it. Hookup Culture has become a thing and I think it’s time we deconstruct and discourage something that only benefits people who just want to use your body with no attention to the soul attached and treats human beings as disposable.

With all that said, I don’t judge women who do it. I don’t think less of them. Especially when their aim is not to find a good man, nor romance or true love. If “free” sexuality is more important than a serious connection, that is definitely their prerogative. But how many times have I comforted the woman who claimed to be free, yet cried when her heart got involved?

I do judge casual sex. I believe it is for the person who is broken. It’s for the person who has not yet discovered their own worth. It’s for the people who do not realize the beauty of their own soul or the worth of the body it resides in. Casual sex is a void to get lost in, temporarily allowing yourself the illusion of closeness and intimacy. Just for one night.

It’s fooling yourself. As human beings, we long for personal contact and to be touched, loved and cherished. Then, we are surprised when we let someone close to us to use our bodies, that we feel empty days, weeks, even years later.

When you can mitigate this need for closeness and call it out for what it is — Loneliness –It becomes easier to navigate a pool of users and abusers and to find the real and genuine. Somewhere out there is someone looking for someone exactly like you. But you won’t know it if you are wasting your time and trashing your own reputation spending time with people who base their entire lives on impulse rather than understanding and forging deeper emotional bonds. If you want to be daring, be different, be unique — Ditch the casual hookups. Demand better for yourself.

Be the man or woman not just anyone can have and watch your existence transform into something beyond your expectations.

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The Age Gap Romance

It’s the one that’s not supposed to work out. The relationship people are whispering about. The one a few extremely opinionated individuals may refer to as “gross”. The soul-shaking love you have found yourself in without care to what others are whispering about you behind your backs. And frankly, you really don’t give a damn.

Being either party in a relationship where one partner is older than the other by a great enough margin, May-December romances, as they are often called, proposes challenges that can make or break the relationship.

Some couples seem to find joy in their age differences as they do not identify with peers of their own age groups. Some feel like very young souls and others feel like old souls. Some feel like young, old souls given the chance to breathe life again in this world.

Whatever you feel, who you find love with is not always your choice. Love can sometimes fall upon us as if it were predestined. We meet someone, think to ourselves they are too old or too young, and before you know it, we are head over heels in romantic love. Damnit. We just can’t help ourselves.

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The Judgments

We see the shocked looks when we introduce our partner to our family and friends and eventually, someone brave will always ask, “He’s lovely – But how old is he?” or they’ll make some sly joke about how they thought your date was your younger brother.

While you want to scream obscenities at the person, smile and cut to the chase. They want to know how far apart in age you are. Just state – “I know! We’re ten years apart, but we get along so well we don’t even notice the age difference. We’re not the first couple to have an age gap and we won’t be the last.”

One of the best ways I’ve seen to deflect the scrutiny over a May-December romance is through humor. Learn to laugh about the age difference and nothing can hurt you. When he’s got to go home from being out with friends, he can tell them he’s got to go give the baby her bottle. Tell your friends you have to get going because Joe needs to change his Depends. Age is nothing but a number so make the most of laughing about it.

Wave it off as no big deal. Eventually, seeing you together enough, they’ll forget the age difference, too, and begin to know you as a couple. Not that couple where one is robbing the cradle and the other is robbing the grave. They don’t see it now, but someday they will see that the two of you just make sense together.

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Maturity levels and age gap love

While love conquers all rationality during the first few months of dating, there are some realities which are either the greatest gifts or biggest burdens of age gap love. Society often browbeats us with these formulas:

Older woman = Bad
Older man = Good
Younger woman = Good
Younger man = Bad

It’s hard to argue against — one of the most vilified dating categories is older women. Dating an older woman may come with dealing with hormonal changes, mid-life self esteem struggles as looks start taking a backseat to the things she has yet to complete in life, etc. These are normal changes a lot of women go through, so why are they spoken about as if they are romantic relationship napalm?

Women, themselves, don’t like to admit they face these changes, even as they are happening. However, there is a flip-side. Younger women are also going through changes in their young 20s to 30s. They can often be emotionally unstable and not know what they want out of life. The changes they are going through during this time can make them about as stable as quicksand. The man they thought they wanted early on may become tiresome to them as the years go by.

An older woman may be more self-assured and have more of an idea of what she wants from life. She may be more grounded in realizing where she is headed. Not only that, being at her sexual peak around the same time she is realizing that life doesn’t last forever may be exhilarating. This is a woman ready to climb mountains, travel to exotic destinations and enjoy every second of life. A more mature younger man can find a self-assured woman past the turbulence of younger adulthood completely intoxicating. Moving to women from girls, he may find all his needs met much more satisfactorily. A young-spirited older man may find he likes the unpredictability, the struggle to gain confidence or the wild spirit of a younger woman.

On the other hand, maybe they found the true diamond in the rough – The young woman who knows what she wants early on with an unusually mature spirit and outlook on life or the older woman in great health and spirit who retains her youthful charm?

Ask any woman who hasn’t dated a younger man what she thinks and most will immediately point out the immaturity of younger men. Some want to party, stay out late, hang out with the boys, play video games, etc. This can be unappealing to a mature woman unless she is in just the right phase of life. For some women, they missed out on this. They married too young or they were too busy with their schooling or career. Maybe they are young at heart and these youthful pursuits will never grow old to them.

Older men can come with the same challenges. Maybe they act like old men. Maybe they are grouchy and in bed at 8:00. Maybe they have a list of health ailments longer than Nicki Minaj’s weave. Older men can know what they want out of life to the point of becoming dogged about it and obsessive about their career pursuits. Sometimes their ambitions squeeze out the time for love and romance a younger woman might crave.

An individual’s own specific personality traits indicate what type of relationship is best for them. We often seek out what we lack in ourselves or critical components missing from our lives in a partner. In this regard, age may have no bearing on providing us with what we’ve been looking for.

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The Kid Issue

It has to be brought up. For most couples, even if they both enter into the relationship saying they do not want children, sometimes Mother Nature has a few tricks up her sleeve. The woman who never wanted kids may experience a hormonal overdrive in her late 30’s and early 40’s where panic sets in. Suddenly, she begins looking at babies in new ways. She begins to have flashes of a motherhood she never experienced in her subconscious. Sometimes the feelings become so powerful, it feels like an all-out panic. Our very genetic coding programs us to procreate and continue our species. When looked at, this way, these feelings are hardly surprising.

Men may also feel strong urges towards fatherhood. Warm memories of their childhood may flood them with a desperate fear of missing out. They may want their own son or daughter to teach the ways of life and carry on their legacy.

These issues are not specific to May-December couples. Every relationship must have “The Great Kid Talk” at some point and nobody should be afraid to state what they want or what they may want later. Especially when ticking biological clocks are involved. Women only have so many child-bearing years. Men have been known to sometimes be able to father children to advanced ages in life. Then again, do you want to father children whom you may never seen grow up at the age of seventy?

The only difference with May-December couples is that this issue may be much more urgent because of sheer biological factors neither of you can control. Don’t be afraid to breach this conversation head-on. Not doing so and passing the point where children can’t be conceived will surely breed lifelong resentment if one partner wants a child.

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When you can accept the age difference, but it’s awkward for others

Romance is mostly selfish. You choose your partner based on who you want to choose and nothing anyone else says is going to tell you otherwise. And this is okay. Until a woman brings her 23 year-old boyfriend home to meet her 17 year-old daughter, who is completely disgusted. As they get more serious and end up married, tongues wag that maybe he should have just waited a few more years and married the daughter. People will truly say some horrible things that are none of their business when they see situations that they do not understand. And imagine how the daughter feels when her step-dad picks her up from school and everyone thinks it’s her boyfriend?

The ones the age difference will hurt the most are any kids by either party in the relationship. They will face jokes from their peers and may even have to face the frustration of someone barely older than they are telling them what to do when their parents’ partner becomes their step-parent.

When this is a factor, it is important that the primary parent be the one to bark orders and do most of the disciplining. This may be unfortunate, but it is part of the territory when there is an age difference. You can demand kids respect your partner, but it may not happen overnight. Don’t put your partner under further stress or scrutiny by forcing them to parent a child close in age to them. Not only is it stressful for the child, but it’s equally stressful for your partner. If you ever want the two of them to develop a relationship, it’s important not to push them into roles that make everyone uncomfortable, right away. Respect must come first – And then parenting can follow.

There could also exist the situation in which you are dating someone as old or older than your parents. The only thing you can do is wait out the storm and see if they come around to liking your significant other. They may be embarrassed by the situation and that is okay. It’s their right. Maybe it angers you that they don’t seem to care about your happiness, but understand that their reaction is purely because of their own concerns for how it looks, maybe they worry about grandchildren, worry your partner will die before you and you’ll be lonely, etc. and not an appreciation for what the relationship is or how happy it makes you. With time, they may come around.

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But do these relationships last?

Of course they do! We could compile a long list of celebrity couples with age gaps, but thought the better of it. Because…Hollywood. We all know how long most Hollywood couples last. However, I know many real life couples who have stood the test of time. One being my own parents. Despite a ten year age gap, they have had a successful loving relationship for over 25 years of marriage.

It can happen with a lot of humor, a lot of love and the understanding that love is boundless, timeless and can’t be confined to make the rest of the world happy. Just because they don’t understand your love does not mean it isn’t love. When the world misunderstands something that happens so naturally and beautifully between two consenting adults, maybe it’s the world that needs to change. Keep making each other happy and despite all odds and obstacles, you will be together in the end.

How To Make Long Distance Love Last

Does absence make the heart grow fonder or does absence make the heart start to wander?

You may have heard dismal statistics on long distance relationships showing long distance love as a doomed endeavor headed for a disastrous falling out when love in proximity knocks the far away lover out of mind.

We took a look at the statistics on long distance relationships as the basis of this article, but quickly threw them out the window because it’s nearly impossible to create a conclusion from a proper sampling. You can ask how many people from a certain group have been in long distance relationships. You can ask how many of those relationships lasted. However, when other factors are added in, it’s impossible to prove that the uncoupling happened because of anything to do with distance being a factor.

Instead of focusing on whether or not long distance relationships do, in fact, last — What the hell do people in successful long distance relationships do to keep the passion alive over the miles?

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Communicate respectfully

Whether your love is sitting next to you on the couch or 5,000 miles away in another country, communication is the most vital part of any relationship. In the beginning of a particularly intense romantic connection, you may feel like you are in a long distance relationship with your phone. You talk every single night. Sometimes constantly throughout the day. You text. You FaceTime. You Skype. Snapchat. WhatsApp. Messenger. Talk on the phone. To be perfectly honest, always being attached to your phone can get obnoxious. At first, you started saying, “Be right back. Gotta pee.” Now, you take your phone into the restroom with you. After a while, you start feeling too connected to your phone and communication starts to drift off.

On the other hand, a communication void starts to cause all kinds of problems a couple who live close to each other may not have. The distance feels most apparent when the two of you are off doing other things in your normal, daily lives. You may find yourself pausing many times throughout the day to think, “What is he doing, right now, at this very moment?” Then your mind starts to wander…and sometimes it goes to some pretty dark places. This is part of the beast that is long distance dating.

Too much communication can be bothersome and make someone feel leashed to technology when they are longing to live life. Too little means one or both of you may start living in your heads, going crazy, wondering what the other is doing, who they are with, etc.

Be respectful of each other’s real life time. Realize that work, school and responsibilities of daily life are most important. All these things are means to an end.

If he keeps up good work performance, maybe he can get that transfer to her town.
If she finishes school and gets her degree, they can finally be together.

Don’t interfere with your partner’s daily life. You are part of their reality, but these other things are their focus right now, so in the end, they get to be with you. Communicate respectfully, openly, but realize their life needs focus, too.

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Live in each other’s environments

You come back home after a night out with your mates to call your love and she’s steaming mad because you were gone too long and she doesn’t know who you were with. Even when you tell her, she begins to doubt you. The distance begins to take a toll. You may begin thinking, “If she only knew me…Really knew me. She would see how painfully boring I am.”

These kinds of misunderstandings can happen for many reasons. You’ve got to make sure you communicate with your partner the same as you would if they lived nearby. Be transparent. Tell them where you are going and with whom and don’t lie about it. Make sure you let them know they are the only one for you and that you will be thinking about them the whole time. But also have fun! You can’t get caught up in pining for a long distance love to the point where you stop living.

The key is to make sure you get regular visits with your love in your home environment. As many as possible. They need to come to your space and see how you live. You need to go to where they live and do the same. They need to experience some of your daily routine so they can see who you are and how they add a piece to the puzzle of your life. Let them see the real you. Even if it’s the you who leaves dirty dishes in the sink or the you who has all the books on your shelf alphabetized by author and title.

Trust begins to be built by seeing one in their environment and getting used to the humdrum of their daily life. If they are at your house and your phone is not ringing off the hook with other potential dates and they see the simple life you lead, it will be easier for your partner to calm their jealous anxiety and go about their daily life, too.

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Give Physical Reminders of You

A sweatshirt soaked in your cologne, a bottle of your perfume so he can make his pillow smell like you, jewelry that conveys your promise, flowers sent as a surprise, a pine-scented candle to burn that reminds you of the time you went hiking together, when you are talking to him and he mentions how hungry he is and how good pizza sounds, have one sent to his house. All the modern technology just means you have the potential to be an amazing long distance partner from wherever you are, now. Whenever you leave your partner after a physical visit, leave them something behind that makes you feel closer to them.

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Don’t expect the world to stop for your romance

The real pushback you may be getting about this relationship is from your friends, your parents, your co-workers, your classmates, etc. You may be telling them all about this wonderful person you met and they say they are really happy with you…Until you tell them she lives in China and you are in Montana. Then, they look at you like you are crazy and start telling you how many beautiful women there are near you.

It’s okay because they don’t get it. Not everyone will. In fact, some will be downright unsupportive of your romance so sometimes it’s best to keep it quiet until things become very serious.

Also, keep things respectful with them. When you are out with your friends, they are going to be annoyed if you spend the whole night texting your girlfriend or on the phone with her. When it gets to the point you are ready to introduce your long distance love to your friends, do so carefully. Don’t make your friends hate you by putting them on the back-burner for your romance or not being present when with them.

Also, make sure you are present in all you do in your everyday life. Do not let your work or schoolwork slip because your long distance communications get out of control.

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Whatever you do, don’t get passive aggressive and keep it positive

If he doesn’t text at the time he was supposed to, don’t ignore him when he does text in retaliation. If she doesn’t call you back in 15 minutes like she promised, don’t be mad when she calls you back two hours later. Stuff happens. Relying on technology is hard. Expecting everyday life to revolve around your daily phone call is unrealistic. Don’t play the game of who called who last. Just do it. Just call. Don’t worry about who cares more than who. The quickest way to kill a long distance romance is to play these kinds of games and then say things like, “Oh. I thought you didn’t care anymore” or “Just figured you’d forgotten me.”

Making a long distance relationship go the long haul is hard enough, but if your partner begins to associate you with feelings of guilt, they will start disassociating with you and leaning towards things which make them happy.

Hearing from you must be a joy, not a burden. If every time they get off the phone, they feel relief. If every conversation with you is negative or makes them feel worse than they did before talking with you, they will begin to drift away from you.

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Make plans to be together…Permanently

This is one thing that must be said for long distance relationships. They only work if you both look at it as a temporary obstruction to your love. If your attitude is more “Let’s see if this works out…” Chances are, it may not.

Long distance relationships work because two people were very committed to the relationship’s success. Part of that success is making plans for how the two of you can actually be together and will accept the sometimes-painful realities that come with making the jump towards living near each other.

It’s going to mean someone may have to leave a job they love, move from a place they love, give up their friends, their family and everything they ever knew to start a life with the other person.

At the beginning of the relationship, when infatuation is in full force, you truly believe time nor distance will come between you. Thinking about these realities is way too hard and sometimes the very process of uprooting your life can seem daunting and impossible. It can be done, but must be done with a back-up plan in mind.

Sometimes things don’t work out and you can find yourself stuck in the new locale with nobody on your side and no friends to lean on. Life is a learning experience, though, so don’t be afraid to take the plunge if you know this person is someone you can’t stand not being without anymore. Be cautious, be wise, and then take that step and be brave. If it doesn’t work out, you’ve gotten to see more of the world and have new experiences to add to the amazing story of your life.

 

 

Surviving a Sociopath

If you are feeling lost, hurt, desperate, devastated, stunned, horrified, terrified, and like the world has been turned upside down, this is for you.

From the moment we have been born, we were taught this is a safe world by all public programming. If we had good parents, they made us feel safe. If they didn’t, sometimes our teachers did, someone did. Our morning cartoons showed everything was bright, colorful and happy.

It’s hard to believe, with this beautiful world we have been raised in, there are rapists, murderers, pedophiles, or evil people who exist. What is even more sad is that our view of the world is largely shaped by who we are. If you are a genuinely good person, you initially tend to think other people are good, too. You may think the world is full of wonderful people and the bad are few and far between.

The model we have grown accustomed to is that in which there is a bad guy…and a bunch of good people. In the end, a good guy steps in to lead the good people and they defeat the bad guy. It’s the same story over repeated. The bad guy always gets his come-uppance in the end.

Real life is far different.

In reality, sometimes the bad guys win. Sometimes they step in with their sociopathic stares and rip your life to shreds while you can only stand by and helplessly watch. Others around you look at you and say, “Why are you doing nothing? Why did you do nothing? Stand up for yourself!”

But when you stand up for yourself, the sociopath uses your aggression against you and claims you bullied them.

So here you are.

You’ve faced the worst of the worst at the hands of someone else or you have faced tragedy, by its own accord, which has brought you to your knees. Whatever happened to you, it was completely unfair. You didn’t deserve this. Even worse, the sociopath will dig deep into your life and find any crack to exploit in order to show that maybe, just maybe, you did deserve this. Forget all their misdeeds, their transgressions (Oh, and they are many). They have their laser focus on yours.

They are determined to tear you apart. They are going to find every last shred of confidence you have and obliterate it. They will ruthlessly cut the bond of every friendship you ever had. They will not stop until you break down and, even then, they will keep on going. They will smile if they hear they have pushed you to the point of taking your own life. They would even attend your funeral to pretend they really care.

This is what we are dealing with. This is the type of sadistic evil which exists on this planet. Thankfully, most people will never know until they have crossed paths with one of these people.

They are Sociopaths. And they are the closest you will ever get to meeting the devil in human form.

Realize you are not alone

If you’ve had the unfortunate experience of having a run-in with a sociopath, you need to know that you are not alone, first and foremost. That’s why this article exists. That’s why there are many articles across the Internet on the same topic. Sociopaths aren’t some psychobabble boogeyman. They are real and their affects on the lives of their victims can be horrific, even tragic.

Whatever is happening, right now, get through it

I know it feels like this is IT. The end of it all. They are actively destroying you, your reputation, everything you love about yourself, but realize this is only temporary. How many scandals do you remember in the national news? We live in an era so hungry for drama that yesterday’s drama is forgotten next week. I know it feels like this damage is forever, but it’s not. Hang in there. Survive.

Ditch anyone involved who watches this happen and does nothing

These people are NOT your friends. Do not befriend those who will not defend people who are actively being hurt. You will be sickened to realize many people will defend the abuser because they are weak and afraid to stand up for themselves. Do not associate with cowards. They will turn on you in a heartbeat whenever someone they perceive as more powerful is in the vicinity. They might seem like nice people, but cowards never make good friends. Cut ties with them permanently. I know it sounds harsh and some of them WILL come back and try to make you feel bad for cutting them off, but they know why. Let them go.

Realize you are NOT a Coward

They may be exasperated with you for not fighting back and may even act disgusted with you for your lack of “bravery”. But here is the thing — As said earlier, you cannot win when fighting with a sociopath. You have a conscience, a very precious gift. They do not. They will stoop to any level to hurt you. If you do the same, you will feel horrible about it and they will exploit your kindness to make you feel bad for defending yourself. You are not a coward — You are SMART to walk away and realize there is no sense in engaging sociopaths. They’re not worth it. You are. The only reason they, and all their followers, want to see a fight is because they thrive on drama and discontentment. Don’t be discouraged. What other people say about you is none of your business. Refuse to care. Focus on taking care of yourself.

Seek validation

Find people who know your struggle, what you are going through and are on your side. Let them talk. Let them assure you that you are the one in the right. Be careful of speaking yourself. Because some truly evil sociopaths will use others to gain your trust and then exploit you for information which they will then report back to the sociopath. (Of course, if you’re very cheeky, supply them with some false information to see if it comes back to you!) Trust your gut. Receive the validation, but tread carefully.

Find the Truth-Seekers

The friends you do want are the ones who have such a great relationship with the truth, they want nothing to do with people who come to them with gossip. Truth seekers will always ask for the other side of the story. They will not accept half-truths. They will examine everything brought to them with detachment because they know what truth looks like. They also know someone who barely talked to them before coming forward with damning information likely has ulterior motives. These people are smart, cautious and probably aren’t buying the sociopath’s bull.

Take care of #1

That’s you! In this period of stress, grief, pain, mourning and suffering, take care of yourself. Treat yourself to the small things that make you happy. Buy your favorite food, watch your favorite movies, read books, play sports, pamper yourself, give yourself a spa day, go get your hair done, do whatever you usually do to relieve stress. You’ve just been through some crappy times. You deserve it!

Roll with the Relapses

Some days you are going to feel strong. Others will feel like you can’t even get out of bed. Acknowledge that some days are going to be like this. Lift yourself off the floor and keep putting one foot in front of the other. If you can afford the downtime, go with it. Treat yourself, as earlier suggested. Get in the car and go on a day trip. Go through the motions. Do what you have to do. Keep waiting it out and that day will come when you feel alive again. Just don’t quit.

Cut All Ties

This not only means people. In many cases, you will have to look at all ways in which this person is able to get to you. Get away from them no matter what the cost. The hardest thing about all this is that we often have to abandon friends we didn’t want to abandon, places we loved going, social media connections, etc. Seal yourself off from this person through any means necessary and don’t feel bad about it for a second. This is a key art of self preservation. You don’t need them. They need you. They need your reactions to their drama. They need your reactions for entertainment. They, however, are expendable to you. Change your phone number, if needed. Block them from social media accounts. Delete social media accounts. Do what you have to do.

Don’t Look Back

Once you have distanced yourself from this person, do not ever go back. They may try to “talk” to you. Anyone who has talked to a sociopath can tell you they have no interest in apologizing. Though they may apologize for you – “I’m sorry YOU misunderstood ME” or “I’m sorry YOU were offended”. Don’t be fooled. These are not apologies. They want to talk to you about how you (supposedly) hurt them. They want an opportunity to pluck your strings and play a song called ‘Guilt’. They want you to feel bad. Don’t. You owe them nothing. Not a single second of your time. You don’t owe them a phone call. You don’t owe them a text. You don’t owe them coffee, lunch, dinner — NOTHING. Keep on walking.

Reclaim Your Life

When you successfully cut ties, you will start feeling relief. Because they aren’t there judging your life anymore. They aren’t there looking for ways they can exploit or hurt you. You can move on. You can breathe again. Now is the time when you rebuild. Make your life better than it was. Consider it a “purge” of horrible people. You should be left with truth-seekers and genuine people. Don’t be sad or feel defeated. You won.

Here’s the thing about sociopaths — They have little capacity to feel guilt, regret, or remorse and this transfers to all their emotions. It means they don’t feel the full depth of joy like you can. Wrap yourself in it and realize all the gifts you have they will never possess because good always stays away from evil.

Sociopaths will never have anything good in their life. Anything good won’t want to be near them or associate with them. If you are thinking of sociopaths you know that have loads of money or material possessions, just realize none of these things will ever bring them joy. Because they have the inability, at their core, to feel it. This is where you are different from them. Even though it feels like you are going through hell, please look at this as a way to reset you on the journey you were meant to be on.

This is not your end. This is your beginning.

Feel free to leave your story of survival in the comments for all those going through this painful experience. Nobody should go through this feeling alone.