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.”


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…


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.


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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I Was Sexually Assaulted; And It Was Partly My Fault

A good 15 years ago, I was sexually assaulted by a co-worker.

I’ve rarely talked about it, but not for the reasons you might think. Not because there was “rape shame” or anything like that but because if I did talk about it, people would hate me for what I have to say about the experience.

In essence, I believe at least 50% of what happened was my fault and I accept full responsibility. I am a victim, but I am not a victim.

In today’s social climate, this opinion is abhorrent to feminists the world over. I get that. How dare I say a sexual assault was my fault? Did I cause the guy and his friend to do what they did? Was I responsible for their disgusting behavior? Absolutely not. I refuse to take the blame for their part of this pain.

Here is what I am responsible for:

I am responsible for going out with a group of co-workers and mistaking them for friends. I thought the female co-workers would look out for me. They didn’t.

I am responsible for thinking my male co-workers were more upstanding than they were. They were not.

I am responsible for over-consuming alcohol and allowing people to buy me drinks when I could not be positive of their intentions. The intentions weren’t good.

I am responsible for being scantily dressed. Yes, I dressed up “for myself” to make myself feel beautiful and sexy and I fully agree, men need to be honorable and do better. But I was naive in my thinking that nobody would mistake my intentions for dressing the way I was dressed.

One of the ones who assaulted me whispered, “You’ve been teasing me all night in that skirt!” as if it were my fault. Looking back, I will partially accept blame. I dressed a certain way and got treated a certain way. Nobody ever wants to hear or acknowledge this, but the fact remains.

I am responsible for allowing myself to be pulled into a car with a male co-worker and his friends thinking their intentions were honorable in driving me back to their house for the after party. They were not.

I am responsible for my stupidity, my naiveté and my belief that all people are basically good people. They are not.

Today, we are told it’s 100% the fault of the man and we have done nothing wrong. We are taught about the way all men should behave. I fully agree, but the truth is that they don’t all behave this way. The sadder truth is this; We will never be able to stop things that have been occurring since the dawn of man. The even sadder truth is that in the hysteria of blaming men, we lose stressing important lessons that could save more women from assault.

We can teach our sons to do better for women. We can teach them to be kind, be gentle, to be caring. We can teach them the best we can, but nobody knows what causes some men to stray off the path of righteousness. Bad mothers sometimes raise good men. Good mothers sometimes raise rapists and murderers.

We can march and storm the streets. We can campaign to our heart’s content. We can scream injustice from the rooftops. It does nothing. It still won’t stop a man overcome with lust and devoid of conscience. But we can do our best.

The only way we can stop these things from happening is the answer a lot of feminists are deeply uncomfortable with – We must change ourselves.

Living in a “Me”-centric society, this idea is angering to many. Why should we have to change? This is victim-blaming! Why can’t men just start being better people?

Because it’s not reality. It’s not the way the world works. In many aspects of society, we must learn we can’t control other people…and in some aspects, we shouldn’t. The only real control we have is over ourselves.

Know the difference between preventable sexual assault and non-preventable sexual assault
Yes, there is a difference. Yes, we can sometimes STOP sexual assault before it happens, but it means admitting some hard truths about our own behaviors. If we don’t admit the truth about our behaviors and how they could contribute to an assault, we open the door to be victimized repeatedly. There is nothing more powerful than realizing the ways you could stop this from happening and applying these things to your own life.

In the case of non-preventable sexual assault, they come from situations where you have little to no control or social pressures force you into situations where you are with someone you should be able to trust like a teacher, a counselor, a coach, religious clergy, a parent, family, etc. Arguably, I should have been able to trust my co-workers.

In some situations, we can’t help being forced to interact with someone alone. These are the victims my heart breaks for. They are the ones who will deal with lifelong trust issues, PTSD, etc. For many of us, we can find comfort that we can prevent many assaults by checking our own actions.

Know your friends
If you are not sure you can 100% trust your friends, don’t put them in charge of your inebriated self.

Be aware of who you are inebriated around
I’m not saying don’t drink – ever, but when you consume drugs and alcohol, you are altering your mental state. Who can you trust fully in this inebriated state?
Think about it.

Dress for how you want to be treated
What used to be common sense is now a controversial opinion. Yes, we know men should do better. But some don’t. This is the difference between perpetual victimization and being street smart. If you want to dress provocatively, it’s also worth noting you should be with people you trust, watch what you drink and try not to be alone. Wearing some things attracts attention…and sometimes it’s attention from people whose attention you may not want focused on you.

Don’t be alone
In truth, many sexual assaults could have been prevented. Most of the time it’s because of whom we have chosen to surround ourselves with or because we have let our guard down and thought we would be safe walking through a deserted parking lot just to get to our car quickly…Yes, the ‘buddy system’ sounds corny. The truth is – It works.

Don’t give out too much information
The Internet makes it all too easy to find out information about anyone, these days. Safeguard your personal details carefully. Fifteen years ago, we were told not to ever post our real name online. Now sites like Facebook and Google almost require it just to get an account. If you associate with strangers online under your real name, they can have your address in a matter of seconds. Some sites give the names of people close to you. Some people even have photos of their children on prominent display. Alarmist? Maybe. But can you ever be too careful?

Sometimes women end up giving their address out to complete strangers who claim interest in an item they are selling online. Just a few clicks away is that person’s profile, often photos of them, their house, their children, their possessions, their lives. Never has it been more easy for criminals to fully case a target before making a move.

There is no victim-blaming here. Believe me, the hardest thing I ever did was have to sit down and reason out how I could stop this from happening to myself ever again. There is comfort in the acknowledgment horrible things can be prevented if we are willing to examine our own actions and behaviors and how they might contribute to the unspeakable. This coming from someone who was careless and learned her lesson well.

Ladies, I’m not saying we can’t be sexy and dress to express ourselves. But do it in packs. Do it with women you know will have your back. Don’t dress yourself in a meat dress like Lady Gaga and wander into a pack of wolves, alone, thinking you will walk out the other side unscathed. Know your surroundings, know who you’re with and be careful. Prevention is something that should be discussed much more than it is.

Leaving the Adult ‘Mean Girls’ Clique

Dear Clique,

I’m officially leaving you. There are many reasons for this, but the main reasons is – It’s just time. I’m sure there will be anger and questions, so if you must know…

I’m tired of being fake
Nobody envies the overly edited clique selfies. We know none of us look like that in reality and the photos aren’t fooling anyone. Other people still see us in public and think we are ridiculous. You’ve shaved off entire chins, shrunk the size of waists, made upper arm fat disappear, and faces so blurry as to be unrecognizable trying to make wrinkles disappear. Just stop.

The same “Chin down, ladies!!” pose is used, camera held high in the air angled downwards so nobody looks fat. The selfies must always include as much cleavage as possible. As a result, pictures we took yesterday are indiscriminate from pictures we took three years ago. Same poses, same people, same bad photo editing. Ad nauseum.

Why do we always have the camera out? What are we capturing? Fake smiles, fake poses that we can morph into pathetic representations of ourselves to post on Facebook to PROVE how cool we are and that we have more fun than, like, everyone else? If we had the best damn time of our lives and didn’t take photos every second – Did we REALLY have a good time? This speaks more of creating appearances for other people that aren’t there than actually, you know – listening to what our friends are saying, enjoying moments and making true memories.

photo of women taking picture
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Life revolves around what everyone else on Facebook, Instagram, etc. thinks
Do we seriously have to live our lives for the benefit of the viewing audience and form our whole Code of Friendship based on Facebook quotes on pretty backgrounds that were likely made by a depressed teenager in her bedroom with a photo editor?

I’m talking about invented platitudes like:

“If someone seriously wants to be a part of your life, they will seriously make an effort to be in it. No reasons. No excuses.”

So really, Karen – If your friend has her own life outside the clique and doesn’t have time to chime in on your every Facebook post then she’s “Not a good friend”? Get out of here. Or…

“The best sign of a healthy relationship is no sign of it on Facebook.”

This is typically only posted by the miserable and passive aggressive upset that nobody wants to pen an ode of devotion on their own Facebook wall.

I get that. When you’re miserable, seeing happy people sucks! But to “The Clique” – These platitudes are life. They are everything! A vast, obscure depository of wisdom quotes from sources such as Marilyn Monroe dispensed as passive aggressive offerings whenever one of their girlfriends pisses them off. Then watch the posts about “haters” who are “jealous” of them fly. It’s so wonderful that we have Facebook and Instagram to tell us what true friendship is. How else could we make up our own rules and then scream at anyone who breaks our invisible rules?

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The way you treat others
I can’t condone this. I never could. I kept my mouth shut and I feel like crap about this. I would see other girls who were ridiculously more pretty than any of us want to join our circle… And you would chase them off. You’d call them “Thirsty” if they had too much cleavage showing in a picture. Forget that that’s your modus operandi for just about every photo session – Becky showed cleavage. If Becky’s cleavage is nice and her waist is a smaller circumference than the Queen Bee’s to possibly gain credible attention for her boobs, then Becky, obviously, must die.

Not literal death. It’s a clique, not a death cult. But I’ve seen you and your followers gang up on any chick who just wanted to be “part of the girls” in a merciless attack. Any woman prettier or smarter than you is a threat. When Queen Bee got called out on this, she said, “OMG, like…Are you trying to say MY friends are not pretty? Girls! She’s trying to say you aren’t pretty!

These are grown, adult women who actually say “You can’t sit with us” unironically. It’s hilarious, but at the same time really sad and pathetic. I’ve always considered the movie ‘Mean Girls‘ to be more of a cautionary tale, not a parable to be seriously emulated by sad, adult women.

One of the last straws, for me, was seeing you try to break up a couple we know with vicious rumors because they dared to be happy together. Why would you do this? Other than the fact that you are miserable and want to bring everyone else down with you?

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The very reasons we get together
1) To gossip
2) To drink
When I look back over the years I have spent with you – This is pretty much all we’ve done and I really enjoyed neither so I stayed on the outskirts of the clique with a foot out the door. I’m at the stage in life where it’s just sad to see pictures of grown, responsible adults drunk every single weekend doing luges down their friend’s cleavage. Every get together is about getting drunk, snapping stupid selfies, taking shots and cougaring it up until someone pisses themselves or pukes.

I like to have an occasional drink still – With dignity. But getting together to talk about whoever isn’t there has never really appealed to me.

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You’re all about drama and exclusion
Your idea of a good time is excluding someone from “The Clique”, having a party, spreading gossip to make sure everyone hates Public Enemy #1, taking selfies so those outside the clique can see how much FUN we have together. You want to make people want to join you just so you have the satisfaction of rejecting them. How sick and sad is that?

When nobody is biting, then you start eating your own and playing The Exclusion Game with any member of the clique who seems ambivalent about the Queen Bee letting them be a part of such a wonderful friendship.

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The friendships drain me rather than uplift me
Drama and gossip. That’s all it ever is. And it’s not “venting gossip” where a friend was hurt and wants to vent to another friend. It’s malicious gossip. It’s manufactured gossip you create to ruin lives and hurt people. I’m done. I’m an intellectual person – I like talking about things like career aspirations, social issues, current events, the latest book or movie…Not about who anyone thinks Susan slept with last weekend. Short and sweet – We have zero in common and I’m sorry I even allowed myself to be part of your sick world, Sea Witch.

In “The Clique”, if you try to talk about “smart stuff”, you get made fun of. You’re only allowed to live in your Barbie world and be a Barbie girl. Made of plastic. But it’s not fantastic. Why hang out with people who leave me with feelings of shame, embarrassment, guilt, or being pissed off the next day?

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The Queen Bee
There are certain things one must like to be part of this clique. It’s part of the control model of the Queen Bee. She wants to know everything about you so she can exploit it, if needed. She gets you drunk, gets your secrets, takes screenshots and stuffs them into the hole where a heart should be.

She wants to know all your insecurities. She worms her way in and would be the one to show up at your house when you were sick, to offer you a ride when you need one, etc. It’s not out of the kindness of her heart (She doesn’t have one). It’s so she has something to use against you later. She controls some by her fake kindness. She controls others through fear.

When you cross her, the retaliatory gossip is fierce. She treats you like an opposing politician and tells others dirt about you. If she can find none, she makes it up. She doesn’t care who she hurts. Then she accuses you of doing all the things she is actively doing.

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Because I just don’t like the example you set
Looking back over what I’ve written, I realize that I really don’t like anything this group represents. Not a thing about who you are pretending to be is who I would want to be. The shame is that some of you were completely different people before you got involved with The Queen Bee. You were kinder, gentler, nicer people. Some of you were on better trajectories to success that have been halted by a life of continual partying and making embarrassments of yourselves on social media.

I have spent so much time living in fear of The Queen Bee and worried about what you all thought of me. But none of that matters as much as what I think about you. I can’t see a single thing uplifting about people who get together and drink, gossip, sleep around, and bully other people just trying to get through life themselves. None of this is me. I don’t think any of this is you, either. I think you’re better than this, but it might take a while for you to realize the world you are living in is a lie.

No matter how old you are, you can still fall prey to a Queen Bee and a clique of women who are going to do you more harm than good in the long run.

But no more of that for me. I’m making a firm stance to start being around positive, uplifting people who are so busy talking about ideas that they don’t have time to talk about the personal lives of other people. These are hard pills to swallow. But I hope others realize they are better than the lives they’ve been leading for others on Facebook.


An Outsider

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101 Questions For Couples

WARNING! These are not the fun ‘getting to know you’ questions. This isn’t lighthearted stuff. This is REAL. The meat and potatoes of marriage. These are things marriages die over and they’re not always fun to discuss. They may be boring (like finances) or bring some heartache.

I’m going to be honest. You may read this list with your significant other – And it may not make a damn bit of difference. Some people are determined to be together no matter what the cost. Even when they shouldn’t. The only thing not included is… “Where do we go for dinner?” (Bad news – Couples have probably been fighting about this since Cro Magnon man threw carcasses down in front of the family cave for dinner).

When you meet someone and it feels like the moon and stars align in perfect harmony with the sun, and the sky is brighter, birds sing more sweetly, etc., nothing will convince you otherwise that red flags exist. New love blinds us. For the first years of a relationship, everything is beyond beautiful. When reality sets in, it’s scary as hell to realize you walked down the aisle with someone you fundamentally disagree with on most life issues.

If you’ve been fooled before, you will understand how important these questions are. They are the life blood of your relationship, things that will make or break your marriage. And you need to discuss them. Save this list, curl up in front of a fire together and discuss!

  1. Do you hope getting married, someday, might change a few of your partner’s behaviors?
  2. Does your partner’s use of drugs or alcohol make you uncomfortable?
  3. Does your partner tend to act inappropriately after using substances?
  4. Do you have any concerns about your partner being inappropriate with others?
  5. Is your partner the jealous type? Will their jealousy affect you having a life outside the relationship?
  6. Do you ever wonder if your partner is honest with you?
  7. Are you concerned over the way your partner solves problems?
  8. Does your partner’s moodiness cause problems?
  9. Do you disagree with your partner’s ideas on acceptable social behavior?
  10. Do either of you ever worry about the other having issues with gambling?
  11. Is your partner often unhappy and depressed?
  12. Do you feel like your partner is not very confident or competent?
  13. Do you feel like your partner never listens to you?
  14. Does your partner feel like you don’t listen to them?
  15. Are you unable to express yourself clearly to your partner?
  16. Is your partner unwilling most of the time to share their feelings?
  17. Do you ever feel like your partner doesn’t know himself/herself well?
  18. Are there issues you know your partner will refuse to discuss?
  19. Will your partner avoid conflict, communication, etc. just to keep the peace at any price?
  20. Does your partner find it difficult to let go of past hurts?
  21. Do you and your partner have a hard time agreeing on a good time to communicate?
  22. Is it hard for you to say you are sorry after a disagreement in which you were at fault?
  23. Is it hard for your partner to say they are sorry after a disagreement in which they were at fault?
  24. Do you find yourself somewhat uncomfortable or unable to relax around your partner?
  25. Do you feel like, if you needed your partner, they would not be there for you when you needed support?
  26. If you are having a disagreement with someone, will your partner automatically take the other person’s side and play devil’s advocate?
  27. Have you avoided discussing how you will solve problems and disputes in your relationship?
  28. Do you think your partner must agree with you at all times?
  29. Do you think the way problems are solved in your relationships really needs to change?
  30. Do you feel like your partner always feels they have to win?
  31. Is there never a feeling of compromise in your relationship where you are never met halfway or never find a new solution agreeable to you both?
  32. Do you feel your partner’s way of showing anger or disapproval is extreme?
  33. Do you worry about abuse or keep silent due to past abuses?
  34. Does your partner ever give you the silent treatment?
  35. Does your partner ever put you down?
  36. Does your partner’s behavior ever frighten you?
  37. Do you feel like your partner disrespects or disagrees with you on religious values?
  38. Is spirituality and thoughts on religion something you can’t seem to agree on?
  39. If you had children, do the two of you disagree on how much religion will have an influence on your children and what faith they will be raised in?
  40. Do the two of you disagree on having children, how many you may be willing to have and when you will be willing to have children?
  41. Do the two of you disagree on how your children will be disciplined?
  42. Do the two of you disagree on general parenting roles and what responsibilities each should have?
  43. Do you disagree that your relationship is the most important and the foundation of your family?
  44. Do you you feel your partner’s family doesn’t accept you?
  45. Do you feel like your partner’s family interferes in your life too much?
  46. Do you feel like your partner’s family demands way too much time of your partner?
  47. Do you fear raising children around this family?
  48. Do you feel like the family customs are something you would prefer not to be involved with?
  49. Is the level of sexual involvement with your partner satisfactory?
  50. Does your partner’s sexual demands leave you feeling uncomfortable?
  51. Do you feel like you can’t openly discuss sexual matters with your partner?
  52. Do you feel like you are in the dark about what happens if one of you would be unfaithful to the marriage?
  53. Do you worry about your partner’s sexual orientation?
  54. Do either of you bring relationship baggage from past relationships into this one that affect the relationship negatively?
  55. Do you ever feel like you partner uses sex to control you?
  56. Do you have any disagreements about sex or intimacy?
  57. Would it bother you if your partner’s stress or a life change caused an interruption in your sex life?
  58. Do you think your spouse spends money foolishly?
  59. Do you ever have conflicts regarding how to make financial decisions?
  60. Are there disagreements over how financial responsibilities should be divided?
  61. Are there disagreements about whether you should have shared accounts or separate accounts?
  62. Do you believe in budgeting money in one way while your partner completely disagrees?
  63. Is there ever any refusal to talk about how the two of you will manage assets and debts?
  64. Are you dissatisfied with your future security?
  65. Does your partner’s irresponsible use of credit disturb you?
  66. Do you both have more expenses than income coming in?
  67. Would it bother you if your spouse made more money than you?
  68. Would it bother you if your spouse took care of the home while you worked?
  69. Is anyone on the outside pressuring you to get married?
  70. Do you feel like you can only ever be happy if you are in a relationship?
  71. Do you believe a whirlwind romance should take the place of waiting and allowing a relationship to develop with time?
  72. Do you have concerns that maybe your partner is not the right one for you?
  73. Do you secretly feel that maybe this person might love you now, but that the commitment might not last a lifetime?
  74. Do you think marriage often solves major problems in a relationship?
  75. Do your friends or family object to your relationship?
  76. Do you ever worry about your partner’s past relationships or have concerns about their feelings towards past exes?
  77. Do you feel like the lifestyle changes associated with merging lives might be too stressful?
  78. Are you insistent that the relationship never change and if you ever don’t feel “in love” you will believe the relationship has failed?
  79. Do you believe as long as you love each other, you will never have conflicts?
  80. Are you uncomfortable with your partner’s future career plans?
  81. Do you feel your partner is not affectionate enough?
  82. Are there qualities of your partner that you just do not respect?
  83. Do you feel some of your partner’s friends are bad influences?
  84. Does your partner refuse to let you hang out with some of your friends or give you grief over it?
  85. Do you feel that you both share in the decision-making process?
  86. Does your partner’s ideas on managing your home meet your standards?
  87. Do you feel like you don’t have many shared goals or ambitions?
  88. Do you disagree on how to balance family and career life?
  89. Do you worry your partner is too involved in their career?
  90. Do you feel like you just don’t spend enough time together as a couple?
  91. Does your partner not deal very well with change?
  92. Is there any issue where your partner has friends of the opposite sex that cause you discomfort or worry?
  93. Do your ideas on how important status or the appearance of money, wealth or power disagree with those of your partner?
  94. Does your partner’s lack of enthusiasm for traditions put a damper on holidays or other special occasions?
  95. Do you have issues with your partner’s personal hygiene and think they smell bad, don’t groom themselves well enough, etc?
  96. Does your partner’s views on pornography, strip clubs and other social titillation bother you?
  97. If you wanted to make a large purchase, would you feel as if you needed to hide it from your partner?
  98. Is there any tension in the household over one wanting pets/not wanting pets or the types of pets involved?
  99. Are there frequently arguments regarding the tidiness of the house and who should clean what?
  100. Does your partner have any hobbies or activities that much of their life revolves around but drive you absolutely crazy?
  101. Do you feel you have not reached a level of understanding with your partner’s political views that could cause problems?

Pshew. That’s a lot to take in, isn’t it? But we hope you both were able to answer a resounding ‘NO!’ to most of the questions on this list. Having ‘Yes’s doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed. It just highlights the areas which may need more discussion and thought before taking the plunge.

What Makes Love Last?

Very often, the most important people in our lives become neglected because we are busy with other factors in our lives. We become so focused on what we want, that we totally lose sight of what others need.

For example, we want security and a happy, memorable family life full of love and laughter.  So, we focus on having a beautiful home as the base for our family, followed by vacations to make memories doing exciting things. In order to take vacations or to have a beautiful home (and do mundane things like paying the bills associated with the home), we have to make money. So we become focused on career and making money. Sometimes we need more education for our career, so we become more focused on education. We slave day and night towards certain end goals, not realizing they are slipping further away because we forgot the most important thing of all – Nourishing the relationships which are an integral part of our goals.

This happens whether you are focused on money, career, education, or even being at home with children attending to their needs. In the end, the person we love the most can often feel neglected and begin to question all means to every end. This can create a life of hopelessness, chaos and the feeling that there is an empty “need” inside which must be filled. Even worse, some people turn to other people or other unhealthy habits to fill the emptiness.

The only thing that will fill the emptiness is to focus, again, on the relationships that made you want to begin this natural life spiral that is the foundation of human existence. We are tribal beings. In forming our tribe, we create a safe space; A haven of existential tranquility where we can create, build, raise children, survive, be loved, accepted and needed.

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The Normal Progression of Romantic Love

For some people, this tribal familial need is more intense. Even as infants, we begin to seek those who affirm our boundaries, mirror our value and worth and prove our existence is meaningful. Psychological experts refer to these infantile qualities as “proximity-seeking”. We seek the comfort of our caregivers, our mothers, our fathers, our guardians. When the needs of a child at this age are not met, it can lead to lifelong attachment disorders. A neglected child is inadvertently told that their needs are not worthy or valuable.

Children of a very young age who are not given appropriate caregiving measures may develop a negative psychological pattern that they have no worth. As a result, a lifelong struggle will ensue with this individual floating through life desperately trying to please others, to prove their value to themselves and to others, and to experience rejections by others on a trajectory that may seem to wound them to the very soul where for those who had a normal, healthy childhood would have such rejections just graze across the surface as a shallow scratch. Some may consider these people “mentally tough”, but in reality, they likely either had a normal childhood where their needs were met or one where their needs were overly met so they became dismissive and callous. There are extremes to everything.

For those experiencing attachment issues resulting from childhood, new possibility will be awakened when they are old enough to discover romantic love.

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Constructs of Love and the flaws that end it

By most psychological models of love, it begins with sexual attraction. Relationships are  desired to stave off the ache of loneliness. New love brings fresh promises and is full of all the novelties that come with exploring the world of a new human being. Everything about love is exciting. We are launched into someone else’s world, meeting their friends and family, experiencing new music, movies, experiences, and things we’ve never known before. Some become addicted to the high of this “new-ness” and end up feeling disappointed, bored, lonely, frustrated and hostile when the feelings begin to fade. The more thrill-seeking the personality, the more potential that when the person falls out of love, it will happen with a crash.

Psychologist Robert J. Sternberg developed a very comprehensible model of love that condenses love into three distinct foundational blocks:

Passion is the sexual attraction, the physical chemistry that compels gratification in closeness.

Intimacy embodies the emotional feelings of warmth, sharing and communication.

Commitment is defined as our willingness to protect the relationship.

Consummate love is the defining term that embodies all three.

Inevitable of all relationships, passion and sexual attraction will wane. That does not mean it will completely disappear, but sexuality never encompasses the true core of a steady relationship. In times of stress, preoccupation or periods of disenchantment, it will sometimes be one of the first things to go.

Interestingly, the sexual relationship is sometimes marketed as being one of the most important factors in a marriage. Many a lingerie store has used advertising aimed at “spicing up” a tired marriage. However, it is only part of a whole. It can be argued whether or not it is the least important factor for lasting love considering it’s so purely physical. In time, these physical responses are dulled and become less important to aging couples. Yet, marriages still end all the time over sexual issues.

Intimacy also comes and goes to a degree, but should never vanish completely. It is important that communication remain open and that couples set aside time to communicate, even when it is the last thing they feel like doing. Studies have shown that high on the list of reasons for women to divorce is lack of communication and decreased emotional intimacy. Much social commentary would have you believe men are not very communicative individuals. The truth is, men and women communicate very differently. Generally, social matters and relationships are valued more by women than by men. Men who communicate regularly with their wives will generally have longer-lasting relationships. Wives who communicate kindly, gently and in soothing tones will have more successful marriages. When conflict is managed gently, both parties benefit.

Commitment. The saddest thing of all is when someone realizes that they are not committed to a relationship. They decide they no longer feel that there is something there to protect, defend and to fight for. They no longer feel that their spouse is worth this commitment. Whatever once made them think their relationship was special now makes them feel like they are holding a handful of valueless coins they just want to drop.

Certain types of people only find value in a relationship when there is novelty and excitement. They are easily bored people. Nothing their partner did has necessarily been wrong – They just don’t value human commitment in the same way. They will continue to move from person to person and likely regret this decision as their virility fades, their looks disappear and they become less attractive to potential suitors. They haven’t found contentment in familiarity and can’t let down their wall enough to be securely attached in a caring relationship with another human being. The novelty is gone. The thrill is gone. They turn their attention elsewhere, feeling unfulfilled. Twenty relationships down the road, they’ll still feel empty.

If you are with someone like this, there is not much you can do but count your losses. The painful thing about relationships is that even people who seemed to have the same goals in mind as you as far as building a long-lasting relationship will say absolutely anything in the beginning of a relationship to perpetuate the “high” of new love. It is only after a period of years where familiarity sets in, that they will admit a true long-lasting commitment is not what they wanted after all. They just wanted the adrenaline rush and thrill of new love. When it’s gone, so are they… And sometimes, they don’t even realize this about themselves yet and will attribute the normal watering down of excitement to your faults, making you feel unworthy of true love. So many people get bored and fail to  grasp the reality of inevitable relationship decline when it happens.

Relationships can end for so many reasons, including outside pressures (friends, family, etc.), irreconcilable differences in these areas, financial and economic hard times or when thrust into toxic environments which are unfriendly to relationships.

What makes love last

After ‘New Love’ fades., those who have success in marriage are cognizant of a lot of important things:

  1. They understand everyone is a little stupid in the first three years of a relationship – Blinded by new love, guided by sexual attraction, the thrill of not being lonely, the novelties of romance. It’s probably the worst time to make promises, yet it’s the time when most promises are made. Love has been found to have similar effects on the brain as cocaine.
  2. They get that relationship platitudes are unrealistic. “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”, “Never go to bed angry”, etc. don’t really mean much but they sound nice coming out. You always hear these on news stories when couples celebrating crazy high anniversaries are blindsided by reporters with questions.
  3. They know their partner may not be perfect, but neither are they. They are humble and thankful that their partner puts up with all their bad qualities. When you put yourself in the other person’s shoes and look at yourself – Maybe you snore, chew too loudly and listen to music your partner hates, too.
  4. They know the stages of love and aren’t depressed that love changes because they realize new love is replaced by a more permanent love based on companionship, their ability to be themselves and that someone is real enough with them to annoy them by the loudness of their own reality.
  5. They are faithful and quickly cut down anything in their lives that may be a threat to their relationship and avoid toxic people, toxic environments, etc. that would most certainly lead to the demise of their relationship. They avoid the overly flirtatious women and men, are open and honest about their lives so their partners have nothing to question and stay out of environments and away from people that encourage cheating or disrespect to their spouse. If they have chosen a life with this person, they also know sometimes that means cutting out family members who intervene.
  6. They are financially honorable and are aware that economic downturns happen and aware of the stress they can cause to family life. They do not take stresses from finances out against their spouse. They spend responsibly and conscientiously in regards to the needs of the family.
  7. They refuse to let their job stress affect their relationship. While their job may stress them out, they do not lash out at their spouses or give them the silent treatment. They learn to respectfully explain why they are disgruntled in a way that allows their spouse to know that they do not own a share of the hostility.
  8. They communicate. They talk about the big issues that destroy relationships and aren’t afraid. They aren’t the type to chronically sweep problems under a rug and hope they go away. They would rather discuss things in the open with their spouse, talk solutions and act on solutions rather than hide problems away until they become too problematic to be ignored.
  9. They understand the value of a romantic gesture. They do understand the importance of reassurances and checks and balances. They do not just tell their partner “I love you” – They show it in any means necessary. They add color to their partner’s life in little romantic ways and understand the need for surprise and how to replace the waning excitement of ‘new love’ with the surprises of established love.
  10. They have a sense of humor about life, their faults, your faults and are not condescending or rude. They do not gaslight, blame, keep records of wrongs or scorecards. They treat every day with you as a fresh slate.
  11. They are honest and trustworthy. When someone is trustworthy, they build a reputation with you based on truths. Every time they keep their word, your faith in them increases. When they do not, your trust decreases. Those in long-lasting relationships know it’s better to be honest than facetious.

And here is the catch – Not one, but BOTH partners must abide by the above. This is why long-lasting relationships are so rare and beautiful to witness.

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Loving a Woman After Abuse

You found her. She’s hypnotizing. Everything you always wanted. She is kind, loving… and so heartbreakingly fragile. Loving her scares you. She’s not like other girls you’ve loved before. She’s been through something. She’s a walking contradiction; Sometimes strong, but sometimes weak. She’s cool like the surface of a pond, but sometimes anger comes like a storm over her horizon with white hot lightning tears indicating her inner turmoil.

She may confess that her last relationship was tough, but she may have a hard time explaining why. She doesn’t know how to explain the depth of the trauma she has experienced, yet you can see it in her haunted eyes. There’s so much in her soul. She has so much to say, but can never put it into words.

She wants to love again, but she’s terrified.

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She wants to love with an open heart and no reservations. She wants to jump out of the plane and feel the exhilaration of falling in love, but she needs to know her parachute  will open. She needs to know you’ll bring her safely back down to the ground after the rush. What she needs most, right now, is a protector, but at the same time she’s afraid. The last time someone offered to protect her, he hurt her immeasurably. Imagine the horror of following someone’s lead in jumping out of the plane…only to find you are pulling your ripcord and nothing breaks your fall?

Be patient. Time will heal all her wounds. Stay by her side until the fear subsides.

She doesn’t want to believe all men are the same

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She thinks you are amazing. But she has seen where this leads time and again. Girl friends assure her all men are the same. She will be hurt again. It’s in books, movies, everywhere – “All men are dogs”. She remembers the horrors of infidelities, the crimes of the heart, and believes the profile is true. In a hopeless state, she believes all men are destined to hurt her. When someone lies about their every move for a period of years and has numerous inconsistencies with the truth, it rattles capacity to trust to the very core.

Be consistent. Prove the theory is wrong. Admire and emulate good men. Admire the type of men you wish to be. Tell her what you admire about them and why you don’t want to pattern yourself after all the jerks she (and her friends) have known before. Be where you say you are going to be, with who you are say you are going to be with, doing what you say you are going to be doing.


Be a man of your word and possess integrity or get out of her life. In protecting her heart, it’s really that simple. Be honest or be gone.

She needs to know you. REALLY know you. So she can feel safe.

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For too long, she was locked in the dark. She gave freely of herself. She gave everything she had to give, longing for reciprocation. Instead, she received deceit, lies, anger, and abuse. Words have so much power – The power to break; The power to heal.

Be open. Nothing will soothe the savagery of a woman fraught with fear like calm, open consistent communication. Talk with her. Give her what she never had before – A crying shoulder, encouragement, honesty, an environment in which the both of you can communicate openly and without fear. You must be open with her because he wasn’t. She needs to know the truth of you because he surrounded himself with lies. She will know it’s real when she finally knows someone’s soul. Let her know yours.

She wants you to believe her.

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Good people are objective. They are slow to believe bad things they hear about others.

When speaking about the ending of a relationship, we are often cautioned, “There is HIS side, HER side…and the TRUTH, which usually lies between the two.” However, in an abusive relationship, there IS a wrong party. The most damaging thing you can do is doubt her. You are going to hear a lot about her ex. Some of it may sound completely crazy. As a good person, you will be in shock that a human would do such things to another human being. Before you doubt this woman, watch your nightly news. There are crazy people in this world and they do crazy things. It’s not just on TV.

The closer the two of you get, the more you will hear about him and this may be conflicting for you. Why is it that the more you love her to help ease her mind and make her forget him…The more she cries and talks about how he hurt her?

It’s because she needs to in order to heal. You are peeling back layers of the onion. She is realizing the way she lived wasn’t right. She is realizing you are treating her the way she deserved to be treated all along. With every consistent step she takes beside you, she realizes it really was abuse. A woman who has been truly abused will often try to avoid that word or think that other women had it worse than her. “Abuse” to many is equal to being beaten or physically assaulted. However, domestic abuse of psychological nature can be on par and sometimes even worse than physical abuse.

Be trusting. You need to believe her. Hearing about her ex’s faults and worst qualities is not comfortable. There is a notorious stigma that talking about your exes is bad or means you’re not over them, but with abuse – It’s crucial that she talk and reason out what just happened to her. It is trauma. You would not tell a 9/11 survivor to “get over it”. When she breaks down and tells you something, confirm her fears and tell her, “That is abusive. I would never do that to you.” She needs confirmation and then assurance that the nightmare is over…and time to process it.

She needs encouragement.

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Women who come from abusive relationships often neglect themselves, their hopes and dreams to be whatever their abusive partner demands they be. Chances are, somewhere down deep inside, she had dreams too. She had a person she always wanted to be and had to put it on hold. This happens in normal, non-abusive relationships, too. But in an abuse situation, she was not only discouraged from pursuing her own greatness. She was probably also told she was not good at things. She was told she was a failure. She was laughed at and ridiculed. Abusers take the very things you hold dear and turn them against you. Yes, there are people who are really that evil.

Be encouraging. Notice things she is good at doing. Compliment her. Ask her if she ever thought about doing things professionally. Notice what makes her eyes light up. Notice what she’s happy doing. Help her realize her own path again. Remind her of all her dreams and help get her the things she needs to begin pursuing her dreams again. Encourage her to be the person she was meant to be before another person sabotaged her life.

She needs gifts to be given for no reason whatsoever.

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“Why don’t abused women just leave? If someone is so bad, why not walk away?” Abusers are powerful in their toxicity. They know just how to reel their target in. When they know you are about to leave, they give you everything you always wanted. They are kind, loving, generous and will pull stunts straight out of ‘The Bachelor’ to keep a woman under their spell. It’s very hard to walk away. The man who never brought you flowers suddenly shows up with dozens of roses. They buy you what they know you’ve always wanted. The gifts come pouring in. They assault your center of guilt. If someone bought you what you always wanted – It’s hard, if not impossible to turn down in that mental state. It also fools everyone around you.
“How can you say he never loved you? He filled your house with roses!”
“How can you say he didn’t support your dreams? He bought you a guitar!”

An abuser will treat a woman horribly and then reward her like a queen. Gifts become her idea of love. It becomes all she has to look forward to. Gifts mean LOVE. It’s a hard association to break. With an abuser, it also means, “I did something wrong. You caught me. But I LOVE you.”

Be sincere. The happiest day of her life will come when you give her a big gift and she realizes you did no wrong and the gift you gave came completely from the heart because you truly love her. When realization hits, look for the happy tears when she realizes even gifts can be given without expectations or the trade-off of an abuser’s wrongdoing, but out of pure thankfulness, love and honesty.

She’s come so far already

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In leaving, she’s made a huge accomplishment. Only someone who faced abuse firsthand might realize what a huge accomplishment this is. She had to finally reach a point where all false promises, gifts, pressures of society and family to stay, glares of the judgmental, fears of violence, etc. were no longer enough to hold her down and freedom meant leaving; The chance to satisfy her very soul. She made a firm decision. She wanted happiness in life before she was gone from this earth. She decided life was too short to live in such fear, pain and misery and realized it would be better to be alone than be lied to, cheated on, discarded and made to feel like a burden.

Be proud of her. This woman is a survivor. She wants you to realize although she suffered and is stull suffering the after-effects, that she is nobody’s victim. She is a phoenix rising from the ashes. She doesn’t want to be viewed as a battered woman Public Service Announcement crouched in a corner crying. She wants you to view her as a warrior and realize that the tears she cries are not crocodile tears or tears of self pity. She wants you to realize how strong she is and not treat her like a victim, even though she still cries at night sometimes. She wants you to realize how far she’s come. She wants you to know that even the strong cry. She doesn’t want you to view her as weak. She wishes you could see a movie of what she has been through. She simply wants your respect.

She needs you to do your homework.

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Loving an abused woman comes with homework. This isn’t the young love of your twenties fraught with petty jealousies. Unfortunately, it’s a love that comes with some baggage so she needs you to know what you’re getting into. Abuse makes women into researchers. Just like you, they may be confounded with the question, “WHY would someone DO such a thing to someone?” Realize she has been told the problem has been her all along. Then something happened to open her eyes. She is learning daily about why abusers do what they do. She will be fascinated. The knowledge that she had such a low opinion of herself beaten into her mind by someone else will be angering. She’s not crazy. She’s not hellbent on vengeance. She just finally understands.

Be studious. While she is doing her own research, she needs you to do your own about her. Like you are doing now. She needs you to understand, psychologically, just why she may be the way she is right now and accept these quirks. Some part of her still fears she brought this all on herself or, scarier yet, that he has made her a clone of himself.

She needs you to know she will make loving her worth it.

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Despite what a pain in the ass she is right now…She promises, loving her will be the best thing you’ve ever done. Because she’s been in the dark, she will appreciate the light ten times more. Because she suffered in a cave of despair, the sunlight on her skin will feel a thousand times more glorious. You may think you are just an average guy and nothing special, but compared to the hell she endured, you are the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen or experienced. If you’ve ever wanted to be loved for your soul, she is the one who is capable of doing it. If you’ve never been the one to have anyone completely enraptured by you, she will be the one who lets you finally experience the full impact of ravenous love. Women who have faced abuse, rejoice in love on a scale unmatched. They have wandered through the desert, found an oasis and plan on never leaving because they know how big that desert is and how rare a genuine person is.

Be joyful. There are a lot of women out there who would not appreciate all that you are and take you for granted. Only the woman who has been through hell can appreciate heaven. And she will treat you with all the respect you deserve for your consistent, honest, genuine love.

She needs you.

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Even though it goes against all sensibility after having gone through an abusive relationship and having had “co-dependent” slapped on her. She is force fed that she needs no man. This is true. She can heal on her own and be just fine, but being with you is the next big step. You can only know you are completely healed when you can love another person with all your heart and soul without fear again. It’s another level of healing and she is putting her fragile heart out there on the line again…Because something tells her maybe you are the real deal. Maybe this time she can rest.

Be careful with her heart. If you take anything away from this article. Take this: Be the man she needs. This is no ordinary woman. This is a woman who stood in the fire and didn’t back down. This is a woman with a scarred heart doing her best to keep her belief in love alive. She is a naked soul who now knows looks, money, status, or any amount of lies built around someone is not who they are. If you are willing to help her fight through her storm, there are calmer waters ahead on a sea where the water blends with the sky horizon where a beautiful peace exists for you both.