As a relationship blogger I’ve come to realize the masses of material around me. I sit in a coffee shop that I frequent to get a bite to eat before work and most of what I overhear from the wait staff has to do with relationships. One was a blossoming romance that included a child from a previous marriage, and yet another was about who would take the kids for the weekend. I had an unfortunate heavy heart that most of the chatter included breakdowns and break-ups. It included devastation and divorce. I wondered how we could all get back to a place where relationships and partnerships provided us with the sense of support and strength they were meant for. Where we grew together and genuinely appreciated one another, even if we get pissed off from time to time.
Not to offend, but it’s my personal opinion that no one is in the mood to work really hard for anything anymore. When I sit and read about dating and relationships it appears apparent why we have shifted into a culture of divorce rather than long unions. Article after article on what you are doing wrong with your new relationship and tips or “how-tos” on anything from keeping him guessing to 12 ways to have a happy marriage. But is it really that simple? And if it were that simple why are we in an epic fail? We learn Why Men Love Bitches or how to Get Married This Year, 365 Days to I Do or how to Get the Guy, but we forget that this mainstream culture of self-help and fast fixes just sheds light on the problem. These are just outlines to a very long syllabus. Relationships take work, dedication, and lots of commitment through the years.
I am not suggesting that every divorce should be stopped. There are several reasons divorce takes place and the hurt and pain can not be overcome. Sadness or unhappiness can sometimes be a reason to split. However, all I am suggesting is that when you take the vow to commit to someone for the rest of your life, that you remember just how much work, patience, perseverance, work, humor, work, respect, and did I mention- work, that it is going to take. Get angry with me, get really angry with me and explain yourself to death about why your divorce was reasonable. Many times over I am going to disagree with you. You get to choose who you marry. That’s right, it’s a choice. You get to choose who you will be able to run the business of marriage with for the rest of your life.
The percentage of divorce gets higher with the number of divorces you have. So you have a 40-50 percent chance of getting divorced the first time and a 70 percent chance of divorcing again. The common denominator of that statistic is you.
I first heard of conscious uncoupling when Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow announced their split, as I am sure, most of us did. Thank goodness the Wall Street Journal took the time to write an article on what was meant by conscious uncoupling. According to the article the term could, “be new language that could frame the end of a marriage or relationship in my positive light.” I was happy to hear that definition because basically what we are saying is that we are going to put a pretty frame on a shitty picture. Break-ups and divorces suck. Make no mistake about it that they leave people jaded and discouraged. Society has become a mecca of pretty frames on all sorts of false pictures (Facebook facades). Now we sit in a society that is ready to approach the hurtful parts of life by being consciously fanciful and politically incorrect. Distorting the truth doesn’t make it any easier. Conscious uncoupling is a sham.
Isn’t dating suppose to be a way for us to test the efficacy of marriage? But if we are a break-up culture, is the desired effect to separate or to sustain the marriage? And we are a break up culture. A culture that wants more, faster and easier. What it took for our grandparents and parents to sustain a marriage, we are just not interested in putting in that kind of effort. A recent article in Shape magazine discussed that treating your relationship like your job could have positive effects on the happiness and teamwork in your relationship. The article simply suggests that if we put in as much effort for our relationships as we do in our jobs, we would be in a better position with a better attitude. I mean when was the last time you neglected your job or just walked in late? You make an attentive effort to be on time, to dress accordingly, to follow the employee handbook. Maybe you can establish a relationship handbook and overcome the complacency and inflexibility you seem to have in regards to your relationship. Sorry Gwen, but remarking on your divorce as conscious uncoupling is bullshit. Talk is cheap. Cheesy wording is even cheaper.
We all remember the year that Britney Spears made the video Hit Me Baby One More Time. We remember because she went from being an innocent singer to a provocative pop princess. She emerged from her young years on The Mickey Mouse Club. It shook our view of young women singers. We remember her because she showed … her midriff and society went crazy for it. Whether it was backlash from angry parents or cheers from supportive fans, there was reaction. And I don’t blame her. It put her on the map. She was popular with the younger crowd and encompassed a genre of fun and fearless; much like Madonna transformed tunes in the 80’s with her breast cones and seductive song and dance.
As Britney grew up she needed to obtain a new crowd’s popularity to keep herself on the map, she had to up the ante. I thought she did it considerably well. Now less is always more, but the marketing was strategic to shift from innocent to dangerous. And you know what, it worked.
Welcome 2014, and Miss Miley Cyrus. Now it’s not her problem that to get the same societal attention that Britney did she had to keep with the times. Midriffs were a thing of the past and in came twerking. She was aging out of Hannah Montana so her choices became leaving stardom and collecting from the Hannah monument or to continue a career. In a society that is saturating itself with bigger, better, stronger, faster…. we are eating ourselves.
Even in the days when Britney and Christina Aguilera were pop queens their lyrics still brought in sexual expression subtly and power to women’s voices in creative ways. Christina was a Genie in a Bottle and you had to rub her the right way. Take it the way you like, but wanting one last chance (hit me baby) and genies in bottles discretely sang messages. Lyrics about popping molly and Lady Gaga‘s Do What You Want with my body scream messages that make me wonder: have we lost (pardon me) our fucking minds. We are spoiling America. We are doing a very specific job of spoiling the women in America. Justin Timberlake emerged from the same early TV show as Britney and Christina. His popularity began in the boy band NSync and still continues today, but when was the last time he had to show his midriff let alone twerk to get our attention? Let me answer that for you, never.
So where did this all come from? I rented the movie Don Jon last evening. I got more than I bargained for but I don’t offend easily. So my intrigue had me watch it. I believe Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s intention when he created the film was to explore sex and porn addiction. 40 days and 40 nights explored the same kind of addiction (although it did it subtly). He created a story line that breaks the main characters porn/sex addiction by reminding him that overindulgence is bad and pornography is not real sex anymore. The character had a better connection with porn then he did having sex with his girlfriend. Step in Julianne Moore‘s character who is an older woman with a sense of humor stemmed from a sad situation. (The movie was all over the place but that is besides the point.) She sets the tone for the change. Which brings up my next point: The problem with pornography. The same thing that happen when shifting from midriff to twerking took place in the porn industry. Missionary sex began with mixing it up with a new position or two. It was scandalous for the mail man to come over to a single woman’s house, enter the house, then enter the woman. Then …. literally all hell breaks loose. In comes the threesome. Because when did having sex with one person at a time not sexually satisfy us? I will tell you why. We live in a fantasy world of expectations that literally don’t exist and they are brought to you by: the media. But we all buy into them because we are an overindulged, unsatisfied, spoiled society. Woman may feel the need to submit to the ridiculous standards.
In a society that is saturating itself with bigger, better, stronger, faster…. we are eating ourselves. I just hope it saturates itself at some point. How are we going to teach our children to be conscious in a society that is so unconscious?
One day at the gym I overheard a man and woman chatting with one another. The woman was talking about her upcoming celebration for 23 years of marriage and he was discussing that his 40 year marriage anniversary had just passed. I remain in awe about how these couples manage to give support and love throughout the years. I also can’t help but wonder how couples today will connect and survive in today’s technology driven society.
The digital age brought around a huge evolution for business and educational styles. Our daily lives have changed significantly due to search engines and social sites. But have our dating lives and our self-development increased at the same pace? Smart phones have become a great technological advance to cellphones. Have humans evolved in their dating styles or are we still T9 dating?
The release of smart phones and social dating sites has left us no more savvy consumers in the dating world than we are in the public arena. If you are hoping to get out of bad dating patterns, hiding online won’t help. Give a girl who dates jerks 5 guys and she is likely to pick the 1 jerk out of the bunch. Give her 100 guys and she is still likely to pick the jerk. The real question is if your mental aptitude for dating has enough ram to keep up with the current technology. Maybe it is time to upgrade ourselves before we go fishing, get on ok cupid, download the tinder app or pay for sites like match and e-harmony.
The first smart phone came out in 1993. In the last ten years smart phones are the new norm. But what has happen to our dating lives? What are the advances to our human development that are making dating better today then it was ten years ago? In a world where you have 1,009 Facebook friends and 876 Instagram followers, the only human evolution has happened to our egos. That doesn’t equate with making us more responsible dating partners. Bigger egos may make approaching another person easier as we become more aggressive, but it isn’t helping us develop compassion for being thoughtful in romantic relationships.
Society might be on the cusp of social explosion. I can not tell you how many photos I have seen where guys have their pants unbuttoned and I can almost see their junk. This isn’t what I signed on for. This type of dating has allowed the douches to get even douchier (as if it was possible). I find myself erasing more messages than actually connecting on a real human level. What is socially appropriate publically weeds out that kind of behavior and nonsense. But online, anything goes.
You are what you are online and offline. Whatever attitude, defenses, lifestyles, or energy that you have as a person, you will have on a computer. It is important to develop yourself with other people in mind. Sorry, Selfies, it’s not all about you.
As I approach 30, I can’t help but feel more and more happiness. I am so excited about getting older that when people ask me how old I am, I keep telling them, “I am going to be 30.” (I even realized the other day that I find a way to work in the age conversation just so I can tell people).
So, I thought I would share some of my recent thoughts on this time in my life. Your 20’s are for being clumsy. I call it the 20’s learning curve. But cheers to my cohorts who are leaving that learning curve for what our parents, teachers, relatives, and elders always wanted to train us for…… Life.
What You Just Can’t Know Until Your 30’s:
you should …love then adore
moderate don’t binge
don’t get fixated on the newest fad (feng shui zumba hot (I mean super hot) backwards upside-down yoga)
fall for someone then enjoy security
fight but stay
date then marry
gossip but only in compliments
stop complaining and love: your body, your mind, your spirit, and yourself
listen then talk: no seriously, just listen for a long number of minutes, think, then talk
learn then live
hurt but don’t blame
when the grass looks greener on the other side, just stop looking at the other side
enjoy freedom, but not until you establish discipline
lose and let go
It is safe to conclude that a number of us make New Year’s resolutions, but very few of us keep them. A Forbes article reports only 8 % of those who make them actually keep them. You don’t need another reason to be hard on yourself in 2014, so let’s break down your resolution and look at how to keep it.
A Times article reported that the ten most commonly broken new years resolutions are: Lose weight and get fit, quit smoking, learn something new, eat healthier and diet, get out of debt and save money, spend more time with family, travel to new places, be less stressed, volunteer, and drink less.
Is there pressure to make a resolution? Are resolutions a mere epiphany statement? Why do we find it so difficult to carry out goals for only 12 months? Any time you make a goal, it is important that you have the right tools and mindset to follow through with it. Check out the following ideas:
1. Goals need to be measurable. This will be different for each goal. In the example of losing weight, how much weight? in how much time? how will you keep up with it? You need to devise a very specific plan on what you are working towards. If your goal is to volunteer: where will you volunteer? how often? Make sure that you have a way to measure your goals and make sure that you do it each month to see how you are doing with it. Change the goal if you are struggling to meet it.
2. Get the right tools. If you are looking to spend less money and save more, tools that might help you are mint.com or creditsesame.com. You can search the internet for neat tools to help with any goal. New apps that manage weight goals or sites that can help you learn how to prepare healthier foods.
3. Be real with yourself. Take it from someone who hates working out, you need to be honest with yourself about what you do and do not like. The things you don’t like will take three times as much motivation to do. For motivation, I keep a chart for myself. I place a star sticker on the days I go to the gym. By the end of each week, I am able to see how well I did. If I only went three days in one week, I push myself to go five in the next. Placing that little star on the chart motivates me, because if I complete a certain number of days each month, I get a prize for the month. A new outfit or a trip to the spa works to motivate me each month. As you get going, feeling better might be enough motivation to keep it up.
4. Mental Health. Whether your goal is to lose weight, to save money, or to drink less, it is important to understand the root of what might hold you back from your goals. Sometimes losing weight isn’t as easy as going to the gym, because the root cause of your excess weight might be emotional. Taking care of your mental health can help you learn what might hold you back from certain goals. Find a therapist or counselor, use eastern thought to pick up meditation or yoga or try reading a self-improvement book.
5. Accountability. Find a way to hold yourself accountable to the goal or someone to help hold you accountable. A co-worker or friend might be working on a similar goal and you can help keep one another on track. If you are self-motivated you might be able to do this on your own. If you have had trouble in the past reaching new years resolutions, be diligent to try all these ideas.
This evening will mark the beginning of 2014, as we say au revoir to 2013. But before all the resolutions start mounting, let’s discuss the most important event that takes place right at the stroke of Midnight: The Kiss.
The tradition of kissing on New Years Eve has been long practiced in many cultures. Kissing in most cultures is a greeting gesture, but America places much romantic emphasis on this lip lock. The wedding kiss is the most common western belief, keeping our traditional ideas of kissing to relationships rather than saying hello. Whatever your culture or personality is this Holiday season, one thing we can all ask together is: Who will You Kiss this Tuesday Evening?
Years ago the Washington Times reported that 2/3 of American’s expected to kiss someone at midnight. Over half of these people said it would only last a couple of seconds.
What does all this mean?
The joy of New Years eve has some people sharing an intimate kiss with a spouse, a new crush, or even an innocent bystander. However, for the other 1/3 of us Americans that won’t be par taking in the passion, I urge you to take a step back to enjoy the love and happiness that fills the air. May this New Year’s bring you passionate hope for the coming year to be filled with wonder, cheer, happiness, accomplishments, love, and most of all laughter.
If you were chosen as the maid of honor or best man in an upcoming friends’ wedding it means that you hold a place very near to their hearts. Maybe you grew up with one of them, maybe you are a sibling, maybe you were a college friend or colleague or maybe you stepped into their life only a few years ago. No matter what the reason that they chose you, it is up to you to make sure you honor them. You can honor this by preparing a speech that highlights both their love for one another and your love for them.
Here are some things to remember when preparing the speech:
1. Practice, Practice, Practice. This is not a college exam; you don’t cram the night before. You have to put thought and time into this one. The engagement is typically about a year, but even with half that time, it’s enough to prepare and practice for the big day.
2. Google it. If you have no clue where to begin do what all the great writers do, read! Reading helps spark your brain with vocabulary and verbiage. Skim the internet and get some sense for what others say, but in the end make sure it’s your own. This is to get your creativity flowing, not to steal someone else’s amazing speech.
3. Reminisce. Look back at old photos of you and the groom/bride or the couple. The past can give you some good ideas for where to go with the speech. Reminiscing can help you get some ideas and add the pizzazz of the past.
4. Ask. Ask the other people in the wedding party for things they enjoy about the couple or their favorite memories. You can gain insight on how to introduce the new couple.
Here are some things to remember when giving the speech:
1. Hold off on the boozing until after the speech. You have to get through the whole day, which can begin on a golf course with the guys or in the salon with the ladies. Wait until after your speech to give into the free bar. There is nothing worse than getting up in front of someone who wanted you to represent them that day, and turn out to be blasted or buzzed.
2. Watch the content and the language. Remember that the audience does not just consist of your frat bros or close friends. There is family, co-workers, and friends. Even if one set of parents enjoy a dirty joke now and again, the etiquette at a wedding calls for more. There are grandparents and many friends that will see inside or crude jokes as unfunny and unfriendly. Be mindful of the audience. Anything you could not say in front of a child or a grandparent is better left out.
3. Don’t talk too much or too little. Remember that you have other people giving speeches too. Think about talking for a maximum of five minutes. Ask the bride or the groom what they expect and follow along with other wedding part speech lengths.
All in all remember that this is a very special day for the couple. They only get to do this once. No do-overs, so practice and make your speech another great memory for the wedding day.
It was said in a Chicago Newspaper Article that everyone should try their hand at writing a graduation speech, so here is mine. Eleven years past due to the class of 2002:
We all have things we regret and we will all have many more, you take chances and risks. If you open your heart and turn risks into knowledge, they will become manageable lessons instead of regrets.
Use sincerity in everything you do.
Decisions will have to be made, whether they are good are bad. My best advice is that you stick to the decisions once you make them.
Eat strawberry pop-tarts cold.
Love a whole bunch in your 20’s and do it clumsily. By your 30’s learn what a secure attachment is and pass that on to your children.
Accept apologies and apologize.
Never let money become more important than green and cream paper. Manage it and don’t let it manage you.
Let your pride go immediately after it comes.
Go to the movies by yourself at least once. Learn how to be alone. With a movie, with a book, with yourself. It’s amazing what you learn when all the other chatter is gone.
Learn something from a stranger.
Don’t be afraid to wait. Don’t be in a hurry to marry, have kids, go to college or do what everyone else is doing. Do it your way and make it right.
If you have a strong passion for something try making it your career.
Be with your loved ones as much as you can. And when they are gone, remember them as much as you can in the little things you do.
Observe people rather than judge them. Leave categories for arbitrary things like plants and food, don’t reduce people to categories.
Find happiness in the little things.
Try to find the silver lining in anything you do. Venting and complaining are not known to help the psyche feel better. Positive vocabulary leads to a positive attitude.
You will not always win, you will rarely be the best. Learn how to take this with grace.
Don’t let other people’s bad moods or attitudes become yours.
Be careful what you do in public social media forms, don’t post anything you wouldn’t be comfortable showing your parents, your boss, or your future children.
Live life with poise and passion and never give up on any of your dreams.
Your best years will be your 30’s.
Don’t place too much weight on epiphanies.
Laugh as much as your can for as long as you can.
This was derived by happenings in my life this morning. I was at the gas station before work. I wasn’t looking very sexy as I have had a cold and needless to say it is also making me a bit irritable. So I pass this guy who is with a friend and he proceeds to hang out of the driver seat window and yell, “Hey girl, what’s up.” Not only is this kind of hitting on someone completely appalling to a girl, it comes close to the behavior of a dog. You want to act like one and that shock collar might be the next best thing for you. So in a world where bad “hitting habits” take place, let’s look at the right way to approach someone you are interested in.
Let’s recap the bad. You don’t “hollar” at someone out the window of your car. You don’t yell at someone to get their attention, it’s plain rude.
So how can you talk to someone subtly and sneak in a way to hit on them? It’s about sparking up a conversation that can lead into asking someone for their phone number. If you are a social person starting conversations may come easy to you. If you happen to be shy, start trying with other people. Begin a conversation with a stranger in the grocery store and try it out. Josh Duhamel’s character, Messer, in Life As We Know It, does a great job showing how hitting on someone is an art. He hits on Katherine Heigl’s character at the supermarket. He subtly picks up an item and asks her how to say a word. She replies, that it is Acai. He compliments, “Wow you must really have an ear for languages.” She is flattered and it goes from there. So take note from Josh and try these rules of engagement:
1. Find a way in. Whether you are at a bookstore, in line at Starbucks, in a class together, or at a bar find something that you can inquire about or discuss. Ask about a book. Ask a question in class. Find a subtle way to make contact with the person without coming on to strong.
2. Compliment. After engaging in a conversation with the person about what got you “the way in” find something to compliment that goes along with it. An example is: “That book looks interesting (the way in), you must also be a great writer.” (Don’t make this compliment too much. It needs to be subtle and not too direct. You are very intelligent or you are beautiful are too vague and it lacks real motivation). It needs to equate to something more than a blanket statement you could use with anyone. Give the other person an opening to talk about themselves.
3. Don’t over do it. Be yourself. There is nothing less attractive than someone who tries too hard. Even if you are awkward and can’t get it completely right, that can be somewhat attractive in itself.
1. Always call the person the first time you want to make plans with them. Do not text.
2. Make sure to be gracious and thankful when someone else is footing the bill.
3. Don’t Facebook stalk. Get to know the person as a person, not their profile page.
The definition of jealousy is, “feeling or showing envy of someone or their achievements and advantages.” We describe jealousy in a relationship as the way a partner may feel towards certain situations. An example is a woman who is getting phone calls from a male co-worker. Her boyfriend may express discontent with the relationship between his girlfriend and the co-worker. However, what is the boyfriend “jealous” about? Does he envy the other man in some manner or is there something deeper that is taking place and making it uncomfortable when his girlfriend engages in friendships with others. I believe the factors are situational dependent, but it is likely that the boyfriend doesn’t like her engaging in this type of friendship because of his own insecurities.
Now, whatever those insecurities may be of the jealous party, it is important that they are able to appropriately express their feelings to their partner. If a woman is “jealous” of her man talking to another girl at the bar, there are many ways to respond. Here are some that I believe work better. It is likely that these situations solely occur when others are present thus sparking the reaction in the first place.
1. Wait until after the party. If you are at an event together and something is bothering you about the actions of your partner that are stirring up jealousy, then try to wait until you are alone together to discuss it. Waiting until you are cooled down is a good idea anyways. Talk about like this; “Hey sweetie, I saw you talking to that other guy and it made me feel sort of bad. I was wondering if you could explain to me who he is, and if we could find a good way to interact with others at events that makes us both comfortable?” Making a statement that is non-confrontational and non-judgemental will be important. Express only how it made you feel without blaming the other person’s actions. (It is completely appropriate to ask for explanations on who certain people are that you haven’t met yet. Someone willing to answer those questions or disclose information freely has nothing to hide.)
2. Develop a system. Pre-discuss situations or things that may lead to either of you being uncomfortable and have a plan. Maybe you are at a public place and your partner steps away and you get approached. Since, you pre-discussed it, the response that you both decided on may be pointing your partner out to the other party and saying, “Oh, my boyfriend is right over there.” Trying to go into a situation blind always leads to confusion. It is good to know where each partner stands on issues that can bring up jealousy. This way you can both act according to the plan.
Insecurities aside, I have been with people who have purposely tried to provoke jealousy in me by flirting in front of me. It is important that you recognize when someone is trying to make you feel jealous or insecure, and that you give them only one thing: A “don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Ah, screw it, let it knock you down!” Communication is key to overcoming insecurities, and all of us have them at one point or another. A great partner will understand what makes you uncomfortable and do everything in their power to limit your distress, not to create it. Also, it is equally important that if your partner has not given you a direct reason to not trust them, that you work on or evaluate why you have insecurities in certain areas of your life. The likelihood is that they existed long before this partner. It is not fair or good for a relationship to let something like jealousy creep in all the time.