Monthly Archives: October 2015

Whenever someone asks me how I met my wife, I proudly say, "Online!" But of course, I think to myself... Where else would one meet up with one's significant other nowadays?

Actually, my attitude is probably not the norm in society. At least not yet. But before long, it wouldn't surprise me to find that online dating has surpassed other forms of meeting one's significant other. Why? Because it is more efficient, produces better matches (and dates!), and allows love to bloom when the silly things (such as actually having something in common) are already taken care of ahead of time.

More Efficient

Using online dating services are far more efficient than other methods of dating. Getting set up by friends or family is purely a hit-or-miss proposition. While well-intentioned, friends and family often don't really know us half as well as they think they do. We don't often share all of the intimate details of our lives, our likes, dislikes, hopes, and dreams for the future with everyone. So people can get somewhat biased ideas of what we're like, because they only see what we're like with them.

Office romances, while convenient, are often fraught with possible problems, danger, and role conflicts. Meeting people randomly at bars or in bookstores or other interests such as hobbies is pure chance. While appealing to our romantic, impulsive side, you're better off throwing darts at random names within a phone book. There's nothing efficient or really, fun, about spending countless hours drinking in a bar looking for supposed "Mr. Right." Chances are he left with the woman just before you.

Better Matches (and Dates!)

Online dating allows you to get to know the person you may want to date long before you ever actually have to date them! How cool is that? Most people communicate a great deal by email or IM first, before talking on the phone. You've spent time reading their online profile, which includes not only their likes and dislikes, but hopes, dreams, reading and movie preferences, hobbies, shoe size, and in some cases, annual income. While these things vary in importance, they provide a fairly accurate snapshot of a person (or at least as much as they want you to know).

There's been a great deal of research to show that couples who are more compatible are more likely to remain committed in a relationship to one another. Lack of compatibility often comes from lack of knowledge and knowing one's partner as honestly and truly as one believes. Online dating gives you the chance to slow things down a bit and really get to know the person you're dating, again, sometimes long before you've ever gone on that first face-to-face date. That's a good thing, because it means you're more likely to find compatibility that works for you online.

Allowing Love to Bloom

Too many times, people get so caught up in the dating world and the need to date that they lose sight of love and finding happiness. It becomes as much a chore as it is something to do for Saturday nights. Going to a bar week after week or being constantly set up on a blind date is more like a recurring nightmare for most people than it is a joy or something to look forward to.

Online dating puts the hassle, stress and pressure of dating on the back burner. You take your time and go at your own pace, because there will always be hundreds of possible partners for you in the huge online databases that exist. New people are always signing up! There's no need to hurry because there will always be people who are compatible with you and your needs available. It's just a matter of finding them.

Once you start dating people through an online dating site, you already know a lot about the person when you go on your first date. That doesn't mean everything will always go smoothly, or that every date is going to be one with Ms. Right. But it does mean that you can relax your guard a little and stop worrying about providing and getting information from the other, or discover that every hobby or interest you like, he abhors. Instead, you're starting out on common ground with a lot to talk about and a lot to enjoy.

With so much less pressure on each date, online dating allows love to take root and more fully bloom far more easily than other methods.

Online dating may still seem a bit odd to some people, but then again, those folks have discovered the secret of it. You have, or are considering it, and for that, you're already a step ahead of many others. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride

10 Secrets Happy Couples

They might be 30, or 75. They come in all colors, shapes, sizes and income brackets. It doesn’t matter how long they’ve been together. Whatever the demographics, when you see a happy couple, you just know it!

How do these couples stay in love, in good times and in bad? Fortunately, the answer isn’t through luck or chance. As a result of hard work and commitment, they figure out the importance of the following relationship “musts.” Because few couples know about all of the musts, I think of them as the relationship “secrets.”

Happy Couples and Their Secrets

1. Develop a realistic view of committed relationships.

Recognize that the crazy infatuation you experienced when your romance was new won’t last. A deeper, richer relationship, and one that should still include romance, will replace it. A long-term relationship has ups and downs, and expecting it will be all sunny and roses all the time is unrealistic.

2. Work on the relationship.

An untended garden develops weeds that can ultimately kill even the heartiest plants. And so it is with relationships. It is important to address problems and misunderstandings immediately. Some people believe good relationships just happen naturally. The truth is that a good relationship, like anything you want to succeed in life, must be worked on and tended to on a regular basis. Neglect the relationship, and it will often go downhill.

3. Spend time together.

There is no substitute for shared quality time. When you make a point of being together, without kids, pets and other interruptions, you will form a bond that will get you through life’s rough spots. Time spent together should be doing a shared activity, not just watching television.

4. Make room for “separateness.”

Perhaps going against conventional wisdom, spending time apart is also an important component of a happy relationship. It is healthy to have some separate interests and activities and to come back to the relationship refreshed and ready to share your experiences. Missing your partner helps remind you how important he or she is to you.

5. Make the most of your differences.

Stop and think: What most attracted you to your partner at the beginning? I’ll almost guarantee that it was exactly the thing that drives you most insane today. Take a fresh look at these differences. Try to focus on their positive aspects and find an appreciation for those exact things that make the two of you different from one another. It’s likely that your differences balance one another out and make you a great team.

6. Don’t expect your partner to change; but at the same time give them more of what they want.

If both you and your partner stop trying to change each other, you will eliminate the source of most of your arguments. At the same time, each of you should focus on giving one another more of what you know the other person wants, even if it doesn’t come naturally. For instance, instead of complaining how your partner never cleans out the dishwasher, try just doing it yourself once in awhile without complaint. Your partner will likely notice your effort and make more of an effort themselves around the house. If you do both of these things at once you’ve got a winning plan!

7. Accept that some problems can’t be solved.

There may be issues upon which you cannot agree. Rather than expending wasted energy, agree to disagree, and attempt to compromise or to work around the issue. Two people cannot spend years together without having legitimate areas of disagreement. The test of a happy relationship is how they choose to work through such issues — through compromise, change, or finding it’s just not that important to stew over.

8. Communicate!

Lack of communication is the number one reason even good relationships fail. And here is a useful format for doing so, especially when dealing with incendiary topics: Listen to your partner’s position, without interrupting him or her. Just listen. When he or she is finished, summarize what you heard him or her say. If you can, empathize with your significant other even though you don’t agree. This will take your partner off of the defensive, and make it easier for them to hear your thoughts and feelings. It’s hard to argue when you use this format, and best of all, you may come up with an understanding or a solution.

9. Honesty is essential.

You may share with your partner the things he or she doesn’t want to hear. Better this than to have him or her doubt your honesty. Mistrust is one of the key deal breakers in relationships. And once trust is lost or broken, it can take a very long time to re-establish it in the relationship.The happiest couples are the ones where honesty is as natural and every day as breathing.

10. Respect your partner, and don’t take him or her for granted.

Treating your sweetheart with respect is likely to get you the same in return. And regularly reminding them how much they mean to you will enrich your relationship in indescribable ways. When you say, “I love you,” pause for a moment to really mean it. And don’t be afraid to express your feelings of appreciation with your partner — he or she will be thankful that you did.

Making these secrets an integral part of your relationship won’t be easy. In fact, your efforts may initially seem like planted seeds that never come up. If you maintain your efforts, however, you will likely reap what you sow.

Is your marriage alive and well, or is it time to dial 911? Chances are the health of your relationship falls somewhere in the middle — slightly out of shape and tired. Unfortunately most of us tend to take the health of a marriage for granted. And we don’t realize how important a happy, healthy relationship is until it’s time for marital CPR.

Maintaining personal health requires work — exercise, good nutrition, rest and regular checkups. No one teaches us that the same kind of maintenance is also necessary in order to keep a marriage alive. Love between a parent and child is unconditional. Love between a husband and wife is not. As divorce statistics would indicate, an untended marriage falls apart too easily. The good news is that there are ways to make a marriage survive, and better yet, thrive.

Your Marital Diagnosis

There are warning signs or “symptoms” when your marriage is “under the weather.” Here are some key symptoms:

  • feelings of chronic resentment toward your spouse
  • lack of laughter between the two of you
  • desire to spend free time with someone other than your mate
  • too much time spent playing the “blame game”
  • conversations between you are laced with bitterness and sarcasm

Relationship Revival Program

Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? If so, it’s time to revive your marriage by following this program.

  • Make the marriage your priority, not an afterthought. Set aside regular time to be alone with your partner. If kids are in the picture, hunt for a “network” of trusted babysitters. If money is a concern, compare the cost of a night out with that of marital therapy or a divorce attorney! Get the drift? Start doing some of the things that used to bring you joy, and helped you to feel more connected. There are plenty of activities that you can do for free — a long walk, star gazing or window-shopping are all simple pleasures that can bring you closer together.
  • Resuscitate your romance. Remember how the sparks flew when you first met? It’s probably not too late to rekindle the embers. Surprise your spouse with a homemade Valentine (any day of the year!) and a bottle of champagne. Light up the bedroom with candles, or put a love note in his briefcase. Last but not least, initiate lovemaking. Passion is the glue in a marriage — it helps you feel close to your mate, and makes getting through rough times a lot easier.
  • Accept what you can’t change. Much marital strife is caused by the belief that you cannot be happy in your marriage as long as you must live with your partner’s bad habits or imperfections. Have you noticed that no matter how much you gripe and moan, these things don’t change? Rather than trying to control what you can’t, work around his quirks and focus on the positive. We all respond much better to praise than to criticism. And here’s the paradox: Sometimes when we stop fighting the way things are, they actually do change. No guarantees, but it’s worth a try.
  • Be attractive, inside and out. “Married” doesn’t have to mean complacent. Continue to learn and experience new things, and share these with your partner. Eat right, exercise, rest and make the most of your appearance. Doing these things is taking good care of yourself, but it’s also a way of showing your mate that you want to be your best and share yourself with him.
  • Improve communication and negotiation skills. Being a good listener is key to healthy communication. Even if you don’t agree with what he’s had to say, empathize with his position. This will open the door to more effective conflict resolution. If you must be critical, convert criticism into a request for behavioral change by stating it positively. Most important, apologize when you are wrong.

There are no marriages made in heaven. But by devoting time and energy to reviving your marriage, you’ll once again feel your relationship pulse beating strong and steady.

It’s not long ago that men were expected to do all the chasing and make all the decisions when it comes to dating. But how much has this changed in the 21st century?

A survey by DatingDirect.com suggests a new trend — women are becoming sassy and assertive, while men are remaining more traditional in their approach to courtship.

In the survey of over 2,000 people, women reported being less shy on dates than men (29 per cent versus 44 per cent), and making more effort with their appearance — half choose smart, sexy clothes on a first date, whereas 78 per cent of men go for the casual and relaxed look. Women also like to keep the finances on an equal footing. Seventy per cent prefer to split the expense of a date, or pay for themselves. However, 52 per cent of men believe it’s their time honoured duty to pay.

Darren Richards of DatingDirect.com concludes: “The rules of dating may be changing for some, but the concept is still as popular as ever.”

But what might be stopping you from taking the first step? Sometimes even very intelligent, funny, confident women don’t ask guys out because they believe that “it’s the man’s role”, or they fear rejection, scaring men off, or appearing too keen. But there is a whole generation of men who want women to make the first move, and feel that women should embrace the power and independence they now have. And in fact, some guys are just too shy, or don’t know what to say, or think that you won’t be interested.

But perhaps your lifestyle doesn’t bring you into contact with potential new partners. So consider widening your social circle — take up a new class, try out new clubs, get involved in political or volunteer activities. Also, don’t discount your current social network, because often friends, family and work colleagues are more than willing to help and will set up introductions if asked.

Other possible avenues include personal ads in newspapers and more specialized dating services to cater for your specific hobbies or preferences, guaranteeing that you share at least one common interest.

These days, the internet is increasingly used by modern singles to search for a compatible date. So join in discussion groups, forums and chat groups and put your dating skills into action. And in the arena of internet dating, women can be as forward as they like and either side can make the first move. Men report that they are perfectly happy to be approached by women and their supposed “male pride” isn’t hurt at all — quite the contrary!

In many ways, online dating is the ideal way to meet someone suitable, as you can quickly get to know a great deal about a person at no risk to yourself. It’s no small thing to be aware of the other person’s outlook on life, religion, sense of humor etc. before meeting up in person. Chatting in a safe environment encourages honesty and therefore compatibility, so may prevent a wide range of problems occurring further down the line.

Internet dating also avoids the potential problems of dating work colleagues or other people you will inevitable continue to see socially, and it puts you in control of your future without even leaving your front door!

Experts recommend getting to know the other person well via email or over the phone before actually going on a date. The more you know about each other, the easier the conversation will flow. They also suggest remaining anonymous until you feel confident enough to share your contact details (the dating service will have its own internal messaging system). And don’t cast your net too wide geographically or you’ll run up against practical difficulties later.

When setting up a first date, choose a public place such as a restaurant, cinema or museum. If you’re concerned about seeming too ‘forward’, you could invite the guy to something you are going to anyway, like a concert, so it’s like you are asking them to come along.

Tell a trusted friend your plans and arrange your own transport. Then it’s a case of picking up on the cues to your compatibility, so trust your instincts and don’t drink too much. Remember there will always be other dates so there’s no need to settle for second best.

If the date goes well, don’t wait for the guy to call you – let them know you had a good time. This doesn’t have to be a plea to see them again right away. It’s simply a courtesy. If your date had an enjoyable time too, it will be icing on the cake!
Too often, life is a case of “what ifs” and maybes, so if you really like someone, then you have to do something about it. Ultimately, what is there to lose? A bit of pride that can be replaced with a cheap bottle of wine. The answer is easy — take the initiative. You have nothing to gain by waiting, and if it doesn’t work out then you’ll know they weren’t right for you, with no regrets.