5 Men To Date Before You Die (And 5 To Avoid!)

Posted on November 11th, 2009

Group of MenSome men will sweep you off your feet, and some will break your heart.  How do you tell the difference?  Here’s a short dating tips guide to 5 kinds of men you should date before you die, and 5 you should avoid at all costs!

The Do’s
The Hot Older Man: Some men – think George Clooney and Johnny Depp – just get better with age.  An older man has had time to learn everything that makes women tick – in and out of the bedroom!  His extra years will have taught him to be confidant and comfortable in his own skin, and you’re guaranteed to have fascinating conversations that will teach you to see life in new ways.

The Social Butterfly: Everyone likes to be the center of attention sometimes, but this man is always the life of the party.  Wherever you go, whoever you’re with, the two of you are sure to have a good time, lots of laughter, and a ton of good stories to tell your girlfriends later.

The James Bond: This man is so suave you’d think he stepped straight out of a novel or the latest Hollywood smash hit.  Always impeccably dressed and groomed, he’s a smooth talker and a big spender.  He’ll go to any length to make sure your time with him is a totally unforgettable fairy tale.

The “Real” Man: Fireman, cowboy, police officer…these are the men with a tough exterior and a soft inside.  When you’re with this type of guy, chivalry is far from dead.  He’ll let you act like the damsel in distress while he carries in the heavy grocery bags and mends the hole in your fence.

The Hopeless Romantic: You’ll feel like a princess when you’re dating this man.  He’ll send you flowers at work, write you love letters full of lines from Shakespearian sonnets, and serenade you by the fireside.  Enjoy being showered with affection, and never questioning whether you are wanted, needed, and loved.

The Don’ts
The Cheap Date: Date this guy, and you’ll never get a present, always go Dutch on meals, and probably end up paying his cell phone bill when it turns out he’s too broke to do it.  Is that really the kind of man you want to waste your time with?

The Married Man: This goes without saying, ladies – stay away from the married men.  If he can’t be faithful and honest with the woman he married, what makes you think he will be with you?

The Momma’s Boy: Does mom still do his laundry and make his bed?  Does he still live in her house?  Run.  This man is going to expect that the next important lady in his life (cough – you) waits on him hand and foot too.

The “Big”: Ever seen the Tom Hanks movie?  This guy is a child trapped in a man’s body.  He’ll ditch you for a night of beer and Xbox – ditch him first!

The Hypenate: The starving artist type…the waiter-actor, the poet-handyman, the retailer-musician.  They seem fun and romantic for a while, but once they start getting older and they’re still convinced they’re going to be the next big thing, the charm wears off fast!

Posted in Dating Tips

Love Lessons Learned From A Seesaw

Posted on November 9th, 2009

seesawPicture this:

You’re standing in the middle of a playground, watching two children on a seesaw.  One is young, a little small for his age, while the other is two years older and a little heavy set.  The moment they get on the seesaw…nothing happens, right?  One kid is stuck on the ground and the other is stuck flailing in the air, and no matter how hard they try fix the situation, it’s never going to work properly.

What the seesaw – and every good relationship – needs is a little bit of balance.

There’s a lot of conflicting information out there on power in relationships.  Do men like it when women make the first move?  Are they threatened by it?  Are women supposed to be shy and submissive when they’re with a man?

Let’s take a moment to look at how courtship works in nature.  Amongst animals, men are the pursuers and women are the selectors.  Males have eye-catching characteristics, like the lion’s mane or the peacock’s tail, and perform complicated rituals to highlight their best qualities.  All this is done to attract a female mate.  Males can mate often, but females can only mate infrequently to allow time for pregnancy and caring for their young.  Therefore, the female must be extremely selective about who she chooses to mate with.

Human attraction, evolved though we may be, works in much the same way.  Women are attracted to men who exhibit characteristics of the “alpha male.”  That doesn’t mean that they’re controlling – just that they’re confident, optimistic, extroverted, goal-oriented, passionate, dominant when they need to be, and protective.  This kind of man understands how to pursue a woman, and prefers to lead a relationship (though keep in mind that this must be done without being overbearing, or the relationship still won’t work…he’ll be the big kid weighing down the seesaw!).

Men prefer to be with a woman who doesn’t feel the need to control everything in her life – and that includes him!  Don’t get me wrong…once you’re in a relationship, men love it when a woman makes the first move.  It makes the man feel wanted, and allows him to be more confident and express himself more frequently as the relationship progresses.  And it’s just plain exciting!  Don’t allow yourself to be so weak and submissive that you’re the little kid stuck in the air on the seesaw.

But during the dating process, hold off a little bit.  It can be hard to do, but the long-term benefits are numerous.  Allow him to be the pursuer.  Let him call you.  Don’t always try to decide where to go, what to eat, what to wear.  Eventually, you’ll lose respect for a man that you think is unable to take initiative or make a decision.  That doesn’t seem like the kind of alpha male that will be able to take care of you for the rest of your life, does it?

My relationship advice is allowing yourself to be pursued doesn’t mean you’re weak or old-fashioned – it means that you’re smart and savvy.  You’re a girl who knows how to use nature’s precedent to your advantage!

Live The Single Life And Love It!

Posted on November 7th, 2009

42-17091532Single.
Unattached.
Eligible.
Flying solo.

No matter how you say it, it’s an idea that sends jolts of fear through the minds of countless women.
But why?  This is the 21st century, not a Jane Austen novel.  Women aren’t considered old maids if they reach the age of 25 and haven’t settled down, gotten married, and started a family.   And yet society, pop culture, and even those who are supposed to support us unconditionally – our friends and family – still insist on pressuring women with the Neanderthal mantra “Marriage – good.  Singlehood – bad.”
Ladies: it’s time we learn to live the single life and love it.  We are complex creatures, and we deserve more than allowing our feelings of self-worth to be based on an outdated, binary view of happiness and relationships. Forget about all the bad relationship advice you have received in the past.
According to Ralph Waldo Emerson, “We are always getting ready to live, but never living.”  Stop viewing being single as a period of waiting.  Get rid of thoughts similar to “I just have to tough this time out, and then things will get better.”  Instead, think of your unattached state as a valuable opportunity.  Singleness is the perfect time to focus on self-improvement, personal growth, and maturation.
Remember that place you’ve always wanted to visit?  Do it!  Now you don’t have to clear your plans with someone else.  Or go after that promotion you’ve been eyeing at work, now that you have more time to focus on your career.  And don’t forget to spend some time reconnecting with your friends – including that guy friend that your boyfriend never liked you hanging out with when you were together.  Now that you’re single, you can focus on being who you want to be, not who you thought he wanted you to be.
And think of all the simple perks that come with being on your own!  You can watch as many chick flicks as you want, wear your oldest, most threadbare (totally unsexy, but totally comfortable) underwear, and have as many pints of Ben and Jerry’s in your freezer as you can squeeze into it.  And you can do all of this without shaving your legs once.
Spend your singlehood indulging in your interests and learning about yourself.  Discover some new passions.  Learn a new language.  Pick up a musical instrument.  Set up some goals and work towards achieving them.  Only when you’re single can you truly explore your likes, your dislikes, your needs, your wants, your hopes, your dreams – and only when you truly understand yourself will you begin to understand what you need in a long-term partner.
And just in case you’re still scared of being single, remember that a full life is an attractive life.  When you craft an amazing life for yourself, others (including potential dates!) will automatically be drawn to you, hoping that some of your happiness will rub off on them.  Learn to love yourself first, and others will love you too.

When 3 Is Company, Open Relationships That Work.

Posted on November 3rd, 2009

42-21244230What happens when 3 is company? 

Two Hollywood celebrities – Will Smith and Tilda Swinton – have recently garnered a great deal of attention for their relationships.  In interviews, Smith has said “Our perspective is, you don’t avoid what’s natural and you’re going to be attracted to people…. And if it came down to it, then one would say to the other: ‘Look, I need to have sex with somebody. Now, I’m not going to if you don’t approve of it’.  Swinton has been photographed publically with both her long-term partner (with whom she has children) and her younger, artist lover.  These two actors are helping to bring into the spotlight an idea that has never been highly publicized: open relationships.

Open relationships come in many shapes and sizes.  The most well known, due to its glamorization by the media, is “swinging.”  Swinging opens a relationship up to sex with other partners only, not emotional bonds.  The couple can choose from several different forms of the practice to find one that satisfactorily meets their needs.  One option allows the partners to have sex with others only if it is with another couple.  A second option deems sex acceptable only if both halves of the couple are present (though they do not both need to participate).  Other options stipulate that sex with others can only be in the form of a threesome, or that sex, quite simply, can be with anyone else, at any time.

Another common form of open relationships is known as the “Primary/Secondary Model.”  In these cases, a couple in a serious, long-term relationship takes precedence and all other relationships are secondary.  More time and emotional involvement is devoted to the primary relationship, and often times its members are granted “veto power” (the ability to indisputably veto any other relationships).  The primary partners also retain all power to create the rules for the relationship – secondary lovers rarely have a say in the situation.

The “Multiple Primary Partners Model” refers to circumstances when 3 or more people, all equal partners, are considered a primary relationship.  A group marriage in which all partners share financial, domestic, and child-rearing responsibilities, for example, is a common way this form is expressed.  In these cases, relationships outside of the family are typically not allowed, and new members must be approved of by all before becoming a part of the relationship. This is technically referred to as “polyamory” rather than an open relationship (the latter refers only to sex with multiple partners, while the former refers to multiple emotional attachments).

A final variety of open relationship is the simple “Multiple Non-Primary Relationships Model,” in which no one involved is in a committed (“primary”) relationship.  All members are essentially single, and spend time with each other purely for enjoyment.

Interested?  Focus on communication and respect.  Learn each other’s boundaries, be honest always, know that jealousy never completely disappears (you’ll learn to work through it in healthy ways), and create unique rules that work for your individual relationship.  Though sometimes a little tricky to navigate, open relationships can be very rewarding, life-changing experiences.  For more relationship advice visit us here.

The Lost Art Of Conversation

Posted on November 3rd, 2009

42-23339868Are you the kind of girl who has a panic attack the second you realize the gorgeous guy you were eying across the room is finally coming over to talk to you?  Do you dread going on a date anywhere that’s quiet enough to allow for conversation?

If you stress out over how to start talking to someone or what to say that won’t make you look clueless, here are a few dating tips on how to master the art of conversation.

One of the most important things to remember when you have a conversation with a man you’re interested in is to make a sincere effort to stand out from the crowd.  Humans have a natural tendency to associate new people they meet with people they have encountered in the past, so it’s likely that men you talk with will compare you to other women they have known (and you’re probably comparing them to other men!).  Humans also tend to make negative links more easily than positive ones, so it’s to your benefit to be as unique as possible to prevent yourself from accidentally being associated in a detrimental way.  Focus on letting your one-of-a-kind personality shine through.

How do you do that, you ask?  The easiest way is to pay attention to the content of your conversations and the impressions it conveys.  If you start a conversation with “Hey, what’s up?” you’ll probably seem friendly, but you probably won’t seem particularly interesting.   Answering questions with just one or two words will also make you seem boring, or might give your admirer the impression that you’re not interested in him.

Try sticking to topics that are unusual or funny – talk about anything that won’t make you sound like every other girl in the room.  Draw from what’s going on around you, if you find that you’re having trouble coming up with a good subject.  Something as simple as “Did you see that guy over there?  He picks his nose every time his girlfriend isn’t looking!” is bound to catch your conversation partner off guard and make him laugh (and making someone laugh is one of the most important aspects of attraction!).

You can also tell a story that conveys some of your best qualities, but make sure not to commandeer the entire conversation.  The man will stop feeling dominant, and will instead end up feeling threatened or bored.  Asking questions is the perfect way to avoid becoming a motor mouth – everyone likes talking about themselves, right?!  Just remember to ask open-ended questions, not questions with simple “yes” or “no” answers, as well as follow up questions.  It will help keep the conversation going, and gives you the opportunity to discover things that the two of you have in common.

And finally, keep the cardinal rule of conversation in your mind at all times: You can get away with saying almost anything, as long as you keep your energy level high, a playful tone in your voice, and a smile on your face!

Posted in Dating Tips

Relationships: Sex And Intimacy

Posted on October 30th, 2009

42-22092872Sex and intimacy are two important ingredients when cooking up the right relational recipe, but some people mistakenly think they are one and the same.

I don’t know about you but I’ve read tons of books on this subject and come away with this conclusion: men think that by having sex they are showing intimacy, but women think intimacy is when you hold them, not have sex with them.

Am I right, or am I right, ladies?

So how do we get men to realize that intimacy (those deep conversations over shared interests, an unexpected hug of support, or that knowing look) has nothing to do with the sexual act and everything to do with the heart, mind, and emotions?

Well, we have to communicate it to them. But we have to learn their ways of communicating just like they have to learn our ways of thinking. Men are visual learners, not given to lots of words (written or spoken). If you doubt this just try to talk to him when he is engrossed in watching television or working on his computer or car.

Uh huh, yeah, oh, okay, will be about all the communicating you hear from him during those efforts. And I guarantee he won’t even remember what you said if you ask him about it later. So you can’t use words to teach him the difference between sex and intimacy. You have to use visual action.

So, since he is into visual (and likely physical), you teach him what intimacy is the same way you teach your child how to do something; you show him. If intimacy to you is having your other half give you a hug and a word of encouragement when someone upsets you; you do the same to him when someone upsets him.

You are creating a pattern for him to become familiar with and to follow. He won’t likely get it the first time or two, but don’t give up on him. Desirable habits have to be formed. None of us “gets things” the first time out of the starting gate either, do we?

When he does get it right, reward him with what you know he equates intimacy with: sex. After all, it has to be a two-way street if you are going to keep him motivated in this educational pursuit. If you are the only one getting your needs met then what is his motive to join in the effort?

For more information on sex and intimacy please visit us here.

Posted in Sex and Intimacy

Dating Advice: When The Experts Are Wrong

Posted on October 29th, 2009

42-23470632Your significant other has abandoned ship and you don’t know what to do, so you grab the latest magazine as you load up on sugary foods at the grocery store. Maybe the article on “How to Keep Your Man” will help. After all, if it’s written in print in a magazine it is expert advice, right?

Wrong.

Not all dating advice is good advice just because a top magazine printed it. I can give you a good example of this. My friend Mark is interested in dating my friend Sasha but she isn’t interested in him that way. But Mark is determined to figure out what it is that makes him unattractive to Sasha as a romantic interest; only he won’t come right out and ask her.

Instead, Mark—a big fan of magazines that carry “How to” romance articles—thinks the answer to his dilemma can be found between glossy high-dollar pages: “If he reads it (and does it) she will come” kind of mentality. So it was no surprise when I overhead their conversation recently and he was referring to one of the articles he had read.

He was trying to get Sasha to weigh-in about whether she found hair on a man’s chest attractive or a turn off. He had read in a magazine that women wanted men with clean-shaven chests now and he is as hairy as they come in that area (I’m basing this on sight here, since Mark is big about wearing unbuttoned shirts).

After reading the magazine article he surmised that Sasha’s rejection was related to his being too “hairy” for her taste. But he didn’t come right out and ask her (as he should have). Instead, he asked if she liked hairy-chested men or not.

Sasha was clueless about what Mark was really trying to communicate (if I shave my hairy chest or get it waxed off will you then go out with me?), but was finally able to get him to admit that he wanted to know so he could decide whether he needed a wax job or not.

Thankfully, Sasha, educated Mark on the need to have open communication and not rely on magazines to predict what another person likes/dislikes. Mark could have followed the magazines dating advice—that he needed to rid himself of body hair to get the woman he wanted—only to learn (painfully) later that the advice was useless for his particular woman.

Sasha and Mark are a good example of how outside influences (like magazines) attempt to change our culture and dating habits. That isn’t always a bad thing, of course, but it can be if a person is already insecure, like Mark.

Mark’s inability to be himself and accept who he really is (hair and all) may be why Sasha isn’t dating him, since it doesn’t have anything to do with his hairy chest (Sasha likes men with hairy chests).

Posted in Dating Tips

In-laws: The Outlaws Of Marriage?

Posted on October 29th, 2009

IS052-007You love him; you hate them. But for better or worse, you got them all. So how can you turn the in-laws from the Wild West into sweet suburbanites? The answer may surprise you.

Marriage can be a tricky thing even when you and your spouse are soul mates, but factor in in-laws that don’t realize new boundaries exist for them and their adult child and you can have real problems. But taking a look at why in-laws interfere in marriages can help.

Some in-laws, especially a mother-in-law, might be dealing with an only child’s departure from home if you married at a young age and they don’t have any other children to focus on instead of your new spouse.

Empty nester mother-in-laws are dealing with the loss of their child and a new family member that they might not know very well—or have anything in common with. For this type of in-law outlaw you need to try and include them in as much as possible your first year of marriage: birthday celebrations, significant holidays and important events.

Bend a little and allow them to guide holiday plans if at all possible (and your parents understand), since the first year is the hardest for them. If your spouse always went home for Thanksgiving but never for Christmas, do the same thing this year, but go with him. But make sure you let them know that this is your idea, to help them deal with the sudden changes, so they don’t expect it to be an every year occurrence.

If your father-in-law is the pushy kind, always got to tell you and your husband what to do and how to do it, figure out what he is really good at and ask him to help you with that. In-laws just want to feel useful sometimes, so finding what they are very good at doing can diminish some of the frustration you—and they—might feel. This is especially true if the in-laws are retired, with a lot of time on their hands.

You’ve probably heard it said that you should pick your battles wisely, since it isn’t wise to fight every battle you encounter. That is sage advice, especially with in-law issues. And not every in-law disagreement or issue is something that should even be addressed, just like you don’t contest every thing your boss tells you to do either.

You need to, in the words of Kenny Rogers, ‘know when to hold’m, know when to fold’m and know when to’ let some of those issues just ‘go’.

Save your “I’m standing my ground” position for issues that you really care about and will not brook any argument over. If you are accommodating when you can be and only dig in your heels on important stuff, you will have a lot less wars to wage and better in-law relations.  This sound relationship advice is sure to improve the relationship between you and you in=laws.

Working Women: The Gossip Cooler

Posted on October 28th, 2009

42-22104754Everybody gossips; don’t they? But is the gossip that is bringing women together at the cooler later separating them in the office?

If you think that gossiping at the water cooler is harmless, and you just can’t imagine not doing it—after all, how will you know what is going on—then sit back and grab a latte. I’ve got some news for you.

When women gather around the water cooler sharing tidbits about things going on at the office, men are listening and watching. And it is highly likely that at least one of those men is your boss or your boss’s boss. Now you may think that they don’t hear what you are saying as you whisper real low, so they won’t really care, but whether they hear what you say or not isn’t the point; they see that you are whispering and that shouts “gossiper” to them.

Most male bosses don’t like gossipy women. They don’t trust them, for one. And would you? If you were the boss and was always seeing a certain woman subordinate hovered over the water cooler and speaking in low whispers with another woman all the time, would you trust her? Would you wonder what she is saying about you or the job you have her working on?If your company work is highly classified you certainly wouldn’t want to assign her anything important, would you?

Even if your whispered conversation is about your own personal life, there is something about coming upon two people in whisper mode—who suddenly part company and cease talking when you approach—that seems like a snub. Who likes being snubbed or made to feel that way, I ask you?

But how am I going to learn what is going on with everyone, you ask?

Who says you need to know other people’s business? How can it help you to do your job better? It can’t. In fact, it can actually hurt your job performance. If you are busy hearing the good, the bad, and the ugly about everyone else, then who is doing your job?

Some people are able to do their job and gossip with no one the wiser. They don’t park themselves at the water cooler, they gab on their lunch break. So while they avoid their boss seeing them gossiping, they still imbibe. And lest you think that participating in gossip isn’t going to backfire on you if it is “out of sight” of the boss, you are wrong.

Gossip hurts everyone who participates in it. It hurts the person’s reputation that is being talked about first and foremost, since they never meant for anyone to be discussing their personal or work life behind their back—preventing them from setting the record straight. Second, it hurts the person doing the gossiping, since their reputation is now being tainted and recognized as someone who needs to talk about others in order to feel good about their own self.

Posted in Relationship Talk

Parents Must Parent

Posted on October 28th, 2009

42-15669163Sally is a screamer who uses her big soprano voice to control her mother and most other adults in her life, but Sally’s mom can cancel this unwelcome performance anytime she gets ready to by singing her own special tune.

Toddlers, older children, and teens who act like Sally are getting more and more common in today’s society, and one of the reasons is due to a lack of effective parenting. As parents become busier and busier in their daily lives, with job commitments and financial stressors competing for the time to be able to ‘parent’, child rearing is getting relegated to the school system, neighbors, or sports coaches and after school care program leaders. And no one wants to really parent someone else’s kid, so children are left to be their own boss; hence the Sally’s in our midst.

And when mom or dad do finally have the time to be around little Sally, they don’t usually have the energy to deal with her need for attention.  Often times a busy parent will attempt to buy their way out of the attention being craved by their child, thinking that by agreeing to a new toy request or allowing Sally to spend the night at a friend’s house they will appease her and get her out of their hair.

But giving in to a child who wants attention—or their way—is just setting up some bad habits that are going to be harder to break on down the road. Instead, parents have to do the hard stuff: they have to parent.

But parenting doesn’t have to be all work and no play. Sure, you may have to rein Sally in a bit first, but you might as well have fun while you do it. Let me tell you how.

If your little Sally likes to perform her screeching tirades in public (like at the candy rack near the grocery store check-out line) then you must counterattack in public. If she screams and throws herself on the floor when you give the ‘no’ word for the chocolate she craves, act like you don’t hear her.

Pick up a magazine and flip the pages, taking time to read an article or two (or pretending like you are) as you wait for the cashier to get to your buggy. The cashier won’t be able to ring you out fast enough (isn’t that a perk!) and as Sally sees that you aren’t giving her the time of day, she will lower the volume, unsure what is going on.

Other customers, including the cashier, will likely throw disproving looks her way that will make her uncomfortable and she will probably zip it up when they do, or cling to your leg. You may even get lucky and another child might start laughing at her. Other kids can really help you reign in a temper thrower real quickly, as they know the score themselves and don’t want to see someone else getting away with it.