Get Over Your Ex Now! With These Easy Tips

Breakup of a couple with sad girlfriend and boyfriend walking away with city in the background

Not all relationships were made to last and I’d be lying if I didn’t linger a little too long in past relationships but I’ve definitely learned over time how to kick the bucket quickly when a relationship has gone sour.

I’ve written a few posts on love before including Biggest Red Flags in A Relationship and What is Love, so this is just a follow up on ending relationships that just aren’t meant to be.

1 Cut Contact

Cutting contact with an ex is the hardest thing to do, especially when it’s someone that you’ve been dating for a while. You might have gotten used to them being there for you for nightly chats, companionship, financial help and overall support. Cutting the cord can be scary and daunting.

I recommend starting with blocking the person on your phone so they can’t call or text you. You’ll also need to cut them from social media and remove their ability to contact you from there. I wouldn’t say that email is next, because it’s a pain in the ass to move all your emails and notices to a different email. The best thing to do is to create an email rule that pushes emails from your ex to Trash or Junk.

In a very deep entanglement, I highly recommend changing phone numbers. When I tell my friends that, the first thing they say is, “Why should I have to be the one to change my number, it’s been my number forever!”

My response is, “keeping your phone number is a way of letting your partner have easy access to contacting you.” I mean, think about it, your phone is always with you!

2) Get rid of memorabilia

Break off all memory. They say “Time heals all wounds.” But it doesn’t help if you keep tokens of the relationship or photos of your previous love.

Some of you might shake your head and say, “I shared some important memories with this person, I just can’t get rid of them.” And I completely get that point of view but In that case, I would recommend storing the items, photos, and memories for a later time when you’ve finally gotten over that person. Store them with a friend, family member or even in mini storage until you can look back at the relationship and feel nothing.

Things I would list as emotionally triggering: photos, jewelry, old clothes from your partner, emails, texts, gifts and any place that you used to frequent with them. The mind is a powerful place and you can easily find yourself visiting memory lane and feeling a lot of nostalgia and heartache with any of these reminders.

3) Sharing friends:

This is probably the hardest thing to manage since friends will likely feel torn if they are closely connected to you and your Ex.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t establish boundaries for what you’re comfortable with.

If your friends are torn between two partners, you don’t need to make them choose. You can establish that for right now you just can’t be near that partner, even as friends, and to not include you in events their attending.

You can also request privacy from your friends. There’s no reason why your Ex should be able to check in on you through friends. True friends wouldn’t gossip about how you’re doing behind your back and would choose to stay neutral.

In the end you might lose some friends, but that’s their choice to make whether they want to pick sides or not. A breakup like this can be very eye opening as to who your true friends are.

When do you know when your finally over an Ex?

When you can look at pictures and not feel any remorse, regret or sadness. One day you’ll be able to look back at pictures or visit an place you used to frequent and feel a calm nostalgia like, “this was a part of my life, but now it’s not.”

Being over an Ex means that you’re able to pass them in the street and not feel embarrassment, fear, shame or sadness.  You can kind of look back at the time you spent with them and feel little to no emotion over what caused the breakup.

Most importantly, FORGIVENESS is the tell-tale sign of being over an Ex.  Because only when your able to forgive, are you able to move-on.

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Feel free to read my other posts on relationships including:

What is Love?

My Favorite Dating Book: Why Men Love Bitches

The Biggest Red Flags In A Relationship

Dating in Your 30s vs Dating In Your 20s

 

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How to get over an ex

Getting over a breakup

How to get over your ex

How to get over your Ex fast

Married Couples and Money

The bride counts the money. Wedding expenses. Bride with a piggy bank

When we think of marriage, we think of wedding bells and dresses, flower girls and ring bearers, and a couple expressing their everlasting love to one another.

No party is as fun as a wedding and very few life experiences can alter your life in such a meaningful way.

I’ve written a few posts on love and relationships but I don’t think I need to remind anyone that there is a financial consequence to marriage.   In fact, I think most of us consider FIRST the tangible benefits of being with a partner more than the intangible aspects like character, honesty, integrity etc.

A perfect relationship is a balance of the two. A perfect compromise of tangible and intangible benefits. I’m going to talk about the financial pitfalls and benefits that come from marriage.  In this post, I’ve discussed some of the more intangible benefits.  Sometimes money and relationships can mix like oil and water.

Benefits:

1. Sharing expenses in a relationship and couple finances:

Definitely something couples discuss when moving in together but when married you need to take it to the next level. It goes beyond utilities, rent and groceries. It’s time to talk about retirement and spending habits, saving and buying a house.

Two people are better than one in this type of division.

To give you an example, imagine this scenario:

Jim lives on his own, he rents a $1400 one bedroom right outside of NYC. He has one car. He pays $300 between payments and insurance. Groceries cost him about $200 a month but he orders out a lot so it adds up to an additional $200. His utilities for electric and internet cable are $150. On the weekends, he likes going out to dinner/drinks with friends. His entertainment spends are around $300-$400 a month.

Jim works as a IT tech earning 75K annually or $6250 monthly. After taxes he brings home $4275.

Take home income

$4275

Minus

Expenses

-$1400 apartment

-$300 Car

-$400 Food

-$150 Utilities

-$400 entertainment

-$600 Misc.

Net savings to go toward personal savings, 401K and Medical savings accounts.

$1175

*This is a very simplified budget but you get the picture.

Now let’s look at Jane and Sam.

They are newly married. Jane works as a teacher and makes 40K. Sam works in construction and makes 60K between hourly and overtime. They live in the same apartment building as Jim and pay 1400 for rent. Actually their spending is almost identical. They spend 600 on food, share a car for $400, $150 on utilities and spend 600 on entertainment and $600 on misc.

Together they bring in $8333, after taxes it’s an estimated $5,833.

Take home pay

$5833

Expenses

-$1400 apartment

-$400 Car

-$600 Food

-$150 Utilities

-$600 entertainment

-$600 Misc.

Net Savings for personal savings, retirement and medical savings:

$2083 or $1041 per person.

The point of this example is that even though Jane and Sam both make less then Jim, their still able to save roughly at the same rate each because they are pooling together for their major expenses and budgeting as a couple.  This is one of the best financial things to consider when either moving in or marrying.  The couples budget is everything and couples who are able to leverage their joint spending will come out on top in the long run.

2. Sharing Manpower.

They say two people are better than one.  And I would say that when it comes to domestic tasks, couples find that they are able to get more free time by splitting it up.

I’m not sure this is the biggest financial benefit to being married but it can definitely pinch a few pennies and save a lot of hours.  Having an extra pair of hands  for 1) laundry, 2) clean, 4) grocery shop, 5) cook meals for the week, 6) bargain shop can add up to a lot of savings.

A single person only has so many hours available them, they have to either do these tasks themselves and lose some free time or pay a 3rd party to handle these tasks like a housekeeper, or eating out/ordering in, wash/fold services, and food delivery like FreshDirect.  They can either keep their free time to themselves to do other endeavors or pay for these conveniences.

3. Spousal Employment Benefits.

One of the biggest is insurance.  You can’t really quantify how important insurance is until you don’t have a job that offers it to you.  Then you’re either paying hundreds out of pocket just to get simple blood work done or you’re paying $500+ premium for a private insurance for married couples that still has a large deductible or copay.

One benefit of being married is that health insurance for married couples is generally cheaper than paying health insurance for two single people.

Being able to add a spouse to your work insurance is amazing and something only allowed for immediate family members/dependents by most insurance carriers.

For K and I, we’ve always had insurance that covered us through work.  But there was this one year that we had to go without and that was the sketchiest year I ever went through.  We never went to see the doctor because it was too expensive and we prayed neither of us were ever involved in an accident because how could we ever pay?

My job also has some married life insurance benefits that if I die, K get’s X amount and if K dies I can get X amount.  It’s comforting to know that we’ll have some fall back if (God Forbid) either of us ever pass away.

Pittfalls

1) Spending habits

Sometimes people can get so caught up in the love and the connection they have for the other person, that looking at habits like spending can seem like a non-issue.

You might look at someone who never seems to wear the same piece of clothing twice and never wonder how they can afford to such a large wardrobe.

You might see someone drive an Audi and not realize that their car payments are near $500 a month and it’s a squeeze with all their other expenses.

It’s not until YOUR money is commingled with your partner’s that you start to realize how small spending habits can add up to big expenditures.

For a long time my husband liked to play poker with his friends. He became so good his friends stopped playing with him. It was always, “maybe next time.” They were scared to lose money to him.  Eventually he joined some poker clubs in the city and played there once or twice a year. Then he found some casinos near us that offered poker comps and he would go occasionally there too. He loved the game of poker but it was bleeding us $500-$1000 every time he lost.

Thankfully he doesn’t play anymore, we had a pretty serious conversation about his gambling and now I have complete control over the cash. But it just goes to show how a small insignificant habit can turn into a ravenous expense.

The same story could be told with shopping addicts or forever entrepreneurs who can never seem to get their business off the ground.

The solution is to think long range about how your finances with your partner would work and weeding out financially incompatible partners out. In my case, I nipped out early what was potentially a serious gambling addiction.

I would recommend financial planning for couples before getting married.  Sometimes when things feel out of control, it’s great to consider a financial planner for financial help with married couples.

Expensive Wedding and Even More Expensive Divorces

“My husband and I, fight over money.”

People spend an average of $27,000 on a wedding.  Those are pretty expensive parties.  I don’t have anything against big fancy parties to celebrate the joining of a couple but when we start to look at divorce rates, those big weddings start to look like a waste.  It’s estimated that nearly 40%-50% of marriages end in divorce.  According to an article written by CNN, couples that spent more than $20K had a divorce rate of 1.6X more than those who spent only $5K-$10K.

In some ways marriage is a crapshoot, you can never know if some devastating skeleton is going to come out of your partner’s closet and change your whole relationship with them.

It’s when you consider that the average divorce costs $15K, marriages have a risk of being a financial hole once everything is said and done.

Then Add Children and Divorce

If your divorce included children, then there will likely be one party that pays child support.  There will still be an increase in housing costs because the divorced couple will need separate places for themselves and for their children.

It can be very costly and difficult to manage your time and finances when expenses increase and resources are nearly cut in half.

Unfortunately in some cases, divorce is the only option for two people who turn out to be incompatible to stay sane and happy.  But children can definitely make divorce messier and more expensive.

I’m not writing this section to make children sound like a burden but for the most part, nobody has children to make a profit.  They have children for the generational and personal wealth that it bring to a family.  We grow our family to keep tradition and create memories.

Nothing brings a family together like children, but nothing makes it harder to separate and divorce cheaply than children.


 

I would say marriage comes with a lot of different types of benefits but something we should never take our eye off of is the financial outcomes that can result from saying “I Do.”  Ignoring that important fact can lead to marriage troubles over money.

On the other hand, marriage can be a blessing that can pay itself back in ways that can’t even be accounted for.  For many, the risk is worth taking.

I hope you read this with hope in your heart and practicality in your mind.

Feel free to read my other relationship posts:

The Biggest Red Flags In A Relationship

Why Dating Culture Doesn’t Work Towards Marriage

Dear Single Friends, This Is Why You Are Still Single. Love, Your Married Friend.

The Biggest Red Flags In A Relationship

Sad couple having conflict and relationship problems

Have you ever found yourself in a relationship with someone who checked all the boxes you were looking for, but after a few weeks together you start getting uneasy feelings about them? Like something isn’t right…

It’s actually fairly common for people to stay in relationships WAYY longer than they should. If you’re someone looking for true love, avoid wasting time with duds by keeping an eye out for these red flags. This advice should be taken with some intuition and a pinch of salt, exhibiting one of these signs does not mean the relationship is unsalvageable. But a LOT of these signs is a good reason to run and cut things off without a second glance.

Compulsive Lying

We all tell white lies once in a while and it’s not uncommon for people to tell each other what they think the other person wants to hear. But what we need to keep an eye out for is consistent lying, dishonesty, and falsehoods. One lie could easily be the start of larger lies or omissions.

To be honest my husband used to lie compulsively. About little things and nothing at all. He would just give me an answer he thought would be the easiest to digest. I always caught his lie and called him out on it. We’ve fought over these useless lies too. “If you can’t even be honest about a small thing, how can I trust you to be honest about bigger things.” He realized I had a point. He really doesn’t lie anymore and we’ve found his triggers and have dealt with them for the most part.

Doesn’t want to introduce you to family or meet your friends

This happens a lot in couples that are not fully committed like friends with benefits or f*ck buddies. Sometimes this happens in regular committed relationships too. If your partner isn’t able to let you hang with family or friends, consider this a red flag. Something to keep an eye out.

Partners who are committed to long-term prospects are more likely to want to meet friends and family. Getting to know you’re inner circle can give them insight into your background, how you were raised and your interests.

Gas lighting

When two people argue it can be hard to keep emotions straight or even keep to the facts but gas lighting is more insidious than occasionally bending the truth to your argument.

Gaslighting is the intentional misrepresentation or recollection of facts to make the other party feel like they are in the wrong. And doing this consistently.

Example:

“Mark, were you able to pick up my prescriptions?”

“Sally, we talked about this. You’re supposed to pick up your prescription every Friday after you go for your appointment.”

“I know we talked about running errands before that appointment but I don’t remember discussing the prescription. You had mentioned you would pick it up nearly 2 weeks ago”

“This isn’t the first time you’ve forgotten something, remember last week we talked about meeting for lunch and you totally stood me up! I don’t know how I can keep being your babysitter.”

“I’m sorry Mark, I swear I thought the time you said was an hour later. I would have met you on time.”

This systematic changing of facts to put you in the wrong is TOXIC. It requires social knowledge of the types of things you won’t remember and a manipulation of truths. This is probably the one red flag that if you see it happening, you should run without second thought. When gaslighting is done, it’s done purposely.

Nitpicking

It’s ok to have things that you like done a certain way. It’s ok to occasionally critique your partner for things that you want done in a specific way.

What’s not ok is when someone is trying to change everything you do and say into their “correct” vision of how people should act.  This kind of behavior is common in control freaks, type A personalities, and perfectionists.

They might correct how you behave, do things, speak, dress, etc.  We’ve all met that type of person:

MIB

Comic courtesy of MarriageIsBliss

Inconsistent or hot/cold

So many people are just so inconsistent or unreliable.  I think this speaks for itself in dating life.  I used to wonder why people who were inconsistent or cold would treat me that way.  It used to be a problem with me that I felt I needed to resolve.  But really it’s not an issue with me, it’s an issue with THEM.

Someone who plays the hot and cold game is just showing you how unimportant you are in their scheme of things.  It has a lot to do with their own ego and narcissism. Stay Away.

Selfish with time

People who are selfish with how they spend their time are also solipsistic, they see the world as existing from only their perspective.  These are people who won’t meet you for a date unless it’s close to them, or will only call you if their weekend is barren.  They’ll make you just through hoops just to plan a date out.

“It has to be between this time and this time.  Before I have this appointment and then after I’ll be meeting up with some friends I haven’t seen in 5 years.  Let’s meet up at this location because it’s close to the two places I have to be.  I can’t wait for our date!

Not gonna lie, my older sister is kind of like this.  She tends to prioritize her needs over the needs of others. If she’s visiting home, one of my parents will have to drop what their doing to pick her up from the train station and again to drop her off when she leaves.  Even though she’s a doctor and could easily afford a $10 Uber or cab ride.

My parents threw her a birthday party and she didn’t even help set up or clean up! She was too busy with her own appointments and catching up with friends.  Not cool! Red flag!

Doesn’t like your family

This isn’t obvious, especially when you’re young but if your partner has a big problem with your family, then it’s time to reconsider the strength of your relationship.

As relationships grow more serious both families will eventually become more involved in supporting you.  K and I, we’re both are close with our families.  Over the years our siblings and especially our parents have helped us and supported us.  If he or I were unable to get along with each others parents or siblings, I don’t know how our relationship could have worked.

Family drama can be avoided by choosing partners that are compatible with, not only you, but your family too.

Of course this red flag should be taken with a pinch of salt. Not everyone is super close with their family so I would imagine this wouldn’t pose such a problem with them.

Keeps in touch with exes or has lots of girls who are friends 

This is a huge red flag.  A lot of people miss this and think, naively, that these relationships are platonic.

There are very few friendships between opposite heterosexual genders that come without strings attached.  You might disagree with this and think that your friendship is the exception, maybe it is, but most likely it’s not.

It’s even more of a red flag when there are multiple women who are in your partners life that were past love interests.

The past is in the past! Why keep them around?

In my honest experience, men and women who are keeping “friends” around, are generally keeping backup options who will fill your place once your relationship ends.  I’ve never found it to be a healthy dynamic and would generally say to watch out for people like this.  What seems innocent, can easily not be.

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That’s my list! Let me know your thoughts and own experiences with red flags you’ve found in your life.

Feel free to comment, like, share and follow!

Other Posts:

What is Love?

Dating in Your 30s vs Dating In Your 20s

Why Dating Culture Doesn’t Work Towards Marriage

What is Love?

Kissing couple in love

It’s the question I’ve been trying to answer since I can remember. I’m kinda drawn to these kind thoughts, to explore a concept as complex as love and understand it at its core.

Merriam-Webster defines love as: strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.

But love, especially true romantic love is hard to grasp or even conceptualize. Is it like Jesus, a belief that comes from faith? How do we know love is real? How can we show our loved ones that we really DO love them?

I’m not just talking about romantic love, love can be experienced in a multitude of relationships including friendship and family relations.

So to help me understand this “emotion” and feeling, I’ve grouped love into 3 distinct categories that I’ve noticed in my life and in the lives of friends and family of how we experience the idea of “Love.”

False love

I had a friend that had a boyfriend every three months. Her relationships tended to be intense, full of hand holding, kissing, snuggling, and gifts.  I admit, younger me was very jealous. If only someone can love me like that.

But the thing was, that the love never lasted. Eventually there would be some irreconcilable flaw that caused her to break up with her boyfriends. Infatuation tends to look like this, that’s why it’s a false love. You’re kind of chasing an ideal. The person you’re dating initially seems to fit the ideal, they seem to fit what your ego says is a good partner. But people rarely are so two-dimensional. Eventually a persons flaws and shortcomings come together and cause the infatuation to end. And that’s when this type tends to “fall out of love.”

Then there are the people who are missing something desperately in their lives. Sometimes, they just didn’t get the kind of love they wanted from their parents or went through a breakup that broke them. There’s a lot of self-love that’s still needed for these people. As a result, their relationships are kind of on autopilot, without much thought.

We all know that one person that dates people to fill up their time. One date leads to another, then another. Suddenly, they are boyfriend and girlfriend. Months pass, even years but this couple has fallen into a routine of just filling each-others voids without really knowing or loving each other. Brunch on Sundays, Friday dinner dates with their phones, and silence in between.  Love is almost assumed and expected to be part of these relationships but whether love is truly felt is a different story.

You’d be surprised at how long these types of relationships can last. Relationships that are, in essence, toxic and mediocre. Comfort can be a strong substitute for love.

Conditional love, flawed love, broken love

Sometimes two people really love each other. It’s not just infatuation. They get to know each other and appreciate each other. They sacrifice and give for each other and appreciate the time they spend together. This is love! But how is this not perfect pure love?

The issue is, despite all that, there are strings attached to that love, there are roadblocks and obstacles, and there are indiscretions.

So it can’t be perfect.

A LOT of relationships fall in this category. Over time, life tends to bang us up, we get hurt and we start to put up walls that keep us from truly loving our partners.

I would describe my marriage as one of those conditional relationships. I absolutely adore K, for everything that he does for us and for his strengths. But would I still love him the same if for whatever reason, he couldn’t provide for our family? If he wasn’t able to be the person he’s always been?

If I had to be honest with myself, probably not. It would be a challenge.

At least I recognize this in myself and I’m working on trying to be more understanding, giving and flexible.

Sometimes two people get together and they are SO different from each other. It’s amazing at first but it also causes misunderstandings and difficulties. Maybe they love spending time together and love each other for who they are and their background but its hard to communicate. The constant fighting in between due to differences can take its toll. This love is flawed because the communication isn’t there. These types of relationships need constant work.

Imagine two people. Aaron and Kim. Aaron’s love language is physical touch. He likes to cuddle, kiss and all that. That’s how he expresses his love and how he expects love in return. Kim, likes acts of love. She thinks it’s amazing when Aaron gets her soup when she’s sick, or when he helps her around the house when she’s overwhelmed. They might love each other but if they can’t express that love in a way that works for the other partner, there will always be discord and difficulty in the relationship.

Your relationship can be perfect. You can be happy and truly appreciate your partner and what they bring to the table. You can communicate perfectly and understand each other. Life is good. But then someone makes a mistake. They cheat either emotionally or physically. Skeletons might reveal themselves from the closets. Financial indiscretions. What do you do? You love this person, their perfect for you and you can’t imagine life without them. But these problems are breaking the love you have for them and it’s becoming clear that these hurdles and trust issues will ALWAYS need to be worked on.

Broken love is the hardest, because it really requires you to look beyond the obstacle and forgive/accept your partner.  Not everyone can do that.  Not everyone can forgive their partner if they cheat or reveal they have a shopping addiction they’ve hid for 3 years that’s causing debt.  It’s hard.

All of these types of relationships aren’t 100% bad but they’re not 100% good either. I do believe that these problems can be fixed with time, honesty, and commitment towards a better relationship.

It takes so much personal growth to be able to accomplish a relationship based on pure true love. So in a way, these relationships are good since they can help us grow in that direction by forcing us to overcome difficulty.

True pure love

Is the hardest to attain and maintain. The best way to describe it is Love without boundaries. Like the paternal or maternal love for a child. You accept the person 100% for who they are and care for them without expectation.

Very few relationships, be it friendships, partners or even family, can reach this level of love.

It requires that you put your ego aside, at times get less than you give, and be selfless, honest and genuine.

I think it’s the type of love I feel for my daughter, and my parents for me. Unconditional, unwavering and free.

The truth is, not all relationships can maintain this type of love nor should they.

We should aspire for it though, as hard as it is to attain, because this kind of love makes us better.

I wish I had more to say about true pure love other than it’s special and work pursuing.  Unfortunately, the world doesn’t make that easy for anyone to pursue or achieve.  I’ve seen false love ad broken love break people’s trust so that their no longer open to a REAL relationship.

I wish you all the best in love.  In love we want to win but only when we’re willing to lose can we truly attain the type of love we desire.

Other Posts:

Why Dating Culture Doesn’t Work Towards Marriage

My Favorite Dating Book: Why Men Love Bitches

Dating in Your 30s vs Dating In Your 20s

Why Dating Culture Doesn’t Work Towards Marriage

Double exposure of a young couple enjoying sunset on beach

I’m going to share my unpopular opinion. The opinion that’s going to leave some of you shaking your head saying, “she really had to go there.” I just can’t stay quiet about it anymore. Today’s dating world just doesn’t work towards marriage and all the dating advice that’s being thrown out there is just plain WRONG. It’s written by other single women who really just don’t know what men want or how to get what they want: marriage.

I’m not writing to the women who genuinely want to remain single and are happiest when alone. I’m writing this article for the women who have settled for the single life after years of dating but have always desired marriage.

Here are the reasons why engaging in today’s dating culture is not going to get you a ring.

1. Online dating is very limiting and takes a lot of time.

Let’s face it: good quality men are hard to find. We’re talking about family oriented, working men who are reasonably attractive. If there were an equal number of quality men to women, more women would be married. Right now there are millions of online profiles, these are nothing short of personal ads promoting oneself. Beautiful pictures and perfect profile blurbs. “Mr Right needs to know exactly what he must bring to the table vs what I bring along as Mrs Right.” The truth is that it’s very time consuming to look through all the profiles and respond to everyone or even go on all the dates with men who you find reasonable. Because of this and all the likes and attention online dating provides women, women are overestimating their value in the dating pool.  We think there are more eligible bachelors truly interested than there really are.  Not all men online are marriage minded or even looking for a relationship.  Many women are investing their time with wrong short term minded men, incompatible men or men who are not looking at women as a long term partner.  What we need to realize is that there will be many window shoppers but only one buyer.   If you set the expectation too high many will be curious as to what makes you a great value but won’t buy.  Set the bar too low and you’re overwhelmed with low quality options, while the best and highest quality match is searching elsewhere.  It’s about hitting that sweet spot.   I recommend dating people within your social circle or while you are at school.  Anywhere that will let you get a better read on someone’s reputation.

There’s also the issue of being catfished online, misled, and lied to.  Profiles are limiting and short with people putting only their best foot forward.  How do you get to the real person without investing a significant amount of time meeting people?  You can’t.

2. Hookup culture has gotten out of control.

I’m sorry, in 100 years we’ve gone from a culture that severely frowned upon premarital sex to a culture where sex is on the table before a 4th date. Where “we’re talking” has replaced “going steady,” and “Netflix and chill” is code for hang out and sex. It’s all good and fun in your 20s, but suddenly in your 30s you hear your dad in your head saying, “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free.” At least my dad would tell me that.  And why should men want to invest their lives into women? They can just open Tinder, send out 50 messages and pick up a girl before the end of the day without ever getting out their seat. We’ve made it too easy and too cheap. Apparently we haven’t realized that too much of a good thing is bad, even sex. The truth is women have so much more to offer than just sex. We are kind, compassionate, warm, intelligent and much more. Yet women are selling themselves short with just sex, why?

3. We’ve stopped asking men what they want.

To me this is the saddest part of today’s culture. Men don’t matter. Many good men are silently backing out of the dating scene because they just aren’t being included in the conversation. They’d rather be alone. Yes, men are allowed to have preferences. They are allowed to have wants and needs. They are just as much willing participators in any relationship they choose to take part in.  But women don’t want to hear it, we assume we are the complete package as is, that there is no room for improvement. That’s wrong. Men want women who can be team players and not just put the brunt of the work on the man. If he is a high earner, he might want a wife who can care for him and his future children, keep a home, (gasp) cook a meal, and maintain their looks or at least try and age gracefully. He might want this because he works 100+ hours a week and needs someone to be his other half.  Of course there are compromises everyone must make in a relationship.  But how many compromises will any one person make?  You might find this to be anti feminist, backwards and even misogynistic, but why should women have preferences while men can’t? The status quo required by women are that men at least work and hold a job. Women would prefer men to be handsome and maybe tall. We’d like them to hold doors and be a gentleman. We gossip that we want men that are good lovers and masculine. So why shouldn’t men be allowed preferences? Aside from the men having a field day on Tinder, a lot of quality men are just not finding the kind of women they want, are tired of looking and are opting out. For them, it is better to be alone than to be unhappily married to women who don’t get it.

4. Women are waiting too long.

We’re told 30 is the new 20. That we can extent this dating phase past our teens and 20s and play the field into our 30s. Please stop with this jargon. That’s just not how female anatomy works, that phrase works for men, not for women. Because by 35, women have only a fraction of the fertility they would have had at 20. The issue is that many marriage minded men WANT children. Considering that it takes time to date and get to know someone, become engaged, plan a wedding and make a baby, many eligible men find it too impractical to date women in their thirties. From a a purely statistical standpoint, it would be easier to start dating a 25 year old and conceive at 30 than it would be to start dating a 30 year old and conceive at 35. Or even a 35 year old to conceive at 40.  Yes there are women who are conceiving at 40 but often it requires medical intervention to even conceive and is considered a riskier pregnancy.

Then there’s also the consideration that in your 20s there are more eligible men. When I was 20-26 I remember getting so much attention I just didn’t know what to do with it all. It was actually really flattering, but I always knew it wouldn’t stay.  Men were available in my age group and enough were unattached so I could find a partner easily. Men were just finishing college and starting jobs, if I had wanted someone more secure I could have also dated a little older. Getting interest wasn’t a big problem. At 29, I don’t really have that kind of attention, and I don’t miss it much. My job requires I put a lot of time and attention into my appearance but I’ll still never be prettier than I was at the age of 20-25. That’s just a reality. Nothing can quite take the place of youth. So why women aren’t searching for a partner seriously In those prime years is beyond me. These are your most beautiful, alluring, and innocently charming years! After 30 your age starts to show, the eligible bachelors have become jaded due to frustration or been scooped up, some are divorced with kids. And the hunt for a good quality man becomes more competitive because men your age are also looking at women 5-8 years your junior.

My issue is that the conversation that women are hearing from a young age is that:

1. Online dating makes it easier to meet people and find the “perfect” partner.

2. Hookup culture is OK, empowering and will get you what you want.

3. That preferences that men have for women don’t matter as much as the preferences women have for men

4. That we can extend women’s dating life for decades. From her teens to her 30s.

This is just all around bad advice. And I don’t say this from my lofty pedestal of being already married. I’m saying this for my sisters and my friends who followed the whims of popular opinion and were short changed because of it. I’m saying this for the men that are opting out of the dating scene with frustration because the women they wanted in their 20s were just playing the field and keeping them as “friends.”

I write this with the warmest intentions. I want everyone to live an intentional fulfilled life and part of that is making choices EARLY that are right for your future. Not all women want marriage but SO MANY women do and they want children, some just find they’ve missed their boat for the right opportunity.

I hope you found this post useful. I know I’m writing some opinions that might stir the pot. Feel free to comment below and join in on the conversation.

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: The Power Of Family

Happy young family having fun running on beach at sunset

Or so the saying goes. I’ve been thinking a little bit about how my friendships have gone over the years and how things are so different now.

I used to think my friendships were everything. Ten years ago I had a group of friends from high school. We basically promised to be friends forever. But over a ten year period we all kind of fell off. At first I would get jealous when I perceived that I was being left out of a group. Like say I wasn’t invited to a random brunch or if I wasn’t included in a group text where some inside joke happened.  And to be honest, I WAS being left out by them. I wouldn’t call myself the most interesting or exciting person be be around at 18, true friendships just seemed to allude me.

So I felt really lonely during that time. What I didn’t realize was that I still had my family and that was my rock in life. During that lonely period, I didn’t realize that I was still going home every weekend and spending time with my sisters and my parents. They were in the background while I was out trying to keep my friends and make friends.

Then I got married and had a blessing child, one that I was neither prepared for nor mature enough for. I was 24.  All the friends that said they would help me out and visit when my child was born, gone. Ghosted. They were too busy traveling and partying. I guess that’s life. The weakest ties are the first ones to break.

It’s something I really didn’t value when I was younger. My cousins who are in the US are literally 3 hours away and I just felt so different from them. But now that I live closer, we text and chat and do eachother favors like no time has passed. I helped my cousin fix her resume so she could be a practicing esthetician and she helped me with some beauty treatments.

When I married my husband, I was marrying him but I didn’t realize that meant I was marrying into his family too. That can go either way depending on who you’ve married. I’ve heard stories of marriages and relationships being bliss until a mother in law steps in and places seeds of doubt into the husbands mind and undermines his wife.  Or the sister that likes to walk around in short shorts around your husband.  (Yes, I’ve seen this happen to someone I knew and it wasn’t pretty).  But I got lucky and his family is pretty amazing.  I just love that he has a large extended family.  Like 10 aunts and countless cousins.  It can be so confusing to remember everyones name but over time I kind of just became like one of them.

Every year they do a holiday party and its pretty awesome to be part of another family you weren’t born into.  Aunts and Uncles catching up.   His cousin Clara was telling me her career plans while I shared a few tips of my own.  And all of us sharing drinks and cheering to another year together and good company.  It just seems so much more effortless with family.  Family makes time for each other.

Meanwhile me and my “friends” want to meet up and it becomes:

“Oh wait, I realized I have a thing that day, can we change it” Of course this comes last minute after everyone else makes the commitment to meet on a certain day.

Or, “Thats so inconvenient, let’s meet closer to my place.  That restaurant is just too far from where I am and I’ll have to spend $ in order to get there.”  Meanwhile, it’s just as far for everyone else.

Or, “Don’t invite ____, me and her aren’t talking.”

Maybe women are just catty like that and don’t know how to be good friends.  But these kind of rude interactions are a freaking regular occurrence.

Or maybe I was looking for friends that had a bond like family, when really only family can treat you like family.

True friendship is probably the hardest thing to maintain and accomplish and I have yet to find it.  A true friend is someone who always has your back and through thick and thin.  They will support you, or at least listen to your problems.  They don’t get jealous of your good fortune or try to shoot you down.  They laugh with you and find moments of happiness to reflect on.

It’s sad, but I’ve never had a friendship like this.   My marriage is like this, but never a friendship.  The closest I’ve ever had was with that friend that ghosted me.  The friendship was great until we had our own families and decided to go our own ways.

I’m not saying that all friendships will fall apart.  I’ve certainly seen many friendships that surprisingly were able to with stand decades.  But friendship, like any other relationship requires effort, time, respect, and forgiveness.  People in my experience, just don’t have that kind of commitment in them.  Some people can’t even commit to their own families.  So I think it’s harder to find a true friendship like that.

So yes, blood is thicker than water.  In most cases that is.  I hope all of you reading this can take a moment and appreciate the value that family can have in your life.  Don’t be like me and realize this nearly 30 years later in life.

Some great quotes on family that I think capture it’s true importance

“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” ~ Michael J. Fox

“Family is a unique gift that needs to be appreciated and treasured, even when they’re driving you crazy. As much as they make you mad, interrupt you, annoy you, curse at you, try to control you, these are the people who know you the best and who love you.” ~Jenna Morasca

“You need a strong family because at the end, they will love you and support you unconditionally. Luckily, I have my dad, mom and sister.” ~Esha Gupta

Feel free to check out my other posts:

The Power Of Positivity

Stand Up For Yourself, Even When You Have Everything To Lose

On Gratitude…

The Power Of Change

My Favorite Dating Book: Why Men Love Bitches

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Why Men Love Bitches by Sherry Argov is my number one dating book recommendation for women who feel like their not getting what they want out of their dating experience.

I will give this recommendation with a caveat. Essentially it is a book that talks about how to get a very specific type of man and keep him interested. The book doesn’t talk to much about the type of men that like bitches. But after reading, I got the vibe that this book is talking about men who are objectively attractive, somewhat respectful, intelligent, and has his shit together. Pretty much the man every woman wants when she says she wants a decent man.

When I picked up this book at 23 years old I was going through a lot of guy problems.   I was asking, “Where are all the good men?”   I just didn’t understand why guys would show interest in me and then not follow through.  Like, I was pretty, interesting and educated. What was I doing wrong? The thing was, I was also too agreeable, too available and too naggy. I wasn’t setting boundaries or setting standards. I didn’t know how.  I often wondered why some women got everything without even an effort.  And why men found certain, more assertive and confident, women attractive.   Meanwhile, I was bending over backwards to impress guys and keep them wanting more.  I wanted to learn how to attract a good man and also keep him.  I wanted to find a man who was husband material.

What I especially like about this dating book was the stories. There are some really relatable stories. There was Crystal who, after her date told her that he wanted to stay friends, stood him up when he tried to get him to booty call her. She said, sure, just wait for me outside with an umbrella so I won’t get wet when I get there. 3 hours later after thinking she was 5 mins away, he gets a brick to the face of cold, hard reality. She was never gonna come over and be that booty call.

There was also Jen who, though very pretty and confident, thought she should exercise her sexuality freely and early.  Jen gave the juju bean too early, usually within 1-2 dates and was shocked when a guy she really liked asked her, “how often she had sex on a first date.”  Sherry makes it clear, you’ve got to be perceptive about the different ways you can be perceived.  Even if it’s a one off type of one night stand, be prepared for the assumptions that could be made.

I like how Sherry just tells it how it is.  She’s not exactly politically correct, she takes a more traditional stand on when a woman should have sex.  Sex is available to women fairly easily, so using it to get a guy to spend time with you isn’t anything special.  Rather, how a a guy treats you after he’s been satisfied will tell a lot about what he thinks.

Why Men Love Bitches also did it’s homework.   She did an extensive amount of interviews with men and women to get what they thought on a lot of topics.  She discovered a lot of secrets about men through their testimonials

One of the men she interviewed admitted that men are addicted to the thrill of the chase.  Sherry uses a lot of comparisons but I think the best one is that the chase is comparable to watching a close football game.  If the score is 47-3 it’s not really exciting but if we’re talking 24-24, suddenly it’s the best game he’s ever seen.

I think her section on sex answered a lot of questions I had.  “How long is too soon to have sex?  What if he decides he doesn’t want to wait?  Am I being a tease?”  Hearing someone answer these questions for me, really helped me be confident in my choices.

Every man has an ego and Sherry teaches you how to gracefully handle the male ego while staying feminine.  She explains that men and women have masculine and feminine energy and that they kind of work as a sort of ying and yang that complete each other.  The issue most women have is that they try to use masculine energy to keep up with their men and impress them.   He likes football?   Make sure he knows that you know every single stat going on in the season.  Hoot louder than he does at the games.  Curse obscenities dirtier than him when the team loses.  Sure…that’s the way to his heart.  Not!  With feminine energy, you can get men to work with you, not against you, for a common goal.

Why Men Love Bitches also talks about walking away and having that power. She has what she calls “From Doorman To Dreamgirl Rules.”  You always need to have a sense of independence.  Don’t talk about the relationship.  Don’t talk about fixing the relationship. Don’t talk about how to make the relationship better. She basically says that your actions will speak for the direction you want the relationship to go.  Words are empty and not worth the effort.  Your actions and what you’ll put up with will say more than words ever could.

Some of my favorite Sherry Argov quotes are:

“Being a bitch isn’t about exuding a certain kind of arrogance.  Contrary to what the media would have us believe, it doesn’t matter how hip, cool or cocky you appear to be.  Power is the control you have over yourself.”

“When a man treats a woman with disrespect and she takes it, he begins tools respect for her.”

“And if you feel like you’re going to resent something after you give it, don’t give it. Give only what feels comfortable to give.”

There are so many great quotes and great ideas here   I could talk more about it, but I don’t want to spoil it for you.  Let’s just say that this is a book I recommend to all my girlfriends, it will help a lot with your dating life.  I’ve read it a few times and have gathered so many gems.

I do wish there was an updated book on how to deal with this whole online dating/ hookup culture that is now prevalent in our society.  The book was written in 2009 but things are so much different now with Tinder, OKCupid, Instagram and all the other ways that have made dating a pain.

Overall, this is the best dating book for those who want to understand the behavioral differences between women and men.  Also a great read for those who are marriage minded and want to find their life partners.

Hope you liked this post. Please like, share, and follow!

Check out my other posts:

Dear Single Friends, This Is Why You Are Still Single. Love, Your Married Friend.

and

Dating in Your 30s vs Dating In Your 20s

My Best Friend Ghosted Me

Single woman alone swinging on the beachI remember graduating from high school and some of the girls were crying. We were all excited about our next chapter in our lives.  But those girls were bawling their eyes out.   They knew. They KNEW things were going to be different and that the comfortable shelter of childhood was coming to an end.

I had a best friend.  Let’s just call her M. She was middle eastern and both her and I suffered from some light bullying, so I guess we both found solace knowing we both came from strict households and were the outliers in the high school social scene. She lived 4 blocks from my house and, even now, I remember what her room looked like. For some time she shared it with her Grandmother and had soccer posters up and Turkish evil eye jewelry laying around. We would spend our free time in high school working at Auntie Anne’s pretzel shop at the mall, I got a job there and brought her in. She was the first one to get a car and would drive me home from school from our after school activities. We did a school dance show and came up with a belly dance routine together, we joined the school play and did orchestra.  We got drunk for the first time together. I remember passing notes and gossiping about the boys we liked.  I was her maid of honor in her wedding.  I thought she was a true friend.

We honestly shared a lot of great memories.   I can’t go back more than 5 years without finding a picture of a moment we shared.   But now we don’t talk or text and it’s been this way for a while.

We just kinda stopped talking. I would send her texts and try to make plans and they weren’t reciprocated. Nothing.  A text would just not get much of a response. Plans would be cancelled last minute. It sucked.  All I wanted to know was why my friend is ignoring me.

A part of me wants to believe that friendships sometimes can drift apart and that maybe that they can be brought back together somehow and be the way they were.

But another part of me is like, “F that B*tch!”

Life didn’t keep us from being friends. Sending a text is nothing now. Keeping up to date and making quick call takes no time. We’re no longer friends now because one day she decided she didn’t want to spend time with me.  SHE decided she didn’t want to be a good friend.

I was noticing other things though. Like how she would make time for other friends, she would post pictures of them doing things and making plans together. I know, I know… I shouldn’t be comparing myself to other people and focusing other people’s social media highlight reels. But I couldn’t really shake the feeling that our friendship wasn’t drifting apart but rather suddenly ending.  My friend was not there for me.

M stopped liking my stuff except for really positive items. Once in a while I’d get a random text like, “oh hey, how are you? It’s just been so busy but we have to hang out soon!” But then no real plans would materialize from her end.

I guess this is how it feels to be ghosted by your best friend.

My husband asked about her last night, “What happened to M? How couldn’t you guys just stop talking like that? For literally no reason?” I cringed inside when he said that, because I don’t really know either.  If I think too much about it, I start to question all the things I did to deserve the ghosting.  Maybe I wasn’t there for her either, maybe I’m too selfish.  Maybe I wasn’t good enough? The truth I need to accept is that maybe I’ll never know.   Human nature is a fickle thing.

The hardest part is that this happened during the toughest part of my life. I had an unexpected pregnancy, was failing career wise, was struggling to pay bills, and drowning in debt. It would have been nice to have my best friend there. It would have been nice to been part of her hardships too. But she stopped being my friend.

Things have changed for me now. I have new friends, not really a best friend now but good friendships that are understanding, light and easy. My relationship with my sisters have replaced that best friendship I lost. We call eachother weekly. I call my mom too. I have K’s family and sisters in my life.  One friendship was lost, but so much as been gained at the same time.  I really need to think of it that way.

I don’t know what I would do if M suddenly tried to pop back in my life. Life has gotten better for me since we stopped talking, that’s for sure. It seems a shame to let 10+ years of friendship fizzle out.

But what’s the quote people like to use?

“If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best?”

I feel kind of silly being this grown ass woman worrying about friendships from my childhood.  Like I should be past these kind of disappointments by now, right?  But friendships were a major part of my life when I was growing up.  From ages 14-24 I had a best friend who was like a sister to me.  My friendships and relationships were the most important thing to me and it was even more important to keep them.  If you would have told 18 year old me that in seven years I would no longer be talking to M, I would have called you a liar.  I would have never believed it.  It would have been unfathomable to me.

Maybe that’s part of growing up though, its accepting that friendships and even relationships can’t last forever.  Two people aren’t even obligated to keep in touch after so many years.  M doesn’t owe me anything and I should really stop having these kinds of expectations on people.

Part of growing up is realizing that people can grow apart and sometimes the ship’s just sailed.

I hope you enjoyed this post.  Please feel free to like, share and follow.

Please check out my other similar posts:

When Good Enough Is Okay

Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 18

 

 

Dating in Your 30s vs Dating In Your 20s

I still have single friends and after a night out together and sharing our latest stories/happenings I realized that the dating game absolutely changes as you get older.

A few my friends who were definitely carefree and wild in their 20s are now seeing that dating in their 30s is more of a purposeful search for a life partner.

And though I’m no longer part of the dating scene I’ve learned a few things second hand from both girlfriends and guyfriends on what’s changed.

In Your 20s:

It’s More Superficial: I remember going to get ready for clubbing on a night out and analyzing ever single thing about my outfit, my hair and my makeup. Clubs are actually really gross and sweaty places and by the end of the night I looked like a train wreck but that didn’t really matter because I needed to look perfect. I mean, you never know who you’ll meet on a night out. (I met no one worth mentioning BTW). I found that a lot of relationships during this time in life are built on what the other person brings to the table. How good someone looks, what career they are studying for or just starting. These are great things to consider but in your 30s you realize that a persons character holds a lot more weight.

It’s Aimless But Full Of Learning Experiences:

I think a lot of people view their 20s as a time to explore and find out their preferences. Very few people feel ready to make a long term, marriage type relationship. It’s a period where where you date assh*les and b*tches, then learn that dating assh*oles and b*tches are a waste of time. You also learn your sexual preferences and desires and realize that these things are non negotiable and an essential part of any loving and meaningful relationship.

More Insecure:

Most 20 year olds are insecure. Often about different things, your looks, your career, where you fit in the scheme of things. It’s such a strange time in your life. You literally just finished being a child from 10-20 years old and now you’re expected to have it all figured out when your 20-30 with what career you have and who you’re dating and how you fit into the world. In my 20s, I felt like I was playing a role, a role of who I thought a 20yr old version would be. All my relationship problems circled around my partner helping me feel more secure and validating me and fitting into the role I thought he should be playing. Or me trying to fit into someone else’s role. It wasn’t really healthy.

You’re At The Peak Of Your Youth: I remember being 25, looking at myself in the mirror and thinking “It’s going downhill from here.” I was at the peak of my beauty/youth and no matter how I try to chase it, I’m only getting older. I was so used to rolling out of bed and just throwing on some lipgloss and eyeliner and being ready to go. At 29, I feel more confident in my looks but can’t help but notice the circles under my eyes that don’t go away or the way my eyes crinkle when I smile. Not to say that only 20-25 year olds can be considered attractive, older women and men can still be attractive but there’s something about being that age that just gave me more energy and life. I guess it was also about attitude. When your whole life is in front of you, there’s so much optimism. As a 29 year old, I have a better idea of how the world works and am not misguided about ideals on how the world should work.

In Your 30s

It’s Meaningful: after one too many meaningless hookups or going nowhere relationships, you realize that the superficial doesn’t really make you happy. You want a connection, someone to come home to at the end of the day, someone who shares the same interest and, hopefully, someone to build a family with. You want someone with character who treats everyone respectfully and stands up for the people around them.

It’s Purposeful: I think women really start looking for a life partner closer to 25-30 while men start looking around 30-35. As we get older we realize that life is too short to spend with people who are short lived in your life. I realized happiness was with the people around me not with how many people I had around me. This became an important life lesson that relationships and friendships needed a purpose for being there and you need to be able to give value to their lives too. In essence, relationships are a two way street and a one way relationship, either on your part and on the other persons part, is going to be a waste of time.

You Know What You Want:

After all the mishaps and mistakes, you finally know what you’re looking for. Each breakup, each unrequited love, each disappointment has brought you closer to the truth of what you need in your life. What a relief it is to finally know that your previous relationships weren’t in vain but were more of a stepping stone for where you need to be. You’re less likely to settle or jump into a relationship just because you can. You’re more likely to pursue compatibility and look towards the long term future of your partners.

You’re Independent:

I’m so independent now. I’m settled into my career, don’t need any help financially, my debt is nearly settled and I have a 401k. I’m able to eat a meal in public by myself without feeling weird and am able to stay home on a Friday Night without feeling bad about it. I can get to where I need to go without asking for a ride and feel much more in control of my life. I think 30s is when you start REALLY feeling like an adult capable of holding your own and it feels amazing being able to confidently manage my own life. I really stopped relying on other people to make me happy and started focusing on making happiness a choice and owning that choice. This helps you bring more to a relationship where you’re not looking for someone else to fill the void either financially or spiritually. It makes you more of a catch when you’ve let go of your baggage and hangups. I like to think of it like two wholes coming together.

Let me know how you’ve changed between 20s and 30s in your relationship. Feel free to like, follow, share or comment if you felt this post was useful. 🙂

Check out my other post Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 18 and Dear Single Friends, This Is Why You Are Still Single. Love, Your Married Friend.

Dear Single Friends, This Is Why You Are Still Single. Love, Your Married Friend.

This post is not meant to be a personal attack on single people or say marriage is better than being single. This post is for single people that want to be married and want advice from a married person.

I don’t know if this post will be popular or if I will get a lot of backlashed comments but here we go…

1. You are unrealistic: I hate to put it this way but the dating scene is a market like any other. We all come with strengths and weaknesses. Pluses and minuses. We can’t all get prince charming or the hottest babe at the beach. You really get what you bring to the table. And you need to be honest with yourself with what it is and manage your expectations. Declaring yourself a “bad bitch” and “all that” is great talk. But are you independent? Are you compassionate? A good cook? Caring? Genuine? Breakups usually happen when one or two people in a relationship realize that there was a misrepresentation somewhere and there isn’t any true compatibility.

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2. You’re selfish: I have single friends who are this type. Demand, demand, demand. They make their partners jump through hoops, complain about everything their partner does wrong. Does not share time with their partner but expects their partners to drop everything for them. These selfish types are usually lots of fun but leave a string of heartbreak and disappointment behind them.

3. White nights/Florence Nightingales: they love to make people people better, even at their own expense. They are the opposite of the selfish type. They enable but eventually resentment slips in for all the “sacrifices” they made in the relationship. Most of all they need to be with partners they can accept, not change.

4. Peter Pans: they are never going to grow up. Time is not on their mind and they think they have all the time in the world to find a partner. They are not mature enough and they know it. They are afraid of making the wrong decision so they avoid making decisions in their life that have long term meaning

5. No self love: this is probably the most important and underlying problem. This probably underlies problems 1-4. Self love is so important. Not loving yourself, understanding yourself, accepting yourself and working on yourself can cause a whole set of behavioral problems. Accept your own faults and then work on them. We aren’t perfect but we need to accept ourselves and grow.

I think the key to a life partner is self love, genuine love and care for your partner and the right expectations. It’s easier said than done but relationships are a lot of work. It can be easy to some and harder to others. Long term relationships can be so rewarding, but they often don’t come easy.

This post is meant to inspire and create conversation. As my first post on relationships, feedback is most appreciated