Communicating

On Being Sex-Positive

my-meme (1)

One of the great things happening at the moment, thanks to the internet, and awesome people, is the idea of “being sex positive”. This doesn’t mean that you like sex, because come one, everyone likes to have sex. But rather, the idea that talking about sex, in an open and educational manner is something we should all be doing more of. So, I decided to put together a bunch of great people who educate, discuss, and encourage a healthier attitude towards “sex dialogue”.

Sexual education needs to understand that it isn’t enough to just educate people about STD’s but also about how to have sex, and more importantly how to have good sex. But given the vastness that is the internet, and porn being a rather lacking authority on the subject, I put together a bunch of people and sources that are doing a great job at being sex educators, while doing so in a positive and fun manner.

I know I talk a whole lot about sex ed, and I did a post ages ago about why sex-ed and learning more is so important,  but sometimes it really is hard to sift through the bad advice, and find the good stuff. So I tried to put together a list of it!

 

My first recommendation is Laci Green (her youtube channel)

You can find her more practical advice channel here

The next thing I’m going to have you check out is Sex Nerd Sandra, on the Nerdist.com



This amazing podcast is also REALLY funny and REALLY informative. It embodies pretty much every aspect of sex you can think of: technique, safe-sex, tips, fetishes, S&M, relationship advice, open communication, toys and much more. Not to mention the cast are hilarious to listen to.

She also has a youtube channel, you should definitely look into as well.

And a blog: http://sexnerdsandra.com/

This particular episode features Christopher Ryan, Author of Sex at Dawn and is really worth taking an hour to listen to.

 

Here are some great sites and blogs that are out there:

Em & Lo- They just give great advice.

NSFW Sunday- A weekly collection of random sex related information.

Jamie Waxman- Beyond The Bedroom- She is just awesome, check her out.

Jaiya

Sexis Social- Sex, sex toys and other bedroom conundrums.

Sex Rules with Maria Falzone

 

Literature:

She Comes First,  Sex at DawnMating in Captivity, Big Big Love, & Penis Power: The Ultimate Guide to Male Sexual Health.

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Getting Over A Breakup- The Rules

800px-Tear

via nessaLand

And this week for another fab guest post by Noorinayat (who also wrote this).

A breakup can be one of the hardest things you can go through, especially if it wasn’t on the nicest of terms or if you weren’t the one to initiate it.

It’s not just the pain, that can sometimes even manifest physically. It’s not just the emotional distress, the hurt, the sense of betrayal and abandonment. It’s not the sense of loss you feel as your strongest bond in broken, sometimes brutally, and you wade helplessly in a wide open sea of memories.

It’s that sometimes, you just don’t know what to do, how to be whole again, how to be yourself again after spending such a long time being a part of something built for two.

Navigating a break-up can be a very tricky business. Not trusting your internal compass, which has been thrown off by the turmoil you are going through, you seek outside help; luckily, there’s no dearth of advice on the internet about how to get over your breakup: Get your hair done, get a manicure, get fit, eat ice cream, get even more fit, eat even more ice cream. Some advice columns promise you that if you act a certain way, you’ll get him or her back. Others try to make you see what a jerk he or she was.

Yet others miss the mark entirely, telling you that if only you had done this or that, if only you hadn’t nagged, or shown insecurity and vulnerability, or demanded a show of commitment (God forbid), you wouldn’t have lost them.

Yeah, I’ve read all of it, and tried to follow some of the advice, and now I’d like to present you with ten tried and tested tips that’ll help you get over them (assuming that’s what you want to do). In (mostly) chronological order:

1. Cry. Don’t shut down. Cry it out if you feel like you want to, don’t be ashamed. Cry, shout, throw something at the wall if you have to (but please refrain from throwing things at the other person, seeing as that will probably end with being booked for assault charges). You need to let it out! Don’t keep it all inside you because it will weigh you down and burden you.

2. If you are to let this person go entirely, you have to mourn properly. Look through old letters and heartfelt poems, their thoughtful little gifts to you. Then throw all of that away (or keep it in the attic if you really can’t help it) and don’t look back.

3. Talk. Open up to your friends and relatives, yeah, the ones you barely spoke to while you were with your significant other. Talk, hang out, watch funny episodes of something, go to the beach, have brunch, go shopping. Make new memories with the people who were closest to you before you ever met the person you are now parted from. Reconnect with your family. If you feel like they can’t understand or that you want professional support, seek therapy.

An important addendum: surround yourself with positive, supportive people who make you happy. If someone in your life is bringing you down at this time, try to limit your contact with them until you are stronger.

An even more important addendum: your ex, by virtue of being an ex, is no longer part of your support system and you shouldn’t turn to them for comfort at this time. Sure, you might want closure, but in the case of a bad breakup it’s better to cut or at least minimize contact than to try to get answers from someone who wants to hurt you. But even if things were mutual, you have to start adjusting yourself to the fact that they are no longer part of your life and support system.

4. Do what you need to rebuild your sense of self-worth and regain your self-esteem, whatever that may be. A new haircut, nail polish, wearing sexy dresses for a week, flirting, dating (hopefully while steering clear of awkward rebound situations or of hurting someone who gets hooked on your when you’re emotionally unavailable) — do what it takes for you to emerge a stronger, more confident person.

5. Do what you need to reconnect with yourself. What keeps you occupied most of the time? What makes YOU happy? Throw yourself (for a while, don’t overdo it!) into your job, studies and hobbies and channel your hurt and anger into hard work. Not only will you feel more fulfilled and accomplished, you also might have a thing or two to add to your resume.

6. Express yourself. Fond of writing? Write down all the conflicting emotions you have been bombarded with since the breakup, the dreams, the memories, everything. Everything is ok: don’t judge yourself for the myriad thoughts you are thinking or for being confused. Just let it out. Are you more of a musician? Express yourself that way. You might just write a masterpiece!

7. Analyze. Instead of beating yourself up over what you could’ve/should’ve done to prevent the breakup, take a cold, hard look at the relationship itself. Was it what you thought it was? Was it healthy? Were you truly happy? Were your emotional and other needs being met? Was your partner supportive and respectful? Were they really right for you? Be as objective and honest as you can (friends/family/a therapist can help).

That said, it’s important not to get stuck for too long in the wallowing part. It’s hard to move on, but you need to find a way to start!

Once you can see your relationship in a more objective light, you might find that it wasn’t really the best thing for you (this might take a few months/years, but it is important to learn from the experience as well as move past it).

This rings true especially if the breakup was one-sided or nasty: someone who respects, loves and truly cares about you will not suddenly walk out on you one fine day. There’s no need to rationalize cruel, demeaning and disrespectful behavior by convincing yourself that “nobody said it would be easy, anything is worth going through for love” or “they were perfectly supportive and loving except for those few times.”

8. Learn. Learn what you need and want from a partner and relationship, learn to realize what you deserve, learn which behaviors you will never again agree to put up with. Once you are rid (as much as possible) of any feelings of guilt over the end of the relationship (“it was all my fault that they left”), learn what you yourself could have done differently to prevent things from reaching the boiling point (should you have ended the relationship months ago instead of dragging it on for so long?), and what you can do better next time. Try not to beat yourself up or judge yourself… just recognize that you can grow from this, and learn.

9. Forgive. Not just them, but yourself especially. You have to help yourself heal by being soft, not hard on yourself. Remember that everyone makes mistakes. Also, don’t have unrealistic or harsh expectations of yourself (“Why am I not over it by now? Why can’t I be stronger?” Remember that you are strong for struggling with this) — time does heal all, but you can help it along!

10. Regain your faith in and positive view of relationships and love, as well as your trust in people. This is extremely important: your attitude to life and love, the optimism and hope you once had when it came to starting new relationships, was probably significantly compromised by your breakup.

But you have to make sure that’s temporary: you can and will love again, it will be just as strong/good/right and probably even better (as you are now wiser and more experienced), you just have to be open to something new and wonderful coming your way instead of wallowing in pessimism or dwelling on the past.

Best of luck, and do comment if you need more advice! 

Rule #52- Getting Off The Sidelines (and Going on a Date)

Via National Maritime Museum, Magnus Manske

Just like when knowing someone is worthwhile and a good match for you, and you can just feel that tingly feeling in your bloodstream when they walk into the room, it’s also important to make the distinction who NOT to date. Or more importantly WHEN not to date.

On the one hand, there is a lot of pressure if you are single to date. Because maybe, just maybe, the next blind date you go on will turn out to be the one. Now, I’m not saying that they won’t; just that sometimes you might feel pressured into going out on dates you don’t really want to be on, with people you don’t really want to be with. Worse yet, you might convince yourself, for any number of reasons, to give people a chance – just one more date, and one more – when they aren’t really right for you.

The problem is finding a balance between not dating at all, and not getting “out of shape”.

Well, dating isn’t exactly a muscle, but it does  require exercise and growth. If you never go out on dates, or form relationships while waiting around for Mr. or Miss Right (that person who will be the right fit for YOU), how will you know what to do – hell, or what to look for when they come along? The fairy tales that nourished our mind’s as children perpetuated this myth that when the right person magically appears, everything will just fall into place. But what we tend to ignore is that fighting the dragon was a hell of a hard job.

The only way to build a relationship is with a lot of hard work. The only way to know if the relationship isn’t working for you,  or if this person isn’t working for you, or if the dynamic  between the two of you is just not right, is experience! And unfortunately for us, experience demands quite a bit of sweat, tears and heartache!

While some lessons are best learned the hard way (you hopefully won’t repeat mistakes that burned you the first time around after you refused to heed the sage advice of others), This may be of help:

1. Don’t date unless you feel like putting the effort into this person. Because if you don’t feel like investing your time in them to “see where it can go”, there really isn’t any point in starting something up. Mostly because this isn’t fair to them. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give people a chance, but if you do decide to give things a go, then do it properly.

Sometimes. it’s also important to recognize potential. If you meet someone special, or have a click with someone new, give it a chance and see where it goes. It might not work out, but you will have learned something new. Every interaction, be it good or bad, teaches us something, provided we are able to look deeply into ourselves and the relationship and reflect on it. And I promise you this (cliche warning) – when that someone does come along, you will be glad that you learned all those lessons beforehand.

2. Don’t go on a date with someone you intend to dump at the end of the evening!  Whatever your motive is, pity, pressure from your mum or even the prospect of a free dinner, just don’t.

3. Go on dates with people you feel you already have things to talk about, or in common. If you already have a good starting point, be it attraction or things in common, there is probably a greater chance it isn’t going to be a complete waste of an evening.

4. The less you get out, the more you are not going to want to go out. Because let’s face it, the thought of staying in your warm bed with a hot water bottle, and all the episodes of the shows you haven’t  caught up on, is way  more tempting than having to make small talk with a stranger. But you have to break this cycle! It’s time to stop dating your laptop (even though it may very well be better company than your prospective date) and go out!

5. Maybe it’s time to un-friend zone that really cute guy/girl that you have been constantly flirting with for months (or just admit they were never really in the friend zone to begin with)! You already know you have tons to talk about and that you will both have a good time. You probably shouldn’t come to this decision lightly (not to mention out of desperation), but it’s probably worth considering.

6. Learn to open up more to people. Not dating for ages will probably make you suspicious of new people, and make it harder to open up to them, connect on a deeper level and form a relationship. My advice is to make some new friends as an exercise, or open up more to your old ones; it’s important you learn how to trust again, even if you were hurt in the past. You need to learn to be vulnerable with people, because let’s be honest, it’s vulnerability that is the basis of a good relationship.

7. Go out with friends more! No I don’t mean necessarily to pubs and dancing, but rather to social events. House parties, concerts, singles mixers in the religious denomination of your choice. There is a much higher chance that you will run into new people with whom you have more in common if you already share a social circle, community or some interests, like God or your favorite band.

8. Reclaim your mojo!  Chances are that if you haven’t been on a date in a while you probably don’t feel all that secure about the whole thing, so do something to reconnect with yourself. Try salsa dancing or yoga or buy that new dress or those new shoes you’ve been salivating over, imagining how jaw-droppingly good you would look in them. Getting in touch with your body, or just plain pampering yourself, will make you feel much more confident in you – and by extension, with that special someone.

9. Sometimes it really isn’t a good time to start a new relationship (stress from work/family issue and so forth). It’s perfectly fin to put your foot down and tell your pestering  aunts (yes, even the ones that only exist in your head), that now is not the time to start something new, because you just don’t have the emotional and mental capacity for it. That said, “I’m focusing on myself/my career at the moment” is sometimes not just an excuse we give to someone we’re trying to blow off, but a line we may be constantly repeating to ourselves in order to avoid putting ourselves out there.

You just have to accept that part of dating is risking getting hurt, but that isn’t an excuse not to try! 

10 Things You Must Do On First Dates

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

Make Sure It Is In Fact A Date

These days it has become confusingly common practice to just “hang out” with someone. This ambiguous and muddling invite will probably cause you to get all dressed up, go out with someone, and spend the whole evening with the added anxiety of not being sure if this date is really a date. Ambiguity sucks, so if you’re the one doing the asking just make it clear that it’s a date. If you’re on the asked side of the equation, trust me, the ten seconds of embarrassment for the misunderstanding are so much better than an entire night’s worth of confusion. Not to mention if you hug warmly at the end, that will earn you another week of frustration.

So, now that you are both sure you are actually on a date:

Pick Somewhere Nonthreatening &…

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Rule #51- Sleeping it Off

via perumalism, Till Krech

I’ve decided to examine this seemingly agreed-upon idea that states that one should never go to bed angry. That the key to a happy well-rounded relationship is that all pending drama be resolved before one’s head hits the pillow.

The only problem with this seemingly good advice is that switching off your angry button just before bed can be easier said than done — in which case, we are told to just sleep it off. For example, some of us can never fall asleep when they are cross (because we obsessively replay the fight in our heads until sleep is impossible) and the fact that when you go to bed angry there is a very large possibility that you will also wake up angry (if not angrier, because you were deprived of half the night’s sleep due to a loop of possible arguments you forgot to make the night before, and find yourself completely entrenched in your position by morning).

So, is sleeping it off really the best way of cooling off after a fight, or is talking things through before bed the better strategy?

1. The arguments got really heated, moreover you are really tired because it’s been a shitty long day, you didn’t have time to eat dinner and your usually wonderful other half has pissed you off. What could be a better end to this catastrophically long day?

You decide to go to bed and you wake up in the morning, and you partner looks all refreshed but you still feel like crap. Just because you both went to sleep “to cool the argument off” doesn’t mean it’s over, and even if one of you feels better in the morning, it doesn’t necessarily mean you both slept off last night’s hot tempers.

The fact that you went to bed doesn’t actually mean the argument is over, and it doesn’t mean you both feel better about the things you’d argued about. You know yourself and hopefully your partner as well, so think about it before you call it a night. Maybe you had better talk things through so you can go to bed semi-calm and not go to work the next day with an argument hangover.

2. Maybe the reason you picked a fight in the first place was because you were so pissed off after your long disgusting day and were just taking it out on your SO? If this is the case, maybe it would better to get some sleep rather than talk it out, because maybe after a few hours of slumber you might decide that the fact he forgot to pick up milk (even though you won’t be able to make a coffee in the morning to nurse your dire caffeine addiction) isn’t the end of the world and you can pick one up on the go.

That said, if it’s a much bigger fight than just blowing off steam at each other, sleep is probably not going to make one iota of difference, so it’s probably best NOT to put off any serious conversations until the morning.

3. Also, it’s quite likely your partner doesn’t realize you are probably just half mad at him and half really really tired. Not to mention they are probably all confused as to why you went all mental on them over something that small. This is why it’s important to be sensitive to each other: perhaps you should decide beforehand that if one of you comes home exceptionally pissed off from work, you tell the other person you just need some quiet time and then go into the other room and just watch some telly while binge eating biscuits (or something like that). Just tell your partner what you need after a rough day (in advance if possible), i.e. food/a hug/space. That way you guys can be more attentive to each other’s needs and preempt some unnecessary fighting.

4. If you do decide to go to bed, try not to be all passive aggressive about the whole thing, maybe avoid saying things like “I just can’t stand to look at you right now so I’m going to sleep.” Try something more along the lines of: “I’m just really tired and can’t think straight, so maybe we should talk about this after we’ve both had some sleep.”

5. Physical contact helps soften your temper (no, I don’t mean sex). Try cuddling, or holding hands, or some forms of contact that will help bridge the void you’ve created that runs down the middle of the bed.

6. If you had a fight, finished the fight, and are still all wired up on the one hand, but really physically and mentally exhausted on the other, maybe try and do something fun to wind down. Share a tub of ice-cream, watch and episode of some TV show you both like. You know, something fun and PG-13.

Bottom line is this, it doesn’t matter when you talk things threw as long as you do. Get to know each other, when it’s important to talk, and when it’s better to just back off and cool down (possibly for eight hours with your eyes shut).

Rule #50- People Don’t Change

via christopher, russavia, wiki commons

Change is a tough issue to tackle when it comes to relationships. I think we, as humans, need to believe that people have the capacity to change, to better themselves, but when it comes to the way we see partners or potential partners, the belief that change is possible usually comes with a few caveats, namely — if you kick off a relationship by betting on the possibility that your partner will change in some way, you may be getting yourself into a sticky situation.

I’m not saying people can’t change, I’m just saying that they probably won’t. Are you dating someone new? Are you considering reconnecting with that one particular ex that you just can’t shake the feeling was “the one that got a way,” a missed opportunity?

It’s probably best to start off by asking yourself: What’s changed? Why is this time any different, why are you any different? If you couldn’t make it work the first time around, why will it work now? Is your new boyfriend a serial monogamist who switches girlfriends every six months and it’s never his fault? Is he incapable of holding down a job, or deciding on a career? Can he not stick with any one city, or degree program, or plan for more than a couple of years? These things are too important to be overlooked, as they could very well point to an inability to stick with a relationship.

Why are you any different?

1. First of all you need to ask yourself why you are any different, or more specifically why the relationship is any different from any other aspect of your partner’s life. If he/she can’t hold down a steady job, or they move around every couple of years, what’s to say they aren’t going to get up and leave you too?

It’s important to ask yourself why this relationship is any different from anything else your partner is incapable of following through with…  It’s vital to notice not only how the person you are dating interacts with you, but how they treat all of their commitments: they may be the most wonderful, sweet, and giving person, but if he or she can’t live up to the other obligations they have going on, it’s very likely that at some point in the future, their commitment to you will also prove to be too much for them. So make sure you don’t end up missing important warning signs.

2. Rule #2 goes out to all those people who think they can change the person they are dating! You can’t! That just doesn’t happen outside the realm of chick flicks.

Start seeing your relationship for what it is now, and not what it has the potential to become if only he gets a steady job, or ends his porn addiction, or stops lazing around, or stops being selfish or uncommunicative, or stops blaming others for his shortcomings. Because if you don’t, well, you might be in for a rude awakening six months, or ten years down the line. But more importantly than that, you should like, respect and admire the person you are with for who they are, and not for who they will become if only they start or stop doing something.

If you need a project, take up knitting, not relationships, because at least knitting doesn’t have the built-in  danger of blowing up in your face.

3. If the person you are dating has a bunch of dirty habits that you can’t stand (or even just one) they are most  likely going to keep at it (yes, I’m talking about anything from smoking too much pot, to being a selfish jerk, to cheating on you). Either dump them or learn to live with it.

No, I’m not completely cynical, and I do believe there is the possibility that they will try and work on it for you. But that means that for starters you can’t fall into the beginning-of-relationship-trap of pretending that it doesn’t bother you. Moreover, you have also got to accept that he may just might continue forever to bite his toenails in bed, and that’s that (or do that other thing that drives you completely insane).

4. Thinking of reconciling with an old flame? First ask yourself this, where are you at? Are you still the same person you were when you two first dated? Because if the answer is yes, and the break-up was also your fault (as you know, it takes two to tango), you may be unhappy to discover that history has the nasty habit of repeating itself. Also, maybe they haven’t changed, but you have — maybe that starry-eyed person you used to be doesn’t exist anymore.

Ok, so maybe you are still the same person, just a little bit older and wiser, and just maybe this relationship isn’t the right fit for you anymore. But I will say this, just keep humming this as your new mantra because it will save you a lot of time, tears and anger: “people don’t change.” I do realize that this is probably the hardest truth about humanity for people to accept because it appears to negate lofty ideas about change and redemption.

Be it a part of their personality, a worldview, or behavioral pattern, people tend to treat all aspects of their lives in the same manner. So stop looking at your relationship as separate from all other things in your someone’s life, because it aint! It’s just another part of who they are.

The truth is, you will be much better off if you learn to accept your partner for who they are and not for what you wish that one day they will be. Because entering a relationship with a person as they are, and not as they might, should or will be, is always the safer bet.

Rule #49- Phone a Friend

via c. kennedy garrett, carelessly growing away from you

Ages ago I wrote a post  on why you shouldn’t overshare every little personal detail about your relationship with your friends. But it hadn’t occurred to me then that the reverse is also true: undersharing can be just as big a problem as oversharing.

Because there are those of us out there who are too shy/embarrassed, or for whatever other reason don’t talk about things that probably should be talked about.

In these cases, it’s usually postmortem that things start coming out.

Suddenly, after a break-up, you decide it’s alright to start talking about those problems you were incapable of voicing while you two were still and item. You start telling your friends about all the crap you went through during the relationship, and all the red flags you were too blind to see.

So, why SHOULD you talk to people about your relationship issues?

1. They are your friends, and have a vested interest in your well-being! (One would hope).

They care about what you’re going through and usually want to help. Even if they can’t offer you any productive advice, sometimes it’s great to just have someone take the time to listen.

Moreover, sometimes, just saying things out loud makes us see them differently and think about them in a new light.

2. They too have relationship experience! You don’t have to take their advice, but sometimes people can bring up points that are worth mulling over. New angles that hadn’t even occurred to us.

Maybe they went through exactly the same thing a few years ago and have some great input. Maybe they were too embarrassed to tell you about something similar that happened to them earlier because they thought YOU wouldn’t understand.

3. You know that feeling you get when you’re in love with someone, that you’re the only two people in the world?! (The bad kind, where you think no one else has ever gone though this, and no-one can possibly ever understand you?!). Well you ain’t! And it helps to know someone else has been exactly where you are, and got through it.

4. Your love-goggles might be on so firmly that you can’t  see the situation for what it is!

That’s why it’s important to introduce the person you are dating to your friends and family, they might be able to point out things you are too giddy with love (and hormones) to notice.

Sometimes, the people around us are just a little bit more objective, and can offer you an outsider’s opinion. Trust me, they aren’t trying to sabotage your relationship, they just care (unless of course they are, and then you might be better off with a therapist’s opinion).

5. If you’re scared to tell your friends about what’s going on in your relationship, you either have to find new friends that you trust not to judge you, or ask yourself why you’re afraid to tell them what’s going on.

If you’re too scared to hear the truth from someone else, then maybe you should be asking yourself if this person you are dating is good for you.

If you’ve found yourself at the point that you feel you need to hide what goes on behind closed doors from those people in your life that care about you most, maybe the relationship is what needs reconsidering. 

That said. Don’t forget that they are just that, not a part of the relationship, and you should take their advice with a pinch of good sense.

6. That said, take other people’s advice! If you’ve asked for it, and everyone has told you to dump your cabbage head girlfriend/boyfriend, they probably didn’t all have a secret meeting behind your back to gang up on you, they probably just see something that you can’t. Don’t ignore them! 

At the end of the day we all need support, and sometimes support from the person you’re dating (even if they are the most wonderful, loving and caring person in the world) isn’t always what you need. Your friends and family have been there for you consistently through every good and bad thing in life. If you shut them out of your relationship you’re basically snubbing your emotional safety-net, and come on, everybody needs to know they have an emotional safety-net, just in case things don’t work out. 

Rule #48- Milestones

Stones

Every relationship is composed of hundreds of different little milestones.

The first time you kiss, your first fight, the first time you realize that you’re in love with this whole other person.

The first time they discoverer you spend most of your free time writing a dating blog. You know, those run-of-the-mill milestones that mark every relationship.

But what WE perceive as important events, might be slightly different to what the person we are dating sees as important. After all, you both come with a lot of relationship baggage, and one can’t assume all expectations align off the bat. 

So, in order to avoid monumental misunderstandings try: 

1. Not everybody has the same idea of what constitutes a milestone.

Some people like to celebrate every little thing, and others are less sentimental. If your girlfriend wants to have a romantic dinner to celebrate every month you two have been together (you started dating four years ago) LET HER. What’s the harm?

If you think it’s too much, talk about it and find a compromise that suits you both. Maybe suggest an evening at home with a bottle of wine. Usually the gesture is what counts.

2. Accept that the person you are dating might see certain things as a bigger deal than you. Meaning, that just because you don’t think the anniversary of the first time you kissed is important, but they do, humor them! That’s what relationships are all about, accepting someone else’s little quirks.

Moreover, they want to mark these things because the relationship is important to them! Not because they want to bankrupt you.

YOU are important to them! That’s just how some people like to show it.

Making fun of someone just because they wanted to do something nice to mark the anniversary of the first time they sent you a message on FaceBook is highly counter-productive to the relationship, they will just resent you for it. They only bought you the flowers because FOR THEM it was something worth remembering, and as their partner you should get on-bored.

Yes, no matter how silly it seems to you. Sometimes you’ve just got to bite the bullet because it’s important to someone who is important to you.

3. Talk about things ahead of time in order to avoid situations in which you were expected to have planed something and forgot/ didn’t know you were supposed to.

Didn’t think he was going to be devastated you didn’t book a spa day for your six month anniversary?! You should have talked about whether or not you were planning to celebrate it and how.

In no way is it an awkward conversation, it doesn’t take more than a few minutes, Just talk discuss it.

That said, that doesn’t mean you can’t surprise them with something nice. Just because they said they didn’t want to do anything doesn’t mean you can’t do something for them. Just don’t go OVER THE TOP. 

4. If a certain date/life event/anniversary of something is coming up, don’t just drop passive-aggressive hints! 

Be upfront and clear that you would like to do something special to mark it.

On the downside you might not be surprised by the giant muffin basket and card on your front doorstep. But on the upside, you won’t get disappointed either (and end up fighting).

5. Celebrating things is fun! If anniversaries are too mainstream for you, find some other important occasion in your joint life that is worth commemorating.

It’s basically just an excuse to take a couple of hours out of your day-to-day routine to remember why you kinda of like each other in the first place.

Rule #47- The “A” Word

via Ellie-Rose, Lies Thru a Lens

Birth control is probably one of the more complicated contention points in a relationship, but I’m not going to talk about the subject today. 

Today we will be discussing the fact that sex has consequences! I mean come on, we all know that in the back of our heads, but we tend to pretend that “accidents” will NEVER happen to us (classic Fraud, I know).

With that mindset, we tend to have the ten minute “what method of birth control are we using honey?” conversation, and move on with our sex lives. But we tend to skim over the “what happens when birth control fails” part.

Now, I’m sorry men, but you’re not going to like what I’m going to say next. The bottom line is, your lady has the last say in what should ideally be a joint decision (seeing as it’s her body and all).

This means you should probably have the “what if” conversation early on in the relationship. This is so you don’t end up with completely different solutions should you ever end up in a sticky predicament. This is so you don’t end up  in a position where someone else is making a life altering decision for you. 

That’s that, you still both have a right to change your mind. 

But again, at the end of the day my good fellows, you will have to come to terms with the fact that this isn’t your body, and if you aren’t happy with your girlfriend’s opinion on the matter, you might want to consider abstinence as a preventive measure (because that always works best).

Maybe consider this: different opinions on how to handle said situation might mean you shouldn’t be having sex with this person in the first place. YES! It’s that much of a big deal that maybe it should be a relationship deal-breaker. 

I mean, come one, this could mean a potential whole other person that needs taking care of. Is that something you both want? Is abortion something that you are both comfortable with? The two of you should probably work these things out beforehand. 

So, what should you do?

1. Well, for starters, use birth control (daa).

2. Talk, talk, TALK about it ahead of time! Don’t wait for something to “go wrong” to find out what your partner’s stand on abortions is.

If your having sex with someone, you have a right to know what method of birth control they are using. Does it hurt when they pee? (Just kidding, kinda). And should it come to it, how they feel about abortions/having kids. 

3. Accept that there are probably only two viable solutions and that they both cost money. Seeing as there are two of you, you should both contribute.

4. Find a close friend to confide in (possibly a subjective as possible third party).

Sometimes, it helps to have someone else to regale your happy news/tales of woe too. Especially, if you two haven’t been going out very long, and you still don’t feel confident enough to have a complete emotional breakdown in front of them.

That is not to say I don’t think you should talk to them about it.  They have a right to know! Even if at the end of the day you decide to overrule their opinion. After all, fifty percent of the DNA used to cause “the situation” is theirs.

5. Don’t do anything stupid! Go see your Gyno and talk to her/him about all the options.

6. Obviously, this kind of problem (if it is a problem) is time sensitive! So snap out of the denial mode and talk to your Dr. and partner about all the options.

7. Be supportive of each other!

You’re both probably freaking out, and turning on one another really isn’t going to solve anything. It will  just destroy your relationship! Only proper emotional support will help you get through this as a couple. 

This isn’t either of your fault! (one hopes at any rate), These things just happen. Accept that you need to make a responsible decision, and make wiser birth-control choices in the future.

Abortions are such a complicated subject, and I wouldn’t dream of telling anyone how to deal with the issue beyond being honest, supportive of each other, and most importantly, responsible. At the end of the day, this isn’t the end of the world! If you deal with the situation together, and are there for each other, you will be able to get through it with your partnership intact.

Rule #46- Keeping the Faith

Praying_couple_@_Shwedagon_(4361022275)

via Roger Price, Fæ

I think these days researchers categorize religious disagreements as “unresolvable conflicts.”  I’m not sure to what extent I agree with this statement. But there is definitely something to be discussed as far as relationships go.

Can we date someone seriously who has religious beliefs different from our own? Or is it a non-issue and I’m just old fashioned?

I most certainly can’t call myself religious  I’m probably traditional at best, but I honestly can’t see myself dating someone of a different religion. Not because I believe god will revoke my pass into heaven, but rather because tradition and faith are so fundamentally part of my personality that I have trouble imagining myself living with someone who has a whole different set of them.

I sometimes wonder if maybe I’ve got it all backwards.  Maybe it’s enough that he believes in democracy, and he respects my place as a modern working woman. Maybe all those strange traditions that my ancestors  passed down to me are only secondary to my liberal modern upbringing.

Or are they?

I mean, at the end of the day I love celebrating the holidays. I want to keep those old traditions alive even when I have saved up enough to finally own my own house (fingers crossed that too will happen someday. That is, when I give up teaching, and get a job that actually pays).

So can it work?

I’ve decide to bring in back-up. 

This section was written by a friend of the blogger’s, who is from a secular-but-traditional family and in a happy relationship with a person whose beliefs and religious affiliation differ from hers, and thinks she knows a thing or two about dealing with the “religion issue” — that sometimes painful wedge that exists between the two of you when it comes to matters of faith, culture and tradition.

Back to “Can it work?”: that’s a trick question. When you’re just dating a person, religion isn’t as likely to come up and be a real problem. But when you get more serious about someone and bring them home to meet your parents (and grandparents), you’re bound to start asking yourself the “religion question”, and your significant other might be too.

But this question can have many different answers. If your family’s so traditional and if you belong to such a tight-knit community that you know the two of you won’t be able to be together unless you elope or even cut ties with your loved ones, you might want to come to terms with the fact that your relationship has an expiration date (or, well, just elope).

Bear in mind that being in a relationship your parents are adamant about not accepting will put a heavy strain on you, on your relationship and on your partner, who will want to share your pain. It might prove very difficult to cope without your parents’ moral and financial support, your mother’s hugs and your father’s advice (and occasional proud gaze). Worst of all, should your partner decide not to stick around, you’ll be left all alone to nurse your heartbreak with a healthy dose of “I told you so’s.”

This also depends on your partner’s religious orientation: if he’s technically of your religion but an atheist or of another caste, your parents might eventually come ‘round. If one of his parents is of your religion, your parents might eventually warm to him. If he’s of a different religion but you both share the same values, outlook or philosophy of life, you may have a chance. If he’s of a different religion but of the same culture, or moved to your country at a young age, it may well work, even if he’s of a different religion (my boyfriend and I are an example of this). But if he’s a devout Catholic from Poland and you’ve been raised as a devout Sikh from the Punjab, it might not work out so well for the two of you – because of cultural and religious differences alike. (Remember how in My Big Fat Greek Weddingthe protagonists were both Christians, but one was Greek Orthodox while the other wasn’t? And even after the groom agreed to become Greek Orthodox, the bride’s father still felt betrayed, because the groom wasn’t culturally/ethnically Greek?)

If, on the other hand, your parents are less religious, or more open, there’s a chance that they’ll accept your partner with open arms, even if you have to deal with a rocky start in the first few weeks. If your parents raised you in a secular and liberal home and they still don’t accept your boyfriend, you should ask yourself if maybe the religious issue is not at the heart of their rejection. For example, they may be wary of accepting him because they believe the religious differences preclude the possibility of your building a happy and harmonious home together, and if you convince them that you share the same values, they’ll accept your partner. (Of course, it’s possible that they just think he’s a jerk.)

Or perhaps they think the religious differences belie even bigger cultural differences, in which case you have to ask yourself if these differences are surmountable. Or perhaps they worry about your legal status: will you be able to marry this man legally in your country, and will you be entitled to full rights as a married couple? Does your country have civil marriage? Does your religious denomination recognize mixed marriages? What will the status of your children be?

If you haven’t asked yourself these questions yet, you may find that they are crucial to figuring out if there’s a chance for the two of you – and they’re probably the questions running through your parents’ head, and the reason for their objection to your union.

Under what conditions can it work?

First of all, religion can be many things. It can be  a set of childhood memories of holidays or the name you were given by your parents, but not necessarily something that has had a real impact on you growing up.

Or it can be an integral part of your identity, be it because you want to keep your family’s traditions or because you yourself have a close connection to God. If you are a spiritual person and feel that you share a spiritual affinity with your significant other despite the religious differences, you’ll probably be fine. If religion means little to the both of you but you share the same world-view, you’ll be ok also. And if religion to you is an amalgam of traditions and rituals you want your children (and spouse) to be part of, you have to make sure your significant other is willing to respect that (bear in mind that you will probably have to respect and even keep his own traditions in return – are you willing to change your lifestyle and do that?).

If the question of conversion arises and it becomes clear that the relationship cannot proceed without it, ask yourselves which one of you should convert and why, and what it will require of you as individuals and a couple. If you ask him to convert, will your partner feel like you can’t accept him as he is, that you need him to change too much? Will it alienate and hurt him and tear the two of you apart? Will it turn you into Marta and him into the Baron Münchhausen (an analogy my boyfriend and I often use when discussing this hot topic)? If so, just let it go.

Sometimes the “religion issue” can interfere in the bedroom as well — sometimes being brought up in a particular faith will shape the way we think about sex. For example, you may be all for abstinence, while he might expect sex way before the wedding night. He may have had a wild past, while you may have been “saving yourself”. You may have been brought up in a strict community that segregates men and women, while he may have lost his virginity at 13. You may have been brought up to get married early, while he may be planning to keep his bachelor pad at least until his 35th birthday. You may be pro-choice while he may be pro-life. These are extreme examples, but many interfaith couples are bound to encounter the “grey areas” of having differing (sometimes conflicting) opinions about sex. This is best solved by talking about it. If you’re disappointed that he’s not on the same page as you are where sex is concerned, don’t hide it from him — he might not even have realized.

Basically, it will only work if the two of you learn to accept each other’s religious traditions AND world-view. You should be accepting, mature and strong enough, and have enough resolve, to stay together even if one or both of you become a bit more religious, or show more signs of wanting to keep religious traditions.

What can you do to make it work?

1. Read and learn about your partner’s religion (and culture!) and have him read about yours – not on Wikipedia. Real books and stuff. Even THE books (the Bible, Qur’an…). Ask your partner questions about his religion, surprise him with facts you read that he might not know, try to figure out how he sees his religion and try to see it through his eyes. Ignorance isn’t sexy, and won’t endear you to his family or community either.

2. Try to find the points your religions have in common, in spirit if not in practice.

3. Try to see his religion in a positive light — you might find that some traditions seem beautiful to you, and you might want to experience them yourself with his family (and someday, with yours).

4. Be frank with each other and tell each other what you will and won’t give up, and which traditions you insist on keeping. In other words: set limits, and respect each other’s limits.

5. Don’t ask each other to make major changes as an ultimatum for staying together.

6. Don’t badmouth each other’s religion, culture, parents and upbringing as a way of trying to deal with the differences between you. Don’t keep your significant other from keeping his/her traditions, don’t put obstacles in the way of their faith.

7. Don’t turn your discussions into a contest of which religion is better. If you can’t accept that the person closest to you doesn’t believe what you believe, you’re better off apart. (Especially when there are kids in the picture — don’t entice them to choose your religion over your spouse’s, and don’t make them choose one religion just to prove a point.)

8. Try not to antagonize your parents to the point of breaking contact, and definitely don’t put on dramatic and rebellious airs of the type you were notorious for when you were sixteen. Try to understand their point of view. You’re not Romeo and Juliet, and your parents are not evil. HOWEVER, don’t let them insult your partner or his religion, don’t let them stereotypify him. Stand up to them. Have them get to know your partner, and if that doesn’t help matters, just keep on standing up to them.

Be prepared for the possibility that like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, your parents will conclude that that “on the other hand, there is no other hand” and never speak to you again. This is probably a very rare occurrence in real life (even in the most closed religious communities many parents sneak out to meet with their excommunicated children), unless you’re a pogrom-stricken Jew and decide to shack up with a village Cossack. Anyway, keep this in mind — any other reaction on your parents’ part will seem like a blessing in comparison…

9. Try to be understanding of your partner if they find the religious issue difficult to handle or fail to realize how significant religion is (or isn’t) to you. Try to explain things in a calm and composed manner.

10. Don’t turn religion into a weapon you can use against your partner, or a place to retreat to when you want to hide from them. Don’t hurt them deliberately by pushing them away.

11. Try to find out what your religion says about mixed marriages. Maybe talk to a clergyman or layperson your trust. Perhaps your religion allows intermarriage without conversion? There are several religions that do.

12. Never say never. Don’t assume tradition will never matter to you, and don’t tell your significant other as much (“I swear, I’ll never care about religion, it will never come between us!”). Sometimes when people start a family they want to pass certain traditions on to their children, so don’t deny that this is a possibility. Discuss it honestly, preferably before the time comes to pass traditions on.