Relationship Advice – The Date Mix Dating and Relationship Advice for Today's Daters Fri, 15 Dec 2017 09:00:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 8 Relationship Compromises You Should Never Make Thu, 07 Dec 2017 09:00:44 +0000 Are you giving up the vision you had for your life.

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When you’re in a long-term relationship, it’s inevitable that you’re going to have to make some compromises to make the relationship work. There are the little things like which peanut butter to buy or where to go on your vacation. And then there are the bigger compromises which shouldn’t be taken lightly. In fact, there are certain compromises you may face that’ll have you questioning the relationship and whether it’s really worth it.

Besides your health and safety, which should never be compromised, here are eight other subtle yet significant compromises you should never make in a relationship.

1. Your dreams and goals for theirs.
While dating, especially when you’re young, you need to go after your goals with vigor and fire. “If your goal is to become an engineer and you got a great job opportunity in a city away from your partner, you should absolutely take it. If that partner is mature and respectful, he/she will honor your goals and support you in pursuing them,” explains Alli Owen, a life coach specializing in relationships.  If you give up your dreams for someone else, you may come to resent them later on.

2. Your values.
Your values are part of who you are at your very soul. If you’re not a big drinker but your partner is a destructive drinker and it’s affecting your relationship in negative ways, it’s okay to give them an ultimatum. Owen says your partner should respect your desires and want to be a better person not only for you but with you. “If you always envisioned marrying a person of a particular faith or religion, wait to settle down until you find that person.”

3. Your vision for your life.
You’ve always wanted at least two kids and a life in the suburbs, but your partner doesn’t want kids and prefers to live in the city… And the more you talk about it, the more it seems like the life you want is suffocating to your partner. You can’t compromise things like this without someone being miserable in the end. The best thing to do is stop prolonging the inevitable and end the relationship. There is no use wasting anyone’s time if your life vision doesn’t align with theirs.

4. Your family and friends.
Be wary of any partner who tries to keep you from seeing your family and friends. It’s normal to see less of them because now you’re spending more time with your partner, and while some possessiveness may make you feel wanted and special in the beginning, it can also be a red flag of things to come later in the relationship. As Kristen Fuller, M.D. writes, healthy friendships can help you cultivate healthier relationships and be healthier overall. “Studies have shown that older people with friends are more likely to live a healthier happier life than those who do not have many close friends.”

5. Your self-worth.
We should all expect to be treated with love and respect by our significant others. Our partners should stand by our side through good times and bad and shouldn’t make us feel bad about ourselves. It’s natural to have disagreements and to challenge one another, but don’t allow verbally abusive communication into your relationship. Non-healthy communication can be damaging to your self-esteem.

6. Your principles when it comes to flirting.
You may not even realize you’re doing this but, quite often, men and women concede to their partners’ desire about texting or flirting with others. If your partner’s flirting makes you uncomfortable, it’s worth wondering why it’s so important to them. The conversation is generally followed by thoughts like, They’re still coming home to me or He/she is just being friendly. Flirting is a sign your partner needs someone else to fulfill part their needs, which could even just be their ego. If it’s not something you’re comfortable with, then don’t put up with it.

7. The type of relationship you want.
It should never be okay for your partner to pressure you into doing things you don’t want to do, says Rori Sassoon, a professional matchmaker and CEO of Platinum Poire. “For example: Having an open relationship, a threesome, or anything else that makes you uncomfortable in your relationship. Or inviting another person into your relationship is a big decision that can create jealousy when you want to be strengthening your intimate bond.”

8. Your finances.
These days, having your finances in check is important if you plan on buying a house, taking out loans, or dream of retiring early. Your partner’s bad credit or spending habits can eventually impact you. “If they are taking from you financially and not contributing to expenses, there is nothing to compromise here. They must stop,” says Sassoon. If it feels like you’re constantly footing the bill and they’re mooching off of you, it’s best to keep your accounts and finances separate and plan very inexpensive dates until they get their finances together.

When you care deeply about someone or when you’ve invested a lot of time and effort into a relationship, it can feel natural to compromise on even these big things. But if you find that all your compromises are creating a life and a relationship that doesn’t make you happy or move your life in the direction you want, it’s time to consider whether the relationship is really what you want.


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Moving On After Divorce: Blame vs. Forgiveness Mon, 04 Dec 2017 09:00:21 +0000 It's hard to forgive, but it's an important step to truly move on.

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We only need to look at the fall television line-up to see that American culture is obsessed with villains and heroes. While characters that represent either good or evil make a compelling, watchable action story, such broad categorizing of human behavior isn’t healthy when you’re working on moving on after divorce. For many it’s easier to believe that a villain, either inside or outside of the marriage, is to blame for a divorce.

Dating back to Adam and Eve, humans have found it necessary to make someone responsible when something goes wrong. Adam blamed Eve; Eve blamed the snake. The problem with blame is that it offers no sustainable emotional relief. Blame is a toxic substance that eats up the carrier. To recover and flourish after divorce, the blame game must be exchanged for forgiveness.

Here are some ways to forgive and move on after divorce:

Understand the difference between forgiving and condoning.
Too often people feel that if they forgive someone for their hurtful behaviour, they are condoning what occurred. Condoning means accepting or overlooking while forgiving is an action that means you stop feeling anger or resentment. For example, it’s perfectly acceptable that you never condone your spouse for betraying your marriage; however, the act of forgiveness releases you from carrying the weight of that betrayal.

Accept that forgiveness creates internal harmony.
When people get caught up in the idea that forgiveness means letting someone who harmed them off the hook for damaging behaviour, turn the attention inward. Forgiveness is about making an active decision to let go of resentment because it harms you.

Forgiving doesn’t mean that you stop feeling hurt.
Forgiving is an action that is part of the healing process. It does not mean that you stop feeling sad, crying, or grieving. There is no expectation that you need to minimize your feelings.

Forgiveness does not equal trust.
Appreciate that while you may actively forgive your former spouse for past behaviors, the relationship trust has been broken. To forgive does not mean that you must believe what your former spouse says, it just means that you are not going to carry resentment within you.

Maybe they truly don’t know better.
To err is human. To repeatedly show bad judgement and hurt others is indicative of a bigger problem. If your former spouse consistently shows self-absorbed, disrespectful, even lying behaviours, consider that they may lack the ability to do better. Even if they meet all the characteristics of a true villain, let go of blame by feeling thankful that you no longer will intimately invest in a situation that will not change. If they do not have the capacity to change, forgive them for not having a moral compass or conscience to guide them.

If you want to move on after divorce and find happiness within yourself and a new relationship, start with forgiveness. It’s the greatest gift you can give yourself.


Dr. Julie Gowthorpe, R.S.W. is an internationally acclaimed emotional health and relationship expert. She offers strategic approaches to help people find ways to verbally express, profoundly heal and to finally go the distance required for optimal living. As an author, speaker and expert radio personality, Dr. Gowthorpe provides engaging, practical advice and speaks about topics involving positive parenting, healthy relationships and mental well-being.

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Pros and Cons of Breaking Up and Getting Back Together Fri, 24 Nov 2017 09:00:38 +0000 Can on-and-off again relationships work out in the end?

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Ross and Rachel did it. So did Carrie and Mr. Big. As did Miley and Liam (in real life), and, of course, Jelena. These are examples of couples—both fictional and real—who dizzied us with their off-and-on antics. Experts, including real ones and the so-called ones (otherwise known as your friends) might warn against getting back together with an ex, but is it really such a bad idea? After all, if you’ve once experienced such a close connection with an ex, isn’t reuniting with them what rom-com (and real) happy endings are made of?

If you’re considering getting back together with your ex, no doubt you have a lot to consider. Which is why we came up with a list of pros and cons to help you figure it out.

PRO: You’re already comfortable with each other.
No awkward silences or fumbled attempts at small talk are necessary here. Not only are you starting again from a comfortable foundation, but due to your connection, you’ll also experience the butterflies common with new relationships. It’s basically a win-win situation.

CON: You’re not as secure with one another.
Sure, you might be comfortable with each other, but that doesn’t mean you feel completely secure. Studies have shown that married or couples who had at one point been on-again/off-again—or what psychologists refer to as “cycling”— have more uncertainty about their relationship’s future.

PRO: You’ve seen each other at your worst.
The honeymoon period of dating often shrouds the true nature of your partner, as well as the true compatibility of the relationship. But with an on-and-off partner, you’ve seen each other at your worst. You’ve cried and you’ve yelled. Your partner knows that you can be petty about which Netflix series to watch, and you know your partner gets hangry. You know what to expect, so you aren’t entering a relationship with any idealistic expectations.

CON: Old habits die hard.
You might know how to push each other’s buttons, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good thing. It might be easy to fall back into a routine with an old flame, but if you aren’t both consciously choosing to break old patterns—especially the ones that caused your relationship’s demise in the first place—then you can expect to repeat the cycle again. Communicating what you both need the other to fix is a good place to start. However, people are creatures of habit, and if they don’t want to change, they won’t.

PRO: You have a special connection.
There’s a reason why you keep reconnecting with your ex. You probably had other relationships that you knew weren’t going anywhere, thus didn’t think twice about after their ends. But if there’s a special type of energy pulling you back towards your ex, there might be a special reason behind it. Maybe your gut is telling you he or she could be the one, but the timing was wrong before. That’s more than enough reason to give it a second shot.

CON: It’s harder to forget than to forgive.
You might forgive your ex for the pain he or she might have caused you, but that doesn’t mean you entirely forget it. Harmful words and heartbreak—as well as the emotional baggage attached to it—can be difficult to shake. Getting back together with your ex means facing the hurt and rejection you’ve experienced before, which can be a hurdle to your relationship getting off to a good, and lasting, start. If you aren’t willing to let go of the past, then you won’t have much of a future together.

Though they’ve been proven to be more stressful and confusing at times, the on-and-off relationships that are successful are the ones in which both parties allow their breakup(s) to serve as opportunities to improve themselves, both individually, and together. Instead of imagining what a relationship with an ex could be, openly negotiate what needs to work in order for you and your partner to grow together, rather than apart. Using a breakup as a time of growth and renewal, as well as applying the lessons you’ve learned in the interim, could give you the happy ending you deserve.


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What to Do When Someone Says I Need Space Thu, 23 Nov 2017 09:00:04 +0000 It feels like the kiss of death in the dating world, but what exactly does it mean?

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It’s a tale as old as time: You’re getting to know someone, you have great chemistry, and your relationship is blossoming. You don’t want to jinx it, but you have a good feeling about this relationship. That is, until they drop the four little words that change everything: “I need space.”

Nobody wants to hear “I need space.” It feels like the kiss of death in the dating world. What exactly does it mean? Is it texting less? Is it spending more nights apart? Is it a breakup? We’re here to help you figure out what it means and how best to react when someone says, “I need space.”

Listen carefully and understand why.
When those four words come up, the most important thing you can do is listen to what your partner is saying. Understand their reason for needing space—does it relate to you, are they busy at work, or is something pressing going on in their personal life?—and, most importantly, respect their request. Arguing, pushing back, or getting defensive won’t get you anywhere.

Be aware and assess accordingly.
It’s important to be aware of (and realistic about) your situation. There’s a big difference between someone you’ve only known a few weeks wanting space and someone you’re in an exclusive relationship with wanting space. If you’ve been out on a few dates, that’s one thing. If it’s your fiancée, that’s another. The shorter the relationship, the less you should protest. Consider your status and proceed accordingly.

Thank them for being honest.
With the increased use of technology in our daily lives, most, if not all, of our dating and relationship communication has moved online. It’s easy for people to just disappear and never text again without so much as an explanation of why. So when someone chooses to tell you that they need some space, in a way, it’s better than not being told at all. Even though it’s not great news to hear, it’s still better than being left in the dark, wondering why things changed.

Respect their wishes.
When your partner says that they need some space, give them some space. Don’t try to change their mind. We know it’s tempting to probe for answers or even try justifying your own behavior, but trust us: That’s only going to make things worse. Moving forward, it’s a good idea to wait for them to reach out to you first.

Get some space of your own.
Hey, if everyone’s doing it, why not? Instead of stewing because your partner wants some space, take a page from their book and get some space of your own. Find a new hobby, catch up with friends, or indulge in some serious “me” time. You might even see your relationship in a new light too.

When someone says that they need some space, the last thing you want to do is overwhelm them with questions or press them for information. The best response is a positive one. Even if things ultimately fizzle out, your partner will be grateful that things ended on good, respectful terms.

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How to Make Sure Your New Relationship Is Thanksgiving-Ready Tue, 21 Nov 2017 09:00:41 +0000 You might want to give your partner a heads up about drunk Uncle Jake.

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Oh, if there were ever a litmus test for whether a new relationship has staying power or not, it comes in the form of Thanksgiving dinner. It takes all the stresses of a vacation, a heated political debate, and holiday traffic, and throws in meddling aunties who like to point out that there haven’t been any babies around in a few years. It’s crowded, it’s loud, it’s warm and stuffy, it never caters to everyone’s dietary needs, and it’s almost impossible to go an hour without waking the beast of differing political opinions.

So how do you armor your fledgling and beautiful relationship so that the only carnage at the end of the meal is a bird carcass? Let’s talk through some dos and don’ts.

DO: Prep your date on the guest list.
More often than not, people like walking into a situation like Thanksgiving dinner with a little background info. Give them the rundown on the guest list—things like how many people will be there, who you especially think they’ll get along with, and roughly how the day will go. If the invite says dinner will be at 2:00, but you know your family well enough to know that you won’t be sitting down to eat until 5:00, point that out too, and maybe pack some car snacks for the drive there.

DON’T: Micromanage your date’s behavior.
Giving your partner a heads-up about sensitive subjects is totally fine; no one wants to ask the wrong question or trigger a weird cousin. But don’t take it too far. If you’re telling them not to do that thing where they make sound effects while they butter their rolls and begging them to take their piercings out, you’re keeping your family from getting to know the person you love. If you want the relationship to last, your family is going to have to get to know your partner (and the two of you as a couple) eventually. Trust that your significant other can navigate the social aspect well enough on their own.

DO: Ask ahead about anything you can help with.
If your parents are hosting and you’re going to be expected to dive in and get to work too, ask what kinds of things need to be done and what your partner can pitch in with. There is nothing more agonizing than being the “extra” and either being unsure about where to step in and offer help, or because you’re a guest, being forbidden from lifting a finger while everyone else pitches in. It’s awkward, and it feels like a test you’re failing. Letting your mom know that your girlfriend enjoys cooking, or that your boyfriend is an expert napkin folder will help your significant other feel included and give them a chance to converse with your family over a shared task.

DON’T: Abandon your date.
Slipping away to help haul in some firewood? Totally cool. Slipping away to play a two-hour game of flag football in the back yard? NOT cool. Leaving your date with a room full of people they don’t know can be agonizing, especially when they’re not comfortable enough to feel at home. Skip the ball game, or if you really want to play, ask your partner to join in, or at least make them a mug of cocoa and ask them to cheer you on for a little bit.

DO: Have a hard-out.
If you’re bringing a new boyfriend or girlfriend over for Thanksgiving for the first time, and this is the first time meeting your extended family, plan a time-frame that allows you to leave earlier than you would if you were flying solo. Excuses are easy—You both want to make sure you have time to visit her grandma, he has to get on the road because it’s a long drive home, etc. If things go great, you can always linger longer. If things go not-so-well, it’s a kindness to the person who may not be used to Uncle Bob’s bad jokes that you don’t sign them up for a long weekend of them.

This list should be a pretty good start for cushioning the blow Thanksgiving dinner can have on a new relationship. I can’t guarantee your date won’t embarrass themselves by spilling wine all over their possible mother-in-law’s new tablecloth, but hopefully by then you’ve told your mom they’re clumsy, and you’ve told your date that your mom gets all her tablecloths on clearance at TJ Maxx anyway. Either way, the best way to ensure that things go smoothly is to remember that your date is in alien territory, and do your best to make them comfortable. The fact that they showed up to spend time with your family for a major holiday speaks volumes toward their effort to get to know you better, and that alone is a pretty great sign.

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8 Signs He’s Losing Interest and What to Do About It Thu, 16 Nov 2017 09:00:37 +0000 Is he vague and indecisive about making plans? Could be something's up.

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It’s happened to a lot of us, both men and women—You thought things were going really great until, suddenly, they weren’t. So now you’re left wondering what happened. It’s hard when you start getting really excited out someone, only to have them lose interest. You start wondering if it’s you and if there’s anything you can do to reel them back. If you’re wondering what the signs he’s losing interest are, here are eight things men do when they’re beginning to slip away and what (if anything) you should do about it.

1. He’s making excuses.
In the beginning, he was all about you—when you called he ran. Now, he’s working late, has to run errands, isn’t feeling well, or always has an excuse every time you ask to do something. Typically, whenever someone gives you a reason for why they can’t do something, what they’re really telling you is they don’t want to do that thing or that it isn’t a priority for them. If you see this happening a lot, it could be a big sign he’s not as into the relationship as he once was.

2. He’s not as responsive on this phone.
You both use to text all day long and talk every night, and now he barely responds to a text and never calls you back. He may simply not be interested in chatting with you anymore or he could be talking to someone else. Either way, it’s a clear sign he’s losing interest in hearing from you.

3. He’s become defensive and rude.
When the nice, sweet man you fell for starts ignoring you, hurls insults, and gets sarcastic, it’s a big red flag. If he starts putting the blame on you when you become upset by saying things like, “If you don’t like then don’t be with me,” or “I always used to spend Saturday nights with the guys,” he’s definitely losing interest.

4. He stops asking questions.
Asking questions helps someone learn more about who you are as a person. From knowing your favorite band to hearing about a good day, when the person you’re with asks you about things he or she is learning your likes and how you feel, and are showing their interest in you. When your man stops asking how you’re doing, how do you like your burger, what do you think about this movie… it’s a sign he’s stopped caring.

5. He’s more vague and indecisive.
When a man becomes vague about what his plans are, what he wants to do, or if he wants to go out or not, it’s often a sign that he’s not looking forward to seeing you and is even avoiding it. If he stops sharing his plans with you and then you find out he’s been going out with his friends or family, then it’s a big sign he’s losing or has lost interest. He clearly isn’t making time for you when he has plenty of it.

6. There’s no sex.
The nights you’re together, instead of getting hot and heavy in the sheets, he’s been falling asleep faster than a baby. And when you try to initiate, he says he’s tired and rolls over. You start to think, When was the last time we had sex? Then you start thinking, When was the last time we kissed, hugged or held hands? When this happens, it’s a sign he’s no longer physically or emotionally interested in you.

7. You’re only having sex.
On the flip side, he could still be showing other signs of losing interest but still having sex with you because he knows he can satisfy that urge. It doesn’t mean he’s still emotionally and even physically interested in you if the sex is till there. If it feels more like an act and he’s more concerned about satisfying himself and not you, he’s not really interested in the relationship anymore.

8. The relationship is stagnate.
If he’ still hanging around and you’re still meeting up, but it feels more friendly than romantic, it can be that the flame he had for you has gone out and he’s losing interest. It might feel like the relationship has been flat-lining lately with no ups. Almost like boredom. Sometimes, when a man loses interest he isn’t necessarily mean or neglectful, he’s just not all there.

Ok, so what do you do about it?
So, you’ve picked up these signs and are wondering how to proceed. Many would say that if you’re noticing a guy is losing interest in you, why fight it? But, sometimes there are other things going on in his life that make him seem distant and not interested. It’s always difficult to have a serious talk about feelings, but it’s also important to let him know how you’re feeling and to give him a chance to tell you the same. Try talking to him to see what’s going on. If he opens up and there’s good communication, it may not be an issue with the relationship at all. But if he’s not willing to open up and makes himself more distant, then it’s time to move on to somebody else.

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re already unsatisfied and worried about the direction things are going. If he’s not caring for you and being present in the relationship in the way you need, and won’t even discuss why not, you deserve more. It’s never easy walking away, but spending your time and energy on someone who’s not spending time or energy on you can be much harder.

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