6 proven strategies to make love and happiness last

What are your relationship must-haves? Can you admit when you’re wrong? Are you fully committed? Relationship expert Gay Hendricks on the secret to longevity.

>>Some tips for flirting on the internet like a cool handsome guy

Write down your list of must-haves

Funny thing about relationships: People often enter into them without a clear idea of what they want. And it’s only after the initial fireworks fade that they start making demands on each other. This tactic inevitably leads to disagreements, hurt feelings and unmet expectations. Whether you’re involved in a relationship or not, avoid this pitfall by thinking intentionally about what you need in a partner: Write down three must-haves and three qualities you won’t accept. Ask your partner to do the same. Now share your lists.

Write your list of must-haves (via Reader’s Digest)

Focus on the fun

Change the script when it comes to the way you talk (and think) about love. Ditch the “relationships are hard work” metaphor for the more creative, joyful idea that “love is fun.” This simple tweak to your vocabulary will bring a lightheartedness to your home and help you leave work where it belongs — at the office.

Commit fully

All too common he-said-she-said bickering often comes from the fact that one or both partners aren’t fully committed to the partnership. Recognize that until you make the decision to be all in, you’re going to keep seeing new faults — and you’re fighting against the health of your relationship. Wave the white flag and look at your partner as an ally with a shared goal of keeping the love alive.

Focus on the fun (via 2 in a Billion)

Be honest in the moment

It’s easy to fall into the trap of saying “Nothing,” through gritted teeth, when your partner asks what’s wrong. But consider this: If you always hide your feelings, then you’re not in a real relationship, because the real you isn’t present. Starting right now, be open to sharing how you feel, even if it could lead to an uncomfortable conversation. Just remember the idea is to explain your position and create dialogue. Keep the blame and the criticism to a minimum (these are two of the main reasons people leave relationships).

Admit when you’re wrong

Smart couples are very good about keeping their agreements with each other. That can include everything from promising you’ll be home in time for dinner to remaining faithful. They’re also good at acknowledging mistakes when they break an agreement — and then moving on. Relationships cannot thrive (or even survive) when people are caught up in past issues.

Admit when you are wrong (via Marriage, Family & Individual Therapy in St. Louis County)

Follow the 5:1 ratio

One study reveals that in happy unions, people report saying five positive or appreciative things for every one negative comment. For divorcing couples it’s only a one-to-one ratio. Keep this in mind when you say anything critical to your mate, and try to balance it out by saying five positive things. Need some inspiration? How about “Dinner was so delicious,” “Thanks for driving me to work” or “You look nice today.”

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Five ways to detox your love life

Dr. Wendy Walsh, author of “The 30-day Love Detox”, offers advice on how to purge yourself of toxic relationship patterns and prime your heart for a truly rewarding connection.

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Dump your fake boyfriends

All those guys you turn to when you’re feeling lonely or need an ego boost are just “fake boyfriends,” says Walsh and they’ve got to go, primarily because they’re wasting your time and getting in the way of you getting what you really want — a real boyfriend.

“Purge all fake boyfriends,” says Walsh. “That includes, Facebook and Twitter flirts and men who you are having ‘loose’ ties with, hoping they will eventually morph into a commitment-oriented man.”

Dump your fake boyfriends (via Thought Catalog)

Stop indulging in wishful thinking

If you think you can finagle a deep committed partnership out of a friends-with-benefits scenario with a guy who keeps telling you he doesn’t want a girlfriend (or wife, or kids) then you may be indulging in a little wishful thinking (okay, a lot of wishful thinking).

“These days so many people sign up for a ‘low criteria’ relationship and then try to shape the system later. This rarely works, ” says Walsh.

Frankly, it doesn’t even work as the plot line of a romantic comedy. Going forward, when a man tells you he doesn’t want a girlfriend or wife or “anything serious” believe him. The truth is that he’s not ready for you, so pick up the cheque, wish him luck on his journey toward manhood (it’s going to take a while) and then run, woman, run.

Don’t get physical — yet

Do yourself a favour and don’t make a relationship sexual for at least 30 days (via Palm Reading Astrology)

Do yourself a favour and don’t make a relationship sexual for at least 30 days, says Walsh. Spend the time getting to know the person better and determining whether or not he’s ready, willing and able to perform what you want. The reason for keeping your distance comes down to simple chemistry. Men and women are biologically predisposed to deal with sexual activity differently and while anomalies exist, there are some generalizations that prove helpful. Here’s one: “Men can have sex with the same woman for months and not like her one bit more than he did on the first hookup. Meanwhile, she is often falling in love.”

Rather than blame Mother Nature just protect yourself — in more ways than one. “Sex has big risks for women that are less likely for men. Bottom line, we accept the deposits. We can much more easily come down with an STD, a broken heart (related to our oxytocin production during sex) or an 18-year case of parenthood.”

Have sex, your way

There is no law demanding that you must accept the terms of “hookup culture” if you don’t feel like it, or if doing so has made you doubt the existence of love, commitment and decent, marriageable men.

Don’t fall for the oversexed-relationship marketing around you. Instead, navigate the subjects of sex and love in a way that squares with your interior voice, advises Walsh.

Have sex in your way (via Glamour)

“If we really want to be feminists who seek true feminine freedom, we have to understand our own psychology, biology and sociology better. For instance, every woman comes into the world with a certain biological predisposition for attachment style and then early-life parenting can enliven or suppress that biological blue print. Add to that, messages from our culture about sex, and there’s a lot to tease out in order to know and understand ourselves — to become totally free.”

Though it’s not easy, establishing a personal standard for sexual freedom is preventative too, says Walsh, who believes “acting out other people’s visions for us can be very damaging.”

Make a relationship plan

You plan birthday parties and brunches with friends. Why not apply the same meticulous attention to detail to your desire for a decent relationship? As an exercise in understanding your desires, hopes and dreams, figure out what you want from a relationship, embrace it, and then start to look for an appropriate partner.

“Making a relationship life plan looks at age, education, dating prospects and finances. In the same way that we plan our education and careers, women should be making a relationship life plan,” says Walsh.

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Some tips for flirting on the internet like a cool handsome guy

You might be tempted to hit on these people whom you don’t really know by sliding into their DMs (or Snaps or Insta messages). But how? How can you convince the fitness model who just moved to Los Angeles who doesn’t have any idea who you are that you should be the one to show her the city?

YOU CAN’T. Stop that. If someone wouldn’t be into you in real life, approaching from the safe distance of social media is not going to help you. It’s only going to make it weirder. But that doesn’t mean no one ever is meeting online. Just be normal and not creepy. Here’s how:

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Don’t be anonymous

Don’t be anonymous (via Get a First Life)

Nothing is creepier than someone with no photos of themselves online. It’s 2017. Having normal photos of yourself on social media is not going to ruin your career unless you’re in the CIA. Unless you’re saying really racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexist, ableist, etc. things on your social media, having photos up is NOT damning. The only people you get to approach if you’re anonymous are other people with Garfield profile pictures or whatever you’re hiding behind.

Don’t approach someone out of the blue

An addendum to previous: the person you’re approaching should know you exist (i.e., follow you, at the very least) before you start hitting on them. I know movies will tell you otherwise, but being approached by random men is rarely romantic. Men who approach random women in movies usually look like Michael B. Jordan, and humans are programmed to find hot people not-creepy. It’s almost as jarring to show up in someone’s DMs to hit on them as it is to show up at their front door. Don’t do it unless they know who you are.

Don’t end sentences with “lol”

Don’t end sentences with lol (via Observer)

If you have to end a sentence with “lol” to negate the awkwardness of it, it’s a creepy sentence. Likewise, if you have to add a “haha,” you probably said a weird thing. Wink emoji, even if deployed ironically, are best left off the table too.

Don’t mention their appearance

At literally no point do you need to tell an Internet stranger that you think they’re hot, sexy, etc. Wait until you’re on a date and the person has shown some miniscule interest in you in a romantic way. For example, when they walk into the restaurant on your first date, a simple “you look nice” will suffice. Otherwise, you just come across as lascivious. No one has ever turned a guy down simply because his message didn’t include mention of her appearance. That hasn’t happened.

Would you say that in front of your boss?

Don’t mention their appearance (via Medium)

This is important! It’s not okay to tell someone that you’ve masturbated to them, that you guys would have cute kids, or that you really liked their last pic with all that cleavage. That’s gross. You’re hitting on us, we already know what you want. It’s as weird to approach someone online and tell them what you want to do to their body as it is in person. Dance like nobody is watching, DM like your boss is definitely watching.

Don’t fake date

What’s a fake date? A fake date happens most often between people in the same industry. NO. No, no, no. We all know you were asking us on a date, otherwise you would have been more clear. Don’t try to sneakily undo your rejection and make the other person feel bad. No.

So that’s it: be normal. And not creepy. Oh! And definitely don’t send a photo of your dick. It’s called junk for a reason.

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7 Tips For Surviving Your First Sex Party

Orgies are intimidating, and you’re definitely going to have a lot of, um, new experiences the first time you go to one. Don’t let that scare you off! Here are several ways to seem like sex parties are so old hat for you.

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Get new underwear

Buy it, borrow it, or make it out of yarn and a clutch purse. You need to walk into that place feeling confident and every little bit helps – even the little bit that covers your littlest bits.

Get new underwear (via Harmonia Philosophica – WordPress.com)

Do your research

Talk to people who have gone to the party before and ask specific questions. Scout it out online. In most metropolitan areas, there are sex parties for people who identify in many different ways. You might have to discuss something you don’t normally discuss with a friend, an acquaintance, your local sex shop employee, or even a stranger. But if you’re not willing to put yourself out there with your clothes ON, a sex party probably is not going to work out for you.

Follow the rules

The first rule of sex party is go to a sex party with rules. Any sex party worth your time will have rules that particularly involving safety and consent — namely that both are a must. They might have other less critical rules about where you can store your belongings, whether you must check items of clothing before entering, or even suggested costumes — it’s good to adhere to those regulations as well. Not being on theme is drastically more noticeable at a sex party. Remember when you didn’t wear green on St. Patrick’s Day? In this case “green” is “pants.”

You must follow the rules (via New York Post)

Bring a friend

Or bring two, or ten. It is a party after all. If you don’t feel comfortable rolling into the sextravaganza with a minivan’s worth of pals, shoot for just one other person. Some parties even require you to bring someone to help promote responsibility, which just confirms the fact that the buddy system will never stop being relevant to your life. Even if they don’t require it, having a friend to talk to can help ease you into this new environment. If you don’t have one, make one in line to get inside! Remember this is a sex party, not the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team: there is no hope solo.

Be open-minded

That doesn’t mean do something that makes you feel unsafe. In fact, you don’t have to do anything at all. Some people go to sex parties just to watch and that is totally cool with everyone. However, don’t let your inhibitions cause you to judge others or to limit your experience either. Check your reservations where you probably were asked to check your pants, at the door.

Be open-minded (via New York Post)

Speak up

Talk to people — it’s the best way to meet more of them. Don’t be shy about telling them it’s your first time at this type of party; it’s a great ice-breaker. Either it’s their first time too and you can bond over that, or they’re a sex party veteran with tons of information to share. Win-win. Also, if you don’t like something someone is saying — or doing — absolutely speak up then as well. Talking is truly the unsung hero of the sex party, so please verbally sexpress yourself.

Be careful in hallways

If your body is not covered with clothing, certain parts might protrude. The same goes for others. Pass with caution.

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If You’re Thinking About Cheating, you should ask youself these questions

Here, we asked experts for the questions you should ask yourself if you’re thinking about diving into a new relationship while you’re in one already. This is what they had to say. 

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What is the potential cost?

The first things you should think about are the ramifications if you get caught – because chances are, you will. Whether you secretly want to sabotage your relationship or you know that an affair would devastate your partner, you need to ponder how this might play out, says Kathryn Smerling, Ph.D. marriage and family therapist.

“Most people I see who are thinking of having affairs are lonely and bored,” she says. “They may not feel appreciated or validated in the relationship.” In those cases, starting up an affair may sound enticing, but isn’t a real solution to feeling lonely in your relationship, she says.

The first things you should think about are the ramifications if you get caught (via Reader’s Digest)

Am I ready for a double life?

If you think you are then it is important for you to know that keeping secrets leads to lots of anxiety, says Greenberg. You might just end up feeling stressed out, wishing you had never started this in the first place.

“Sneaking around is extremely stressful and anxiety producing because it is very difficult to keep track of lies and to keep two separate lives going on at the same time,” says Greenberg. Consider whether cheating is worth your sanity.

What if things go wrong?

When people feel jilted or betrayed, it brings out the worst in them, says Greenberg. And that goes for all three individuals involved in this relationship: you, the other person, and your partner. If the person you’re having an affair with becomes obsessed with you, it can become annoying at the very least or dangerous at the very worst, she says.

“Obsessions can lead to the person you’re having an affair with to have a desire for revenge, including the destruction of your primary relationship,” says Greenberg. At the same time, betraying your partner’s trust could hurt them enough that they act out on their feelings, endangering you or the person you’re sleeping with. 

4 Things You Should Ask Yourself If You’re Thinking About Cheating (via Centre For Human Potential)

What do I want to get out of this?

While you might gain affection, attention, and excitement, those things can be fleeting. Keep in mind that what is tempting is not necessarily healthy or permanent, says Greenberg. “What may be permanent is the loss of your family and your sense of feeling stable and grounded,” she says.

In some cases, people who decide to have an affair may consciously or unconsciously want out of a relationship. But having an affair is not the way to go about it, says Greenberg. Instead, speaking to your partner honestly about wanting out of the relationship is the most honorable way of handling things, she says. While you might be afraid of what you’ll lose—like stability, family, or even your reputation—ending your current relationship before jumping into a new one will save you and your partner tons of drama and painful feelings.

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