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In most people's minds, long distance relationships fall into the category of doomed-before-they've-even-started, a bit like the new series of The X Factor. However, we say back off, naysayers, because long distance relationships certainly can work and can sometimes even be better than your average relationship. Sites like mysinglefriend.com have opened up the whole country for dating. Back in the olden days you'd only have a relatively small geographical area to work within, but nowadays you can be looking at hotties 500 miles away with a few clicks of your mouse. So if if it does turn out to be Mr or Ms Perfect is living on a remote Scottish peninsula, how can you make it work? Here are our top long distance relationship tips...

Maintain regular contact

Because a relationship is built on communication and if you aren't talking to each other, you aren't having a relationship. The modern world is full of methods of communication - telephone, texting, emails, Skype - so make sure you put them to good use. You need to be present in your loved ones life pretty much daily, even if it's just a flirtatious message. Plus, don't forget about the humble letter. Regardless of the state of the postal service, it will get to them eventually and it will give their heart a mighty flutter when it does. Post is exciting!

Pursue common interests

If you liked each other enough to move from chatting on MSF to meeting in real life then you probably have some shared interests. If you both want to see the same film or enjoy the same books, watch or read them at the same time so that you can talk about them afterwards. If you both like playing tennis or running, keep up with these activities and talk to your partner about your successes and failures. You have to share a lot to maintain a long distance relationship, so you need to make sure you have enough fodder to keep yourselves going.

  

Make the effort

Long distance relationships are of course more effort than your average. Getting on a crowded train at 6pm on a Friday night to travel 300 miles is always going to be more trying than getting the bus up the road and grabbing a curry and a bottle of wine on the way. Keep reminding yourself that this person is worth the effort and, crucially, keep making the effort to see them face to face. Of course, you might need something to spur you on, which leads us to...

Talk about the future

A lot of us run for the hills the moment someone we're newly in a relationship with mentions The Future, but long distance relationships need a bit of extra impetus to keep them going, so be brave and engage in the conversation. If you want your hot new lover to come and stay with you on your leaking houseboat in the arse end of Norfolk, you have to be prepared to give something back, and that may well be the suggestion of a shared future together. It doesn't have to be huge, but they need to know that they'll be getting some return on their investment.

Enjoy the distance

A positive attitude goes a long way to making anything doable, so make your mind up to enjoy your relationship. Many couples would give their right arm for a bit of space, so relish the fact that your partner isn't around constantly, make the most of your me time, and you'll value the time that you are together even more. Enjoy the anticipation of seeing them, rather than feeling all weepy that they aren't around.

And, of course, if it doesn't work out then you can return to MSF and jump straight back into the dating pool!

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Dating should be, and probably largely will be, a fun and positive experience, but like every situation in life it has a flipside, and that is the possibility of getting rejected. How much being rejected hurts will depend on the amount you've invested in the relationship: being turned down for a second date will smart a little, whereas being dumped after several months of seeing each other will take a lot longer to recover from. However, there are some things you can do to lessen the upset of being rejected and keep making the most of dating. Here are our five top tips.






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As we're all very well aware by now, photos are very important to online dating. It's to be expected that people will want to know what you look like before they meet you, and the better quality pictures you have, the more likely you are to have dates. In the age of the selfie, there's no excuse for not having a good picture of yourself, and you should have loads to choose from as we're all pretty snap happy now that we all have a camera on us pretty much the whole time. So, having pictures is important, but the question is: how many should you have for optimum dating success?



Five plus photos

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Someone's taste in music is a very personal thing and something that can give away more about them than a simple conversation can. Talking about music is a fab idea on a first date, as pretty much everyone will have a favourite genre and artist, and probably a whole bunch of great stories related to the music they love, the bands they've seen and the memories attached to particular songs. So, as well as providing some great conversational fodder, a chat about music can reveal a little more about your date than they think they're giving. A three-year study by music psychology scholar Adrian North that correlated musical preferences with personality traits revealed the following surprising facts.

Hip Hop fans are sociable and energetic

Pop fans are outgoing but anxious 

The study found that classic rock fans are easy going people, but they do tend to be a bit self-centred. However, fans of the more indie end of the rock spectrum are creative and open to new experience, but suffer from low self-esteem, so it's good figure out exactly what someone means when they say 'rock'.

Country music fans are hardworking and close-minded
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When you're searching through dating profiles, there can be times when the sheer volume of potential dates can leave you feeling a little bit overwhelmed. There are only so many people you can favourite, and even less that you can message, if you want to have time to function in your every day life and stay in gainful employment, so it's good to know a few little tips and tricks that can help you sort the wheat from the chaff when you're looking for someone to go out with. Here are four questions to ask yourself whilst you're perusing the site.

How much can I learn about them from their pictures?

We're fans of cutting to the chase here at MSF, as too much time spent messaging can make a potential date go off the boil. However, the people you message should be interested in you and your profile, ask you a few questions and engage in a bit of banter. If they immediately ask you out for a drink, you should be a tad suspicious as, whilst they may simply be incredibly impatient to meet you, this can also be the behaviour of someone just looking for a quick hook up. 

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It's natural to be nervous when you're going on a date, especially if it's a first date. Even the most relaxed chatterbox is likely to feel tongue-tied when meeting someone new, especially when there's the added element of figuring out if there's a spark between you or not. Apart from feeling like an entire butterfly farm is flapping around in your stomach, there are the added physical difficulties of extreme nerves, like sweating, turning red and feeling sick, which aren't likely to help you feel your most attractive. However, there are a few simple things you can do to help yourself calm down and dazzle your date.


3. Dress your best

Many people get stressed about what they should do if the date is a disaster and they need to get out of there pronto. The trick is to plan this possibility into the date in advance. Rather than agreeing to go for a three-course dinner on a first date, meet for a drink instead. That way, if your date turns out to be the human equivalent of filling in your tax return you can leave after an hour.

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New season, new you, right? Well, perhaps you don't need to go as far as a full on makeover, but if you aren't getting enough action this summer, it might be time to overhaul your online image a little. If you've been on the site for a while and haven't yet met that person who makes your heart go boom, a few simple tweaks to your profile can really liven things up. Here are six easy ways to spruce up your profile and up your chances of a bit of summer lovin'!

Update anything outdated

It's really easy to write your profile and then never look at it again, because you aren't the one who's meant to be reading it after all. But you'd be surprised how quickly information gets out of date: new jobs, moved to a different area, picked up a thrilling new hobby - anything could have happened! Keeping your info updated will make sure the people viewing your profile are the ones who are best suited to the ever changing wonder of you.

Freshen up your photos!

We can never say it enough: you might have one go-to profile picture where you think you look like your absolute best, but if it was taken three years ago then you're not playing the dating game fairly and squarely. Let it go and ask your friends to have a skim through Facebook with you to pick some new ones; studies have shown that your mates will be much better at choosing pictures that show you in the most positive light.



And scale back on the selfies...

However hot you look, you'll also look like a bit of a narcissist if you've obviously spent hours on end taking photos of yourself. Candid shots taken by others are not only more natural, but will show you've got some friends and better ways to spend your time than pouting into your smartphone like a Kim Kardashian.

Take a pair of scissors to your description

OK, not literally, but don't be afraid to have a bit of an edit or rewrite the whole lot. Despite the received wisdom that people only look at pictures, descriptions are really important and potential dates do read them because it's the best way to get a genuine idea about your personality, so make sure what you've written demonstrates just how great you are.

Be upbeat and spontaneous

Studies have shown that people find a sense of adventure really attractive, so include something in your profile about an exciting event that you've got coming or a holiday you want to go on. A positive, upbeat attitude and a sense of excitement about the future always go down well with potential dates.

Be proactive

This is our golden rule here at MSF. If you don't make an effort to chat to people and meet up, why should you ever expect them to do the same? People who make an effort reap the rewards, so don't be afraid to be the one to make the first contact and suggest meeting up.

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Making snap decisions about people you've just started seeing is not something we endorse here at MSF, as we believe that everyone deserves a chance and also that some potentially beautiful relationships are nipped in the bud by judgements that are made too swiftly. However, when you've been on a few dates with someone you should be getting a fairly good idea of what they're like, and you should be noticing any potential red flags, as well as all the lovely things about them. One such red flag is insecurity, something that most of us have a bit of, but that can be a real difficulty in a relationship if someone has too much. Here are five warning signs to look out for.


If someone has had a terrible day, or is going through a difficult time, then it is a good and kind thing to offer them support and reassurance, but if they seem to need it constantly, then they are probably chronically insecure. Whilst you might feel like you want to offer someone this validation a few times, it's going to wear pretty thin if you have to do it every ten minutes.


They are mean about others
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Now that Glastonbury has been and gone, it's officially festival season in the UK! There's a major festival on somewhere every weekend from now to September, including Latitude, Lovebox, Reading and Leeds, WOMAD and many more. We've put together a guide for dating at festivals to make sure you have the best experience ever!

Blind date

Loads of MSFers will be at your festival, so why not make use of your mobile phone, find someone who's around and have your first date there? You'll have to arrange to meet somewhere you'll actually be able to find each other; the designated meeting point is going to be a lot easier than 'to the left of the main stage'. A festival is perfect for a first date, loads to do and see and talk about and, if it doesn't go too well, the likelihood of bumping into them again is pretty small.

Mosh pit

If you want to be at the very front of the stage when the headline acts play, within spitting distance of Tom Yorke or Stormzy, you'll have to stake your claim to a good spot early in the day. This is a great place for a date: you'll hear some amazing music, have plenty of time for a chat between bands and form that special bond that only exists between people who spend all day saving a space in the mosh pit whilst their date goes for a wee.

Not going in the mosh pit

You would never usually spend a date with your face in a strangers armpit whilst 3,000 people jumped up and down on your feet, so why do it at a festival? If crowds aren't your thing and you can live without being spat on by Tom Yorke or Stormzy, then the best way to spend your festival date is chilling at the back of the crowd. You can have a nice sit down, hold a conversation and still enjoy the music.

Don't watch your favourite band

Counter-intuitive perhaps, because you've probably based your festival choice on which bands are playing, but often the best times to be had at festivals are those which you trip over without planning. Instead of fighting through crowds of people all trying to be the first to reach the main stage, take your date to the circus or cabaret tents. Stress free and more intimate than standing in a field with 40,000 lairy strangers. Infinitely dryer too if the weather is inclement.

Create your own festival

For those of you who feel faint and need a sit down at the thought of four sweaty days in a tent with no flushing sanitary hardware and your hair slowly forming into a matted bird's nest (possibly with an actual bird in), why not do watching live music the civilised way? Take your date out to see a band in a proper venue where you won't be knee deep in effluence and then go for a delicious meal that isn't served in polystyrene. You'll be clean, dry, well fed and sipping a properly chilled Sauvignon Blanc from an actual glass, instead of cheap vodka from a cup made of recycled trainers. You'll probably get a better view of the bands too!


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When it comes to not looking sexy, it seems obvious to concentrate on the visual side of things, such as greasy hair, dirty clothes and not smelling as fresh as a daisy. However, studies have shown that it is actually more likely that behaviours and habits are more unattractive to potential partners than the way you look. Here are five surprising ways that you might be accidentally harming your sex appeal.

Stress

Looking too happy

We've always said that lying to impress a potential date is always a bad plan, and there is science to back this up. A 2006 study asked people to read blurbs about men and women, who were described as either dependent or independent. intelligent or unintelligent and honest or dishonest, and say how attractive they found them. The results found that honesty was the only trait to have an effect on how attractive they were.

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