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I usually chit chat about navigating the scene of finding and building lasting relationships on the blog but there is something on my mind, something that has been dubbed a cute term, yet, one of my close friends has recently experienced it and I don't think it's cute in any way shape or form. It has certainly got my attention and it's something I too have unfortunately experienced in my time (it was short-lived thank goodness) and have seen others around me experience romantically. I want to shed some light (excuse the pun) on gaslighting.
Gaslighting for those of you don’t know, is a term which describes a method of control and emotional manipulation that seeks to sow the seeds of doubt within someone's mind, often slowly and over time chipping away at someone's self-esteem, inclusive of but not limited to, the perception of themselves and the world around them. Gaslighting can be a conscious or sub-conscious method to gain power within a relationship over one’s partner/someone they are dating.
So, if it’s not making sense to you, perhaps that's a good thing and you haven’t experienced it or perhaps you are so lit in your relationship that your judgement of a healthy relationship has been clouded. I was ‘lit’ for a very short period of two months and as a ‘dating expert’ I eat, breathe and sleep the dynamics of romantic connection between human beings every single day - so how could I not spot the signs? It’s very easy and relatable to the boiling frog parable - for those of you that don't know it have a google. I didn’t spot the signs during that short stint until one day it clicked, and so, I also don’t expect that you should or could have either. So without further ado, here’s five signs of gas-lighting so you can avoid those manipulative personalities and find someone with whom you can build a healthy, lasting and loving relationship.
#1 They wear away your independence. A gaslighter aims to loosen the roots of stability in your life. Perhaps you like to go to the gym often - it’s good for your physical & mental health and not to mention for your routine - but they suggest that you’re spending too much time away from your relationship and your core values and so your ‘you time’ is selfish, indulgent etc, etc, etc. So, you very quickly wipe away your health and wellness routine and adjust your lifestyle more towards their expectations and away from a) looking smoking hot b) feeling mentally amazing and c) eliminating a part of your independence.
#2 They know that confusion creates weakness. A gaslighter will check in before, during and after every single arrangement in your life that they are aware of. The weight of communication with this person will wear you down over time, weaken your energy levels and make you doubt yourself. More often than not, a gaslighter is insecure on a deep level, and so they prefer to know every detail of your schedule - who you're with, when, where so they can gauge who / what is a potential threat to a) how you think about them b) how you feel about yourself and anything that will change your perception of reality outside of your controlled relationship environment.
#3 Projecting their behaviour on to you. Perhaps they were unfaithful and you know about it, maybe you just suspect and they suggest you’re going crazy. What if you’re not crazy and they are so insecure that they just like to physically have their cake and eat it with you and others. Gaslighters are intelligent; they are in tune with how you tick and can find a way to place the onus of their negative behaviour and actions on you - perhaps you made a comment which sounded like a hall pass for them to be unfaithful - so actually it’s all your fault. Perhaps things haven’t been as rosy as they are normally are and there is a friction between you both (maybe that's you just trying to pull back your independence) has caused them to go astray - perhaps that’s your fault too. Is it? Of course not. You are not accountable to anyone else actions other than your own. They might even accuse you of being unfaithful to justify their own actions.
#4 They want you all to themselves. Gaslighters don’t like to share you - not with your friends, family or work colleagues. They won’t be happy unless they have you entirely to themselves. He or she will want all of your emotional attention, your energy and pretty much all of your disposable time outside of your professional life. A gaslighter will want you all to themselves so much so, that they will find a way to make your friendships and relationships with others fall by the wayside. Maybe they will make you feel like your friends and individual family members don’t have your best interests at heart, that they are not of value to you or perhaps don’t care about you the way they should, they are slowly but surely turning you against the people you care about the most. They will try to make you feel like it is only they who have your best interests at heart.
#5 You feel like you’re going crazy.
No, you are not going bonkers. They might even consistently throw labels at you like ‘crazy’ or say that you’re ‘going mad’ or ‘suffocating’ them or that you’re ‘insecure’, these are just examples and not exact, but the fact of the matter is you are not any of those things but told enough and over a long enough period of time you will start to believe them. The worrying thing is, what we believe we become.
I don’t know about you, but I much prefer sparks to fire. And, when it comes to gaslighting, while I make the odd joke about it and throw in a pun here and there - is a serious topic and just because today the urban dictionary finds cute/funny terminologies doesn’t make it any less of psychological and emotional abuse within a relationship.
If you know anyone affected by this youcan seek help here.
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Cheating is something that isn’t a new concept (unfortunately) when it comes to deviating from ones relationship. Many people do it and for many different reasons. Morally it’s something that will never be right, at least in my eyes, and I can’t think of any circumstance in a relationship where it should be accepted or is acceptable. As cheating is frowned upon by so many why isn’t it a foreign concept? Moreover, why do people in happy relationships stray away from their significant other?
I believe cheating can be a completely learnt behaviour. I don’t plan to go down the whole Freudian route with this but if a cheater has ever seen parents or peers steer away from a committed relationship into a sexual or emotional affair with another then somehow it can be instilled in their mind that cheating is okay. An individual may have been conditioned to think that cheating is an acceptable part of life, even if in a happy ‘committed’ relationship.
Not able to communicate needs for intimacy. If your partner, or you, or both of you, have had some trouble communicating what you both want between the sheets then it could come down to communication. Perhaps you have, or both of you have, tried to express how you feel or what you need but nothing seems to be working. It could very well be the case that although the communication may be there your partner still feels that they have not been heard and so they have gone astray sexually. This is not condoning in any way this behaviour, infidelity is never okay, but if there's even a slight chance that difficult conversations get swept under the rug due to avoidance or inability to deal with conflict then to save your relationship (if that's what you want) you both need to address your intimacy needs, the way you communicate them and let your partner know that they are heard.
Separating sex and love. Some people have strong beliefs that sex and love are two things that are not intertwined and so in their mind being physical has nothing to do with the amount they are emotionally committed, hence, they enter into a sexual relationship with someone else outside of their existing relationship. In fact, an extra martial dating site conducted a study around peoples’ reasons for indulging in extra-marital affairs and they found that an ‘unfulfilled sex life’ landed on the top of the list of reasons why people have affairs with 27% of members feeling sexually unsatisfied with their significant other. In the same study another 14% reported that a particularly high libido was a reason for them being led astray sexually and with 9% stating that a quirky sexual interest such as a fetish led them to deviate from devotion.
There’s a cheating gene, apparently. According to some research conducted on human behaviour and evolution apparently there is a ‘cheating gene’, an idea that I will entertain for arguments sake. Tentative evidence found that there is a gene that influences infidelity in women (the vasopressin receptor gene) which according to researchers in this field, is a gene that is responsible for empathy and sexual bonding. While I do think research is necessary I do not think cheating is limited to one gender or more so in any gender at all, I do think it’s specific to an individuals outlook on relationships and their own sense of self-fulfilment and so, if someone has the inclination to go astray, no matter how happy a home they live in, they will do so.
Boredom. We live in a world where our senses are constantly stimulated, our attention spans have dwindled in a digital age to that less than goldfish of fewer than 8 seconds. With that said, I can only imagine how that affects the way we communicate in relationships and our desire to always want more despite being in what from the casual onlooker seems to be a happy, healthy and committed relationship. If we are constantly seeking to be stimulated it makes sense that relationships will be affected and those with the inclination to cheat might feel compelled to do just that due to sheer boredom and perceived lack of thrill in their life.
If we sought less to receive attention from others outside of our relationships and to instead communicate on a deeper level then I truly believe we would lead more sexually and emotionally satisfied, fulfilled, loving and sustainable relationships.
P.s. I recently spoke to the Huffington Post about why people still cheat in 'happy' relationships alongside some other wonderful dating experts. Have a read here.
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You had been dating someone new, you quite liked them and thought that things seemed to be moving forward in the right direction then all of a sudden he or she completely disappeared off the face of the earth - gone without a hint that things weren’t working out and with no trace of them left in sight. Does this sound relatable to you? Have you recently been in a familiar situation and feeling completely stuck without any explanation and zero closure so you can move forward? Do not fear, I truly believe that what is meant for you in life won’t pass you by and you are not alone as the rise of ghosting is taking the digital dating world by storm - not in a good way.
For those of you out there to which Ghosting is a new term - it is a situation when someone you are dating ceases contact in any form without explanation and is gone without a trace. More often than not they also proceed to block in all forms of digital communication for ease of moving on from their side.
It doesn’t seem to be a foreign concept to millennials and those choosing to date in a digital space as the mentality of ‘the grass always being greener’ continues to also be on the rise. Dating site Plenty of Fish conducted a survey which showed that 78% of people between the ages of 18 and 33 have been “ghosted” at least once in their life. That figure is outstanding.Given that ghosting has unfortunately become somewhat normal in the digital dating world I thought it would be helpful to offer some advice on both sides of the coin.
If you think you’re about to ghost someone, and it is quite normal as normal as a human being to change your mind about someone, perhaps it’s something they say, the headspace you are in or you just don’t quite feel that same spark as when you first started to get to know each other and want to just wipe the slate clean and consider yourself fully single again. This is okay - but what is not okay is just doing a Houdini because there are another person's feelings to consider - we are not robots.
If you're about to ghost someone, think about this…
Consider how you would much rather have someone let you down gently if you really liked them and yet they weren’t all in. Be upfront and be clear - you’ll leave with your integrity intact and still hopefully have respect for one another.Let’s say the person you are about to ghost really likes you - don’t you think it would be fair to offer them some closure so they can move forward in the same way that you are about to - just let them know you don’t quite feel the same, even if you are not so sure of the reason why.If you’re about to digitally ghost someone you haven’t even met then do please remember that nothing can compare to real human connection and unless they have done something absolutely outlandish you should really give meeting them a shot - you really never know what sparks will fly in person and the connections you make online are really just pseudo-relationships and pen-pals until you take the plunge and meet them IRL.
If you have been ghosted recently…
Firstly, we are very sorry to hear that. Secondly, you must understand that if you are a ghostee, the person who has ghosted you has a conflicted vision of themselves and it is not a vision of who you are in any way, shape or form. The process of ghosting was never about you, it was always about the ghost and an inability to deal with themselves on a deep emotional level, any confrontation with you and any acknowledgement of their part in a relationship break-down. What we must remember is that the space created by being ghosted is a space created to welcome the actual love of your life. You may not think it now but everything really does happen for a reason.The person doing the ghosting will have been in a period of relationship conflict for some time and may have been debating how they would like to see the curtains drawing to a close. The ghosts respect for themselves and protection of themselves is far greater than that they have for you but is not a reflection of you and you must remember it is not about you.Ghosting is a way for one party to keep reins of control on a few different elements of their life if they feel a little lost. Ghosting enables them to be fully in control of the management of their own feelings and outcomes to the exiting, it's all on their terms and it suits them best and they don’t have to consider yours, it’s too great a burden for them. Additionally, they are in control of how other people see them and the majority of the time those doing the ghosting have low self-esteem, internal conflict and fear of rejection themselves.
Ghosting can be a painful process and can have a lot of negative outcomes for both parties in terms of fear of rejection in the future, living with lack of closure and not being able to work through relationship and conflict to deepen human connection, especially if one always exits stage left. Think about ghosting and it’s outcomes if you are about to do it and remember if you have been ghosted that it was never about you, don’t take it inward and the right person is out there for you somewhere you just have to be patient yet persistent in the pursuit of finding them.
If you've only been dating the person who ghosted you for a few months then perhaps it was just something for the short term during 'cuffing season' (I know, sigh, another term) but have a read more about that herewith my interview with the Huffington Post.
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It’s the beginning of a new chapter, no doubt most have you have set new goals, have aspirations and things you want to achieve in the forthcoming year. Your goals may be business based, aimed towards health and wellness or even about creating a lifestyle that works for you inclusive of spending more time with your loved ones. We all have milestones that we want to work towards but most of us don’t get crystal clear on the steps we need to take in order to reach them. Have you made some resolutions of the romantic kind? Have you decided that this year is your year to meet your person? If you have, then that’s really great and it’s the reason I run a matchmaking agency - to help singles connect in person globally. In order to get started you need to get to grips with what you need to do before and when putting yourself out there again by gaining some solid insight in how to attract the right person for you, for the long term. We can’t wait to help you on the journey!
We suggest, in order to prepare yourself for a new romantic beginning in 2018, it’s important to make it your business to develop a strategy to seduce the right Jewish single! You have to create the highest vision for your life and love in order to attract what you deserve and here’s a few steps to helping you along the way to being the best ‘you’ that you can possibly be:
Be willing to take risks. If you're holding yourself back because you are afraid of getting hurt (again) you'll fall into the boat of those singles that stand in their own way when it comes to finding love. Make mistakes, meet people, take your learnings and do what it takes but whatever you do don't Learn from your actions, push your comfort zone and you will achieve whatever it is you want above all else in the world.Like attracts like and so it's a great idea to be positive in mindset - you'll attract someone equally as positive in the search for a suitor and.Trust yourself, you know yourself better than anyone else. Trust your gut and go with it, don't pre-judge singles, especially if you're doing online dating but trust your gut when you're on the date - your instincts will never let you down.Know your strengths and accomplishments and don’t be afraid to share them, ever. We aren't often too keen on putting our full selves out there but what have you got to lose - you're brilliant and you should be sure to share your achievements, passions and anything philanthropic you do with your time - it's very attractive don't you know?!Be realistic in your expectations for yourself are you searching for someone based on values and moral compass or is your search based on surface level and subjective attractiveness.See romantic possibilities and create your own dating opportunities rather than always questioning the ‘what if’s’ in life. Furthermore, if you're that person that is simply sat waiting for him or her to cross your path - weeks, months, years and decades could go by - do something about it. He or she isn't always just around the corner - you might have to put some work in but aren't the best things in life worth working for rather than waiting for?
Wishing you all the luck, all the happiness and all the love in 2018. You deserve it and so much more.
Big Love - Sarah xx
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Zainab (A.K.A Tinderella Worldwide) is a 26-year-old travelista who swipes her way across the globe and has plenty of tinder and dating advice on her site http://tinderellaworldwide.com/ Here, she gives a lowdown of her tinder fails and valuable lessons we could all learn from them.
Tinder Fail 1: Exchanging hundreds of thousands of messages before you meet
I got on sooo well with this one guy. Like really, really well. Except, we hadn’t met. We exchanged life stories, frustrations and future dreams. I just knew this would be something special. Then we met and all that fell flat on its face. It was one of the most awkward dates ever. I didn’t like how he acted with his pushy body language and how the first thing he said was “You’re wearing more makeup than your pictures”. I wanted to melt and the ground to swallow me up in the burger joint.
Lesson Learnt: Don’t give out a whole saga of your life – it might be a waste. Save it for the date when you can actually see whether or not there’s chemistry. It is unhealthy to be invested emotionally in someone you’ve never met and don’t see.
Tinder Fail 2: Expecting there to be chemistry
Having any expectations is a dangerous game on tinder – if you do, then you’ll either be satisfied or disappointed. On my second tinder date, I expected there to be as much chemistry as there was on my first with ‘Kasanova’. However, I was bitterly disappointed with the lack of spark, despite the fact that he was a ‘nice guy’ and talked about psychology and other things that interested me. I sadly pecked him on the cheek at the end of the date.
Lesson Learnt: If I hadn’t gone in with such high expectations, I would have had a more enjoyable evening, rather than constantly comparing him on my mental tally chart.
Tinder Fail 3: Clinging like cling-film
I was dating a guy who said “I’m not ready for anything” plus the usual bullshit. So I said “OK” and left it. He then got upset and stalked my ass with texts, Instagram likes and Facebook friend requests from different profiles until I blocked it all. His clinginess reeked of desperation.
It also happens within tinder. I might stop talking to a guy, if I feel like dating another guy. Or I might just be busy. But saying “Good morning” to me each morning when I’m not replying doesn’t make you look smooth at all.
Lesson Learnt: If someone isn’t into you, move on and keep swiping. Trying to sway their opinions by being clingy will only negate your presence further in their eyes. People who like you will respond to you.
Tinder Fail 4: Sexting before meeting
In my very early days of tinder, I was texting a guy who started asking for graphic pictures after about 2 hours of chatting. It was a sure-fire way to put me off my lunch and make me feel uncomfortable.
Lesson Learnt: Never give compromising pictures of yourself or info to people you don’t trust; not only is it uncomfortable, but could also be dangerous… Also, if you haven’t met, let alone had sex, dirty conversations will make your real life and online relationship extremely out of sync, contributing to the discomfort. Slow it down.
Tinder Fail 5: Dressing like a fool
It was pouring with rain and all my clothes were in the wash when I went to meet this guy in Taipei who I nicknamed ‘Mr Zero-To-One Hundred’. So I boarded the MRT in tracksuit pants. Yup that’s right. What made it worse was that he’d made a great effort and looked very nice in dark jeans, a nice top and nice hair. I felt like a horrible horrible person.
Lesson Learnt: Be prepared. Have smart/casual date outfits in your closet for different types of weather, so you don’t look like an idiot. Look like you’ve made an effort; after all, you’d want your date to look nice too.
Tinder Fail 6: Making moves too fast
Two dates come to mind here. Both of them put their arm around me and made physical contact within the first 15 minutes of me meeting them – too fast. Both dates tried kissing me before the first hour was up. Again, too fast. I just said no.
Lesson Learnt: Show at least some restraint, even if you’re really attracted to someone. Make me want to kiss you and want the contact as the sexual tension builds, rather than it feeling forced too early on. Both parties need to be comfortable.
Tinder Fail 7: Ignoring warning signs
There’s no definition of when exactly a red flag goes up – it just does and you know it in your gut. I went on a date with an Egyptian in Vietnam. A flag went up when I sensed he liked me more than I liked him and that he was a little aggressive. But I ignored it, because my ego was happy with the attention after a huge dry spell. I went on to find out that he was rude to strangers, clung on to toxic friends and needed everything to always be perfect. Along with a whole host of issues. I was so relieved when it ended.
Lesson Learnt: Don’t ignore your instincts and try to rationalise things that you want to be OK but aren’t.
Tinder Fail 8: Eating messy food
When I went on a date with ‘The Ultimate Hipster Nomad’, I was very hangry and feeling adventurous, so chose to eat a whole crab. Big mistake. It wasn’t shelled (duh) and so I spent the next forty minutes pathetically struggling to get bits of meat out of claws with curry-soaked hands over a crab cracker. Not my most attractive moment…
Lesson learnt: Eat something easy that won’t fall on your clothes and preferably doesn’t have claws.
Tinder Fail 9: Getting Druuuuunk on a date.
You can get tipsy, you can get borderline drunk, but don’t ever get drunk and don’t EVER get druuuuunk. I was still kind of a Tinder noob when I crossed swipes with this dude I that was instantly attracted to in person. We met at around 6pm in a bar in Charing Cross, London and had some drinks. Then some more. Then some more. Conversation was great and despite him having a healthy physique and being 5’7”, he could drink like a tank. So, I tried to keep up. Then he kissed me and my head started spinning faster than a fidget spinner (maybe that’s why I remember it as a good kiss?)
I struggled to walk and felt like I had a temperature and was about to blackout. That’s not safe let alone attractive. Just as he was about to get me a cab home, I pulled a really classy move and threw up on a cash machine outside the bar. Suffice to say I went home alone at 11pm and never heard from the hot dude again.
Lesson Learnt: Go at your own pace. Having control over yourself on a date is of the utmost importance.
Tinder Fail 10: Giving up
After I was dumped unceremoniously by ‘The One That Broke My Heart’ I thought all was lost. I had thought that this guy was ‘The One’ and now my Matrix had forever been shattered and I would never date again without being disappointed. After a rough few months I started dating again. And the dates weren’t as good, but I felt better to be at least doing something. Fast forward a couple of years and he’s a tiny blip in my past; since him, I’ve been on dates where I’ve experienced higher levels of attraction, had deeper levels of connection and have had fun in the process of all the dates – the good, the bad and the ugly. It was probably a good thing that he wasn’t that into me, because I wasn’t as into him as I thought.
Lesson Learnt: Never give up – just keep swiping. The bet way of getting over someone is figuring yourself out and dating other people that will make you forget them.
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A first date is meant to be relaxed and fun. It’s not a job interview, but if you don’t have the right conversations prepared it can often feel like one. Pauline Plott is here to give us the tools to get the conversation in full swing on those first dates.It's essential to have a good idea of what you want to talk about on your date, as well as an understanding of what you are trying to learn about your date through these discussions. Listed are five great conversation starters for your first date or even online dating and the many things they can reveal about who your date is and whether you are suited to one another.
1. What Places Have You Travelled To?
Travelling is a virtually universally loved activity. It expands our ideas of the world and enables us to create lasting memories and great experiences. It is, therefore, a natural subject to bring up on a first date. It also lends itself to deeper conversations and tangents that are engaging and interesting.
Whether your date has been around the world or is planning a big trip in the future, travel is a great topic that is sure to evoke an enthusiastic passionate response. It is also sure to bring up commonalities you have with your date and may even help you get some ideas for your future dates.
2. What is Your Ideal Day?
We all picture our perfect day in different ways. This is because the definition of our perfect day is actually an inside look into our psyche. Both our aspirations and inspiration are revealed by our own perceptions of what an ideal day looks like and that makes it a great topic of conversation for a first date.
Like the topic of travel, this question can also lead to further discussions about what your date thinks about the world and what their ideal existence might look like. These may seem like heavy subjects, but the way they are framed adds levity to the conversation, while giving you a better picture of the person you’re with.
3. Why Did You Choose Your Job?
Once you’re done discussing the things that you would like to be or do, you can move on to topics that provide more background on the here and now. When it comes to “real world” discussions, t’s not uncommon to ask someone what they do for a living. You can turn this question on its head by instead asking why your date chose the profession they are in.
Few people enjoy talking about work during their leisure time, but most are happy to recall exactly what brought them to their current occupation. This recollection can lead to interesting stories from the past, as well as discussions about the future. It can also give you an idea about the nature of your date. Do they like working with people or is their job more reclusive? The topic is more revealing than you may think.
4. What You Were Like as a Child?
Asking someone about their family can lead to some potentially uncomfortable responses. Instead of focusing on you date’s family, simply ask what their childhood was like. The answers to questions about parents and siblings will come out naturally as a result, but you will avoid bringing up anything that could potentially be an awkward subject.
Childhood recollections can be very interesting and telling. The things we remember tend to be the things that have had the greatest effect on who we are. If they are happy recollections, it probably means your date had a good upbringing and comes from a good family. If not, it may lead to deeper conversations for later, but ones that definitely should not be initiated on a first date.
5. Tell Me a Secret
You wouldn’t think that asking a near stranger to tell you a secret on a first date would be a good idea, but most people are often intrigued when the question is posed to them and often they are more than willing to provide an interesting little tidbit about themselves.
This can be a good trust-building conversation and can act as a fun memory for the relationship in the future. It can also be a good way to gauge certain aspects of your date. If, for example, they tell you that they had a crush on their neighbor growing up, that would be a fairly innocuous, yet entertaining secret. On the other hand, if they tell you something they probably shouldn’t, it can be a good indicator that they aren’t exactly with it.
About the Author
Pauline Plott is a London-based blogger who became a dating guru after learning the psychology behind modern romance and signing up for every dating website in pursuit of relationship bliss. She shares her reviews and opinions on DatingSpot.co.uk.
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In this modern world of navigating the online dating scene as a single, it can be super duper tough to find someone that we connect with in a way that goes beyond the benign surface level. Gosh, I get it, it can be so tiring trying to actually connect. But what about when we do meet people on our wavelength and it doesn’t work out? Do you ever wonder how it can just fizzle out from something we wanted to go further or perhaps you have found yourself wondering why there was a slow fade into nothingness on a romantic level rather than that forever love that we human beings so want? Where and why did he or she disappear? Let’s get to grips with it and try and make some sense of it all. 
Have you ever experienced a potential relationship which has gone from sharing a heck load of passion, many a shared conversation about your actual passions and then all of a sudden something (dare I say it) platonic enters into the realm of your shared space that is anything other than romantic? I hear you - it happens. But, why does it happen? The answer, in my opinion, is that we modern-day daters are so unwilling to be our most vulnerable selves, we’re so unwilling to share who we are in our most authentic way and we don’t fully show up in each dating scenario. So much so, that each potential relationship ends up just being a situationship and the opportunity for real feelings to enter the room falls by the wayside. A situationship is kind of like a pseudo-relationship which shows up in your life regularly but you’re not physically or emotionally anything more than just in that moment together, it’s that simple, and the struggle with millennial situationships is real. It’s an absolute dating limbo.
But why on earth do we do it? Why do we date people when we’re not all in, why do others date us and are seemingly not all in? What’s it all about? The truth is, we singles today are scared of getting hurt, we’re scared of rejection, we’re scared of being vulnerable, and we really don’t know what to do if we get hurt or hurt someone else unintentionally - we don’t know how to deal, and so instead we choose to date down the middle or disappear when the going gets tough. 
Dating down the middle - what do I mean - it’s plain and simple, we don’t let others in the way we used to, we don’t take a leap of faith which, let’s face it, if you’re looking to find that Carrie Bradshaw "can’t breathe without each other kinda love" then you have to be all in both emotionally and physically.  To build a strong, sustainable relationship you have to be willing to get hurt, to heal, to grow and to give yourself in the future both fully and in a very much authentic way. 
Are you dating someone down the middle? Do you feel like you’re being dated down the middle? Do you feel neither here nor there about someone in your life that you’re spending your ‘romantic time’ with - get honest with yourself, do a self-check about where it’s going? Check-in and if both of you aren’t on the same page together then you need to check out and find your forever love. 
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Have you ever dated someone who seemed to shine brighter than anyone else in the crowd, they were charming, charismatic and seemingly brilliant beyond all others you had ever met before? Then the further you delved into your dating life with them there seemed to be a shift. At this point, you may have felt like you were more single than not and going solo despite the fact you were dating them. Maybe you felt like you weren’t being heard, your needs weren’t being met and sometimes, that you were even secondary in your relationship with them? Well, it’s not uncommon, and you may not have known it at the time, but you may have been dating a narcissist. Here are seven signs which are not uncommon when it comes to this particular type of personality. Date them if you wish but I know I’d rather not…
#1. Every conversation is about them.
It doesn’t matter if you’re telling a story or sharing something about your day or a previous event, a narcissist has a special capability of making each conversation come back to them. It’s frustrating, and you can highlight it to them in a subtle way, but more often than not they won’t make any effort to change the way your future exchanges work. 
#2. They have a genuine lack of interest in you and your points of discussion. It isn’t in any way because you are not interesting or the story you have to share isn’t worth sharing it’s just that when you spend time with a narcissist you will find they zone out and switch off and it’s because what you are saying isn’t of interest to them. If you can find strong talking points where they feel they can relate or it will affect their life then sure, they will be back in the game for a moment but don’t take it personally, on the whole; it’s simply a genuine lack of interest on their behalf. You will see that conversations will tend to sit nicely on a surface level when engaging with a narcissist as they won’t know what questions to ask you to delve a little deeper as they have a genuine lack of curiosity about others. 
#3. They never apologise, and if they do, they don’t quite mean it. Finding any scenario where they were in the wrong and feel the need to apologise is kind of like a needle in a haystack. Even if a narcissist agrees that at some point that a mistake or wrongdoing was made and they need to apologise they a) won’t be compelled to do so or b) will do so and will struggle to mean it. 
#4. They feel like an injustice has been served if others have a negative view of them.
A narcissist cares what people think about them, despite them not truly caring as much as themselves. If someone has a negative opinion of the narcissist in question, then it will hurt them as they feel as though they can see a view of who they are which isn’t in alignment with their own opinion of themselves and they find it conflicting and difficult to digest. On a similar note, they will do what it takes to prove to you and to reiterate their view in their mind that they are a good person with only good intentions. 
#5. They have a constant need for recognition. No matter the achievement, no matter how big or small what they will want is the acknowledgement that they have reached a goal, hit a milestone, are doing well and are going way above and beyond what is expected of them. They will want those around them to vocalise that they are doing well, so it reaffirms in their mind a positive vision of themselves and acceptance from others. Any criticism, even of the constructive kind will more often than not be taken to heart by a narcissist. Narcissists will also be envious of your achievements, and if you are quite close to them, they will also try to find a way to take credit or think about how they have contributed to your achievements. 
#6. They don’t celebrate any of your successes. If you have achieved something great, they won’t feel compelled to celebrate with you as they will most often feel intimidated by you or perhaps threatened by your successes out of fear that you may outshine them or undermine them. It’s quite a selfish mentality, and you will spot it when you hit your milestones and become more in tune with how they acknowledge them alongside you. 
#7. They have an unspoken feeling of superiority. A narcissist will feel superior in every way to you, and so they will always put their thoughts, feelings and plans for the future before yours. They deem their needs to be of ultimate importance, and everything you need or will be heard but inevitably won’t be digested fully and will never compare to their needs or wants for the future. What you will experience is constant conflict, spoken or not about needs being unfulfilled due to their perception of being superior 
I don't believe you should ever settle for less than you deserve. If you feel like you are dating a narcissist, then you probably are, if you are happy to accept coming second or being secondary to all else in your relationship then go ahead - date a narcissist. But, if you feel like you deserve ultimate happiness, to be cherished, listened to, appreciated and put at the top of all priorities then do not date a narcissist and find a person that lights you up as much as you light them up. 
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Most of us take time to think towards the year ahead and get planning forward for what it is that we really, truly want. For singles thoughts often turn to building a romantic relationship with someone new. A notion of New Year New Love. Here's 7 Top Tips to help you hit the ground running, navigating that all important search for a someone a little bit more ease.
Trust in the process.  I always refer to the slight edge and believing if you want something you don’t even just have to believe- you work towards it little by little and day by day. If you want to meet someone special, for the long-term, take a look at what you are doing today and what more you could do tomorrow. Just do a little bit each day of online, offline via your very own matchmaker or by visiting any local singles events to really utilise all options for finding love. Just because instant online matches are readily available doesn’t mean a relationship or marriage are also as instant, it takes time and effort. Jump on the wave and trust that the process will get you there, you have to be in it to win it so they say.
Give Everyone A Chance. Research has proven that our connectabilty with tech today has effected our attention span so much and made us impatient in almost every circumstance, mostly our patience with others has thinned making love last the long-run a potential challenge. If you find on a date there is perhaps not instant attraction I would really say just give the meet up a chance, there is a reason somewhere that you have both been matched online or via a matchmaker and so just remember to be a little more yourself, in realtime.
Make Sure To Cover All Bases. The dating industry is now saturated with options and although too many options can sometimes be oh so daunting I would say putting like minded, compatible people in one place to give them the best chance to meet has never been easier or more accessible. One thing I would say is think about the kind of person you would like to meet- what dating apps would they use? Would they utilise online websites and would the serious searchers pay for an online service or head to a free website? Perhaps the person you are looking for might not even consider online and may turn to traditional matchmakers for a more professional and dedicated approach to finding lasting love? Think carefully about the kind of pool you want to be swimming in.
Aim for Date 2 Every Time. Don’t jump onto the dating scene with the next please mentality. It’s important to remember that every relationship takes compromise and nobody is perfect; even though science would have us believe in the beginning stages of love that another can be. Give everyone you meet a real chance and remove your checklist; you are not in Wall Mart or Waitrose. They deserve a second date and so do you- be in the moment on each date and remember the first date should just be about hello as first date nerves, pressures post working day and meeting someone new can all be a hindrance to showing our true selves. Please remember that the first date is not an interview for marriage it’s a chance to see if you get along and could there be any chemistry moving forward.
Don’t Limit Your Options. The older we get the more specific we get about who we are, what we want and who we want to meet. We begin to create lists and build parameters which can sometimes cut ourselves off from what is best intended for us.  Aim to be flexible with the things that really matter. A great strategy when it comes to your love match search so not to limit your options is to just select 3 to 5 things that truly matter such as values, upbringing and life direction, lifestyles and remove their specified criteria’s that are less meaningful to you. Choose what’s essential and get rid of the rest. 
Ensure Not To Reveal Too Much, Too Soon. It’s important to take your time getting to know someone and I am a firm believer that a slow burner has the miles it needs to run the distance. I don’t think oversharing on religion, political views, how many children you want and what your mother wants for your future on a first date is the going to help things move forward as the pressure is then immediately on between two people. Things can reveal themselves slowly over time so don’t rush it. Ensure that it’s a marathon not a sprint.
Manage Your Expectations. If you have a list as long as the 6’2 guy you want to meet perhaps you need to think about your non-negotiables and scrap the rest. Building a relationship takes two and like a new build, the foundations you both have ought to be the same and solid, these are your values and moral fibre, but growth and building up needs to be a process of communication, understanding and everything else is just interior design. I would suggest putting the thoughts of the kind of person you would like to meet down on paper but be realistic and manage whats most important- everything else is just a bonus. 
I will end by saying this. Whatever journey we have in mind is we need to put ourselves out there little by little, day by day and no matter what we will get there. Trusting in the process is key to getting whatever it is we truly want and remembering that if we get frustrated and relapse from our plan to meet someone new, build a new business, grow personally, professionally or financially we can always jump back on the bandwagon and maintain what we set out to do in small actionable steps. “If it’s easy to do, it’s easy not to do”- the choice really is yours in love and all areas of your life this new year.
@FabSarahRyan 
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"Your journey has moulded you, it was exactly what it needed to be. It took each and every situation to bring you to the now and the now is right on time".
It has been a weird and wonderful year to say the least and in this blog I am just thrilled to say that personally and professionally it’s been a major rollercoaster of development and growth bringing me to where I am today. In November I was shortlisted as finalist for Dating Expert 2016 and as Global Managing Director of Simantov International we were announced as the Winner of Best Matchmaking Agency 2016 at The Dating Awards.
An incredible achievement, I am so proud to work with such a dedicated team on a global scale who connect those willing to travel the world over in order to find love. I want to express a huge amount of gratitude to the panel of judges and CEO Charly Lester of The Dating Awards. Without these awards we wouldn’t be able to acknowledge those individuals and companies providing a wealth of knowledge to help singles navigate the road to finding love; however long or winding that road may be. 
The Awards acknowledge the best of the best in the dating industry as we all strive towards providing a high standard of service to that soulmate search both in offline traditional matchmaking and in online dating. Here’s a recap of the best of the best and I am personally so proud to be a part of such a wonderful industry. Huge well done to all and big love from me.
Matchmaking Agency of the Year – Simantov International
Upcoming Matchmaker of the Year –Soiree Society NI
Best New Dating Individual – Ane Auret
Dating Events Brand of the Year – Smudged Lipstick
Best Commercial Dating Blog – Cupid.com
Best Dating TV Show – First Dates
Dating Expert of the Year – Jo Hemmings
Innovation in Dating – Good Deed Dating
Best Customer Service – Drawing Down The Moon
Best Dating Marketing Campaign –TrueView
Safer Dating Award – TrueView
Best Niche Dating Brand – Christian Connection
Best Use of Social Media – LoveStruck
Online Dating Brand of the Year – The Inner Circle
Daters’ Favourite Dating Site – Christian Connection
Dating App of the Year – Hinge
Best New Dating Brand – ooOo
Dating Writer of the Year – Stella Grey
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