Informative & Thought-Provoking Posts From Around The Web – March Edition

Continuing our post from last month summarising the best informative and thought-provoking articles from around the web, here are six posts from the month of March covering the hottest topics related to love and relationships.

Is Big Data Dating The Key To Long-Lasting Romance?

Paul Rubens at the BBC investigates whether “big data” is the key to finding long-lasting romance and if modern technology can assist us all in finding our true love (or even just a highly compatible partner).

Love Machine: How Gen Yers Used Technology To Transform The Dating Game

“Sex and romance online was for freaks and geeks until young people came along. Nothing would ever be the same again.” In another post on love in the modern world and the use of technology, the Guardian looks at how Generation Y is going about the quest for love – their ways might seem outrageous to other generations, but it appears that the nature of the beast is still the same.

Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal As First Couples Wed In the UK

The first same-sex weddings have taken place after gay marriage became legal in England and Wales at midnight on March 29. Politicians from the main parties have hailed the change in the law. Scotland passed a similar law in February; the first same-sex marriages are expected there in October. For those who missed it last year, check out Find Keep Love’s post on Why Gay Marriage Is A Step Forward For Humanity.

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Law Challenged In Court

On the other side of the world, Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni signed an anti-gay bill last month toughening penalties for gay people, including life sentences for gay sex and same-sex marriages. Some of the outrageous punishments include:

  • Life imprisonment for gay sex, including oral sex;
  • Life imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality”, including sex with a minor or while HIV-positive;
  • Life imprisonment for living in a same-sex marriage;
  • Seven years for “attempting to commit homosexuality”;
  • Between five and seven years in jail and/or a $40,700 (£24,500) fine for the promotion of homosexuality; and
  • Businesses or non-governmental organisations found guilty of the promotion of homosexuality would have their certificates of registration cancelled and directors could face seven years in jail.

Protests are ongoing from groups like All Out and LGBT groups around the world, and the law is currently being challenged in court in Uganda.

Am I Really Ready For This? Pre-Wedding Jitters

A good number of engagements happen during the month of love – Februrary – but what happens when the excitement dies down and reality hits. Here is some advice for those who have recently popped the question (or have been asked to marry) and the enormity of the situation has just sunk in.

Cat Café Opens In London – Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium

And, finally, taking after the craze in Japan, a cat café has opened in London: Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium. At Lady Dinah’s – a home for rescued cats – visitors can kick back and relax with a cup of tea and spend time in the soothing company of our purring feline friends. This article provides more information on the cat café and its opening.

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Informative & Thought-Provoking Posts From Around The Web – February Edition

February’s always a hot month for love with Valentine’s Day falling right in the middle. Here are a summary of posts from around the web this month that are informative and thought-provoking, covering various topics related to love and relationships. There’s something for everyone in this collection of news, articles and videos.

The History Of Marriage – Alex Gendler (A TED Talk)

“Marriage has always been shaped by society, and as a society’s structure, values and goals change over time, its ideas of marriage will continue to change along with them.” With marriage being a hotly discussed topic of late with increasing divorce rates and same-sex marriage legislation being debated by governments around the world, here is a brief history of marriage (via TED-Ed – Lessons Worth Sharing) in The History Of Marriage – Alex Gendler.

Everything You Wanted To Know About Polyamory But Were Afraid To Ask

Some of the estimated 1 million to 2 million Americans who choose to openly love more than one person share wisdom and advice for people who are considering “going poly,” or who are just curious about the practice in Everything you wanted to know about polyamory but were afraid to ask – inside the sex positive world of multiple partners.

10 Stubborn Sex Myths That Just Won’t Die, Debunked

Perhaps you’ve heard that size matters, women are naturally more bisexual than men, or that tantric sex means everlasting orgasms. The fact is, none of these things are quite true. Sex has been around forever, but we’re just starting to understand it. Lifehacker debunks 10 of the most common sex myths to set the record straight in 10 Stubborn Sex Myths That Just Won’t Die, Debunked.

Canadian Actress Ellen Page Comes Out As Gay At Time To Thrive Conference

Canadian actress Ellen Page made the brave decision to come out as gay at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Time to Thrive Conference in Nevada, Las Vegas. Check out the post over at the Human Rights Campaign’s Tumblr page and watch the Juno star’s moving coming out speech below.

Facebook Offers Users 56 New Gender Options

Facebook announced this month that it will allow users to customise their gender, after consulting on the subject with gay and transgender advocacy groups. Facebook now offers users 56 new gender options and here’s what they all mean over at The Week.

In The Mood For Love (10 TED Talks On Love)

Love: it’s what makes the world go round. And also: all you need. As well as that thing, in addition to war, in which all is fair. Here, watch TED Talks about this most basic of human emotions in In The Mood For Love.

26 Of Hollywood’s Most Romantic Movie Moments In One & A Half Minutes

Watch 26 of Hollywood’s most romantic movie moments in a minute and a half in The Most Romantic Movie Moments Mashup by Fandango.

Philosophy Of Love Course On MIT’s OpenCourseWare

The MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) OpenCourseWare is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity. This course,  titled ‘Philosophy of Love,’ explores the nature of love through works of philosophy, literature, film, poetry, and individual experience. It investigates the distinction among eros, philia, and agape. Students discuss ideas of love as a feeling, an action, a species of ‘knowing someone,’ or a way to give or take. Authors studied include Plato, Kant, Buber, D. H. Lawrence, Rumi, and Aristotle. Find out more and go through the course materials yourself here.

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Ideas For Everyone

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, so I thought in this post I’d provide some timely encouragement and inspiration to make the most of this yearly event celebrating love.

LOOKING FOR LOVE?

For those looking for love, you might like to start with our post Step 3. (Where To) Start Looking For Love, and if online dating is something you’ve thought about trying, check out our online dating-themed posts on The Best Dating Websites & Apps To Look For Love, Creating A Successful Online Dating Profile, and Tips & Advice To Stay Safe Online. Make Valentine’s Day your catalyst for finding and keeping love this year.

GOING ON A DATE?

If you’re going on a date with someone, particularly for the first time, don’t leave home without having read our First Date Dos And Don’ts!

And make sure you give yourself the best chance possible of attracting your ideal mate by reading 10 Ways To Make Yourself More Attractive To The Opposite Sex – Part 1 and Part 2.

WANT A DATE IDEA?

If you don’t know where to go or what to do on your date, and want some ideas that won’t break the bank, our posts on 10 Cheap Date Ideas That Won’t Make You A Cheapskate – Part 1 and Part 2 should put you on the right track.

If you’d just like to have a romantic evening indoors with your loved one instead, perhaps try our series of movie posts on movies perfect for couples: 10 Man-Friendly Romantic Comedies That Women Love, 10 Feel-Good And Tear-Jerker Movies That Change Your Perspective, 10 Classic Love Stories & Romantic Movies and 10 Girl-Friendly Action Movies That Men Love. There’s something for everyone in these collections of fantastic movies.

WANT TO SURPRISE YOUR PARTNER?

If you are in a relationship and want to make your Valentine feel special, 10 Ways To Surprise Your Partner will give you several handy suggestions to show them that you love and appreciate them.

And if you really want to surprise them and take your relationship to the ultimate level, our post on Epic Marriage Proposal Wins should inspire you to make it uniquely special.

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day to celebrate love?

New Year Resolutions To Improve Your Love Life

Many of us make resolutions at the beginning of the New Year, but how many of us actually end up turning them in action, let alone achieve them? Now that we’ve had some time to get over New Year’s Eve festivities, reflecting on 2013, what were your best and worst moments of the past year? If you made resolutions last year, did you come close to achieving any of them? I managed to achieve 5.5 out of 7 of my resolutions, but I didn’t read nearly enough books as I’d hoped, and I lost some excess weight, but not nearly as much as I’d set as a goal. Starting and maintaining this blog was one of my resolutions last year and I’m looking forward to continuing and expanding it this year. It now has its own web address, too: findkeeplove.com.

Thinking about what we might like to achieve in 2014, let’s look at the resolutions you might have made. Many resolutions are made without serious intent and are too vague to actually achieve: “lose weight,” “find love,” “be happier,” and so on. Making resolutions for the right reasons and that are achievable give you a goal to aim at throughout the year, something to look forward to, a personal challenge, and/or a new start. We feel better about ourselves when we set personal goals, no matter how small, and then end up accomplishing them.

So how can we set realistic New Year resolutions and set out to achieve them? First, don’t think of a resolution as something silly you make up on New Year’s Eve, but as you would any other goal or challenge you might make on any other day of the year. If you have trouble taking a “New Year resolution” seriously, call it something else, like “Goals for 2014.” Then follow these simple steps:

1. Pick the right resolution(s)

Think about what you really want to achieve this year and how you will benefit from it.

2. Set an achievable goal

Unrealistic goals are doomed to fail and a goal is more achievable if you can quantify it in terms of numbers.

3. Set a time line for the goal

and if possible, break the goal up into steps. This helps you review your progress against tangible performance metrics. A resolution made without thinking of the steps necessary to achieve that resolution will most likely fail. If you want to lose weight, for example, try “exercise for 30 minutes a day,” “replace crisps/chocolate with a piece of fruit,” and so on, in order to lose weight (e.g., lose x kilograms).

4. Review your progress towards the goal

This helps you stay on track… and remember to try as hard as possible not to move the goalposts, but also remain somewhat flexible – at the end of the day, you are only letting yourself down, but you are the main influencer of your own happiness! At the end of January, review the progress towards your goals and see how you’re going.

5. Achieve your challenge

… or part of it. Even if you don’t complete 100% of the original goal, you may have learnt a thing or two along the way. And there’s always a chance to make new resolutions in a year’s time.

Making New Year Resolutions To Improve Your Love Life – For Singles

For singles looking to find love, perhaps you can set yourself the goal of one activity a month that allows you to meet someone new. This might be joining new club, group or organisation related to something that interests you or something you’ve wanted to try. One place you can start looking is Meetup. It’s always good to push yourself out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself from time to time. You can use these activities as an opportunity of assessing others’ suitability as a partner (subtly, of course).

If you’re serious about finding love this year, you’ll want to have a look at Find Keep Love’s three step program to finding love:

If you want to try online dating, sign up to a dating website or two and start creating a profile. You’ll might also like to check out our series of posts on online dating:

Making New Year Resolutions To Improve Your Love Life – For Couples

For couples, you can set goals individually or together. As an individual goal, for example, resolve to do a random nice thing for your partner once a month (or once a week if you’re feeling overly ambitious) or to take your partner out for a proper romantic date once a month. Find Keep Love’s post on 10 Ways To Surprise Your Partner addresses this topic and will point you in the right direction. You could also aim to pay your loved one a compliment a day for the entirety of 2014. 365 compliments will gain you some serious love points, and you’ll form good habits to strengthen your relationship.

You can also set goals together – to learn something new by taking a course together (a new language or a cooking course perhaps) or to go on a romantic getaway once or twice this year. Resolve to spend more quality time together, particularly if work or family life gets in the way. Our posts on Modern Day Dating & Scheduling Dates, Relationship Maintenance & Avoiding Relationship Ruts and The Natural Drift Of Relationships – Why Some Relationships Don’t Last discuss some of the common issues with modern relationships and some ways to overcome them. You may also find some inspiration from our two-part post on the 6 Secrets To Keeping Long Term Love and on the 7 Deadly Relationship Sins – What Not To Do In Love – you’ll want to aim to do more of the former and less of the latter.

What are your New Year resolutions? What steps will you take to achieve them?

10 Cheap Date Ideas That Won’t Make You A Cheapskate – Part 2

In this post, Find Keep Love continues the theme of 10 Cheap Date Ideas That Won’t Make You A Cheapskate – Part 1, looking at a few more cheap date ideas that won’t break the bank and won’t make you appear to be a cheapskate.

6. Use vouchers & take advantage of special deals/offers

There are a multitude of voucher/deal applications for smartphones available: Groupon, LocalSocial [Android], vouchercloud [Apple and Android], and HotUKDeals [Apple and Android] are some examples. If you’re embarrassed to use a voucher in front of your date/partner, why not call ahead and book and mention it while you’re doing that (in fact, some deals require that). Or you can always fake a trip to the restroom and slyly make your way to the cashier to sort out the bill, rather than calling it to the table. You’ll not only gain points on the chivalry front, but you’ll get a great deal on the meal. For UK-based restaurant vouchers and deals, check out this post at Money Saving Expert.

7. Ten pin bowling

A ten pin bowling date can be an immensely fun date and many bowling alleys incorporate pool/snooker tables, bars and video games, so there’s plenty to do. Often nearby are restaurants, movie theatres and even nightclubs. You can relive dates of decades past at a retro bowling alley or immerse yourself in one with the latest gaming technology – there’s cosmic bowling, for example, with the latest beats and glow-in-the-dark pins.

8. Go to a local fair, market or other special event

Every weekend you will find local fairs, markets and other special events taking place across the UK. There are music festivals (the more commercial ones will cost a significant chunk of cash, but there are many free ones, too), beer festivals, food festivals, cultural festivals, dancing festivals… the list goes on. Check out your town/city/village’s local newspaper or magazine – in print or online – for upcoming events. You’ll find there’s always something on… to do something you both enjoy, or get out of your comfort zones with something new and interesting.

9. Be a tourist in your own town

People often think they have to travel far away – perhaps to exotic locations – to be a tourist, but you can always be a tourist in your own town. With a little research you can always find something new and interesting to do – sometimes we take our own place of living for granted and overlook some great things to do – and save on flights, accommodation, and so on. Things that might actually be staring us in the face, on our own doorstep, that we lose sight of. The local newspaper or magazine will have a list of things in it that just might surprise you. There could be a new restaurant, bar or coffee shop, or there may be a visiting performer or art exhibition. Fall in love with the place you live all over again.

10. Heat up some popcorn & have a movie night in

You don’t always have to go outside for a date – watching a romantic movie, cuddled up together at home on the couch or in bed, perhaps sharing a bowl of popcorn or some chocolate treats, is a great way to enjoy each other’s company. Some supermarkets have some great meal deals designed for couples to have a night off cooking without having to resort to junk food – my local M&S, for example, has a Dine In For £10 deal on select days. For some movie date ideas, check out these Find Keep Love posts:

So, in summary, in addition to the five ways in Part 1, ten cheap dates that won’t make you (seem like) a cheapskate are

1. A coffee date
2. Visit a National Park & enjoy the great outdoors
3. Visit a National Trust property
4. Go on a day trip on a bus or train
5. Go for a walk/jog/run/cycle somewhere together
6. Use vouchers & take advantage of special deals/offers
7. Ten pin bowling
8. Go to a local fair, market or other special event
9. Be a tourist in your own town
10. Heat up some popcorn & have a movie night in

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10 Cheap Date Ideas That Won’t Make You A Cheapskate – Part 1

In this post, Find Keep Love looks at a few cheap date ideas that won’t break the bank and won’t make you appear to be a cheapskate.  You can show your date/partner a fun and/or interesting time without having to take out a loan to do so!

1. A coffee date

A date at a café can be an inexpensive way to get to know someone over a cup of tea or coffee (and even cake!). This is a great option for first/initial dates – it’s casual, and the bill shouldn’t end up being too expensive. It is also a suitable alternative to a pub, where alcohol can sometimes have a negative influence on a date (see our post on First Dates Dos and Don’ts), but you can also easily end up with an expensive bill if things are going well!

2. Visit a National Park & enjoy the great outdoors

England, for example, has 10 National Parks that cover almost 10% of the land area. There are 113,000 National Parks worldwide, which cover about 6% of the Earth’s land surface! Many of these are free/cheap to enter, so provided the weather is good, why not pack a picnic basket with yummy food and enjoy some beautiful scenery that have been specifically protected for us to enjoy. There are many ways to get in touch with Mother Nature, and it doesn’t have to be at a National Park. Besides enjoying the weather outside, you can watch the sunrise/sunset, watch birds and other animals, pick fruit, gaze at the stars, and so on.

3. Visit a National Trust property

The UK’s National Trust protects and opens many historic gardens, mills and monuments for the public to visit, and for a small yearly membership fee (even cheaper when you get a joint membership), you have access to National Trust properties and events, as well as opportunities to join local supporter groups. National Trust properties include something for everyone: grand houses and mansions, caves, lighthouses, gardens, beaches, castles and abbeys!

4. Go on a day trip on a bus or train

With advance/cheap bus or train tickets, you can take a trip to another village or city and spend the day there. Super Off Peak Day Return train tickets can let you have a day trip on a weekend for just over £10 to travel from Cambridge to London, for example, where a normal ticket would cost over £40. With megabus.com, you can get a bus from Cambridge to Oxford for as low as £1! For other offers and tips, check out Money Saving Expert’s post on cheap train & coach deals.

5. Go for a walk/jog/run/cycle somewhere together

Many cities have walking or cycling trails and getting some exercise together can be a great way to release endorphins. You could stop off at a village along the way to browse the shops, sample the local produce, have a cup of tea or coffee or a beer, and then continue on your journey. The exercise will have a positive impact on your cardiovascular system and have you both feeling (and possibly even looking) better, and with the help of Google Maps you can tailor your route/distance to your specific fitness level!

Stay tuned for the continuation of this post, where we’ll explore five more cheap date ideas!

Myths About Love And Finding A Partner

In this post, Find Keep Love investigates a few of the misconceptions people have and myths about love and finding a partner.

There is only one true love… I’m a firm believer in “there are plenty more fish in the sea.” After all, there are over seven billion people on the planet and about half of them are of the sex you’re looking for (or even more if you’re bisexual). Even if you narrow it down to your particular age group and those who are unattached and looking, that still leaves millions of potential partners. If you know what you want (Find Love. Step 2. Know Yourself) and have a certain level of standards, this certainly narrows down your choices, but it also ensures you look in the right places. Often we end up with the kind of partner who fits our expectations.

There are also a number of theories on mate selection, including Parental Image Theory (Freud proposed that a child forms a deep attachment to their parent of opposite sex, and chooses someone similar to them as a mate), Homogamy Theory (based on ‘like attracts like,’ i.e., people choose mates based on similarities they find in each other), Propinquity Theory (two people who spend a lot of time together in close proximity are likely to develop a close relationship), and Complementary Need Theory (Winch proposed that a person seeks a partner who complements his/her own personality, i.e., a partner who complements their own weaknesses).

Every day is rosy and lovely (and only couples in bad relationships argue)… all couples have disagreements and arguments, especially when living together in close proximity and dealing with joint finances, looking after and raising children, and so on. It is not so much your disagreements and arguments that define you as a couple, but the way in which you deal with them together. When (not if!) these disagreements or arguments occur, deal with them appropriately like adults, and not in public or involving others. Be honest with your feelings and respect each other’s needs, wants and opinions. It is often said that couples who argue together last longer together and form stronger bonds together than couples who do not argue very often. A relationship based on mutual respect, honesty and trust will survive many disagreements and arguments, but it is a difficult skill to be able to accept and embrace disagreement.

An amazing sex life lasts forever… Seeing the daily habits of your partner, and seeing them at their worst (the bad breath and other smells, bed hair, grooming and toilet habits, mood swings, and so on), does have an effect on how sexy they appear and how much lust we feel towards them. In the initial stages of dating, you generally only see their good side. Living together changes your viewpoint dramatically – you see your partner in ‘lazy mode’, experience their toilet habits, and smell their morning breath. This is life, after all, but it doesn’t do much for our sex lives! Every now and then, you should both get dressed up, meet up separately (say after work) and treat things like a first date again – it might just be the spark you need to rejuvenate things and keep that lustful flame burning. Try surprising your partner with one of Find Keep Love’s 10 Ways To Surprise Your Partner. For some more related tips to maintain a healthy relationship, check out Modern Day Dating & Scheduling Dates and Relationship Maintenance & Avoiding Relationship Ruts.

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