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.

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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?

10 Ways To Become Trustworthy & More Trusting

One of the cornerstones of a healthy and strong relationship is trust, and trust is one of our 6 Secrets To Keeping Long Term Love. Trust in relationships takes time and effort to build, and can be destroyed in the blink of an eye, sometimes irreparably. In this post, we look at how to build trust in relationships with ten ways to become trustworthy and more trusting.

  1. Do what you say & be consistent in your behaviour. Don’t be a hypocrite and don’t have double standards.
  2. Don’t lie. Don’t embellish the truth. No-one believes or trusts a chronic liar. Trustworthy people don’t lie, cheat or steal.
  3. If you do lie, admit your lies & apologise for past indiscretions. Disclaimer: this can cause the other person to lose trust in you, but is a better alternative to having a lie found out.
  4. Give information & share secrets/personal information. Entrusting someone with these details exhibits your confidence and trust in them.
  5. Keep secrets of others & don’t gossip. People who often talk and gossip about others are often seen as being untrustworthy. Keeping personal information about others to yourself shows that you are trustworthy and above gossip, which is the “lowest form of discourse” (Jacqueline Bisset).
  6. Express your true feelings. If you love someone, let them know; if you dislike something, also let them know (but tactfully!). Honest people are more trustworthy.
  7. Honour your promises. It can be as simple as being punctual, but show that if you make a commitment or promise, you follow through on them. If you tell someone you’ll do something, do it.
  8. Demonstrate a strong moral ethic. Stand up for things you believe in. Show others that you support good causes. People are more easy to trust when they have good morals, do good things, and care for others.
  9. Be objective & show neutrality in difficult situations. Show fairness and diplomacy when dealing with others. For example, in situations that involve personal conflicts of interest: for example, arguments between two friends or family members. You are judged by others on the nature of your own judgements.
  10. Don’t let baggage from the past cloud/interfere with trust issues of the present. Many times it can be events of the past that affect our trust issues of the present. These issues can sometimes stem from your own behaviour or your own moral compass. Sometimes becoming more trustworthy and more trusting comes from within, after some introspective thought.

Are you as trustworthy as you’d like to be? What do you do in relationships to build trust?

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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7 Deadly Relationship Sins – What Not To Do In Love – Part 2

In the previous post, 7 Deadly Relationship Sins – What Not To Do In Love – Part 1, we examined the first three of seven deadly relationship sins, how to recognise them, and most importantly, how to keep them ruining your relationship. In this post, we examine the other four deadly relationship sins, and summarise the seven things you should avoid in your relationship to ensure that you keep love for the long haul.

4. Emotional blackmail

Emotional blackmail is when someone with whom you have a close and intimate personal relationship uses fear, guilt or obligation to manipulate you. You’ve probably heard some of the commonly used phrases before: “If you loved me, you would…”, “After all I’ve done for you…”, “I thought I meant a little more than that to you…”, “I’ve got no-one else that cares about me…” or “I wouldn’t have asked you if it wasn’t important…” Often, because of the close relationship between the two people, the perpetrator of emotional blackmail knows the victim’s insecurities, secrets and other intimate knowledge, and uses these against them to achieve their goal. By its very definition, emotional blackmail involves our emotions, which often cloud our judgement and hinder our rational thought processes. Manipulating your partner to achieve some end is not part of a strong and healthy relationship, so how can you avoid emotional blackmail or deal with it appropriately when it happens? Firstly, be aware of the signs. As Forward and Frazier describe in their book Emotional Blackmail, there are six stages: 1) a demand, 2) your resistance, 3) pressure, 4) threat(s), 5) your compliance, and 6) repetition. Victims of emotional blackmail are often insecure and have difficulty saying no to people. Having a healthy ego by learning improve your self-esteem and self-love can help prevent being a victim – and realise that sometimes its okay to say no to a request and that it doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person. Finally, make sure you try to stay in control of your emotions and judge the situation and the request rationally.

5. Lack of affection & inattentiveness

Withholding affection is a form of emotional blackmail (see above) sometimes used in relationships, but sometimes through the natural drift of a relationship, we can forget to show love for our partner in the form of affection and intimacy. In fact, remembering to express your feelings for your partner and your attraction physically is one of Find Keep Love’s 6 Secrets To Keeping Long Term Love, particularly in long term relationships where affection and intimacy require a little more effort and motivation than newer relationships. It doesn’t have to be too hard – see 10 Ways To Surprise Your Partner and Relationship Maintenance & Avoiding Relationship Ruts for some great tips on how to keep your love alive and avoid the deadly sin of lack of affection and inattentiveness.

6. Unrealistic expectations of your relationship & your partner

As described in The Natural Drift Of Relationships – Why Some Relationships Don’t Last, romantic comedies can give unrealistic expectations of your partner and your relationship when the storylines contained within aren’t treated as a form of escapism, but as realistic. Having unrealistic expectations puts unnecessary pressure on your partner to perform, making them constantly conscious of their dealings with you and making them feel like they are never good enough for you, damaging their self-esteem. These unrealistic expectations can come from a number of different sources: our past relationships and experiences, our family values, traditions and upbringing or relying on others to fill an internal void. What about your own expectations of your partner, family or close friends? Are you expecting too much? Now this isn’t advocating the lowering of your own personal standards, but thinking about your expectations rationally and realistically, and asking yourself, “Am I being fair?” After all, we’re all humans and we’re none of us perfect, and having expectations that are too high leads to disappointment and frustration, and ultimately unhealthy relationships.

7. Undermining or belittling (especially in public & including being mean)

Most of the time you should be your partner’s number one supporter and stick up for them in situations where they need an ally. This support can take various forms: physical comfort and emotional support (listening and sympathising), esteem support (expressing confidence and giving encouragement), informational support (in the form of advice or providing information) and tangible support (taking on responsibilities to assist your partner or brainstorming solutions). Every now and then, they’re in the wrong or you don’t agree with their behaviour, actions or opinions, and how you deal with this is important. This leads us to the last of the deadly relationship sins: undermining or belittling your partner, especially in public (for example, around friends or family). The strength of your relationship with your partner and how open you are with your feelings (and how thick their skin is) determines how honest you can be with your partner, particularly when you disagree. However, dealing with a disagreement by undermining a person’s sense of self-worth by constantly criticising them, belittling their abilities, and calling them names or manipulating them into following your opinion/lifestyle/behaviour is a form of abuse. Being able to disagree on things and discuss them rationally and passionately is a sign of a strong and healthy relationship. Finally, in some countries, making fun of others, including your own partner, or ‘taking the piss,’ is part of the national culture and in some circles considered a way of showing affection. You may think you’re being funny and playful, but depending on the frequency of your jokes and the sensitivity of your partner, it might not be seen as funny at all. There are plenty of other ways to show affection and be funny – and avoid any misunderstandings – without being mean to or belittling others.

Avoiding these seven deadly relationship sins – and actively practicising the 6 Secrets To Keeping Long Term Love – Part 1 and Part 2 – will make sure your relationship runs smoothly and help you keep love for the long haul. In summary:

1. Lack of communication (not listening to your partner, not communicating feelings, keeping secrets)
2. Physical or emotional cheating
3. Jealousy
4. Emotional blackmail
5. Lack of affection & inattentiveness
6. Unrealistic expectations of your relationship & your partner
7. Undermining or belittling (especially in public & including being mean)

7 Deadly Relationship Sins – What Not To Do In Love – Part 1

Every long term relationship has its ups and downs, and how we deal with difficulties in a relationship defines us as people and defines the partnership. In the next two posts, we’ll look at seven deadly relationship sins, how to recognise them, and most importantly, how to avoid them ruining your relationship.

1. Lack of communication

Lack of communication is something that one or both partners will complain about at some stage of a long term relationship and it is one of the biggest relationship killers. It can manifest itself in a number of different ways, including:

a) Not listening to your partner – one of the biggest complaints between partners and something couples therapists make a ton of money from. Learn to read the body language of your partner and gauge whether something is important to them. Properly, actively listening to your partner is one way of showing that you respect them, support them and are interested in them.

b) Not communicating feelings – your fears, hopes, dreams, insecurities, issues, and problems. People do change with time and without periodically updating your partner on your thoughts, feelings and interested, you can naturally drift apart (see The Natural Drift Of Relationships – Why Some Relationships Don’t Last). Even small issues, like for example a man leaving the toilet seat up over and over again, can build up to resentment over time and injure your relationship.

c) Keeping secrets – a cornerstone of a healthy and strong relationship is trust (see 6 Secrets To Keeping Long Term Love – Part 2), but keeping secrets and having your partner find out can make them feel untrusted and question your own trustworthiness. To build trust in your relationship, check out our post on 10 Ways To Become Trustworthy And More Trusting.

2. Physical or emotional cheating

Cheating doesn’t always have to be physical, and you can do just as much damage to a relationship, if not more, by emotionally cheating. Temptation is all around us, and with the development of the internet, smartphones and other technologies connecting us with people all around the world, there are more and more opportunities to cheat. A fling with someone else – or even mutually entertaining the thought of it – may make you feel wanted or loved (or at least lusted after), but it is masking a void or deficiency in your own relationship that you need to address. In addition, the definition of acceptable behaviour when around others outside the relationship can differ from person to person and couple to couple. Think about the things you might say or write to others, or your body language, in the context of your own partner and your own relationship. How would you feel if your partner said or did similar things to another person? When does harmless, friendly flirting become something more?

3. Jealousy

A little jealousy can be good and healthy in a relationship – it can promote protectiveness and competitiveness to care and protect both your partner and relationship from the perceived threat. It can remind you of your feelings for your partner, and it can help you to think about and understand yourself a little better. In this way, healthy jealousy acts to guard and support a relationship. But too much, too often can be a deadly relationship killer. Overly jealous people see the world through a distorted lens, losing perspective and perceiving danger where there might not be. Jealousy is a highly complex emotion and can be incredibly powerful, causing us to lose control. Jealousy can be caused by insecurity and possessiveness. It can also be caused by a fear of rejection, abandonment or loss, and it can be triggered by feelings of powerlessness or a lack of control. Overcoming jealousy isn’t an easy task, but you can start by learning to love yourself (see Part 1: Find Love. Step 1. Love Yourself) to develop self-love and self-worth, creating a healthy relationship within us. This develops self-esteem and creates a healthy ego, allowing us develop healthy and productive interpersonal relationships with others. Building trust can strengthen your relationship and help overcome jealousy.

Be sure to check out the second part of this post, 7 Deadly Relationship Sins – What Not To Do In Love – Part 2, which examines the other four deadly relationship sins. And don’t forget to read 6 Secrets To Keeping Long Term Love – Part 1 and Part 2.

Avoiding Toxic Relationships Or Leaving The One You’re In

“How many times do you need to get hurt for you to know it’s time to let go?” one questioned. “A break up is just like a broken mirror. It is better to leave it broken than hurt yourself trying to fix it,” another said.

While it’s all very well receiving comforting advice in the form of deep and meaningful quotes, actions truly speak louder than words. This is why even after all is said and done, it is your actions that will truly define the type of person you really are. So who exactly are you?

Should I stay… or should I go?

While you might feel a sense of loyalty to your other half – or even to yourself to keep the relationship going –  sometimes it’s best to leave and start over. See if you can identify with these five reasons for why you should break up:

1. History repeats itself

You know those couples who break up, get back together, break up, get back together, break up – and then get back together again? It isn’t healthy to keep repeating these cycles as this not only impacts upon your relationship, it impacts upon your friends and family who have to see and hear about it. If you keep having to go repeat history, then maybe it’s time to rewrite it and meet someone new.

2. After the love has gone

Relationships change over time, and sometimes the passion or spark you once had diminishes, making you question whether you are still in love with your partner. If a relationship isn’t nurtured (see Relationship Maintenance & Avoiding Relationship Ruts), you can fall into a routine where you act no longer as lovers, but more like friends or roommates. In many cases, all the relationship needs is a “pick me up,” but sometimes it’s time to realise that the relationship has run its course – and that you should choose another course of action, too. This is all discussed in detail in The Natural Drift Of Relationships – Why Some Relationships Don’t Last.

3. When opposites don’t attract

Sure, it might be fun at first to not share mutual interests – he likes sci-fi, while you’re into documentaries, he loves red peppers when you can’t stand the taste of them, and he’s messy, while you’re obsessively clean. While it might seem like fun at first, doing something different and getting out of your comfort zone, if it gets to the point where being opposites repels either of you, then you either try to compromise or agree to disagree. Whether opposites really do attract or not is up for debate: Dating Someone Similar Or Different – Opposites Attract?

4. When the cat’s away, the mice will play

Cheating is one of the most common reasons for lovers to part ways, and naturally so. Once the damage of knowing your partner has cheated on you has hit home, and having your trust betrayed, it can be hard to let go. Learning to trust again takes time, patience and commitment – but this doesn’t just apply to the person who cheated; this can also be true in the case of the person who was cheated on. If their infidelity has hurt you to the point of no return, then leave the relationship immediately. Find Keep Love looks how to build trust in relationships in 10 Ways To Become Trustworthy And More Trusting.

5. The relationship is at a dead end

So you’ve had the honeymoon period, but then ‘the’ conversation comes up. One of you raises the subject of moving in together, along with hints of marriage, but the other person isn’t so sure. Is there any long-term potential, and do you want that, or was it only ever a brief fling? It’s best for the both of you to talk about your feelings and decide what you want from the relationship, and if either of you conclude that you don’t see any future, then enjoy the relationship for what it was and walk away. Not being on the same level and wanting the same things out of the relationship is one of the biggest relationship killers.

This post was written for Find Keep Love by Susie Francis a content writer for Select Personal Services. Susie specifically loves to write about relationships, dating and travel, but her writing skills are widespread. You can find out more about Susie on Twitter (@SusieFrancisW).