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?

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?

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 Classic Love Stories & Romantic Movies

Continuing our series of posts on great movies to watch with a loved one or someone special, this week we have 10 Classic Love Stories & Romantic Movies. These 10 movies span a number of generations, but are all iconic love films that transcend the boundaries of time. Be sure to check out our other movie date idea posts:

Classic Love Story & Romantic Movie #10: Romeo + Juliet (1996) [or the older Romeo and Juliet from 1968]

Classic Love Story & Romantic Movie #9: Sleepless In Seattle

Classic Love Story & Romantic Movie #8: The Notebook

Classic Love Story & Romantic Movie #7: An Affair To Remember

Classic Love Story & Romantic Movie #6: Breakfast At Tiffany’s

Classic Love Story & Romantic Movie #5: Gone With The Wind

Classic Love Story & Romantic Movie #4: When Harry Met Sally

Classic Love Story & Romantic Movie #3: Ghost

Classic Love Story & Romantic Movie #2: The Great Gatsby [or the one starring Robert Redford from 1974]

Classic Love Story & Romantic Movie #1: Casablanca

Honourable mentions: Other movies that didn’t quite make the top ten include The Way We Were, You’ve Got Mail, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and Pride & Prejudice.

Agree or disagree with the list? What’s your favourite love story or romantic movie?

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)