He Who Shall Not Be Named

Man Body In Summer. Male Relaxing In Pool On Vacation

Dating is dead and hookup culture is ruining modern romance – declares every article on the internet right now. I, for one, can’t speak to what dating was like before a drunken hookup constituted a relationship building block. But I do think every experience is different. It’s true, I’ve called someone my boyfriend before we’ve ever gone on a proper date, and have gone to a stranger’s home before meeting him outside of the digital realm. But I have also been on many a dinner date, and detailed a drink meet up, down to the arrival time, three days prior to said event. So to this romance is dead talk, I would respond that maybe it’s not dead, it is just different. 

What I can speak to, however, with more certainty, is the ancient practice of nicknaming a romantic prospect. My friends don’t know that I ever dated a James. If you asked them who John is they may assume you’re referring to my landlord. And to be honest, I myself barely remember having drinks with a Dan. They do remember: British Boy, DJ Selfie, and Dandruff. There was the Italian, a whole host of “current tinder flings”, and the only time I refer to Tommy by his first name is with a put-on Bostonian accent. 

And this renaming practice, I have it on good authority, is not a unique quirk of mine. “I saw skateboarder today”, a text message from my friend read, which popped up in tandem with one from my cousin, where she referred to a certain “DJ Selfie”. I understood exactly whom each one was referring to in mere moments. After all, for my friend to call him Matt would be much too intimate, considering their fling consisted of one fun night, several chance run-ins, and a few unanswered text messages. 

Much akin to Carrie’s “Mr. Big”, or Miranda’s “marathon man”, nicknames are essential in the early stages of courtship, especially if you suspect feelings may soon emerge. Perhaps, this refusal to call someone by their name is the first move in a fun game I call, “I can’t get rejected if I never try”. Or maybe it would be better characterized as the tipping point between potential and possible, imaginary and realistic. The first few weeks, sometimes months, with a new romantic prospect often live in a realm limited to the cover of nightfall and exclude any outside connections. If my friends are to meet him, then I have to answer to what became of our budding affair, usually in a tear-filled conversation over wine and cigarettes. And if they know his name, the sting of hearing it uttered over a spicy margarita can be just too much to bear when you’re still reeling from an unanswered text message.

I understand that some people may disagree with this practice, claiming that taking away someone’s name is the ultimate in disrespectful acts. But in today’s dating world, where prospects literally lie at your fingertips, you can’t go out there unarmed. A crush can develop unintentionally after just a few hours of conversation, but a name? A name is earned. 

Written By Rachel Ellison

(From Never Liked It Anyway, the number one destination for all things break-ups and bounce-back! It’s the place to buy, sell and tell all things ex! Sell your breakup baggage, tell your story and join the community of rock stars bouncing back better than ever! )

Why It’s Totally Normal To Lose Yourself In Love

dog rests gently on his master's shoulder while looking view

“The only person you should ever fear losing in a relationship is you yourself.” – Miya Yamanouchi.

So, here I am… two years out of a relationship and still single as a dollar bill. And while I’d like to think that I am putting myself out there, I’m not. I haven’t had the slightest crack open for a relationship to find it’s way in. This is not because I’m horribly heart broken. It’s not because I would prefer to have a significant income rather than a significant other. And it’s certainly not because I have commitment issues, daddy issues or any other “issue” that can be chalked up to living the single life. Single is not an issue, my friends. Single life is EVERYTHING. It’s a powerful stage to make headway in your life. It’s a time to fully and finally (!!) invest in you.

I am single because I’m focusing on a whole lot of whatever the fuck I want, and none of what I don’t. I’m working towards the dreams that make me nauseous with excitement and taking time to evaluate what I want in life with as little outside influence as possible. And to be frank, I’m being selfish. I’m choosing myself, by myself, for myself.

Again, SINGLE LIFE IS EVERYTHING.

(Until you realize it’s not).

The truth is that what is underneath all the cheerleading for single-dom is fear. Yep, straight up FEAR. I’m fearful that I will lose myself in loving someone else (again). The pattern is all too familiar.

You know the ones. Before their relationship, they roar with excitement for the things that make them come alive. They are full of high hopes, big dreams and outrageous ambitions. They push fearlessly towards their goals. They make time for their friends, their family and their community because they want to build their life in good company. They do spiritual work, take on new hobbies, and frequent the edges of their comfort zone to discover and reveal in the unknown. They workout to the point of exhaustion, not to look good for anyone else, but to know that they were responsible for creating that incredible pump inside their chest all by their damn selves. They buzz with enlightenment and insight and all the good things this world has ever given someone.

…and then love hits.

Love comes in and life’s ambitions take the backseat. It’s not intentional, and it’s certainly not something that is easy to see but then suddenly the person they were before the relationship is a long-lost ideal of who they are in the relationship. The love blinders are on and they are coated in the blanket of this new lustful existence.

Sweet couple in love spring sunny dayAll their beautifully directed attention towards their dreams turns towards their lover… and they pause. Time stops. Their big lofty goals are no longer in sight. They move from vision boards and ladies retreats to Saturday nights in, week after week, after week. They are in love, and they have stepped away from showing up for themselves.

And here in lies the problem.They lose themselves in loving someone else. 

They are so busy creating a life for their person that they forget to create a life for themselves. Their ambitions take a backseat in the name of “love”. Suddenly life doesn’t feel so uncomfortable if you never achieve those dreams… because, well, love. Everything is better in love.

The comfort of your lover ties you over when you’re having a bad day. The flowers they brought home slap a band-aid over the deep restlessness you experience in life. And with this band-aid on you can no longer see the holes you were desperately seeking to fill.

But the reality is that those holes are still there. They may just not be as blatantly obvious as they were when you didn’t have someone to come home to. In single-dom you had to face those discomforts head on. You had to work to overcome them. You were responsible for making yourself feel better. You, alone, by yourself. But in love… naw. You can push the uneasiness under the rug for a bit longer.

It takes work to be who you really are when you’re mending two worlds together. It can be confusing, and messy, and wildly compromising. It can also be beautiful, and exciting and deeply intentional. But if you don’t keep pushing to fuel your passions and dig up your holes, you will keep looking for anything else (everything else) to take their place. Love included.

We’ve all heard it before. Good, healthy relationships are not about completing each other, but being two whole self actualized beings choosing to share your love with each other. You’re not looking to the other for anything. You already have everything you need inside of you. You are responsible for that self-love. They are responsible for theirs. It’s about supporting each other in their respective dreams and wanting them to be as big and bright as they possibly can be. That, my friends, is love in the most basic form.

Because love is always the answer. Love yourself (foremost), love those around you (fearlessly) and love and acknowledge the stage you are in. Keep your intentions on being the best version of yourself you can be. We all deserve a little (lotta) self-love to make this world a happier, healthier, more supportive place.

Written By Emilie Talermo

(From Never Liked It Anyway, the number one destination for all things break-ups and bounce-back! It’s the place to buy, sell and tell all things ex! Sell your breakup baggage, tell your story and join the community of rock stars bouncing back better than ever! )

 

Are You A Good Date?

beautiful woman is applying makeup

In the world of contemporary romance, it has become common knowledge that there isn’t one perfect solution for finding love. The large number of dating platforms in existence today has created numerous opportunities for both men and women to find the perfect mate and, in the process, make the best possible impression on a date.

While most singles today seem to be making use of these outlets for dates, whether it is online, singles events, speed dating or social media, there are those who feel like nothing is working to help them find love. If you are single and have been using one or all of these vehicles for dating with no luck, it might be time to look inwards and evaluate your personal dating skills.

Sometimes, it is hard to be able to take such a different perspective, but can often help bring new light and more understanding about how you interact with others on dates. Becoming increasingly aware of your dating approach, demeanor, or language can make a huge difference in how successful your dates turn out. If you are feeling less than satisfied with your dating results after trying what feels like everything to meet the right person, perhaps it is time to take a fresh look and see how you might be measuring up. Below is some of our expert dating material assessments for you to consider and determine if you are a good date.

Tip #1: Listen Up.

Young man mad at his uninterested wife

There are a ton of distractions in the world today. Thanks to smart phones, we have a lot going on right in the palm of our hand. When you are on a new date, are you constantly texting or checking your phone? Do you even realize if you are checking your phone too much? Not only can this be a major turn off to your date, but you might also miss a lot of important information being said.

There is a lot that people discuss when on a first date. When meeting someone for the first time, it is important to pay attention to what the other is saying. If you are taking the time to get to know someone, make it count by paying close attention and trying to remember what the other person said. This will help make your date feel like you are interested in them and help you learn more about the person you are sitting across from faster.

Tip #2: Speak up.

Man and Woman Talking at a Diner

As much as your date will appreciate you paying attention to what they had to say about themselves, don’t forget to compliment the conversation overall by giving your two cents and helping drive the topic train throughout your date. If you are the kind of person that gets shy or lets others dominate the discussion, you might end up seeming standoffish. Worse yet, if you tend to be tightlipped on first dates, you might even come off as forgettable or boring.

Try to avoid awkward moments of silence by being inquisitive about your date and bringing up discussion topics that you might find relatable on both ends. Use topics like sports, weather, careers, family, celebrities, favorite foods, hobbies, travel, etc. to make conversation and get to know your date better. Not only will this help further the conversation and keep both individuals invested in the date, but it will also help nurture and develop an emotional connection between new romantic partners.

Tip #3: Be Polite.

Man Giving Vase of Peonies

When on a first date or while getting to know someone, it is simple to forget the basics of being polite. Something as common sense as a please or thank you could be left out at important moments when your date is just starting to formulate their opinions about you as a person. Believe it or not, chivalry is still alive and well today. For singles that are invested in impressing their romantic partners, courtesy and respect are two of the most important attributes they need to succeed.

Tip #4: Look Sharp.

Fashion Couple Portrait, Woman Red Dress, Man Suit, Flying Cloth

First impressions play a big role in how people view each other. If you have made dating into a common occurrence whether it’s after work or on the weekends, be sure to stay up to date with looking fresh and sexy. With so much going on during our busy workdays, it is easy to forget to dress extra hot or do a last minute spruce-up before heading from the office out to the dating circuit.

Sometimes dates happen at a spur of the moment. To make sure you are always prepared to look your best, keep some grooming essentials at work, in your bag or in your car. The investment in some extra perfume, a comb or emergency outfit will pay off!

You might be just joining the dating scene or feel like you have been dating forever. Regardless of where you are at in your dating career, don’t forget to stick to the basic dating tips above to ensure you are bringing your dating-A-game to every experience.

5 Ways He’s Saying “I Love You”

Romantic Hispanic couple in a park

One of the biggest steps in a relationship is when one person decides to say those three little words: No, not “I got food,” the other important words.

Saying “I love you” catapults your relationship into a new level. No longer are you only “in a relationship,” but now you’re in love. Those words hold a severity that can put a lot of pressure on the parties involved.

Once you reach the point where the L-word starts creeping into your mind, there’s a million new things that you start to stress over:

Should I say it first? Why hasn’t he said it? How do I know if he feels the same way?

If your boyfriend hasn’t dropped the L-bomb yet, though it can be tempting to start questioning the sincerity of your relationship, don’t start to worry quite yet. Words are just that—words. They are meaningless if they’re not reinforced through your significant other’s actions.

Even if he hasn’t said that he loves you, there are many different ways he could be showing his love for you—you just have to pay attention.

Here are a few signs that your boyfriend does love you, he just hasn’t told you yet.

  1. Asking About Your Day

Couple deep in conversation

It may seem like common sense, but when someone loves you, they care about your well-being. If your boyfriend, completely unprompted, takes the time to ask you about your day, that’s a good indication that he cares about you.

But not just that.

It’s important that you distinguish between him asking for the sake of conversation and him asking because he genuinely wants to hear the response. If your boyfriend is really falling in love with you, he will listen as you complain about what your coworker said at work, or that project that you need to finish, or what drama is happening between your girlfriends this week.

Maybe he’s not saying “I love you,” but he is saying: I’m invested in this conversation and I’m invested in this relationship. I’m here for the long haul.

  1. Remembering the Little Things

Couple relaxing together at home

You most likely spend a lot of time talking to your significant other, and, in that time, you share a plethora of details: your favorite ice cream flavor, what you’re looking forward to, what your scared of, etc. You may think all that information goes in one ear and out the other, but your boyfriend remembering all the quirky little things about you is a sure sign that he’s feeling the love.

Maybe he calls you right after your big meeting because he remembered the time and that you were anxious about it. Maybe he instinctively grabs your hand during the part of a movie that he knows scared you. It could be as simple as him sending you a picture of something that he knew would make you laugh.

As cliché as it sounds, it’s the little things that count the most.

Maybe he’s not saying “I love you,” but he is saying: I’m paying attention to you and what makes you happy.

  1. Making Sure You Get Home Safe

A smiling girl looking at her mobile phone

Like I said earlier, if he loves you, he cares about your well-being. This means making sure that you are always safe and taken care of.

Just a simple text of “let me know when you get home,” or “did you get home safe?” is a small gesture of love. Your boyfriend can’t always be with you, so taking the time to check in on you shows how much effort he’s putting into your relationship and how much he cares about you.

Similarly, if he checks in to ask if you’ve eaten or if you’ve taken your medicine, he’s making an effort to take care of you.

Maybe he’s not saying “I love you,” but he is saying: I worry about you and want to make sure you’re safe.

  1. Letting You into His Life

Portrait of happy young couple on scooter enjoying road trip

While him listening to you talk about your day can be a sign of his love, telling you about his day can also be a big indicator. If he calls you just to unload some stress from work or tell you a joke he overheard, he’s opening up his life to you and he wants you to be a part of it.

Maybe he lets you in on secrets or starts to open up about his family. Whenever he allows himself to be vulnerable or to let down some of his defenses, he’s showing you that you’re the person he can be himself around.

Maybe he’s not saying “I love you,” but he is saying: I trust you and feel comfortable enough to tell you anything.

  1. Introducing You to His Friends and Family

Group Of Friends Enjoying Meal In Restaurant

To me, this is one of the surest signs that he’s falling in love. This is a huge step in merging your lives together and it can, sometimes, be a make-or-break moment.

If he proudly introduces you to his friends and family, he wants everyone he’s closest to to care about you as much as he does. Put simply, he sees a future with you. If a guy is still unsure of his feelings, he’ll try to keep your relationship quiet. Telling everyone he knows is a big commitment; if you break up, that’s a lot of people who are going to have questions.

Maybe he’s not saying “I love you,” but he is saying: I’m proud that you’re mine and I want everyone to know it.

A Seductive Menu that will Leave Him Weak at the Knees

Portrait of young couple kissing at home and eating popcorn

You’ve done the legwork, you’ve flirted and you’ve finally convinced him to pop around for a home-cooked dinner. You don’t feel that your mom’s recipe for ‘macaroni and cheese’ will do the trick, so you plan to prepare something that is sure to bowl him over. However, you have no idea what it is that you want to cook…

He fell for your beautiful, soft skin, the way you laugh and the way in which you tuck your hair behind your ears. You loved the way he looked at you and how he gently held your hand. You’ve moved past the giddiness of a first date and would like to do something special, for just the two of you. You’ve decided on a romantic dinner that is rich in flavor, but light enough to ensure that there is plenty of time for meaningful conversation, dancing in the moonlight and maybe even a dizzy make-out session on your sofa. If you’re still searching for meal ideas, look no further! Here are a few that you’re both bound to love:

Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail with Bruschetta

Two glasses of champagne with pomegranate seedsSimple to prepare, light and refreshing, pomegranate champagne cocktails only require three ingredients – semisweet champagne, pomegranate cordial/syrup and pomegranate seeds. Paired with homemade bruschetta that is smeared thick with cream cheese and some roasted tomatoes, this finger-food feast is sure to get his appetite going. Be sure to toast the bruschetta in a pan with some olive oil before layering on your chosen toppings. Perhaps you could lay out two or three toppings and encourage him to make up a slice for you? The opportunities to make romantic advances and endless!

Lemon and Roast Caper Tuna Carpaccio

Tuna CarpaccioLight enough to leave you feeling comfortable yet satisfied, this idea for a lemon and roast tuna carpaccio is ideal for an evening when you want to impress. Search for recipes that are simple enough to prepare at home, and be sure that your chosen cut of fish is finely sliced before you even leave the grocery store. You can prepare and plate this course before you start to get ready, popping it in the fridge to ensure that it remains fresh.

 

Chocolate Covered Strawberries & Vanilla Cream

Homemade Chocolate Dipped StrawberriesChocolate covered strawberries – the ultimate romantic dessert which you can either buy or prepare at home. If you do choose to prepare these babies in your own kitchen, be sure to do so the day of your dinner date to avoid the chocolate getting too tough and the strawberries from going soggy. Whip up a small dish of vanilla cream and you’ve got yourself the perfect gateway to absolute delight!

Once you’ve prepared the dinner and set the table, be sure to run a warm bath in which you can soak. Make use of a fragrant beauty bar to cleanse and soften your skin. When choosing your skin care products, be sure to select a delicately fragranced beauty soap that will leave a delicious, lingering scent on your body. Between you and the tasty food, your man won’t know what hit him!

Tinder…The Time Sucker

Text messaging

The average user time on Tinder is 77 minutes. If your thumb is tired from all that swiping, here’s a list of other things you could do with all that time.

We all know dating apps are widespread and pretty much a necessary evil to let other humans know we’re good to go. What we just discovered, according to a study by the company Carvaka, is that the average user time on Tinder is 77 minutes. 77 MINUTES! Now we know why millennials’ thumbs cramp up so much.

According to the NY Times, Tinder has about 50 million users. And, Carvaka says mobile dating apps are used predominantly by 18-24 year olds – 22% of them to be exact.  That’s a ton of people and a lot of swiping happening simultaneously.

But, does there ever come a point in time when it becomes frustrating to swipe? Don’t your eyeballs get tired of looking at face after face after face? Don’t you get bored, or need to take a snack break? Well, it seems like 77 minutes in, most people do.

Just in case, here’s a list of other things you could do in 77 minutes!

  1. Take a nap.

Just because you’re snoozing doesn’t mean you’re losing out on all the Tinder fun. It will be there when you wake up, trust me.

  1. Better yet, JUST GO TO SLEEP ALREADY.

Get that extra hour or so you know your body needs to prepare for your busy day ahead.

  1. Podcasts, people.

Find a new podcast to listen to. There are emotional yet funny ones like Chris Gethard’s “Beautiful Anonymous.” You can even get your female empowerment on with “Call Your Girlfriend” or just straight up educate yourself with “Stuff You Should Know.”

  1. Young woman using letterpress stamps to create messageMake a scrapbook.

Or, if you’re not into old fashioned scrapbooking, create a photobook online. Sites like Shutterfly or Montage make it super easy to customize your own beautiful creation for someone and put all those Instagrams to good use! Plus, it’s a great gift idea for the holidays.

  1. Take a long walk and watch the sunset.

Most of us don’t spend enough time outside, unplugged, enjoying the sights and sounds around us.

  1. Update your resume & LinkedIn profile.

You know you need to! Plus, if your job requires it, it’s also a good idea to start an online portfolio to showcase your work. Or, just spruce yours up if you already have one.

  1. Clean your email inbox.

This includes deleting, filing, archiving, etc. the contents. Your life will feel much more organized, even if it’s only “digitally” clean for the time being. You’ll thank me later.

  1. Volunteer to serve a meal at a soup kitchen.

It’s amazing what a little perspective can do when we get out of our digital lives and into the real world by doing something kind for others. Plus, it doesn’t take a ton of time to do something compassionate like this.

  1. Crosswords & comics.

Basically, try your best to do anything “old fashioned” that doesn’t involve swiping on your phone.

  1. Create a list of all the things you like about yourself and put it on the fridge.

Being your best version of yourself starts with being your own #1 supporter. Teach that voice in your head to always motivate and be positive, even on your worst days. It may seem silly, but starting with a visible list is a simple, effective way to make this happen.

  1. Revive the art of the handwritten card.

Write and send a few handwritten thank you notes or holiday cards. Receiving one will brighten someone’s day and it’s totally better and more personal than sending them a text or an email. Plus, writing on cute stationary is fun!

  1. Young woman using mobile phone in cafeFinally make that phone call to an old friend.

We all have those calls we’ve been meaning to get to, those long “catch up” conversations we need to have with someone. So, make the call – it will be worth it to hear that voice on the other end of the line. Friendships and relationships are important, so cherish and foster them.

  1. Actually socialize with a person!

Meet a long lost friend for happy hour (preferably drinks with tequila). Human interaction is good for you.

  1. Clean a junk drawer.

It’s therapeutic. Tackle the mess in such a fashion it would make Marie Kondo, the expert of decluttering, proud. While you’re at it, maybe just go ahead and clean your whole living space if you need to.

(From Never Liked It Anyway, the number one destination for all things break-ups and bounce-back! It’s the place to buy, sell and tell all things ex! Sell your breakup baggage, tell your story and join the community of rock stars bouncing back better than ever! )

Make Him Fall For You In 10 Easy Steps

Couple on steps in rain, man carrying young woman, eyes closed

Sometimes it can be difficult to find that perfect man you’ve always wanted to share your life with. If you’re in love with a man and you want him to have the same feelings, there are things you can do to increase his fascination for you. You should not change your personality just to make a guy you’re attracted to feel comfortable. If you really want to make him fall head over heels, you must try to understand him and his way of being, and use that to your advantage. But keep in mind that the feeling must be mutual. How to make your love life better without getting hurt? These 10 strategies can help.

1. Be attractive

When you’re in the company of the man you love, dress attractive so that you can grab his attention. If you see him smiling or not taking his eyes off of you, you have an advantage. If he sees those around admiring you, it will make him want you even more. Men can be very competitive when it comes to women. Try to make yourself noticed and he will be all yours.

2. Appreciate and respect him

Men are looking for appreciation and respect. When he organizes something special – be it something small or big – let him know that you notice and greatly admire him for his effort. If he sees that his gestures make you happy, he will never stop adoring you and you’ll have everything you ever wanted – love in marriage and in a relationship.

3. Make eye contact

Passionate eye contact can make people fall in love in a second. When you’re talking with him, gaze into his eyes; he’ll know that he caught your attention. It will flatter him for sure and he will desire you with all his being.

4. Soft touches

Girl sitting on boyfriends lap.

If there’s a way to make a man fall in love with you, this is it! Men can’t resist a woman’s soft touch. When you are with him, make simple gestures like hold his hand, hug, or just flip your hand through his hair; let your soft touch persist for a moment and he’ll inevitably be wowed by you. A warm touch can be extremely exciting for the man you love, and you’ll spark a dreamy attraction in no time.

5. Don’t let him see you’re in love

Men love to divide and conquer. They need some time to admit their feelings, but when they do, there’s no way of going back. To make someone fall for you, let them know that you’re attracted to them; but don’t become too clingy – men hate persistent women. Always make him feel uncertain about how serious you are, and let him make the first step into a real relationship.

6. Don’t approve him all the time

A perfect relationship is based on compatibility; this doesn’t mean that you have to accept everything he does or says. Sometimes, a petty disagreement can make him see your strong personality and respect your point of view. Don’t let common relationship problems others have get in the way of your happiness.

7. Have intellectual conversations

Couple on Yacht

Flirty discussions are cute and delightful, and he will adore the fact that he can make you blush. On your romantic dates, connect with him on an intellectual level. Talk with him about career opportunities, aspirations and ambitions, and let him taste the feeling of sheer happiness. Exploring intimacy in relationships is also fundamental to building a strong, unbreakable bond.

8. Showcase your talents

If you want to make a man fall in love with you, surprise him! He certainly likes you for who you are; but to completely impress him, let him know that you have many hidden talents waiting to be discovered. Amaze him with things you like to do – be it dancing, cooking, singing, or any other foolish things you’ve never showed anyone. Give him an opportunity to discover the real you.

9. Be charming

Men can’t resist a charming smile. Be warm, loving and sweet when you’re around him, and he’ll end up adoring you. If you want to win a man over, blush when he compliments you or flirt discreetly by flipping your hair and smiling. If he is attracted to you, he will want to wow you with his sense of humor and epic stories. Don’t forget about communication in relationships; this is key if you want him to commit and be happy.

10. Don’t be offensive

Men don’t like arrogant, proud women. They certainly love a woman who can have an opinion, but if she wants to exude her arrogance and superiority, for sure he’ll refuse to fall in love with her.

Are you ready for a long-lasting relationship? Are you ready for love and marriage? Then you should put yourself out there. Make him fall head over heels with the tips we’ve mentioned above, and you have the highest chances of attaining genuine happiness.

By Sylvia Smith at Never Liked It Anyway

(From Never Liked It Anyway, the number one destination for all things break-ups and bounce-back! It’s the place to buy, sell and tell all things ex! Sell your breakup baggage, tell your story and join the community of rock stars bouncing back better than ever! )

9 Reasons We’re Glad Santa Isn’t Our Boyfriend

Happy and handsome santa claus

No matter your religion, we’ve grown up with the presence of St. Nick in our lives pretty much since birth. There is no adult man we love more in December as a child than good ol’ Santa Claus. Even as we age, the original beardo is still quite endearing. (Um, hello, haven’t you ever seen The Year Without a Santa Claus?!)

So we can all basically agree that we love Santa Claus. He brings us all together, teaches us how to be cheery and unifies us all at least for one day out of the year. But how would you like to date Santa? It probably wouldn’t be quite as terrific. Why is that, you ask?

1. He calls you a ho all the time. That isn’t cool bro! Never put up with a man who name calls. Even if it might not be “on purpose.”

2. He lives in the North Pole. Ok, yes, some people like seclusion and snow, but the North Pole seems to be quite too much of both of those. Unless it’s anything like the movie Elf and you can befriend a narwhal when visiting, it doesn’t seem worth it (that would be a lot of airline miles though).

3. He has a belly like a bowl full of jelly. Wait…this would be very cozy and cuddle-worthy. Especially considering #2. Ok, this one is actually probably a plus.

4. He needs a wardrobe makeover. Does he wear the same outfit every day? Like yeah, we get it, red is a statement color and powerful for business. But it’s a little outdated and can be revamped, dontcha think?!

Muscular new year man5. He sneaks into houses in the middle of the night. Supposedly this is because he is delivering gifts to those homes, but why so sneaky and at like 2am? Nothing good happens when you are going over someone’s house at that hour, and this just might create trust issues.

6. Too many late night munchies. What is creating this hunger so late at night that others must feed him? And shouldn’t he eat some veggies and protein along with all those sweets? I mean, he can at least save some of those cookies for his boo. Especially if it’s that time of the month on Christmas.

7. He’s a workaholic. How is he supposed to cuddle you with his jelly belly when he works until wee hours of the night? You can’t even spend Christmas Eve together, and the rest of the year he’s spending preparing for this big one. What about your birthday? Anniversary? He’s probably working on gifts for everyone else. Which leads to #8…

8. He’s closer with his elves and reindeer than with you. How can he have time for your relationship when he’s busy tending to his 9 reindeer and kicking it with the elves in the workshop? And shouldn’t he have some friends his own age?

9. He’s married. This should’ve come up earlier but we almost forgot—he already has a Mrs. Claus. We’ve heard the song about a kid seeing their mommy kissing Santa Claus so we shouldn’t be surprised about his wandering eye, so don’t be another side piece for this supposed saint. You’re better off without him.

(From Never Liked It Anyway, the number one destination for all things break-ups and bounce-back! It’s the place to buy, sell and tell all things ex! Sell your breakup baggage, tell your story and join the community of rock stars bouncing back better than ever! )

Has Technology Changed the Way We Love?

Man with bouquet using laptop computer

In our tech-driven, interconnected world, we’ve developed new ways and rules to court each other, but the fundamental principles of love have stayed the same, says anthropologist Helen Fisher. In her energetic tell-all TED Talk from the front lines of love, learn how our faster connections are actually leading to slower, more intimate relationships.

Helen Fisher studies gender differences and the evolution of human emotions, and works with Match.com to study the evolution of love. She’s best known as an expert on romantic love, and reports that in the United States today, 86 percent of Americans will marry by age 49.

Computer online dating abstract frame composition. Concept the relationship betweenFisher’s several books lay bare the mysteries of our most treasured emotion: its evolution, its biochemical foundations and its vital importance to human society. Fisher describes love as a universal human drive (stronger than the sex drive; stronger than thirst or hunger; stronger perhaps than the will to live), and her many areas of inquiry shed light on timeless human mysteries like why we choose one partner over another. Her classic study, Anatomy of Love, first published in 1992, has just been re-issued in a fully updated edition, including her recent neuroimaging research on lust, romantic love and attachment as well as discussions of sexting, hooking up, friends with benefits, other contemporary trends in courtship and marriage, and a dramatic current trend she calls “slow love.”

“I was recently traveling in the Highlands of New Guinea, and I was talking with a man who had three wives,” Fisher says. “I asked him, ‘How many wives would you like to have?’ And there was this long pause, and I thought to myself, ‘Is he going to say five? Is he going to say 10? Is he going to say 25?’ And he leaned towards me and he whispered, ‘None.’

“We are a pair-bonding species. Ninety-seven percent of mammals do not pair up to rear their young; human beings do. I’m not suggesting that we’re necessarily sexually faithful to our partners. I’ve looked at adultery in 42 cultures, and I understand some of the genetics of it, and some of the brain circuitry of it. It’s very common around the world, but we are built to love,” says Fisher.

How is technology changing love?

“I’m going to say almost not at all. I study the brain. I and my colleagues have put over 100 people into a brain scanner – people who had just fallen happily in love, people who had just been rejected in love and people who are in love long-term. And it is possible to remain “in love” long-term. And I’ve long ago maintained that we’ve evolved three distinctly different brain systems for mating and reproduction: sex drive, feelings of intense romantic love and feelings of deep cosmic attachment to a long-term partner. And together, these three brain systems – with many other parts of the brain – orchestrate our sexual, our romantic and our family lives.

“But they lie way below the cortex, way below the limbic system where we feel our emotions, generate our emotions. They lie in the most primitive parts of the brain, linked with energy, focus, craving, motivation, wanting and drive. In this case, the drive to win life’s greatest prize: a mating partner. They evolved over 4.4 million years ago among our first ancestors, and they’re not going to change if you swipe left or right on Tinder.”

love signal concept

Fisher goes on to explain, “There’s no question that technology is changing the way we court: emailing, texting, emojis to express your emotions, sexting, “liking” a photograph, selfies … We’re seeing new rules and taboos for how to court. But is this actually dramatically changing love? What about the late 1940s, when the automobile became very popular and we suddenly had rolling bedrooms?

“How about the introduction of the birth control pill? Unchained from the great threat of pregnancy and social ruin, women could finally express their primitive and primal sexuality.”

Are dating sites changing the way we love?

“Even dating sites are not changing love. I’m Chief Scientific Advisor to Match.com, I’ve been it for 11 years. I keep telling them and they agree with me, that these are not dating sites, they are introducing sites. When you sit down in a bar, in a coffee house, on a park bench, your ancient brain snaps into action like a sleeping cat awakened, and you smile and laugh and listen and parade the way our ancestors did 100,000 years ago. We can give you various people – all the dating sites can – but the only real algorithm is your own human brain. Technology is not going to change that.”

According to Fisher, technology is also not going to change who you choose to love. But technology is producing one modern trend that Fisher finds particularly important. It’s associated with the concept of paradox of choice. For millions of years, humans have lived in little hunting and gathering groups where you didn’t have the opportunity to choose between 1,000 people on a dating site. Fisher believes that we can embrace about five to nine alternatives, and after that,you get into “cognitive overload,” and you don’t choose any.

“So I’ve come to think that due to this cognitive overload, we’re ushering in a new form of courtship that I call “slow love,” she says. “I arrived at this during my work with Match.com. Every year for the last six years, we’ve done a study called “Singles in America.” We don’t poll the Match population, we poll the American population. We use 5,000-plus people, a representative sample of Americans based on the US census.

“We’ve got data now on over 30,000 people, and every single year, I see some of the same patterns. Every single year when I ask the question, over 50 percent of people have had a one-night stand – not necessarily last year, but in their lives – 50 percent have had a friends with benefits during the course of their lives, and over 50 percent have lived with a person long-term before marrying. Americans think that this is reckless. I have doubted that for a long time; the patterns are too strong. There’s got to be some Darwinian explanation – Not that many people are crazy.

“And I stumbled, then, on a statistic that really came home to me. It was a very interesting academic article in which I found that 67 percent of singles in America today who are living long-term with somebody, have not yet married because they are terrified of divorce. They’re terrified of the social, legal, emotional, economic consequences of divorce. So I came to realize that I don’t think this is recklessness; I think it’s caution. Today’s singles want to know every single thing about a partner before they wed. You learn a lot between the sheets, not only about how somebody makes love, but whether they’re kind, whether they can listen and at my age, whether they’ve got a sense of humor.

So it began to occur to Fisher that during this long extension of the pre-commitment stage, if you can get rid of bad relationships before you marry, maybe we’ll see more happy marriages. So she did a study of 1,100 married people in America and asked them a lot of questions. But one of the questions was, “Would you re-marry the person you’re currently married to?” And 81 percent said, “Yes.”

My Daughter’s Teaching Me How To Date…And She’s Thirteen!

Lovely mother kissing her daughter

Out of the mouths of babes . . . came the sweetest love opportunity of a lifetime!

I remembered being thirteen and giggling with my best friend, just like my daughter, Violet, and her friend, Andie, did all the time. Usually, I didn’t bother them while they enjoyed their “girl time” together. But this time, I couldn’t help it.

“What are you two plotting?” I finally asked the conspiring duo.

My daughter looked up at me, considering me seriously.

“We’ve decided that you and Andie’s great-uncle, Grant, should get together.”

“Like on a date,” Andie clarified.

“I don’t need a date.” I smiled at their concern for my social life, or lack thereof.

“Yes, you do, Mom. It’s been six months since you went out with that Roy guy.”

I groaned and covered my face. “Please, don’t remind me. That disaster made me give up on dating for good.” Roy had spent the entire evening talking about his ex-wives, child support payments, and golf.

The girls joined me on the couch. “Leave it to us, Mrs. Spencer,” Andie insisted. “We’ll set it up with my great-uncle. You don’t even have to talk to him until you meet—we’ll do all the work.”

“A blind date?” I blanched. I’d had plenty of those in my ten years as a widow, but nothing ever seemed to work out. Maybe I’d set my standards too high. I’d married my high school sweetheart, Don, right after graduation and we’d had a wonderful marriage.

“Well, yeah,” Violet admitted. “But it’ll be fine—you’ll see. You don’t have to do anything except show up. Sounds perfect, right?” When I hesitated, Violet flung her arms around my shoulders. “Pleeease?” she begged, drawing the word out. “It’ll be fun.”

“I’ll think it over, but you still have to talk poor Great-uncle Grant into it.”

I did some quick calculation in my head. Andie’s parents were at least ten years older than I was. That meant that one of their uncles would be in his late sixties. I didn’t feel comfortable dating someone thirty years older. But then, he couldn’t be as bad as Roy or some of the other dates that I’d had over the years.

I thought about calling Andie’s mother to ask about Grant, but I didn’t want to burst the girls’ bubble. They were having such a good time with this dating arrangement.

My busy job as a junior accountant kept my mind off the date, and I’d forgotten all about it until the girls cornered me on Thursday evening. “It’s all set,” Violet said excitedly.

I gave her a blank look. “What is?”

Andie sighed. “Your date with my great-uncle Grant.”

Before I could lodge a protest, Violet went on, “Seven-thirty tomorrow night at Pasquali’s. We know how much you love that place.”

I pinched the bridge of my nose and wondered if I really wanted to go through with this.

“My great-uncle’s a lawyer,” Andie added as possible enticement.

“He still works?” I stopped myself from adding, “At his age?”

“Of course,” Andie said. “He works long hours and doesn’t have time for lots of dates. I think that’s why he’s still single.”

Poor guy, I thought, a night out might do us both some good. “Pasquali’s is perfect for a blind date.” I gave both girls a big hug and found myself looking forward to meeting him.

The next evening, dressed in my favorite turquoise silk blouse, beige slacks, and low heels, I frantically hailed a cab. I’d parked my car at the edge of the heavy traffic section of the city where parking spaces were extremely hard to come by. The workday had been a disaster and I’d had to put in some overtime. Because of that, I was running more than half an hour late. By the time the cab driver pulled in front of the restaurant, it had started drizzling. I fumbled for my purse, paid the driver, and scurried inside.

I quickly surveyed the room and spotted a white-haired gentleman sitting alone at a table near the center of the restaurant. He seemed to be having a heated conversation on his cell phone.

“I see the party I’m meeting,” I told the hostess, and then made my way past the other diners.

Great-uncle Grant slammed the cell phone on the table, and muttered a four-letter word under his breath. Then he abruptly stood up and bumped into me. “I’m sorry I’m late,” I said, noting the annoyed look on his face. He must be a stickler for promptness, I thought.

He looked puzzled. “You’re welcome to the table, young lady,” he said, hurrying past me and out the front door.

I stood staring after him. “Nice to meet you, too, Grant.” He hadn’t even given me a chance to explain. Embarrassed, I slowly headed for the door. I only had enough money for cab fare back to my car—definitely not enough for a consolation dinner at Pasquali’s. I figured after I got home, I’d snack on leftovers, and drown my sorrows in a large helping of fudge ripple ice cream.

Outside, the drizzle had turned into a downpour. A cab roared to the curb, and quickly deposited its passenger. As I ran toward the open door, my hair and clothing got soaked. The tall gentleman who’d left the cab held the door for me. His handsome face flashed a dimpled smile as I slid inside and our eyes met and held. I felt a surge of heat spread across my damp cheeks.

a man stepping out of a taxi with an umbrella

“The watered-down version of my usual self,” I told the gorgeous guy, trying for a light ending to the blind date fiasco. My lame joke made him laugh before he shut the door and the throaty, deep sound sent tingles up and down my spine. I sighed and settled into the seat.

My thoughts turned to Don. Even on his worst day, he’s still always managed to be polite and considerate of those around him—something that Grant needed lessons on.

I was glad the girls were spending the night at Andie’s because that meant that I wouldn’t have to report on my disastrous evening until the next day. I was tempted to call Andie’s mother and give her an earful about Great-uncle Grant’s behavior, but I decided against it.

“That sure doesn’t sound like my great-uncle,” Andie said after hearing my version of the story.

I didn’t tell her how irritated I was with the man. It’s true that first impressions can be way off base, but I didn’t think that was the case this time. Great-uncle Grant’s bachelor status probably had more to do with his intense personality than the long hours he put in at the law firm.

“We’ll set up another date,” Violet said. The two conspirators then disappeared into the kitchen.

Let them have their fun, I thought, but I’m not going along for another round. “Count me out,” I shouted to them. I liked people who had manners and patience, and the sour expression on Grant’s face the night before suggested that he didn’t have much of a sense of humor, either.

Besides, I was happy with my life. I had some good female friends—although that didn’t truly make up for being alone. I’d been scared those first years without Don, but I was proud of how I’d stood on my own. I took night classes and got better jobs that added to my confidence and security.

I spent the day running errands and cleaning house. I’d already decided on an early spaghetti dinner when the girls raced into the kitchen.

“Blind Dates, Inc. is back in business!” Violet shouted.

I pulled a pound of sausage from the refrigerator. “What in the world does that mean?”

Andie smiled and glanced at the kitchen clock. “It means that Great-uncle Grant is on his way over!”

“What?” I shrieked. My hand flew to the disheveled ponytail I’d tied my hair in hours earlier. I was also wearing my rattiest jeans and a faded Bon Jovi T-shirt. But then I stopped worrying because I didn’t owe it to Grant to look nice after the way he’d treated me the night before.

The doorbell chimed. “I’ll get it,” Andie said, bolting for the door.

We’ll get it,” Violet corrected, leaving me holding the makings for our dinner.

I could hear a deep voice coming from the living room. Tossing the meat into the sink, I quickly wiped my hands on a dishtowel. Before I’d had much chance to compose myself, the girls burst back into the kitchen with a dark-haired stranger in tow. Well, he wasn’t exactly a stranger—it was the same gorgeous man who’d held the cab door for me in the rain!

“You’re Great-uncle Grant?” I asked, my thoughts whirling. He was taller than I remembered. “But you’re not old enough.” Heat rushed to my face as soon as the impolite comment slipped out. How did I miscalculate his age? This man can’t be more than a couple of years older than I am.

Andie piped in, “He’s my uncle, and he’s great, so he’s my great uncle. Get it?”

Grant extended his hand to me. “I’m Grant Peters, Andie’s mom’s baby brother. I’m really sorry that I was late last night,” he continued sincerely. “I was held up in a meeting, but I called the restaurant and left a message. Anyway, I’m sorry that you got drenched.”

I laughed. “I was late myself. I didn’t get the message because I rushed to the wrong table and was promptly brushed off by an irritated older gentleman whom I thought was you.”

Grant smiled, his blue eyes filled with humor. “If you’ll let me make up for last night, we can go anywhere you’d like right now.”

“How about something home-cooked?” I asked. “I’ve got the makings for spaghetti.” If we had any chance at a lasting relationship, he’d have to accept my ratty jeans and marinara sauce.

“That sounds great,” he answered, removing his jacket. “But only if you’ll let me help. I’m not helpless in the kitchen.”

“We told you he was great!” Violet beamed.

I smiled just as broadly. “You certainly know your clients.”

“I’m great at putting a salad together,” Grant said as the giggling teenagers vanished. “Or maybe you’d prefer that I try not to use the word “great” since it seems to have already caused a lot of confusion.”

I chuckled. “You don’t know the half of it.” I told him then about my experience in the restaurant. He laughed in that deep way again, a sound I was already learning to take pleasure in.

I handed him a head of lettuce and the rest of the salad fixings. He looked right at home as he searched the drawers for just the right knife, and he chopped the vegetables with ease.

Couple breakfast

“Andie and Violet make quite a team,” Grant said, as he tore leaves of lettuce into bite-sized pieces.

“They’ve been best friends for a long time,” I said as I stirred the sausage, carefully adding the marinara sauce. “This isn’t their first business venture, either. They’ve sold lemonade and oversized zucchini that I grew in my tiny backyard garden. Once, they even made perfume from your sister’s rose petals.” I laughed. “They’re nothing if not hardworking.”

“That they are.” Grant draped his arm around my shoulders. “It took a lot of convincing to get me to agree to this blind date business, but they were right on the money.”

I couldn’t have agreed more.