kiss catch

sealed with a kiss

— Cruise Control —

You and your man friend have been dating for over nine months. Things are going, let’s say, well. By now, you have argued over certain people, dealt with the deeper trust issues and overcome the petty jealousy. You know what makes them blush, what grates-their-carrot and how they take their coffee. If you sneeze, it means he is probably sick to. Things are comfortable. Very comfortable. Maybe, even too comfortable. After nine months of dating, you might find yourself pregnant, with a “food baby”.

Something happens, without you realizing it. Some of the glitter wears off the relationship. You are annoyed by things that were once so cute. You get irritated and maybe even a little bored. When things are going great, it is easy to just put our relationship into cruise control mode. The fight is gone, the hunt and chase is over.

Falling into the sinkhole, also known as the “comfort zone”, can be life threatening for your relationship. Think about it. Getting too comfortable with each other leads to the someone (often us girls) feeling as if we are being taken for granted. Taken for granted means there is some lack of respect and lack of respect then leads to lack of trust. This may seem like a big jump from letting your hair down to hectic trust issues. The truth is, it’s such a sneaky, slow slide down the hole, you don’t even realise how far down you have already gone.

Let’s be real though. It is only human nature, as a relationship develops, to let your hair down a bit, and to let yourself go. Where does it stop though? Many of us who are in serious relationships have gone through this phase or maybe we should admit that we are in this phase right now. We gain a little extra weight, we don’t spend as much time picking out the perfect outfit, we stay in bed all day eating cereal and watching series (for the third weekend in a row) and maybe we even stop shaving ( yes this applies to both men and women alike, if you know what I mean). We lose the desire to look good and keep our person happy. Soon, that magical spark dies out, the relationship seems boring and we don’t know why.

In my opinion, society is the wicked witch in the story. She is trying to brainwash you by saying that the sinkhole is a wonderful new phase in your relationship. Come on, who on earth will believe that your “soon-to-be-dead” relationship is a wonderful thing. Well, to be honest, many of us do. This is because this witch has created many beautiful mantras to justify this kind of behaviour. For example: “Love is not only skin deep”. Basically, they are telling us that we should be so comfortable with each other that we no longer need to do irrational things like going out on dates, dressing up, smelling nice or even try out a new ‘things’ just to impress each other.

Now, I agree that comfort is an important indicator that your relationship actually works. You don’t want to be with someone that makes you edgy and nervous. Feeling safe and comfortable is amazing and it definitely means you have grown into a deeper relationship. I believe that once this phase kicks in, a lot of couples are up for a big challenge. Some couples manage to appreciate the beauty of a mature relationship, and maintain a balance of pleasure, fun and comfort. Others just become lazy, a bit of a fatty and smelly. Taken too far, comfort can actually lead to things going wrong. Too much comfort leads to letting your arm, leg and unmentionable hair run wild and not making an effort to preserve the chemistry that brought you together in the first place.

Let’s face it, you don’t know what you got until it’s gone. We have all experienced that. If you haven’t, well the, that’s great for you. For most of us, we want what we don’t have and then realize (too late) that we actually had the best. It’s as true today as it was when Adam and Eve got kicked out their sweet garden. This is where having a discussion and following up with some actual action makes the complete difference. When someone feels they are going to lose something, they squeeze a little tighter, they hold on just a little bit longer. Get out of bed and do something spontaneous. Go for a walk (some of us should rather run), wash your hair and most importantly, shave. Yes, it does take effort and you actually have to get up off your bum, but that is the only way to keep your relationship exciting. Otherwise, before you know it, that person you are so comfortable with will be looking for other people to bring excitement into their lives again.

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Pants on Fire

 

Men are not as complicated as we like to make them out to be. Honestly, I don’t believe much rationalizing takes place in their minds at all. They keep things simple and straight to the point.

Some of us will work in advertising. Some of us will work in politics. We all are well aware and accustomed to twisting the odd truth now and then. Think way back in the day when you were a ‘lightie’ and you needed to ask your parents’ permission to go out. You would not blatantly tell them the detailed truth about the night’s planned adventures, would you? If you did, either you had every teenager’s dream for parents or your parents honestly didn’t care at all. The point is, we all grew up learning to tell small white lies and soften the truth to avoid unnecessary admin.

This is the exact point guys all over the world are arguing. He might tell you that he is out partying with Peter and Paul and leave out the fact that Womanizing Chris, Tequila Tom and Kristy the town slut was there too. He doesn’t see the point in telling you the whole truth as it will only cause drama. The truth is, whatever happens always lands up on Facebook. Therefore, when those pictures of your man’s night out surface and you see the people he never mentioned hanging on him, you feel hurt and betrayed. In your opinion, he lied to you. Women generally define a lie as a deliberate “hidden truth” that can hurt someone. Men, on the other hand, argue that forgetting (whether it was on purpose or not) does not count. Born are the endless arguments.

Girls ask to hear the truth. They argue that they can handle it and in fact, they will not settle for any other bull story you try spin. Even though guys know this, they still choose to take the path of less admin. “No, you can’t see your back rolls where your bra sits. Yes, this skirt does look way better”. When a guy says this, he most likely just wants to get you out the front door so that he’s not late. This is a standard white lie: giving you the desired answer to your question to ease insecurity and avoid tears and admin.

To be completely honest, I don’t think that this will ever change.  Your man might promise to tell you when you gain a kilo or two, but when push comes to shove, he would rather swallow that opinion. Unless you have the ultimate ‘build-a-boyfriend’ that is programmed to only speak the truth, you are not going to stop him from telling white lies. The best one can do is realize each scenario is different and try figuring him out from there. As a girlfriend, I have learnt to make a distinction between looking for a confidence boosting compliment (which is only human, we all seek it now and then) and looking for an honest and focused answer, even if the truth will scare me slightly.

I believe in honesty. I understand why guys tell their silly white lies to avoid admin, but even these white lies can become a vicious habit. Soon, he could brush off all your important relationship questions to save himself from taking a trip down to drama town. This is when things get serious and the foundation of your relationship is built on half-truths and false facts. He needs to learn to banish these habits of telling white lies and you need to learn to harden up and handle the truth.

Money is the Anthem of Success

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There is something attractive about money. The ability to buy both pairs of shoes, take a trip to Thailand and not worry. We all have a well-hidden lust to be spoilt. If you don’t, I’m afraid you are lying or you’re suffering from a serious case of denial. In our modern day life, women have left the thought of being house-wives and instead they are climbing and some are even dominating the work place. However, I do believe that the idea that women dislike being financially dependent on a man is nothing more than a myth.

Money can buy you everything, except happiness. To some point, I must disagree. I think I will definitely be able to muster up a smile if I was on a plane to Paris, flying nothing but first class and sipping on something really expensive. I will, without a doubt be guilty of a little excitement and happiness. The question I ask is whether or not women are sucked into the black hole of dating dollars or if they don’t care how big the bulge in his wallet is. I want to be a woman who can support herself and live her own exciting life before diving into a man’s salary and depending on him for help every month. Being independent is like an expensive gift all on its own. This also doesn’t mean I am attracted to men that have no drive to succeed. I want to know that my husband will be able to support us and our children and give them the tools they need in life to be a success themselves. I would also like to have enough money every month to save and go on memorable family holidays around the world. For this to happen, I will need a man that has become a success in his work. I am no Paris Hilton, meaning it doesn’t take a lot to impress me, but don’t get me wrong, most women (including myself) aren’t likely to be attracted to someone that lives with his parents and spends his days playing “War Craft”. No woman I know is attracted to this or will chose to live in a rural settlement in corrugated houses, eating porridge and canned food all their life. They would rather date the nice smelling men in gorgeous suits. Why? Because money represents success. Whether we would like to admit it or not, when you succeed in the working field, you aren’t rewarded with a golden star, but with promotions and money. Therefore, the more money a guy appears to have, the more successful and “stable” he seems and the more attracted women are to him. Sadly, many guys also know this and they use it to their advantage. I once read an article where a man admitted that because he was rich he was entitled to have affairs and that his wife knew this would happen because his wealth would attract beautiful women. Shocking!

So now I ask, which would you have? A poor man with a rich heart, or a rich man with a poor heart? Where are the guys with rich hearts and wallets? I want a rich man. A man rich in integrity, humour, honesty and love. That sounds like the “right” answer to say, but honestly, when it comes to you walking down the aisle, who will you pick? Obviously, there needs to be some ambition and motivation in a man to succeed. He does not necessarily need to be the next Bill Gates, but he should utilize any skills and talents he has to become a success in his line of work. I am not going to argue or try to hide the fact that there is something undeniably sexy about a man who is good at what he does with an ambition to be something great.

To be attracted to a man with money is nothing to be ashamed about. I believe it is in our human nature to want the best. However, I still will always believe that true women seek character, not carats. And no, nice guys do not finish last, we marry them.

This thing called “Love”

 

We all live under an enormous, contorted delusion about the nature of “real love”. Brainwashed by media, we believe that there is only one guy out there (out of billions) who is our ultimate soul mate and when we meet him, our stomach will flutter and this gut feeling will tell us immediately that he is “The One”. Let’s be real though. As soon as the butterflies settle and your gut feeling fades, the real work begins. Work? I don’t recall this from the hundreds of movies and series I’ve seen. People tend to run when issues in a relationship surface. They see “problems” as a sign that the relationship wasn’t meant to be and they end it. Then they start all over again. And again. The truth is, they miss out on a deeper love. Real love. After many attempts and restarts, girls and guys are left confused and hurt. What’s wrong with me? Will I never find my one true love? So, if this thing called love isn’t a swarm of butterflies in your stomach what is it?

 

After my few relationship “journeys” (and no, I’m still no expert), I want to drop kick the delusion that love is a “feeling” that consumes you and replace it with the new kid on the block: “Action”. Love is tolerance. Love is understanding and learning the ins and outs of what makes you and your partner laugh until you fear you’ll die from not breathing or what makes the two of you want to smack the each other face, with a book. Love is recognizing that it’s not anyone else’s job or duty to make you feel happy, complete and satisfied with yourself, it’s yours. What is love? It is a choice, a decision and an act of will.

 

I don’t mean to sound pessimistic at all. Love is a scary, but beautiful adventure. The one tip I can give is to embrace the “reality” of true love. This is not a word warmly welcomed in our fantasy driven culture. We are taught NOT to compromise, not to “give in” to our partner’s ways of life and to rather try and “win” the argument by convincing them that we are right. This idea is poisonous. Compromising and meeting each other half way is the basis of love.

 

“Being loved deeply by someone gives you strength. Loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu

 

kiss & make up

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It is said that the Italians are the most passionate people in the world. They are known to have intense, loud relationship arguments. When they fight about the petty things, such as the toilet seat that hasn’t been put back down (as cliché as that sounds, there is nothing more annoying), it may seem to us “spectators” as the next world war. However, it has been said that due to all their constant bickering, they form a deeper connection and when they do make up, it is even more passionate and intense. This may seem extremely hard to believe, especially if you are fighting with your person right now. All you want is to put their head in your hands and shake some sense into it, but hear me out. If both partners have the ability to ‘make up’ after a fight, surely that is proof that their relationship has one of the essential skills needed for success. “You can’t win an argument, because even when you win, you lose.” This statement is so true and you might not realise the emotional harm you have caused as you indulge in your moment of triumph. The extent of relationship success is not whether or not we disagree, but how we handle our disagreements. If we are unsuccessful at resolving a conflict in our relationship, then there is a possibility the conflict will arise again.

 

Okay cool, but this is much easier said than done. Don’t worry, I agree! That is why I went “undercover”, asked some of my guy friends as well as researched all the self proclaimed “Doctor Phil’s” on Google and came up with some helpful tips for the rest of us non-Italians.

 

If a couple expect their relationship to last without any occasional fights, they are being less than realistic. In fact, I believe they might be seeking Utopia. I am not saying start an unnecessary fight for the sake of arguing, but just know that recovering after a fight can only mature your relationship. However, if you are fighting more than making up, there could be trouble. There is no point in even knowing how to “kiss and make up”, if the person you are with is not the right one for you. If you pick someone who thinks like you and shares the same important issues in your life, then there will be fewer issues to fight about already.

 

When you are about to fight, remember that you and your person do not share all the same thoughts and opinions. There are going to be times when you want one thing and he wants something else. Stop trying to see these as signs or evidence that there must be something seriously wrong with him. Just because he doesn’t agree with you doesn’t make him evil. Instead of trying to force your opinion on your person, try understanding them first. Too often, arguments are a result of two people who are trying to control the outcome, rather than solve the problem. Learn the skill of listening to your person’s side of the story without interrupting or thinking of a great comeback. Never criticize or be sarcastic. It is immature and poisonous in any fight. What I have also realized is, talking in a softer voice rather than a louder one is crucial. The way in which you start an argument can be more important than the way you end it. A louder voice puts your person on the defensive and may cause them to shut down. Another thing, use fewer sentences. The longer you talk, the more your risk losing their attention. Lastly, try say every word with love rather than with anger. It’s hard, but it is definitely the more mature way to handle a fight.

 

It takes a lot of practice to develop pro fighting skills, but you will get better at them the more you use them properly. No one is perfect. There are going to be times you want to walk away. Don’t. Just keep trying and solve the problem asap. Eventually you’ll see that you are getting better and that you both are learning to fight fair. However, if you have a pattern of fighting and breaking up over and over again that’s gone on forever, you’re likely in a relationship that will never get much more resolved than where you are right now. Just saying.