Tips To Creating the Perfect Online Dating Profile

Most people who write their personal statement for their online dating profile do it entirely on their own, without ever asking for help from friends or family. The truth, however, is that asking for feedback from those who know you best is the best way to create a good dating profile.

When it comes to describing ourselves, we usually aren’t very objective. We often come across as too this or too that, which is why you should create a personal profile and send it two or three friends or family members for them to read. Ask those individuals for feedback, and you can use the questions below as a guide.

Do you sound confident or insecure?

Due to what’s called the social desirability bias, men and women have the tendency to present themselves in a manner that will be viewed favorably by others. Accordingly, most people try to make themselves appear as appealing as possible in a dating profile. That sounds like a good thing, right? The problem is that sometimes we try too hard, and that can actually come across as insecure. When you send your personal statement to your friend for review, ask if you come across as secure or insecure in the description. If you come across as insecure, you will either attract people who have emotional issues or you will turn off those who don’t.

Does your sense of humor come across? Is there too much or too little humor in your personal statement?

Showing your sense of humor is important because connecting in the humor department is a foundation for a long-term relationship. When you ask a friend for feedback, ask about how your humor comes across. Specifically, ask if it’s enough or too much. Also, ask if your humor in the profile comes across as funny, sweet, or sarcastic. While I know some men and women are especially drawn to individuals with a sarcastic flair, be warned that sarcasm also usually comes with personalities that are more competitive and angry. Unless you are sarcastic yourself and really value that in others, avoid using much sarcasm at all in your profile.

Do you sound humble or too self-deprecating?

Do you sound responsible or flaky?

As much as you want to come across as appealing in a profile, you also should remember to hit the crucial items on the metaphoric relationship checklist. For a relationship to work, two partners will need to be reliable, honest, and kind. Make sure that your profile reflects the kind of person you are not just in your dating life, but in your work and overall social life. You don’t need to say “I’m always on time” but you can say something like “I’m a responsible person and I’m looking for someone who isn’t flaky.” This type of statement sends a clear message that you know yourself and that you also know what you want in another person. Ask for feedback from a friend about whether your profile reflects where you fall on the responsible/flaky spectrum.

The takeaway message

The title of my article referring to the “perfect” profile is more tongue-in-cheek than realistic. There is no perfect profile because there is no perfect person, and the profile is intended to capture who a person is. The goal is to have the profile reflect your true personality and values, and you will come up with a better and more accurate one if you get feedback from those who know you best. Whether you are starting a new one or simply redoing an existing personal statement, use your friends to come up with the best profile and you will attract better dates because you got feedback from people who matter most to you.

Some Important Thing About The Right Way To Love

I remember the moment I became “boy crazy”; it felt like an overnight transformation. Suddenly, I became mute around certain boys and couldn’t articulate the feelings in my stomach when they would be in my presence.

Luckily, it wasn’t all downhill from there because, as I matured, I began to choose which men were worthy of my attention, and which ones should become a distant memory.

I learned about relationship dynamics and some of the fundamentals while watching my grandparents interact with each other. I adored watching my grandfather, Papafito, interact with my grandmother. In fact, simply running errands with the both of them brought me extreme happiness because of the love and respect that constantly lived within their relationship.

The way my grandpa treated my grandmother set the example for how a man should love a woman. The things I witnessed in my childhood have helped me when choosing a partner for myself by identifying characteristics that complement me and also bring out my best qualities.

1. Relationship matters are to remain private.

A lot of men like to go drink a beer with their friends and complain about their personal lives with their girlfriends or spouses.

Not my grandfather.

My grandma was the “more outgoing one” in their relationship and, therefore, her opinions were often voiced with a sense of fearlessness. Even though my grandpa disagreed with my grandmother, he waited to talk to her about these things in private. He made it known that public settings or guests in their home had no business intervening with private affairs.

My grandpa did not encourage public disagreements and chose to remain impartial, which left my grandmother and those around them no other choice but to shift their focus or change the conversation.

He loved her so much that he controlled the timing of uncomfortable conversations in an effort to protect their relationship from public opinion.

2. Always make decisions together; it shows love, compassion and respect.

Whether it was what they were eating for lunch, what their plans for the day entailed or where their finances were headed, my grandpa always sought my grandmother’s input.

Regardless of how big or small, the decision was made by both parties. Doing this wasn’t something my grandmother had to demand either; it was something my grandpa did naturally and with ease.

The long-term positive impact this had on their relationship grew exponentially over time. They communicated with the desire to learn about each other, and that strengthened and kept their love alive over the years.

Now as an adult, I make a conscious effort to choose a man who wants to show me love in a similar way because I, too, want my voice and my perspective to matter just as much as my partner’s.

Love requires us to think about our significant others as much as we do ourselves.

My grandpa consistently demonstrated his love; he didn’t allow time to turn him into a complacent communicator. His desire to keep certain things a priority, like including my grandma in the decision-making process, nurtured their love and, ultimately, their marriage.

3. The way you communicate has a lasting impact.

Have you ever heard the saying: “It’s not what you say, but how you say it”? Well, my grandpa could have amended that phrase by adding that sometimes, you don’t have to say much at all and that can yield better results.

My grandpa taught me loving a woman requires attentive listening and positive reactions. He definitely did not shy away from participating in conversations, but he avoided being disrespectful to my grandmother at all costs.

I didn’t hear him raise his voice or his eyebrow a single time. He felt that doing that would accomplish nothing and could actually leave matters worse.

He was a serious man and someone who carried himself with a sense of formality. Therefore, when he spoke, everyone listened (and even took notes at times). His tone shifted with the subject of the conversation, but the volume remained the same. Yelling, screaming or profanity were not tactics he used to get his point across.

And yet he always managed to be heard and have his voice matter.

Like any two people who spend a lot of time together, my grandparents did not always agree on everything. But regardless of what they were discussing, his love prevailed by allowing him to maintain a level of respect when speaking to my grandma.

The love he felt for my grandmother was never greater than his ego or desire to be right. What was even sweeter was that the positive feelings he felt toward her were consistently seen through all of his gestures… leaving those around him wanting something similar for themselves.

irst Couple’s Vacation Will Help You Decide If Your SO Is The One

You’ve made it. You’re finally past being unofficially official, and your friends are finally over the “Will they? Won’t they?” hopscotch routine.

The glue permanently binding your phone to your hand has loosened, and suddenly you’re less conscious of timing the minutes between each heavily-analyzed-and-carefully-constructed text.

Congratulations, you’re now relaxed in your relationship and you’ve certainly crossed the first finish line. But, don’t get too complacent just yet, there are an infinite number of milestones to go.

The first trip together as a couple is a delicately-crafted tightrope. You can effectively poke and prod into your mate’s psyche while wading through a potentially daiquiri-induced haze.

While the Instagram persona you’ve gushed over for the last few months begins to wither, you may discover one or two things about your beau that can range from minor annoyances to full on deal breakers.

While you’re navigating your itinerary and your SO, here are the top reasons this trip together can be your best relationship guide book.

1. You’ll experience over 24 hours of non-stop boo time.

This is potentially the first time you’ll be together, alone, for 24 hours straight.

And whether you’re a couple with regular sleepovers or a pair that just springs for a quick after-dinner kiss, this is a whole different ball game.

Many uninterrupted days, side by side, will rip you out of your comfort zone. You’ll see each other in your least flattering moments.

Ladies (or gentlemen even), this means you’ll have to let him in on your beauty routine, where he’ll get a behind-the-scenes look into the making of the finished product.

With uninterrupted time together through exciting activities and day-to-day routines, you’ll get a brief taste of life with the other person in it.

2. You’ll tackle challenges together.

Whether figuring out transportation, dealing with a lost credit card or asking for directions in a foreign language, your vacation can give you the opportunity to tackle everything life throws your way together.

Overcoming even a minor travel setback is a blessing in disguise, and it gives you an amazing way to bond together. When you’re transplanted somewhere new, the unfamiliar setting will be refreshingly non-routine and you’ll see how your partner handles unusual, possibly even stressful, situations.

In every experience away from home, both you and your SO will learn how to help each other deal and work toward a solution together.

3. See those true colors.

Whether you like it or not, uninterrupted time means that the glossed over version of yourself will soon disappear, leaving behind our semi-flawed form we all bury until at least six months in.

Those bad character habits tend to slip through. You’ll learn what they are, how to deal with them and how to forgive them.

On the other hand, you’ll learn some of those not-so-shiny parts about yourself. Maybe you’ll even adopt the “my partner can make me a better person” mentality.

4. Balance the control freaks.

When traveling together, a couple’s dynamic may shift depending on who’s a planner and who’s more laid back.

If you’re a planner, your strategy will be to take control and finalize that itinerary before you even step on the plane (you know who you are, people).

Ease up a bit and let your SO decide a thing or two so everyone gets the sight-seeing experience they want. Remember, it’s OK not to have a plan and fly by the seat of your pants. The best discoveries often come without a plan.

For those laid-back partners, you need to speak up! When there’s somewhere you want to go or something you want to do, don’t be afraid to challenge your partner’s plan.

Succumbing to their every wish isn’t realistic long-term. When the vacation glasses are off, you’ll need a healthy give and take, and your vacation is the best place to start.

5. Savor the moment.

At the end of the day, a vacation together is about capturing memories you’ll take home. Whether it’s an inside joke about that guy Barry from the bar or a shared first sushi experience, you’ll fill your mental (and Instagram) photo gallery with snapshots of time well spent.

Pull those photos out during your first screaming match back home, the mood will immediately lighten. Everyday life might move a mile a minute, but a fleeting vacation makes you savor the moment and slow down. Not a bad mantra for your life back home.

Uninterrupted time away from home kickstarts the comfort and trust in a relationship, and if you take those lessons you learned back home, you’ll grow even closer and build an even stronger foundation.

Too Easily Seduced

If you’ve ever gone to the grocery store on an empty stomach, you know how quickly a short shopping list of essential items can turn into a cart full of junk you didn’t need and wouldn’t ordinarily buy. The fact is, shopping hungry is a great way to spend more money than you intended on food that is probably bad for you.

The same could be said for dating, when it has been a long time since you last enjoyed a loving relationship. If you are starved for passion, intimacy, and affection, everyone you meet begins to look pretty good. Some of those potential partners may very well be good prospects for you; others not so much. The key is to keep a level head while you sort them out.

To do that, it helps to be aware of the ways in which overeagerness can work against you—and to be on your guard. Here are four common signs you may be too easily seduced for your own good:

1. You are quick to overlook glaring signs of incompatibility.

2. You ignore the opinions of friends and family.

Granted, your dating decisions are not subject to the approval of a committee. Nevertheless, your closest relatives and friends often see early signs of trouble in a new relationship when you can’t—or don’t want to. They care about your well-being and will notice when someone new has a negative effect on you. If you find yourself frequently defending your new romance to people whose advice you ordinarily trust, pay attention! They may be telling you that your desire for love at any cost is clouding your judgment.
3. You make unhealthy compromises for the sake of the relationship.

One reason dating is so exciting is that it draws you out of your routine and into new adventures. But when a fledgling relationship begins to reset your personal standards of responsible or safe behavior, you are probably giving up more than you are getting in return—a clear sign the partnership is not right for you. Here are several common examples: spending more money than you can afford; “partying” more than ever; rushing into physical intimacy sooner than you’d like; or neglecting other obligations and relationships. The right partner will bring out the very best in you. If the opposite seems true, the cost of your eagerness for romance is too high.

4. You linger longer than you should in a dead-end situation.

In any unhealthy relationship, there comes a time when the signs of dysfunction are no longer so subtle. Easy-to-overlook evidence of incompatibility can turn into unconcealed discord, perhaps even abuse. Often it is simply the fear of going back to being single that causes us to endure emotional hardship long past the point when reasonable self-preservation dictates we move on. Don’t let your longing for love become a rationale for prolonged mistreatment of any kind.

There is nothing wrong with being eager for intimacy and affection—it is the natural state of someone ready for lasting romance. Just don’t forget to love and protect yourself as well on the way to finding a great partner.

Have a Stigma

Dear Sara: I have been divorced three times, and my last “husband” passed away in 2014. (We exchanged our vows, had joint bank account, vehicles together, were each other’s emergency contacts, etc. However, we never filed any paperwork with the government, as he didn’t feel that I should be responsible for any of his past obligations.)

I have always been better friends with men than women, and I have had a few wives say that I am a Godsend, as they never have to worry about their husbands/boyfriends when they are with me, which I take as a great compliment. However, it feels that even the single men that I know and meet feel the same way. I can watch and discuss sports, cars, guns, whatever with them without missing a beat. I don’t get grossed out and not much really scares me. So what am I doing wrong about finding a man to want me as a partner not just a buddy?

[My partner was an alcoholic, who served time for a DUI. He had cirrhosis of the liver. He also was bipolar and depressed, as he blamed himself for his sister’s death.] He lived a very hard life, and when we got together he had a true home for the first time in over thirty years. He loved deep.

We lost six very close friends/family in less than four months. [On the night before my uncle’s funeral, I came home and he was drunk and asleep.] When he woke up he was argumentative and kept wanting to talk about things other than what I needed to talk about, so I got upset, told him to stop being so selfish, just let me get through my uncle’s funeral … and to go to bed and go to sleep for a while. I proceeded to sit down and watch TV when I heard a pop. Well, he decided to go to sleep permanently. …

Everyone in town showed up at my house to help me, and now even though it has been two years, the single men in town all remember what happened and don’t want to chance going out with me. I feel that I have a stigma, and we are such a small town that there are not many date-able people in town. How am I supposed to overcome and get people to see me for me, not me still coupled with him?

There is a man I like, but he isn’t ready for a girlfriend. He doesn’t mind hanging and making out, but doesn’t want a girlfriend. Am I as messed up as I think I am? — W

Dear W: I have edited your letter for space, but it seems to me that the essential issue here is that, in addition to your grief, you’re dealing with the stigma of being the partner of a troubled man who took his own life. The fact that you two argued that night makes it even harder.

So first, forgive yourself. You clearly loved your late partner very much, and he clearly had many problems that began long before he met you. You were annoyed with him that night because he was being selfish and inconsiderate of your needs. It was perfectly reasonable of you to tell him to go to bed so you could discuss the matter in the morning. So give yourself that gift: Forgive yourself. It wasn’t your fault.

As for dealing with others, here is my suggestion: You can’t control what other people think of you, but you can take control of how you see yourself. It is a slow process, but it can work. A lot of people talk about self-esteem, but I’ve never found that very helpful. How are you supposed to think highly of yourself when you feel like crap? So rather than working on your self-esteem I suggest working on your self-respect. The formula for gaining self-respect is a lot simpler: Behave in a way that you respect.

Then ask yourself. Am I that person? Could I be that person? Can I set an intention to always behave in an honorable manner, regardless of how others act?

Making this commitment won’t magically change the way others see you. But it can lessen the power they have over you. When you have self-respect, you find that a funny thing happens when other people try to make you feel bad about yourself: It doesn’t work. When you have self-respect, you also develop good taste in people. You notice which people treat others well, and those people will see it in you. It’s a little bit like having a superpower.

Superpowers aren’t acquired overnight. So along with self-respect comes self-compassion. If you see yourself slip—say, by bad-mouthing someone or denigrating yourself—don’t turn this into something to beat yourself up about. “Darn, I didn’t behave with the utmost honesty and compassion. I suck!” Just remind yourself that it’s okay, change comes slowly. And vow to do better next time.

Yours,

Sara

Should You Know About A Relationship Secrets For Sensitive People

Loneliness gets to some more than others. But why it hangs on isn’t always apparent when read by traditional medical eyes. As a psychiatrist in Los Angeles and in my workshops I’ve been struck by how many sensitive, empathic people who I call “emotional empaths” come to me, lonely, wanting a romantic partner, yet remaining single for years. Or else they’re in relationships but feel constantly fatigued and overwhelmed. The reason isn’t simply that “there aren’t enough emotionally available people ‘out there,’” nor is their burnout “neurotic.” Personally and professionally, I’ve discovered that something more is going on.

In “Emotional Freedom” I describe empaths as a species unto themselves. Whereas others may thrive on the togetherness of being a couple, for empaths like me, too much togetherness can be difficult, may cause us to bolt. Why? We tend to intuit and absorb our partner’s energy, and become overloaded, anxious, or exhausted when we don’t have time to decompress in our own space. We’re super-responders; our sensory experience of relationship is the equivalent of feeling objects with fifty fingers instead of five. Energetically sensitive people unknowingly avoid romantic partnership because deep down they’re afraid of getting engulfed. Or else, they feel engulfed when coupled, a nerve-wracking, constrictive way to live. If this isn’t understood, empaths can stay perpetually lonely; we want companionship, but, paradoxically, it doesn’t feel safe. One empath-patient told me, “It helps explain why at thirty-two I’ve only had two serious relationships, each lasting less than a year.” Once we empaths learn to set boundaries and negotiate our energetic preferences, intimacy becomes possible.

For emotional empaths to be at ease in a relationship, the traditional paradigm for coupling must be redefined. Most of all, this means asserting your personal space needs — the physical and time limits you set with someone so you don’t feel they’re on top of you. Empaths can’t fully experience emotional freedom with another until they do this. Your space needs can vary with your situation, upbringing, and culture. My ideal distance to keep in public is at least an arm’s length. In doctors’ waiting rooms I’ll pile my purse and folders on the seats beside me to keep others away. With friends it’s about half that. With a mate it’s variable. Sometimes it’s rapture being wrapped in his arms; later I may need to be in a room of my own, shut away. One boyfriend who truly grasped the concept got me a “Keep Out” sign for my study door! For me, this was a sign of true love.

All of us have an invisible energetic border that sets a comfort level. Identifying and communicating yours will prevent you from being bled dry by others. Then intimacy can flourish, even if you’ve felt suffocated before. Prospective mates or family members may seem like emotional vampires when you don’t know how to broach the issue of personal space. You may need to educate others — make clear that this isn’t about not loving them — but get the discussion going. Once you can, you’re able to build progressive relationships.

If you’re an empath or if the ordinary expectations of coupledom don’t jibe with you, practice the following tips.

DEFINE YOUR PERSONAL SPACE NEEDS.

Tip 1. What to say to a potential mate.
As you’re getting to know someone, share that you’re a sensitive person, that you periodically need quiet time. The right partner will be understanding; the wrong person will put you down for being “overly sensitive,” won’t respect your need.

Tip 2. Clarify your preferred sleep style.
Traditionally, partners sleep in the same bed. However, some empaths never get used to this, no matter how caring a mate. Nothing personal; they just like their own sleep space. Speak up about your preferences. Feeling trapped in bed with someone, not getting a good night’s rest, is torture. Energy fields blend during sleep, which can overstimulate empaths. So, discuss options with your mate. Separate beds. Separate rooms. Sleeping together a few nights a week. Because non-empaths may feel lonely sleeping alone, make compromises when possible.

Tip 3. Negotiate your square footage needs.
You may be thrilled about your beloved until you live together. Experiment with creative living conditions so your home isn’t a prison. Breathing room is mandatory. Ask yourself, “What space arrangements are optimal?” Having an area to retreat to, even if it’s a closet? A room divider? Separate bathrooms? Separate houses? I prefer having my own bedroom/office to retreat to. I also can see the beauty of separate wings or adjacent houses if affordable. Here’s why: conversations, scents, coughing, movement can feel intrusive. Even if my partner’s vibes are sublime, sometimes I’d rather not sense them even if they’re only hovering near me. I’m not just being finicky; it’s about maintaining well-being if I live with someone.

Tip 4. Travel wisely.
Traveling with someone, you may want to have separate space too. Whether my companion is romantic or not, I’ll always have adjoining rooms with my own bathroom. If sharing a room is the only option, hanging a sheet as a room divider will help. “Out of sight” may make the heart grow fonder.

Tip 5. Take regular mini-breaks.
Empaths require private downtime to regroup. Even a brief escape prevents emotional overload. Retreat for five minutes into the bathroom with the door shut. Take a stroll around the block. Read in a separate room. One patient told her boyfriend, “I need to disappear into a quiet room for ten minutes at a party, even if I’m having fun,” a form of self-care that he supports.

In my medical practice, I’ve seen this creative approach to relationships save marriages and make ongoing intimacies feel safe, even for emotional empaths (of all ages) who’ve been lonely and haven’t had a long-term partner before. Once you’re able to articulate your needs, emotional freedom in your relationships is possible.

Some Questions to Ask Yourself Before Committing

You’ve been on many dates. You laugh at each other’s jokes. You find their quirks endearing. And you’re excited to see where the relationship might lead. Before you take that leap into a serious committed relationship, here are some questions to ask yourself.

Question to ask yourself before committing: Do we share the same views on monogamy, marriage and children?

The big-ticket items, like family, marriage, and views on monogamy are conversation-topic musts before leaping into serious commitment. Differing values on these areas are often non-negotiables. It’s better to know he doesn’t want kids or that she’s not interested in ever getting married now than get further invested in a relationship that, ultimately, can’t have a future.

Question to ask yourself before committing: Are we spiritually compatible?

Maybe you’ve already talked about your faith backgrounds some, but articulating what your spiritual life looks like on a day-to-day basis — and what you aspire it to become — is an important step in determining when to get serious with one another. If one of you eschews organized religion and the other wishes they could attend orthodox services more often, you’re likely going to hit major roadblocks later on. Talk about these differences and determine if your differing faith systems are compatible with one another.

Question to ask yourself before committing: Are family and friends supportive of the relationship?

Does your mom like him? Does your roommate think she’s awesome? Positive feedback on the relationship from family and friends can help give you the green light in moving forward. If loved ones agree that the person you’re seeing is a good match for you, you’re committing to a relationship with a built-in support system.

If you sense hesitancy or wariness from loved ones, try to determine why they’re not as gung-ho about the relationship as you are. Maybe they’re just looking out for you following previous heartache. Maybe they have some serious reservations. Consider their yellow and red flags seriously before committing.

Question to ask yourself before committing: How do we deal with conflict?

Have you fought yet? Have you seen him upset? Establishing healthy conflict-resolution patterns is essential in cultivating a solid relationship.

Talk about conflict when you’re not in the middle of it. What often triggers defensiveness in you? What angers you? When do you feel most misunderstood? Do you tend to fight about the same things over and over? Establish rules for “fighting fair.”

Before committing, ensure that you’re both determined to always do right by the other person — and can compromise, apologize, and reassure when times get tough.

The two biggest conflict topics in committed romantic relationships are money and sex. You’ll be setting your new relationship up for success if you start talking about these things early on. If you handle money differently, feel uncomfortable revealing spending philosophies, have different expectations when it comes to splitting the check or sharing a bed, now is the time to talk.

Practicing openness and honesty about private matters can build trust and prevent conflicts that arise from misunderstandings and assumptions. If you find you’re not compatible in these areas, be cautious about moving forward. Many find these differences to be irreconcilable.

Question to ask yourself before committing: Have we both dealt with our “baggage”?

Make sure you’re entering into this relationship for the right reasons — and without the past tagging along. Don’t commit as a knee-jerk reaction to your ex finding love elsewhere, or just because you hate being alone.

Have you both dealt enough with your relationship “baggage” that neither is comparing the other to a past relationship? If there’s still a “one that got away” in your life, you won’t be giving your all to the new relationship.

For a relationship to thrive, you need to be fully present. Before you commit, make sure this specific person is the one you want, and that your past, while important in terms of life lessons and character building, isn’t interfering with you giving your best to someone new.

Question to ask yourself before committing: Can I see myself with this person in the future?

If you can’t see yourself with this person in a few months, let alone a few years, you’re not ready to commit. And if you can already identify things that might derail the relationship, you need to talk. You don’t have to know, without a doubt, that this person is “the one,” but if you already know they’re not, why are you investing your time, energy and heart on someone you don’t want to be with in the future? It’s not fair to either of you.

Question to ask yourself before committing: Have we established mutual trust and respect?

Do you treat each other well? Do you feel like the person you’re with wants the best for you? Are you excited for each other’s dreams?  Would you describe the person you’re with as trustworthy, respectful and considerate?

A relationship missing these ingredients is already filled with red flags. You want to be with someone who treats you well, and with someone whom you deeply respect.

Question to ask yourself before committing: Do I really like this person?

It sounds trite, but it’s so important that you actually enjoy spending significant amounts of time with the person you’re about to commit to. Do you really, really like him? Do you care about the details of his life? Does she preoccupy your thoughts? Are you just interested in being in a relationship, or are you craving a relationship with this particular individual? If you like the person you’re dating, in a Bridget Jones “just as you are” kind of way, keep moving forward.

Should You Know About Do Men Really Want Love, or Just Sex

Dear Sara: I am a 40-year-old woman who is healthy, happy, and open to life. I am single currently and have not had a real relationship for almost 15 years. The two big relationships I had when I was younger died, and when I look back I think one of the major factors was my desire to not have sex.

I was 25 and grew up in a regular middle-class Indian family, liberal and progressive in most aspects. However, I was also raised Catholic and studying in a convent-educated school may have led me believe that sex was taboo/bad/off-limits till marriage.

Anyway, I believe I have a healthy appetite and have been attracted to many men over the course of my life. However, somewhere in my head I have the idea that men are not looking for love, but sex—i.e. no matter how loving, beautiful, funny, smart the woman is, all they are thinking of is how she will be/perform in bed. And that thought puts me off men. I struggle to make sense of where and how I developed this thinking—it may be because of the pressure to have sex in my second serious relationship, and also from my numerous conversations with 35- to 45-year-old married guy friends who always seem to be fantasizing over someone other than their wife, who also say that there is no sex in their marriage.

I used to believe in love, and finding a soulmate, and the ethereal feeling that you were destined to be with someone, that you glow and are your best self with this person. But I increasingly feel that is a fantasy, and that reality is very different, that men don’t long for this kind of love at all, and that they just want to be excited and entertained in bed.

I am constantly looking for examples around me to dispel this thought. I know deep down in my heart that not all men are like this but I find it very hard to believe that on most days. –R

Dear R: Yes, most men think sex is very important in a relationship—most women do, too. So if you weren’t interested in having sex in your previous relationships then it’s not surprising that that would be an issue.

So I just want to make that distinction. A man can place a high priority on sex, and want to be in a loving, committed relationship. You can have both things, and I think most people want both things. Sure, many men talk a good game about wanting the James Bond lifestyle, and there is a popular notion that women drag men to the altar against their wishes. But I don’t buy it. If men didn’t want to marry, they wouldn’t. If men didn’t want to be in committed, long-term relationships, there would be a lot fewer committed long-term relationships out there.

But the truth is, most men do marry. The numbers may be lower than previous generations, but it’s still something that the wide majority of Americans do at some point in their lives. And contrary to well-cultivated stereotypes about married men and bachelors, studies have found that marriage makes men healthier and happier.

I’m not saying married men don’t look around, or get tempted, or complain to their attractive single female friends about the sexlessness of their marriages. I’m not saying people don’t cheat—obviously, that happens. There are a million ways, large and small, that spouses betray each other.

I’m saying that’s not the whole story. If a married male friend complains to you in a flirty way about his sex life, then he is not being very nice to his wife. But there may be a lot of other things he’s not telling you about—like the time he filled the tank of her car with gas and checked the air pressure on her tires before she took a long road trip, or the way he always makes sure the DVR is set to record her favorite shows.

So why do you instinctively feel that men only want sex? It could be that you’ve had some bad luck with men—there certainly are cads and commitment-phobes, and if you’ve had relationships with one or two it’s understandable that that would color your view of all men.

But I’m guessing our culture has also played a role. Women are repeatedly told than men only value them for their bodies, for sex. It’s an insult to both men and women, and it’s part of a toxic mixed message. Women are supposed to be sexy, but we’re not supposed to like sex unless the circumstances are perfect. Unless the guy is madly in love with you, unless he’s John-Cusack-in-Say-Anything gaga, then any desire you feel is suspect—comically sad, or worse.

So if you have a lot of confused and conflicted feelings about sex—welcome to the club. My suggestion is to take some time to reflect on why you view sex and love as being in opposition to one another. Worry less about how the guy feels and think about how you feel. Do you judge yourself when you feel desire or attraction? Do you start to feel a panic that that he’s going to hurt you, that he’ll seduce you and then disappear? Just take that time to notice what you’re feeling without judgment; close your eyes and allow yourself to feel that vulnerability or whatever other uncomfortable emotions arise. Meditation is a good way to work with this stuff, or if that’s not your thing I think a book called The Happiness Trap has some helpful tools to work with this.

Getting in touch with your own feelings won’t necessarily prevent you from getting conned by a smooth-talker. And if that happens, it will still hurt. But the pain won’t be as severe if you don’t judge yourself for getting hoodwinked, if you can simply put the blame where it belongs—with the person who misrepresented himself. If this is hard to do, ask yourself how you would respond to a good friend who was in this situation, and then treat yourself accordingly.

And when you do become intimate with someone, see what it’s like to drop all that worry (“Is he sincere?” “Is he really into me?”) and enjoy yourself.

How If You Dating the Wrong Physical Type or the Wrong Emotional Type

If you have found that your dates aren’t turning into full-blown relationships, the problem may relate to the kinds of people you’re seeking out. Specifically, I’m talking about your “type.” There are two different ways that you could be looking for the wrong types. You could either be going for the wrong physical type or the wrong emotional type. Let me explain because it’s not always as clear as it sounds on the surface.

Your Physical Type:

When you think about the people you seek out in dating, do they have a specific physical type? Do you tend to go for men or women with a specific physical description? For example, do you tend to look for people with a specific body type or hair color? Do you restrict yourself to a specific age range that is different from your own (e.g., you look to date older or younger people)? Do the people you date have a specific physical style? For example, do you tend to date people who have, say, tattoos or piercings, or dress in what the young ones call an “emo style”? Do you only go for the clean-cut, straight-from-the-Mayflower-ship type? When you are dating, spend some time thinking about the physical traits you’re attracted to because you might need to extend your type.

Your Emotional Type:

How would you describe the emotional type of the people you’re attracted to? Self-disclosure alert: Until I had years of therapy myself, I was drawn to narcissists – those who were emotionally unavailable, thought they were God’s gift to the world, and always focused on themselves and their wants and needs more than my own. When we talked, they weren’t terribly interested in what happened during my day.

For you, what emotional types draw you in? Ask yourself if you are attracted to any of the following types: alpha types who take charge; quiet, passive types who go along with what you want; sarcastic types who have an “edge;” depressive, wounded-soul types; serious introverts; the “life of the party;” spontaneous, slightly wild types; or maybe even know-it-all types? Think about what the common thread is in the emotional type of the people you have been drawn to in the past.

How you can tell you’re dating either the wrong physical type or the wrong emotional type:

How to get unstuck from dating the wrong type:

What is the most clear-cut solution to the problem of having dates that never turn into long-term relationships? Plain and simple, try dating people whom you would never have imagined yourself with before (as long as they are decent, upstanding people). Give that guy who is a little overweight a chance, or ask out the woman who has an ethnicity or cultural background that you have never dated before.

Openness and flexibility equal wisdom when it comes to finding a relationship.

People are remarkably similar at their core, regardless of the color of their skin, the amount of money they have, or how physically attractive or unattractive they are at first glance. Deep down, we all want the same thing: someone who loves us consistently, and someone we can trust to be there for us in the future. The best advice I can give you is to accept or initiate a first date with someone you think is kind, and someone whose company you enjoy. Find someone who makes you laugh or makes you feel safe, someone you would call when you have a bad day or need a hug. As silly as that may sound, it is a positive and comforting emotional connection that will keep two people together through the inevitable storms of life.

Based On Your Zodiac Sign, How You Want Your Ex To Feel After A Breakup

Whether you hope they die in a fire or wish for their eventual decline into eternal loneliness, everyone has some idea of what they hope will happen to their ex after a breakup.

What we want to happen to our exes is usually a sign of how we hope they will feel, and comes from a belief that they feel nothing… because if they did, how could they have ever left us?

This is how you hope your ex will feel after a breakup, based on your zodiac sign.

Aries– Like a useless sack of shit.

Most Aries avoid breakup pain by skipping the grieving process and jumping right into bounce-back mode like they’re the living impersonation of the “Rocky” montage.

That being said, they can only hope their ex will immediately lose all motivation to live, let alone love again.

Mostly, you just hope they get debilitatingly fat, while you fuck everything with a pulse.

Taurus– Like an on-call rescue worker.

Taurus is the kind of psycho who will empty-threaten a hunger strike if their lover leaves them. They want to make sure they’re taken care of, worried about and fussed over long after the relationship is through.

By the time you meet someone new (literally two weeks later), your ex will wonder who left who.

You were calling them a week ago at 4 am crying — and now you’ve completely moved on.

Gemini– Bored, forever.

You’ve probably already decided to move on with your life by shaving your head and getting a septum piercing, not to mention filled your calendar with trips to Coachella so your Instagram looks lit AF.

This way, your ex will realize they have dumped a walking birthday party, someone who filled their lives with fun and meaning, and now they have nothing and no one.

Cancer– Confusingly horny for you.

Cancers are the first sign to come on with a full-fledged attack of unsolicited, artistically lit nudes sent directly to their exes.

Your goal is not only to make them miss you, but to make them feel like they’ve made the biggest sexual mistake of their lives. Be careful, though.

This can come off as aggressively needy.

Leo– Like they were never worthy of you to begin with.

You’re posting pics of yourself after every single workout, in front of every single sunset and littering your social media with every social outing you go on.

Finding the best-looking people they know and snuggling up with them for a selfie is Leo’s way of saying to their ex, “You just broke up with a celebrity. I’m going to lap you in every aspect of life, both personal and financial, forever.”

Virgo– What ex? You’re fine.

Virgos do not do well with feelings.

Emotions are not their forté. In fact, you are too busy planning how to coldly split up your possessions and drop them off at your ex’s office to even think about them ever again.

Although honestly, in the dark of night, you lay in bed and hope for their absolute demise. You hope they are sad forever and that they never find happiness with anyone.

You also hope they lose whatever confidence they once had in themselves.

Libra– If they don’t miss you, they’ll miss all their belongings.

Because there is no way in hell you will be giving them any of their shit back. In fact, you will be blocking them on every form of social media so they won’t even have the audacity to ask.

You are a Libra, the sign of partnership, and you treat every relationship as if it were a marriage. What happens when marriages fail? You inherit half of their belongings. It’s the least they can do to settle the score.

Scorpio– Regretful of the day they were born.

Scorpios do not like rejection.

They do not take kindly to being told to fuck off, even if it’s coated in honey. Basically, if your ex is gonna leave you, they’d better change all their passwords first and block you on all their social feeds, because you will make it your life’s mission to destroy any chance they have at future happiness.

Oh, and they better not even think about dating someone else. You will find their new love, move into a van outside their home, pose as a CIA informant and tell them they’re dating a murderer.

Sagittarius– Jealous of your life.

Sagittarians are most likely to respond to getting dumped by booking a trip to the Caribbean like they were longing to be free forever.

You do this because in some small way, you probably were, and also because it’s always nice to take all the feelings of superiority out of someone when they thought they were the one who was unhappy.

Capricorn– Like they’ve disappointed their parents.

You were the perfect partner: stable, rich (or soon to be), dependable and loved by the parents.

But now you’re reaching out to those parents before your ex even gets a chance to, thanking them for welcoming you into their lives, and expressing your regret that the relationship didn’t work.

It definitely doesn’t hurt that you’re setting up the situation so your ex’s parents are asking, “Whatever happened between you guys? How could you let her go?” for the rest of his goddamned life.

Aquarius– Wondering why their life is falling apart.

Aquarius, sure, on the outside you appear to be emotionally detached, and even somewhat cool and collected.

But on the inside, your mind is a REVENGE CIRCUS, spinning with ideas about how to secretly ruin your ex’s life.

You will find a way, and your ex will never see it coming. Pretty soon, they’ll realize their string of bad luck began when they left you, and will come crawling back begging.

Pisces– Hoping they feel terrible for you.

Pisces is not above faking an injury, or jumping in front of their cab if they happen to see their ex on their way to work.

It makes no sense, but because Pisces cannot resist someone who is desperately needy, they think the rest of the world works the same way.

The more pathetic you make yourself look, the faster you’ll guilt your ex into coming back to you.

Know Common Predictors Of Divorce And What They Mean For Your Relationship

Divorce rates in the United States have been cause for concern since the ’80s, despite finally being on the decline. The puzzlingly high percentage of marriages that end in divorce, however, have pushed experts to study the causes of this phenomenon.

There are lots of behaviors that can predict a divorce: from the most obvious ones, like a cheating husband who can’t keep his pants on, to the most confusing ones, like having a daughter.

Yes, this is one of the strangest predictors of divorce, according to the latest studies.

We often hear that half of all couples divorce, but the real numbers are not that grim.

In reality, one third of the married couples get a divorce and an expensive mediation, which can be avoided, if you work on avoiding the reasons for divorce.

1. Carrying on virtual relationships

Many believe that online dating doesn’t count as an affair, as long as there are no physical meetings.

The grim reality is that a cyber-relationship leads to divorce, as the emotional impact of such a relationship is identical to that of physical cheating.

2. Spending too much on the wedding

Money is definitely one of the major causes of fights and divorce in couples, so is it any wonder why spending too much on the wedding puts a strain on the new relationship?

So how much is too much?

With the average American wedding costing around 26,600 dollars, the new family is bound to have some money issues. Add preexisting student debt to this and you’re sprinting toward a divorce.

Plus the divorce itself will cost you between 15,000 and 20,000 dollars. Fun, right?

3. Where you live

A study conducted by professor Jennifer Glass, from University of Texas, found that divorces are more frequent in the red states.

Surprisingly, this means divorces are more frequent in more religious areas (think Arkansas) than in more liberal ones (think New York or New Jersey).

4. Your education level

While one might think that a couple without student debt is likely to be happier, there are still problems that accompany not pursuing higher education.

Couples with high school education are more likely to get a divorce, compared to their college-educated peers.

The logic behind this is that college education comes with better money management skills and higher paid jobs, which reduce the amount of fights over money in the relationship.

5. A long commute

A study found that divorce rates were higher among couples who had long commutes. Spending more than 45 minutes on the way home from work seems to add a lot of stress on a relationship.

6. Having a daughter

This is probably the strangest cause of a divorce, but once you understand the logic behind it, it makes sense.

According to a study, couples who had boys were less likely to divorce, compared to couples who had daughters.

This is because the mother wants to set a good example for her daughter, which motivates her to divorce when the relationship turns sour.

7. Too much social media

When the partners use social media too much, there is a higher chance they will wind up divorcing.

The reason is simple: Liking photos of an ex, commenting on an old crush’s profile or flirting online all tend to destabilize a relationship.

Some lawyers claim Facebook alone constitutes a great deal of the divorces they see.

8. Not splitting the housework evenly

This one is a classic for predicting divorce. If your partner is waiting for you to do all the cleaning, all the laundry and cooking, you’re going to get sick of it one day.

Depending where you live, you might want to talk about sharing household duties with your partner, so you don’t end up resenting them before eventually calling it quits.

Some Things A Gentleman Will Do After Receiving Nudes

A new story about leaked nudes seems to make headlines weekly and, honestly, comes up far too often in pop culture. It’s as if some men who receive nude pictures have never seen a naked woman before… or have no idea how the internet works.

Every time nude celebrity photos are leaked, individuals flock to take part in the invasion of someone’s privacy. In the vast majority of cases, these pictures are of female celebrities and are pictures from their private phones that were sent to individuals of their choosing. Sometimes these photos were never even sent at all.

It’s not like the internet isn’t full of beautiful women who willingly share nude pictures, work in adult entertainment or just simply don’t mind showing off their bodies. However, that does not mean other women must do the same or that they are to blame for sending nude pictures to the people they choose to.

Not only will taking the victim-blaming approach make you sound ignorant, but you will probably be single for a very long time.

In the latest celebrity leaks, professional wrestlers, actresses and singers were all victims. Sadly, many people will look at these pictures and think gleefully sharing the links through social media is not only justified, but a fun thing to do.

Unfortunately, this behavior can be attributed to the actions guys tend to take when a woman sends them nudes directly. In order to stop the spread of people’s nudes without their permission, let’s go over some ground rules on how to handle a naked picture you receive like a gentleman.

1. A gentleman keeps them to himself; a f*ckboy has already sent them to all his friends.

I understand that receiving nudes is exciting, and it usually hints that the woman is interested in you sexually. That doesn’t mean you should show all your friends and brag about what just happened.

At the end of the day, what do you get from showing your friends? If she finds out you betrayed her trust, she probably won’t want anything to do with you. Then what do you have to brag about?

You think your friends won’t talk about it? Don’t be naive, they probably will. Again, that shouldn’t be your first concern. It’s not difficult to be a gentleman, respect that she sent you the pictures and keep them to yourself.

Also, consider what would happen if you developed a relationship with this woman. Every time you bring her around your friends, do you really want to know they’ve seen her naked?

Be happy she sent them, and don’t act like a little boy about it.

2. A gentleman respects her privacy; a f*ckboy uses pictures for revenge.

This shouldn’t need to be said, but at times even the obvious needs to be pointed out. Don’t use nudes as revenge porn if things don’t work out well with her.

Even if she treated you like garbage, lied to you or did something else unsavory, you should never threaten to send her nudes to her family, employers or put them on the internet.

Seems easy right? That’s because it is. Please don’t be one of the immature brats who ruin the fun for the rest of us. Act like a gentleman and never threaten a woman with the nudes she sent you.

3. A gentleman takes precautions; a f*ckboy leaves them out for anyone to see.

Yes, your phone is the most convenient place to store pictures, but phones can be lost and hacked, which could lead to the pictures being stolen and spread by a third party.

How would you go about explaining to your girlfriend that all of your friends got to see her taking off the lingerie she bought on your behalf?

If you’re going to keep them on your phone, at least make sure your phone locks in under a minute and is password protected.

4. A gentleman deletes them when she asks; a f*ckboy presses “send” when it’s all over.

This may be the most difficult on the list for most, but if she asks you to delete them after you’re “done” with them, respect her wishes.

With how common celebrity nude leaks have become, it’s understandable why she wouldn’t want them lingering around.

I’m aware it’s unlikely that she’d ever find out if you kept them, but just do the right thing.