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For Great Success in Love: Know Yourself


When seeking a new soulmate, or a great date, honesty is your main step. It is essential to know yourself in order to know what you want to match it. What about the things regarding yourself which would be non-negotiable – the bits that are an intrinsic part of you? Make a clear list of what they are and do not compromise them.

The person for you will be the person who accepts fully these key characteristics. The minute someone new starts to tell you how you should dress, for example, it is a short step from dictating your life in other ways, making you over into their ideal, not accepting you as you are. That is dangerous to any kind of equal partnership.

I am an extrovert, a non-smoker and non-drinker, who loves music, loves to dance, loves bright colours, with a vibrant, confident personality. That might unnerve some less-confident men. Shy, retiring types (or ones too similar to me) would certainly not appreciate my distinct aura. I have to ensure that whomever I find does not feel intimidated, or suppress my natural personality either, otherwise the match will merely jar and become worse as it progresses. Irritations do not improve with relationships. They get worse because of the closeness and familiarity.

You have to be true to yourself at all times, otherwise, you will always be living a lie and that will not get you much happiness or respect. In fact, it will give you nothing but stress. For example, if you have a high sex drive and like a lot of sex, say at least once a day, it is no good getting hitched to someone who doesn't really care for it and only wants it once a fortnight! That's fine for a temporary arrangement but not for anything permanent, and would be a disaster in the making. Or if you want someone who is a modern man to help in the house and then team up with Mr Dinosaur who lives back in the dark age thinking of housework being 'a woman's job', that would also be nightmare time!

Avoid Pretence
You can compromise on other personality dimensions which are secondary, but not on your primary ones which make up your identity and dictate your values. Lots of clues to people's approach to life are picked up at this early stage, even at the heady heights of love. Do not ignore those signals. They are usually quite clear. Correcting them after marriage doesn't work. The best approach is: If in doubt, stay out!

Separate fantasy from reality. Many people live a Walter Mitty existence of pretence, especially on the Internet, where they can remain anonymous and impress others with non-existent claims until they have to provide proof. Unhappy with the true picture of themselves, they invent one that they wish it to be, one which is often at odds with the actual persona. But, having little foundation in truth, this image always comes unstuck under greater scrutiny by potential partners.

Sometimes, we even tell a made-up story so often we tend to believe it ourselves – and that's the danger. People soon notice the gap between our truth and the reality they see and will take great delight in watching us fall into it! For example, we can wish to be a millionaire by 35 years old, but if we are dossing around and doing nothing about the dream when we are 30, we will remain well short of the goal when the fine years are up: a case of merely spouting words and ideas to impress without any supporting plan. Thoughts, intentions and actions always have to be in alignment if we are going to achieve our goals and find that elusive mate. Any discrepancy, and we'll be sunk, or simply attracting other dishonest people too.

Dating: Two things which are guaranteed to get you noticed!


A man at a club once said that he didn't ask me to dance because he feared rejection. But he lost the possibility of acceptance too by doing nothing! Another day, I was in the local car park in my town and saw a shy-looking man gazing at me intently. He went on his business, returned to the car park at the same time as I did, and continued to look at me, hoping I would probably indicate some form of acceptance. He was quite appealing and I exchanged eye contact but said nothing. He drove off soon afterwards, again lacking the courage to make a move towards me. I often wondered about him, who he was and where he was going, and I am sure he wondered about me too. But when we make no effort in such situations, nothing ever happens.

For this reason, for fear of our actions being misinterpreted and because of the perfection we seek, men now dance by themselves, or talk among themselves, and women do the same, each gender lacking the courage to make a move while they drift further apart in the selection process and remain on their own for much longer. In fact, at another club, a man walked in and took up a position leaning against a wall. He never left that position for the rest of the night, not even to get some drinks. He looked sad, lonely and dejected and everyone ignored him. I wondered why he bothered to come out of his house if he wanted to just exchange one wall for another! But that's what fear and low self-esteem do for us. They rob us of opportunities to join the human race.

The Art of Conversation
Wishing, hoping and dreaming about finding our ideal partner, without any form of strategy will lead nowhere. Serious people do not leave everything to chance. They try their utmost to increase the possibilities of meeting that ideal person by doing something about it, even if it is to strike up a simple conversation. A lack of interest in others, exaggerated fears, a need for approval, a focus on ourselves and social protocol (especially for women) make it hard for us to communicate or use our initiative. But any interaction or conversation is like a game of tennis.

If the ball is held by one person and never passed back and forth, there would be no game and it would be very boring. The ball, in our quest for a partner, refers to all the questions we ask others to reflect our curiosity. With many people being rather self-centred, they cannot see that connection and the one-way attempt at interaction makes it difficult to sustain a dialogue, let alone any kind of relationship. I was not afraid to speak to that man in the car park. I was single and available. In fact, I never engage prolonged eye-contact with anyone unless I really want to talk to them. However, even though I responded to his gaze, the social brainwashing of a man being expected to make the first move took hold of me as I looked at him and did nothing. He did nothing too. Result: Opportunity lost.

Another limiting factor is that too many people believe there is only one partner in this world who is ideal for them. But that has no basis in fact. If that were the case, we would not meet and fall in love on multiple occasions with very successful results. Our love life would be finished, once our first partner leaves the scene! It is our narrow vision of acceptability, the low expectations we carry, the lack of skills in wooing others and the preoccupation with being hurt rather than being loved, which keep us without any partners or stuck in negative relationships.

Next time you see a potential soulmate, don't be afraid to say hello and try asking questions about them, and see the difference. Taking the first step, along with those questions, are guaranteed to give you some reactions, even if it isn't exactly what you expected!

How do you really know that the person you might fancy is The One?


Daily there are guys leaving the dating site because they believe they might have found 'The ONE', and we wish them well. But the first few heady days of romance are notorious for giving the wrong signals about any potential relationship because people tend to PRETEND in their behaviour in these early days simply to get the other's attention and approval. They try their best to please the other party which means often they are not really being themselves. For those who have not been honest about certain things either, the day of reckoning wouldn't be far off! Sooner, or later, the couple have to drop the false air and be themselves. That's when things come to the fore, for good or evil.

No one can ever tell for sure if the person they are with is the right one. Only time tends to reveal that. Furthermore, knowing that the person is "The One" is a very individual experience. No two people's experience in love will be the same, so it is difficult to apply any general theory to falling in love or recognising the 'Chosen One'. However, there are some reasons why some people might fail to spot the soulmates for them - in fact, three, in particular.

1. The first reason is FEAR. When people are afraid to give their heart, fail to trust or fail to give commitment, they seldom fall in love - and hear the bells and whistles- because love itself has nothing to do with fear. Love is all-embracing, all powerful and a very GIVING source. When we fear, we TAKE instead, always taking from another to feed that fear. They have to pull out the stops to SHOW us before we are convinced that we are loved. We seldom give enough because giving is aligned with trusting. If we don't trust, we do not give, because we are fearful of what others might do, or the consequences of any betrayal of that trust. 

Fear also encourages us to dwell on the past and the potential 'hurt' we might get from a relationship, instead of the pleasure we will have. But pleasure ALWAYS comes before any pain. It means that if we spend needless time worrying about the possible hurt, not only will it gradually come back to haunt us, and also become a self-fulfilling prophecy, but we will miss out on the pleasure too. We are likely to have no relationship at all, while we are being fretful, or we mainly attract people who are equally fearful and will fulfil that expectation to protect themselves. So we tend to stay in our fear, which breeds suspicions, but rob ourselves of the joys of a partnership.


2. EXPRESSION. Many people are afraid to express how they feel, perhaps being afraid to tell someone that they love them, afraid to give a compliment, afraid to affirm someone they care about, or simply lack the basic social skills to have a decent conversation. This is because they fear  being misinterpreted or misunderstood. But if someone misinterprets what we say, they are the wrong person for us. 

For example, getting to know someone starts with questions, not just statements. We can make a lot of statements about ourselves but listeners will soon get bored with that. Questions show interest in others, while simultaneously giving us the answers we seek as to whether that person is suitable. If the person does not seem interested enough to find out about you, they won't be interested further down the line! 

So if we are afraid, or too shy to talk, we will seldom fall in love in a big way because the greatest feelings of love come through communication, whether verbal or physical, with another. If we are afraid to express ourselves, and the other person is afraid to express themselves too, it can lead to lots of misunderstandings! Most often, though, it leads nowhere.

3. LETTING GO. Often people meet someone then try to control the relationship by laying down rules to suit only themselves and their fears (like being 'Friends First'), or burdening it with unrealistic expectations. But we should always let a relationship unfold before us and soon it will reveal where it is going. If it doesn't, we simply enjoy the moment, learn from the experience and move on briskly. Not everyone comes into our life for a long-term reason. Most people simply come to aid our growth and boost our confidence and self worth. 

From the day we are born until we die, we are on a journey of development and discovery. It means that we will meet all kinds of people who are relevant to that journey. It is our desire for perfection and seeing only our needs why we burden new meetings with our expectations and kill relationships quickly. Just let go and let the moment take effect. People always reveal themselves when we take the time to notice. It means: Stop worrying about hurt, face the possibility of continuous hurt in our lives (it's called BALANCE) and simply enjoy the moment. Relaxing and accepting the situation also allow us to see what we should see and reduce the potential for hurt.

In a nutshell, you will be able to tell if you have met "The One" if it feels right, if you enjoy being with that person and feel very happy in their presence, if you enjoy being expressive to them and trust them, if you do not fear them or the future, and if you have a truly sharing, caring and committed type of friendship. Furthermore, if you both appreciate and respect each other AS YOU ARE, and value one another greatly, the ingredients are there for a wonderful partnership, regardless of where it leads to.

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Why focusing on looks in women causes many men to get hurt!


Most men with whom I get into any kind of conversation around dating and relationships appear keen to boast about one thing: that men are very 'visual' in looking for a partner. Looks matter a lot to them, they stress. They wouldn't date an ugly woman, no sirree! She has to be 'slim' and 'good looking'. Those on dating sites usually add how they have to see a picture of the woman first and, if none is there, they don't even reply to any approaches.

Personally, I am sad at the number of times men have just looked at my pictures and want to date me without taking any time to read what I wrote or to engage me in conversation. So, after countless reminders that looks in a woman are paramount to a man, which would also explain many of the 'trophy' relationships in vogue, it got me thinking about the whole business of dating and how this limited way of selection is particularly fraught with danger for men. Though looks count for most women too, their top priority is emotionality. They care about how the guy will relate to them in a caring and valued way.

The bottom line is, if a man puts looks as his top priority in selecting a woman, he is really paying attention to only 25% of that person. He would be basing an assessment of her value on just 25% of the package and projecting a possible partnership on 25% of the potential. Not surprisingly, as the other 75% is not engaged at the beginning, but tends to be gradually revealed, often giving some nasty surprises in the process, there would be much heartache later on. Though beauty is the top priority for most men, a beautiful or good looking woman presents only 25% of a possible relationship with those looks, the purely physical element. The other three elements are: PERSONALITY, INTELLECT and EMOTIONALITY.

PERSONALITY: The kind of personality we have is essential in a relationship: whether we are moody, happy, zippy, able to laugh easily, morose, repressed, expressive, friendly, approachable, detached, remote, cold, warm or distant. All those are very important to the other partner. What is the point of having a beautiful woman if she is going to be moody morning, noon and night? What is the point of having someone who is cold and distant when the other party is very loving? One guy said that a 'stunning' woman he had dated for a while suddenly stood up while they were having dinner in a hotel, and shouted very loudly that she didn't know what she was doing there with him, then promptly left him on his own with other guests looking on curiously. Perhaps his money had something to do with why she was there? He said though he felt humiliated he still wanted to see her again because she looked good on his arm! Cripes, and what about self-respect?

INTELLECT: This is not about being a rocket scientist or a genius. On the most basic level it is about being able to hold a conversation, to share hobbies and discuss them, to make choices in life and to recognise options and opportunities. Some people can barely string two words together so trying to converse about anything in particular would be a hard slog. Yet a lack of intellect is one of the key reasons for relationships to break when the couple cannot communicate with each other any more, can hardly pass the time of day, and are virtually on two different planets. If that person hasn't got much to say at the beginning, and is not really interested in what matters to you, they won't have anything more to say later on either when familiarity creeps in and people begin to take each other for granted, neither will they be in the least interested in what you might wish to share with them.

EMOTIONALITY: Is that person a GIVER or a TAKER? Is she warm, kind, generous's emotional capacity to connect with another, is also a killer of relationships. People without warmth and love cannot give any to others. They are likely to be self-focused, highly critical of their partners and wanting things done mainly their way. Some people who are natural givers are likely to be stuck with takers who have perhaps had people fawning over them because of their looks and are not sure how give something back, to actually reciprocate in a relationship. Soon the novelty wears off as one person finds himself giving all the time yet with little appreciation or value coming his way and the end is usually in sight. Emotionality and Intellect are the keys to all relationships. Take them away and the love/affection/empathy would be negligent while the communication goes to the wall.

Putting looks above everything might net someone a beautiful person in a superficially fulfilling way, but one will be getting a virtual pig in a poke because the rest of the unknown, attractive package, all 75% of it, is likely be their undoing.

Finding Your Ideal Mate:
Opportunities For Attracting Attention


It is very important to know yourself otherwise you could be ambiguous in your choices. Some people may say they want 'an independent-thinking, self-directed partner, who is successful in his own career'. In reality, they want someone who will take care of them or be the parent they never had. After all, when we love someone, we do not tie that love to the size of their wallet, or expect financial contribution as a condition of our love.

The strengths both parties bring to the new partnership should actually provide the teamwork to achieve what they both require. We often deceive ourselves, as well as others, in painting that false personal image but, while we can deceive ourselves forever, we can only deceive some of the people some of the time. All too soon, we get found out, and most likely when we least expect it. So, just be yourself, warts and all. Being yourself is usually the most attractive part of you! You simply emphasise that uniqueness.

Increase your opportunities for greater attention by joining clubs you enjoy. Or dating agencies which enhance who you are and also reflect whom you are looking for. What do you really enjoy as a hobby? Football? Salsa dancing? Opera? Ballet? Reggae? Cooking? Yoga? Painting? Formula-1 racing? Horseback riding? Scrabble? Bridge? Chess? Begin to participate in whatever you like, especially in an arena where single people of both genders are bound to be present. By getting involved in activities which interest you, you can expect to have a good time, even if, initially, you do not meet someone appealing.

Do not waste your time going to places where you feel uncomfortable and where the odds may be stacked against you. For example, I am not a pub person, particularly because I do not smoke or drink. I would much rather play contract whist, cards, Scrabble or trivia, go walking, dancing or reading, attend recitals or the theatre. I am more likely to find someone I like while doing any of those activities than being in a pub feeling out of place, wishing and hoping that Mr Right will walk in.

Use a Dating Service, Where Possible
Often it is a reluctance to accept what really makes us happy, especially when we want to keep up with the Joneses, to impress our peer group, or to follow them religiously, that leads us to the wrong partners. By being ourselves at all times it allows people to gradually feel comfortable with us. Whether they like us or not, they will always know where we stand, which is likely to increase our credibility and respect in their eyes, while repelling the unsuitable ones.

Promote yourself through a dating service if there are few other options available. If you are religious, or a member of a church or temple, you have a much better opportunity to meet someone of your background or interests than many other people, without having to do too much about it. But, in today's impersonal and professional age, promoting yourself becomes crucial if you are not part of an active community group. That is guaranteed to narrow the field and to help you identify and focus on the types you are seeking.

Registering with an agency, either off- or on-line, one which specialises in 'professionals', 'executives' or 'writers', for example, will attract people in those fields almost exclusively, rather than a general dating agency which appeals to everyone. However, do make sure the ones you choose are reputable. This can be done simply by doing a guest search online or seeking second opinions to assess what type of people use that particular service. Check the credibility of any print publication and the quality of its adverts. Do the types of people you are seeking advertise in that medium?

Above all, avoid totally FREE dating sites. There is nothing free about them. You pay with the loss of your email address which they use to send all over the place, which then increases your spam, or the stuff you don't want. Better to trial a paying site to see whether you wish to join than you go for a free site which attracts the wrong kind for you. If you are really serious about finding your mate, you should be prepared to pay for your search because it is the value you get for that money, not the actual price that matters.

The First Key Steps in Finding Your Ideal Partner


In trying to find that elusive ideal soulmate, the first step is to work out what you want. What are you looking for, in general? You cannot be too prescriptive, otherwise good people will be ruled out, so it is probably best to begin with what you definitely do not want. What would turn you off and make you run a mile?

For me it is discourtesy, meanness and a beer belly! Any sniff of those three things and I'm gone like the wind. Most men prefer women to be good-looking, slim and pleasing to the eye, but they seem to leave their own appearance behind when they make those demands, while others think their own imperfect figures are invisible to women!

Make a shortlist of the essentials you are looking for in a mate, the ones you regard as very important on a long-term basis. In addition to that, make another list of up to six important things you can offer to that person or the relationship. If you are not sure about yourself, ask a friend to describe your best attributes. For example, if you were not educated beyond school level, it could be that all you feel you have to offer is being a good housekeeper (cooking, ironing, cleaning and rearing your children) because you were well taught by your parents. For your information, that’s a lot to go on for someone not interested in being a career spouse!

What Do You Have to Offer?
My list for what I desire would have to include: non-smoker, social or non-drinker, generosity, sense of humour, intelligence, slim to medium build, love of music and being romantic. That last one is important because I like the hearts and flowers stuff! So perhaps breaking up your desires into non-negotiable, desirable and just fine might show you what you must have in a soulmate against what you could accept. My non-negotiables would be in the smoking, drinking and communication region. I would loathe a stick-in-the-mud character who feels that his love is implied and he doesn’t have to say it or show it. I want to hear it, loudly, and see it in his actions, as I will be giving lots of it in return. In that way, our feelings will seldom be taken for granted.

What I have to offer would be intelligence, romance, being tactile and loving, slim and good looking, independence, my own successful career and no money! What I lack in money, I make up for in love. It means that all the men looking to supplement their income, or build up their fortunes would give me a wide berth, but the successful, confident ones, who wanted me for my loving, my looks, personality, intellect, creativity, energy and drive, would be first at the door. Relationships are negotiable. Don't assume that what you think that peerson wants from you is only what you have to offer. It coud be something you are not even aware of!

That could explain the deep attraction between a former lover and myself. This was the first relationship I had which resulted from specified requirements on both sides on a website. He wanted someone ‘intelligent, attractive/beautiful, educated, articulate, romantic, professional, independent, with a sense of humour’. He hardly drinks, doesn’t smoke and has a dry sardonic wit. I realised just how much he earned a couple of months later when he gave me a present. It was nice to be pampered as well, which was a very pleasant surprise!!

Why Guys Text Instead of Call


Q. Why does a guy say he will call but only text? Met this guy and then we try to organise our dates- he often said he would call but didn't. Then while I had almost given up- he would send a text very late that day to organise things- but always on the day he said he would call. Am I expecting too much or is something wrong? Sometimes when I called he seemed to be happy... How can I let him know if he says he would call it should mean he will call!

A. There are a number of reasons why he texts you. It could be because:
1. Phoning is more expensive for him than texting. He probably doesn't want to admit this to you.

2. He feels shy to talk to you so he leaves it until the last minute as well so that he can get it over with, especially if you say that he doesn't seem to mind when you call him.

3. He can only call at certain times because he may be in a relationship. That's probably why he leaves it until the last minute as well. He sounds pre-occupied with other things.

4. He probably doesn't realise how much the calls mean to you, especially if he is the casual sort who texts his mates regularly and prefers simple texts to long phone calls.

5. He is not as interested in you as you hope, so he is deliberately texting you to keep contact to a minimum because he probably lacks the courage to tell you so. Only you know your situation to be able to choose which ones might apply.

It is frustrating when someone promises to do something and doesn't, especially a phone call. But usually when there is hesitation, or unfulfilled promises, it is because the feeling isn't reciprocal or the person is genuinely shy. He's probably not sure of how to deal with the conversation and uses the texts instead to keep the distance between you. As to telling him how that affects you, if you are open with your feelings, gently but firmly, letting him know that he shouldn't promise to call without doing it might help the situation. If he really doesn't like you as much as you like him, it won't make any difference.

It was Oprah Winfrey who said, "If a guy wants you, nothing will keep him away. And if he doesn;t want you, nothing will make him stay."

It's a truism well worth remembering when dealing with relationships!

Fun questions to ask a guy on a first date!


Right, ladies! How do you normally cope with a first date? Do you usually feel uptight, unsure of how to act, a little insecure and highly self-conscious? There is no need to be. The only thing you should ensure is that you ARE yourself. Nothing less. If that person doesn't like you as you are, there would be no chance of a long term relationship anyway otherwise you would just be pretending to please him, and that never works. So simply relax and ask some questions instead at different points during the date.

First dates can be nightmares for some people, especially those who are shy and wish to impress. Thus asking fun questions of a guy on a first date not only livens things up but also has a serious purpose. They help to break the ice, to reduce the nervousness between a couple, they are fun to answer and they reveal any disparities between you both. Many guys dread anything they regard as 'too heavy', especially when they are just getting to know the person. Most are seeking someone who 'chills' easily and can appreciate humour. Going armed with some fun questions will not only keep the conversation running smoothly but they will stop you from feeling tongue-tied, they will elicit some tangible information about him, and they will also make you appear even more attractive and desirable, especially if he likes you too.

There are many fun questions one can ask a guy, but the following are very effective:

1. Who are your top singers/bands?

Guys love to chat about their music. While he is talking you will also be getting the measure of whether his music tastes will align easily with yours.

2. What special song lifts your mood and makes you feel really happy?

This question gives a flavour of the type of songs which really appeal to him, allowing you to compare your choices with his. You might even find that you both love the same songs!

3. If you were offered one superpower to change the world, which one would you choose?
This will be a fascinating question because it will reveal his heroes, what he would do with the power and the values he has.

4. Imagine you were a crayon, what colour would you prefer to be?

A really good fun question that will have you comparing notes on colours that represent you and why. You might even match up in your choices!

5. Tell me one thing in your life you couldn't possibly do without.

That will be a very hard choice for him because we all tend to have at least three items that we wouldn't part with. Having to choose just one will give you insight into his personality as well as indicate the priories in his life.

6. What kind of posters do you have on your walls?

That will reveal whether he is more for sports heroes, celebrities, or other types of heroes. If he has no posters, that is also give a strong message about his personality and style of living.

7. Is there anyone you would like to trade your life with, and why?
This answer, in particular, will reveal his ambitions, aspirations and what he would like for his own life, or simply the person who has most inspired him.

8. Would you know exactly what is in the glove compartment of your car?

This is another good one that will draw a smile from him as you put his memory to the test. It will also show how cool he is under pressure and how confident he is in dealing with the question.

9. Do you have a pet and what is it?

Another good chance to compare notes here, especially if you have a pet as well, or if you don't want pets.

10. If you could be invisible, where would you go and why?
Expect a sexy guy kind of answer with this one! But it should be very interesting what he would do in that state.

11. Do tell me, what makes you unique, unlike other guys?

Again, you will get a good insight into how he sees himself, his level of confidence and his perception of his value.

12. Are you doing anything special tomorrow?
Ask this one only if you like him and you think he likes you because it is a trick question! Whatever he answers you can adopt a kind of disappointment and say how you thought he was seeing you! However, he might even surprise you and say it before you do!

The answers themselves are not really important, it's the indication of his personality that will come through loud and clear. If he is too serious without humour, and you are after a fun person who doesn't take himself too seriously, his answers will soon let you know. By the time he is finished answering them all, especially the way he does it, you should know whether you would really want another date with him.

Why can't women see the REAL men before the relationship begins?


Q. Why can't a lady see the "real" man before she gets too involved in the relationship or before she marries? Is she looking through rose-colored glasses or do both parties change? Why so many divorces after being so "in love"? A lot of times the "red flags" are right there in front of the woman's face but she ignores it thinking she will change him later. So many young girls in my church recently married and now divorced and some miserable. I'll be 40 years old next month and I 'm not sure I ever want to get married! What are the red flags?

A. What kills most relationships are the desire for perfection and unrealistic expectations. You are quite right that all the 'red flags' are there at the beginning. But courtship and dating is not a time for finding fault or seeing the obvious. It is a time to impress one another and to be on one's best behaviour in order to make that catch. Otherwise couples would never get it together. The true self is not revealed until well into the relationship when the couple feels more comfortable and relaxed with each other, or there is a crisis they can't control. Of course, both parties would also have been changing because of the friendship.

Every relationship has 5 stages and the first two carries mainly positivity and intense feelings of love. That is the time we see exactly what we want to see in a date and heaven help anyone who finds fault with our date at that time. We can only see through rose-tinted lens because that is nature's way of bringing people together. Naturally, in the third stage, a few months or years down the line, the parties begin to reveal their true selves, especially if they are living together. The emotional intensity would have been wearing off by then and little habits which were so cute before begin to irritate. Worst of all, expectations from the dating days have probably not been fulfilled, so the disappointment and problems begin.

Unfulfilled expectations carry resentment, frustration and anger with them. The girl might have hoped her man was more romantic and the guy might have hoped his gal wouldn't put on weight. None of that happened and so both parties begin to reassess the situation. If it becomes overwhelming, that's when talk of separation/divorce begins or many people will cut their losses and live with their unhappiness and frustrations, while blaming their partners, for as long as they can. Any "red flag" can be anything we are not happy with in the early stages of dating. Like if the person drinks too much or smoke. Don't expect them to get any better later on. In fact, they are likely to be worse with their faults. So anything which is not too comfortable for you, don't ignore it. You will pay for that later. Assess what it means to you and face it head on before the relationship develops further.

One can definitely find Mr or Miss Right, but it means allowing the person to be themself, not having too many expectations of perfection, losing that desire to control the partner and loving them unconditionally. But very few mortals are capable of such behaviour, hence the eternal difficulties within relationships!

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Is sex right on a first date?


There's no question of right or wrong in these instances. That's a value judgment which reflects society's double standards on sex, particularly with regard to women. It also does not take into account the gender differences in approach to sex which often dictate the situation.

In simple bald terms, for most men, sex is a form of release, which may or may not lead to any kind of committed relationship. They really see women as the vehicle for that release and expect, or at least hope, that a woman is going to give in when the moment seems opportune. However, when they do get what they want, especially when a relationship is the furthest thing from their mind, many retreat to avoid making any kind of commitment, because the very act would have coloured their view of that person. Men want sex, yes, but they hope you resist. Once you give in, you're regarded as 'easy'.

On the other hand, for most women, having sex is is a prelude to something else, to the possibility of a long term relationship. Sexual overtures are also tied up with personal appeal and how a woman feels about herself. To be desired and wanted is very powerful, so few women can resist such seduction, especially when a man will try anything to get it. Sometimes, simply to be wanted and in fear of rejection, a woman will do something sexual which she might not have planned, especially if she is not used to being affirmed on a regular basis or lack self-love.

A simple rule of thumb is, no matter how passionate one feels on the date, if that person is not interested in you beyond the sex, or seems too keen to have it, despite your reservations, nothing much is likely to come from that, once the sex is over. Anyone who really likes and respects you, and who seeks something more than sex, will take their time to know you; to wait until you feel comfortable. However, if you do have sex on the date, resist the temptation to beat yourself up about it. We always do what we believe is right for us at that particular moment, regardless of the consequences. Our decisions have nothing to do with anyone else's approval or disapproval, and hindsight is just a tool for insecure people who live in regret.

I personally would not have sex on a first date because I believe that, if that is all the man is interested in, he is simply responding to his need, not mine, and any relationship is a two way process. Loving myself as I do, I am more interested in what's beyond the sex. I have the confidence, self belief and feeling of security to resist any advances, no matter how persuasive the man. However, not every woman feels that self-confidence or assurance. 

What do you think? Would you have sex on the first date?

Are some men really sure of what they want in a relationship?


Reading many men's profiles online, one gets an identikit of their perfect woman. Looks apart, she must be independent, intelligent, have her own job or interests, like her own company but want to share it with a soulmate, must not be too clingy and also have her own resources. Most men assure potential dates that they would not be in control of them, that the partnership would be equal and they are prepared to learn new things too.

That sounds fine on the surface. But when one looks at the favourite questions that men choose for women to answer to test their suitability (on one particular dating site). The questions appear contradictory to what they seek. The following examples stand out like beacons:

Ques: If I were to say pack your bags, we're going on an adventure, would you come with me?

(A woman might answer: Of course I would not. I'm an independent woman, remember? I have a life of my own too. Where is that adventure? How long will it last and what about MY life and what I would like to do during that time?)

A guy cannot say he wouldn't be controlling then comes in and gives an order without any discussion, negotiation or compromise. The mere fact that he would expect the woman to drop everything suggests a requirement for a dependent partner who has no life and simply waits to be told what to do!

Ques: If I do not call you for one day would you feel abandoned?

(When one answers 'No' to that question, that's not the expected answer! One is supposed to answer 'Yes'!)

For goodness' sake! How can an independent woman feel abandoned if she doesn't hear from someone within 24 hours? Unless she has nothing else to do than to wait to be called!

Ques: Would you abandon everything for love?

(No, I would not! Love cannot provide all the answers to one's life. It is an integral part, but it cannot take the place of everything else.)

Often when we abandon our own life and what we cherish just for the other person we soon become bored and unfulfilled further down the line. Then we lose our attractiveness and sense of purpose as we gradually become dependent on the other person.

Ques: Would you go with me to the end of the earth for love?

(No, No, No! I am an independent woman, might I remind you again? What if I want to go to the ends of the earth too for a different reason? Would you come with me? Where does my independent life come into it? Where are my choices?)

I guess some men really want dependent women who can be independent when expected, intelligent women who are not too intelligent and women waiting to please, but only when the men want to be pleased. Some men also seem to have insecurity issues where if women are not climbing mountains with them or jumping through hoops to demonstrate their love, they are not convinced they are loved.

But humans are not robots and the key to any relationship is reciprocity, give and take, which carries compromise and mutual respect at the heart of it. It also means accepting that the other person is an individual too, who might not fulfil assumed expectations. They might just wish to show their love in an entirely different way. That does not make their love any less worthy or sincere.

Would people think me a slut if I kiss him?


Q. I'm an older teen and I met this guy a few months ago at a party. We danced for about an hour and started to get to know each other. I fell in love with his personality, but then he tried to kiss me at the end of the party. I knew he thought I was hot and was just using me. I was mad, but I was falling in love with him at the same time. I saw him shortly after that party at another party, and he wanted to hook up with me again, and I wanted to so badly but I didn't go for it. I was playing hard to get. After I rejected him twice, he moved on to my best friend. She told me today that she want's to kiss him at the next party, so I told her okay (she doesn't know that I like him).

A. The most important thing in your life is your instinct. It really doesn't matter what other people think of you. What matters most is what YOU think of yourself and the actions you have to match it. You clearly like this guy, you are excited by him and you want to get to know him and to kiss him. There is nothing wrong with that. Attraction to others is all part of growing up, though you think you have fallen in love. That is unlikely at your age.

However, your instinct tells you that he isn't really interested in knowing you too well, only to be sexually active with you. Please don't ignore it. Red flags can be clearly seen at the start of relationships, but often they are ignored by those involved because of the false hope that the person will change once you get to know them well.

But we do not change in our basic personalities to please anyone because who we are is shaped by our needs and aspirations. That guy perhaps knows that he is attractive to women. He knows he can treat them however he likes and they won't mind, hence the quickness with which he has moved on with your friend. He obviously gets a kick from being popular, hence his objectives are not like yours because you are only interested in him, no one else. If you ignore your instinct and join your friend in a threesome or insist on kissing him to satisfy your longing and curiosity, you might get drawn into an unwanted situation which might lose you your best friend too.

Stick to the values you have made for yourself and which make you feel comfortable. You know what feels right for you. Don't compromise it for anyone. Take heed of what your instinct is trying to tell you because it is there to protect you, and leave this guy well alone. If he comes back and clearly wishes to get to know you, as you prefer, then get to know him too and see what happens. But once your friends are involved in such a situation, please stay well away. Otherwise it could prove disappointing, pretty messy and even traumatic for you.

It really isn't about whether anyone thinks you're a slut or not but whether you live by what FEELS right for you. You will always make the right decision in that way. There are also LOTS of guys available. No need to be in a hurry to get attached to one that clearly wouldn't be right for you. But, of course, the choice is yours.

We both want to hook up, but for different reasons, what do I do?


Q. I met this guy, and the first night we met, we really got to know each other, and he tried kissing me. I knew he couldn't possibly like me, and that he was just using me, so I told him that I don't want to kiss him. The only problem right now, is that he wants to hook up with me to use me, but I ACTUALLY like him. I know for sure that he isn't interested in seriously getting to know me, because, I mean, yea he friended me on Facebook, but whenever I try talking to him, he gives me like one word answers and signs out. It's annoying that I like him knowing that he just wants to use me, and not actually get to know me. I'm trying so hard to be strong, but it's not working. Any advice? Please help!?!?

A. Your instincts have told you clearly what this guy is like. You said it for yourself:

"The only problem right now, is that he wants to hook up with me to use me, but I ACTUALLY like him."

There is no harm in liking him, that's quite natural. But you don't have to allow yourself to be used by him. There's quite a difference there.

You have only two choices: To go ahead knowing what he is like and take the consequences of rejection when he has had what he wants and moved on, or to start treating yourself with a little more love and respect and ignore him. You deserve far better than just being used, but you obviously don't believe that, hence why you are agonising about it. Otherwise, you would not only have assessed the situation correctly (as you have done) but you would have also acted upon it, which you seem reluctant to do.

You have even acknowledged the red flags for yourself ("I know for sure that he isn't interested in seriously getting to know me.... whenever I try talking to him, he gives me like one word answers and signs out."). That's the classic sign of disinterest, when the person can't even be bothered to talk to you. Yet you still want to kiss him and be involved with him? You must think very lowly of yourself! :o( Or it could be that you crave the attention he gives and find it hard to resist it.

Furthermore, when two people have different objectives at the start, that is a relationship going nowhere because one person will always want what the other is not prepared to give. There will always be tension, unhappiness and even conflict due to unfulfilled expectations. Relationships get the best start when the couple are in alignment with each other on the the essential expectations and desires. Where these are different it simply creates unnecessary problems.

Unless you show yourself respect, and value yourself, no one else will do it, either. No one can think much of you, and behave how you want, if you don't think much of yourself. It all starts with you. If you think you should be used, then that's what the guys who come in contact with you will expect, and gladly do for you! Only you can set the standards for your life. Whatever standard you set (whether to be used or to be respected), everyone else simply follows it!

The choice is entirely yours. No one else can advise you, especially when you are intelligent enough to have identified the red alerts for yourself!

We are Soooo In Love, So Why Doesn't My Partner Want To Progress it?


Q. I have just met a wonderful guy I've fallen in love with but, while he also declares his love for me and seems really smitten too, he seems reluctant to engage in the physical and intimate part of it. He's always working, just talking on the phone and never seeming to have enough time to see me. He has also been reluctant to spend a night with me. There is always some work-related activity calling his attention. What can I do to speed things up before I go mad or lose interest?

A. There are always reasons why men, in particular, might not be as keen to progress a relationship, especially if they have been hurt before, which are usually underpinned by fear. But there are four popular, classic ones to be aware of:

1. They are married or in a relationship.
The tell-tale signs are always there: most active and attentive during the days, or at specific times to suit themselves, but seldom available on a weekend, night or times to suit you. Their main mode of communication will be mobile or emails, but calls are usually at set times too, with a definite pattern of availability. They usually prefer to call you. There will always be a reason why they cannot do a particular activity at a particular time and they will be busy with 'work' or something else at those times. For many women on the receiving end of this behaviour, they are probably so 'in love', like you, they are blind to the signs, that are ALWAYS there. They are so happy to have found the 'right' guy, they deliberately overlook these anomalies until it is too late.

2. They are feeling impotent and have anxieties around any development in the relationship, especially sexual ones.
Many men, particularly older ones who have had a rough time, or are just leaving their relationships, are likely to have had less sexual encounters than others. When they finally meet the person they like, it creates fresh anxieties about their performance, how they will measure up to what the woman might have experienced before and whether they can fulfil her needs and expectations. This anxiety increases in proportion to match the confidence of the partner. Many men find it difficult to deal with independent and highly confident women who know what they want and are not afraid to get it. They tend to be low in self-esteem and are afraid of not being able to please their mate. So they find all sorts of excuses not to engage in sex at all for as long as possible.

3. They have been hurt before and their work becomes a substitute partner while they search for the 'perfect' relationship.
These men seem tied to their work because, after any hurt or break-up, work is always a refuge to ease the pain. However, somewhere down the line, work takes them over completely without them realising it, but they don't mind too much because anything is better than a lonely house or flat on their own each day. Work becomes ideal to stave off the loneliness but gradually robs them of a life and reduces their social skills. When they finally set eyes on a potential new mate, lots of doubts creep in about whether it will last, whether the right decision is being made, whether they should open themselves to someone else again, even though it makes them feel good. So they stay stuck with the job, reluctant to change the status quo, while enjoying the benefits of a new companion. They feel in control by keeping that new person at arms length while fear overtakes them as they worry about making space for the new woman in their life, and fret about whether they will get hurt again if they rush in too quickly. They are torn between the need for love and companionship and possible hurt. In the meantime, the women are likely to misinterpret this procrastinating, get anxious about the lack of activity and vote with their feet. The men's fears then become a self-fulfilling prophecy!

4. If the men are significantly younger, they could be seeing you as a 'mother' figure rather than a lover.
Some men can be ambiguous about their needs. Often they are searching for a mother, but initially approach the woman as a lover, or vice versa. However, some time later, when they are feeling comfortable and secure with the new relationship, they then find it hard to make the transition from 'son' to lover. They want that person very much, but their 'respect' for the new mate, and desire not to upset the connection keeps them from anything sexual. Instead, they will give mixed messages to keep the status quo. It has always been regarded as okay, and even encouraged, for very young women to be seen with older men but much older women with younger men is a relatively new phenomenon which many couples are now enjoying. The only thing about this situation is that perspectives around these matches are still ambiguous and the rules of engagement are still be set. It means that though the relationship is likely to be intimate, it will take a longer time to do so, if the man is not quite sure what he wants, or the woman happens to be the 'mothering' type. Only clear expressions regarding individual expectations from the outset usually speeds it up.

I am not sure if any of these ring any bells, Jenny, as only you know your particular situation but, from experience and research, I would suggest that one of these, at least, is causing your anxieties. If you look closely enough at the symptoms, it shouldn't be too hard to identify the culprit!

Are you ready for a relationship or just needing sex? Try the Relationship Reality Checklist


I am currently helping a really nice fella to find his feet with some kind words while he is going through a divorce. He says he feels really sad when he sees people together because he experiences a kind of 'relationship envy'. He feels he wants to be loved and would like a relationship with someone just now, but I have been advising him against it for various reasons.

It is clear to me that he might need some sex with someone (he admits that he hasn't had any in years!), and that he is suffering the usual fear and dread of breaking up a marriage and heading into the unknown, because he is rather self-absorbed with the guilt and rejection around that issue at the moment. He is also very lonely but until he is fully detached emotionally - and he isn't - seeking a relationship with someone else would be a disaster because it would be all about HIS needs, not theirs. Yes, he wants to be loved and appreciated, but what exactly does he have to give someone else, emotionally, or to share with them, at this uncertain stage of his life? He admits to not knowing himself properly and what he wants, so how will he know when he gets it and whether it is right for him?

People extricating themselves from bad relationships are often in a terrible dilemma. That is the time they feel most lonely and at sea, really needing some human warmth and loving. They need to be affirmed and valued. Yet that need is likely to be strongest at the very moment when they are incapable of returning those feelings to someone else. They would be emotionally needy in themselves, yet unable to be reciprocal until they have fully detached themselves from their situation. Furthermore, he has chosen to remain in the marital home until after the divorce. But that only delays the closure unnecessarily, keeps him in limbo, and does not give him, or his wife, any privacy to move on quickly with their lives in seeing other people.

So, being penned in by all those constraints, it is not surprising that the break is proving more traumatic and painful than it needs to be. While he frets about finding a new woman and some love, he cements his lonely position with his uncertain emotions and lifestyle. Quite a tragic dilemma to be in because he is neither coming nor going. Yet, until he ceases to focus on himself and his needs, and look outward to someone else, he won't really find what he wants, neither will he seem too attractive to others either. As William Bridges (Transitions) said in his book: "There has to be an ending before there can be a beginning". However many people drag the smelling carcass, and old mindset, of a past relationship around with them, which only repel other people, and then wonder why they are still single even years later.

When we are genuinely ready for a relationship the focus is ALWAYS outwards, never inwards, and the connection we desire is more emotional than physical. ALL relationships are about commitment, support and appreciation of some kind or other. If we cannot commit, we find it hard to support or even pamper that person, and do not really appreciate them because we are still self-absorbed, we are not really ready for a relationship. We are simply ready for some sex and detached companionship!

His situation gave me the idea to create a Relationship Reality Checklist (RRC) to see how ready he would be for a new friendship. There are some key questions that separate relationships from casual connections and this quiz should help tease out those emotions. It is also divided into two parts to show you the most problematic areas because physical stuff is always easier to sort than emotional ones. Emotional takes time while the physical needs resources to be adjusted.

How many of these questions could you answer a definite YES or NO to? Are you on level 1 (Ready) or Level 5 (Still Stuck)? Try them and see. Better still, ask your potential mate to try them too (or even do it for them!) and you will be able to see just how ready thy are compared to you! It should avoid surprises later on.

Try this quiz now to test your readiness!

Can men and women be Just Friends?


The short answer is 'Yes', but with conditions.

Men and women cannot be friends from the very beginning because the reason why a man, in particular, will be interested in a woman is not platonic. It is most likely to be sexual. At the start, two strangers of the opposite sex are always drawn together through basic physical attraction, nothing else. There is always the hope, by at least one party, that the friendship will lead to something more intimate, and possibly permanent. Friendship under that guise cannot ever be platonic. There will always be active tension as one person tries to keep the other person as a 'friend' and the other tries to move that friendship along to something else.

The only time real friendship is possible between a man and a woman is when the expectations, on BOTH sides, have been satisfied, or clearly understood by both parties. Then they can move on to something more platonic without sexual needs interfering. By that time, both parties would either have fallen out of love, if they were lovers, and now enjoy a different level of understanding and appreciation, or they would have accepted the conclusion that only a platonic friendship is possible between them. This could also be true for childhood friends too who have grown up together and see each other as 'mates'.

There are a few exceptions to this, of course, but there really are very few, because when it comes to men and women, sex will always be in the equation. That's how two people get together to reproduce our species and that will always be at the forefront of any meeting: the potential to mate. Obviously, once that is sorted, in one way or another, a different kind of friendship is possible. Each person will then appreciate the other in a more general way, feel more confident with the situation and more comfortable with having the person as a genuine friend. Only then will real friendship be allowed to develop because the sexual motives would have receded.