How To Know If He’s The One

August 19, 2007 - Leave a Response

I was in college the night I met him. And even after all these years, the thing I remember most is the unexpected, very physical shiver that immediately ran up my spine when he looked at me. He’s It, that shiver said. We talked, we flirted, we had our first date two days later. I fell hard. I loved that he was sweet, but not saccharine. I loved that he was Jewish, but not too Jewish. I loved that he was a fan of Hot Tamales, the candy I ate by the truckload back then. And (OK, call me shallow) I loved that he was an Ivy League graduate.

Our odds were good: I was 20, he was 23, and we added up to the perfect couple. Except that after three years, as I was busy trying to drop the subtle hint that my ring size was 6 3/4, he was busy cheating on me. I found out, we broke up, and let’s just say the next six months weren’t pretty.

I’m still not sure what got to me the most: the rejection or the fact that I had truly believed, in my gut, that my boyfriend was The One. So if that first shiver, followed by a fabulous three-year relationship, wasn’t the telltale sign, how does anyone ever know who’s right for them in the long run?

Apparently, I’m not the only person who has struggled with this question. It came up again last summer, at my client Amy’s wedding. I was seated at the “singles table,” since brides often like to treat their unattached friends to my dating advice. The woman next to me leaned over and whispered, “When Amy met Kurt, she told me she just knew it was right. When will I ever feel that way?”

Coached thousands of singles
I knew the answer she wanted to hear. By now I’ve coached thousands of singles on how to find love, and watched hundreds of clients and friends trot down the aisle. But what I wanted to tell her was, “Maybe never.”

It wasn’t that I didn’t believe this woman would ever find the right guy. It was more that I feared she might never know he was the right guy might never know he was the right guy. An hour earlier, sitting in the church, it struck me that what I was really witnessing was a crapshoot. Here was this couple at the altar, pledging their lives to each other. And as happy as I was for them, I knew the truth: When you get married, all you can really do is roll the dice and hope for the best.

But everywhere I go, I meet smug married couples who love to relate the moment they “just knew” they’d found their life partners. As far as I’m concerned, it’s revisionist history; if the marriage in question has worked out so far, they say they acted on their rock-solid gut. But if it ended in divorce, they confess to earlier doubts.

To be frank, I don’t believe anyone can really know this kind of information for sure — and I speak not just from my college relationship, or from all my years as a dating coach, but from reflecting back on my own 1992 wedding. My jitters were epic, the kind that had my friends speculating on how long my marriage would last and the caterer reminding my mother that the deposit was strictly non-refundable. My smile was strained.

An hour before my ceremony, I nearly collapsed. As the photographer snapped pictures, my smile was strained; I was terrified. My fiance, Brad, and I had dated for two years and been engaged for one. We knew each other well. But did we know what the future would hold for us? Of course not. “So let me get this straight,” my brain was saying. “I’m supposed to decide today to be with one person for the rest of my life because, up until now, things have been great? Because, so far, I still love him?” This made no sense. I was tormented by what everyone had told me for years about marriage in general, and my fiance in particular — the old “you’ll just know” or “trust your gut.” Well, this time, I didn’t know, and my gut had a bad stomachache. So naturally, I took the path of any good drama queen: I dropped my bouquet, slumped into a nearby chair, and burst into tears.

Brad rushed over and shooed away the photographer. While he was aware that
I’d had many doubts during the past year. I’d had many doubts during the past year, he had none. My own hesitations, on the other hand, were quite serious; I’d even harbored a crush on another man during my engagement year. I’d confessed everything to Brad — I did love him, after all, and wanted our relationship to be honest. But we were so different — opposites in too many ways. (More than one friend had observed that we were a lot like that Green Acres couple from the ’70s: I was “Gimme Park Avenue” and he was “Farm Livin’ Is the Life for Me.”)
How could it work, I wondered, when reality would inevitably come knocking? We loved each other — a lot, as it turned out. But what sane person could believe that love alone would pass the test of time, particularly when 50 percent of today’s marriages end in divorce?

So there I was: big white dress, mascara running. “How can I say ‘forever’?” I sobbed. “It’s too long to commit to!” Brad took my hand. “How about this,” he said gently, not even remotely offended. “Can you commit to being with me for one year?”
“Of course,” I said, sniffling.”That’s easy, but — ”

Ask you if you want to renew, He interrupted me. “Then let’s take it one year at a time. Publicly, we’ll say our vows, ‘until death do us part.’ But privately, we’ll have our own little arrangement. Each year on our anniversary, I’ll ask you if you want to renew. We’ll do this a year at a time. Can you do that?” Overwhelmed by the generosity of his answer, I said that I could. And I did.

These days, my job is to help single men and women find the right mate — and it’s never simple. No one is perfect. Everyone has baggage. And when they’re in that last stage of dating, trying to decide whether or not to make it permanent, my clients usually ask for my opinion. Do I think they should marry this one? Sometimes I say yes, sometimes no. But the truth is, I have no idea. Making that decision is like skydiving: It’s a crazy thing to do if you think about it logically, but you pray that the ride down will be exhilarating and that you’ll land on your feet. And in my experience, people take that leap of faith with naive confidence.

Of course, some factors do seem to improve the odds — especially age. I see fewer unhappy couples among those who get married later in life, specifically after 35. This is largely because they’re making the decision to marry with more life experience under their belts. They’re also committing to a fully formed person.

Next comes personality. I’ve observed that opposites who complement each other often do very well. If you marry someone who’s too similar — especially emotionally — you may wind up bored or in conflict.

Try not to be judgmental
Finally, try not to be judgmental right out of the gate. I often find that my clients have checklists founded on external, and not internal, traits. Why eliminate a potentially terrific guy because he’s a few inches shorter than you’d ideally prefer? As a general rule, rigidity never pays.

But — and wouldn’t love be easier if this weren’t the case? — it’s different for everyone. Back at that singles’ table, I was immersed, as usual, in conversation about dating and marriage. Everyone wanted to be a Knower. I lost track of the times I heard the words “The One,” “Soul Mate,” and “Mr. Right.” I realized that the vocabulary these women used assumed that there was one right answer, and that the answer would be obvious when it arrived. I wanted to tell them — but didn’t — that it’s OK if they don’t “just know,” or if “Mr. Right” is “Mr. Probably.” Sometimes a marriage can be stronger if you have reservations. If your bond seems a little fragile, you take better care to preserve it.

The irony is not lost on me that my greatest fear — committing to someone forever — became the focus of my profession. But I like to think I was meant to spread the word that it’s OK to have doubts — even profound doubts — before saying “I do.” And, as my own 14th wedding anniversary approaches, I know Brad’s question will come once again.Which brings me to the lovely part of this story: So far, things have worked out beautifully.

Don’t ask me how. He’s really flexible; I’m really not. I’m perceptive. Him? Not so much. But in a few weeks, when he asks me if I want to renew my vows for another year, I just know what my answer will be.

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How To Fall In Love…Safely

August 19, 2007 - Leave a Response

In the summer of 1978, my mother accidentally flooded her boss’s apartment, and got sued. It’s a long story. The important part is that the young lawyer/aspiring rock star she hired to represent her later became her husband — my father. They settled the case out of court within a week. Afterward, she invited him to dinner, ostensibly as a thank you, but really because she had decided that he was The One the instant she stepped into his cluttered office and saw his wide smile and thick black curls. According to my father, that dinner was all it took to hook him for life. Three months later they were engaged, and now, after almost thirty years together, they are still happily married.

In some ways, I couldn’t ask for a better model.

They fell in love, took a risk, and emerged victorious
They fell in love, took a risk, and emerged victorious. None of the big questions were answered ahead of time, but they survived anyway. Still, when I envision their clueless twentysomething selves, I want to sit them down and give them a talking-to: He has cute hair and so you feel you ought to get engaged? Sweet Jesus. This is destined for disaster.

My parents grew up and fell in love in the era of “’til death do us part,” “An Affair to Remember, and the Beatles singing “All You Need Is Love.” Mine has been the era of friends with two households, “Fatal Attraction,” and advice gurus warning us that we need to be on the same page as our partners about everything from money to religion to kids to laundry detergent if we want our relationships to stand a chance.

We obsess about every interaction
My friends and I seem to take dating a lot more seriously than our mothers did. Perhaps too seriously. We obsess about every interaction, overanalyze each conversation. As much as we crave relationships, they also scare the ever-loving crap out of us because we have all seen what can happen when a woman makes the wrong choice.

I dated my high school boyfriend for three years, my college boyfriend for two. Even then, I was asking the big questions. If we couldn’t agree on child-rearing practices during our junior year of high school, then what was the point of staying together in the long run? Imagine my dates’ delight: what 16-year-old boy doesn’t want to weigh the benefits of day care versus stay-at-home parenting?

The point of all this questioning, I suppose, is to keep ourselves safe. If we can solve the small stuff, then maybe we’ll be able to conquer the scarier, unanswerable issues we’ll be able to conquer the scarier, unanswerable issues, too: Will we get married? Live happily ever after? Break up next Tuesday? Stay together for 42 years only to have you leave me for our grandchildren’s buxom piano teacher on your seventy-fifth birthday?

Getting to know someone
I think it’s vital to spend a long time getting to know someone before you commit to a life with him. But the constant analysis doesn’t leave a girl with much hope of walking into a room one day and being love-struck, the way my mother was. Or so I always thought. Then, a little over a year ago, I met Colin. He came highly recommended by mutual friends. “He’s a Southern gentleman who holds doors open, and his mother is a feminist,” one of them gushed. “He once listened to me cry about my ex all night long, and afterward he paid the check,” said another. “He has more hair on his head than 98 percent of the men in Manhattan,” whispered a third.
Usually, a guy so lauded — but not scooped up — by other women is either physically deformed or gay. But this one was actually quite handsome. And there was nothing even remotely metrosexual there was nothing even remotely metrosexual, let alone gay, about him. I later learned the following: He’s in multiple fantasy baseball leagues. He does not think shampoo is necessary. He owns only two bath towels, both stolen from hotels.

Five minutes into our first date, I knew that everything had changed.
That night, I text messaged my friend Laura: I am smitten. She left a voicemail an hour later that went something like, “You?! Smitten?! Smitten?! You?!” From the tone in her voice, you would have thought I’d said, “I am a rare tree frog.” I also told my mother that I’d just met a man I was going to love. Going to love, mind you. Because, smitten or not, a girl like me draws the line at love at first sight.Someone had captured my heart. It had actually happened.

Someone had captured my heart in an instant. But that certainly didn’t mean we were about to get married. I was still me, and so the questions began: what was his take on politics and God and sushi and Sinatra and 401(k)s? I kept waiting for him to provide an answer that would rule him out. But that didn’t happen. It wasn’t that we always agreed — far from it — but I never heard a single answer from Colin that I couldn’t learn to live with.

We waded into official boyfriend/girlfriend territory with the trepidation and clumsiness of two sixth graders. We said “I love you” nervously, then boldly, and later, offhandedly: “Gottarunintoameetingnow. Loveyoubye.” We met one another’s close friends and families. I plugged a flat iron into his bathroom wall, and half of his socks somehow ended up under my bed. We fought about large issues like religion, and smaller ones, such as the ongoing debate in which I tried to sell him on the wonders of Centrum, and he grumbled back: “I’m not taking your damn vitamins unless you wrap them in bacon first.”

A year has passed and, while in some ways we feel eternally linked, in others, we are still just getting to know one another. I complain about his snoring, the fact that he sleeps too much, the amount of golf he watches every Sunday, his aversion to the outdoors, and his scary passion for late-night poker games and Doritos. He complains mostly about how much I complain. There is also the business of my being moody, messy, bossy, and inexplicably fearful of both making calls for takeout and answering the door once it arrives.

We are in love
At the same time, I know that we are in love, that we actually get each other, and that as soon as he is out of my presence for three seconds, I want to see him again. I find him hilarious, generous, gorgeous. He is kind to friends and strangers and dogs in the park. His amazing brain contains more random information than Wikipedia; he loves his mother to the moon and back; and he is the most well-read NASCAR fan the world has ever known. Colin brings out a strange blend of the romantic and the practical in me: I don’t believe in The One, but I still hope that he is it.

Two months ago, after much deliberation, we moved in together, and so far it has been wonderful. But the most important question still remains: Will we last forever? I suppose this is where things start to get interesting. Because although we have already taken a big leap, we’ve yet to land

How To Do A Long Distance Relationship

August 19, 2007 - One Response

My heart went out to Russell Crowe when the bad-boy superstar was arrested and charged with second-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon after attacking an employee at the Mercer Hotel in New York. As Crowe later explained to David Letterman, he had repeatedly tried and failed to call his wife in Australia. I’m not condoning the use of a phone as a weapon, of course, but long-distance relationships can be tough enough to make even the calmest person edgy, much less a hard-rocking gladiator with a temper.

When I heard about Crowe’s rage, I’d just spent three months apart from my husband, Andy, in Tours, France, attending a language institute and living with an unconventional host couple in their fifties. (By “unconventional,” I mean that they had matching red leather pants. He gardened in his Speedo. Their home had leopard- and zebra-print decor and dozens of stuffed — by a taxidermist — animals. I’ve seen her breasts. Have I said enough?)

My first reaction on the day I arrived, exactly six months after Andy and I were married, was not aggression but something akin to hysteria. Exhausted by 15 hours of travel, I actually cried in my coq au vin when my hosts, who had already revealed their penchant for public displays of affection, asked me how my husband felt about my leaving him for so long. Later that night, despair escalated into a tantrum to rival Crowe’s when I discovered I had only one minute’s worth of prepaid cell-phone time left.

It’s a scenario many know all too well. Despite the teary goodbyes, lonely nights, flight delays, and outrageous phone bills,
an estimated 14 million Americans are currently in LDRs
an estimated 14 million Americans are currently in LDRs, according to the Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships. That number includes couples of all kinds, from those who fell for each other while living on opposite coasts to those who’ve been married for years but decided to live apart while she takes that plum international assignment or he goes back to school.

Long-distance relationships can work
How do they do it? The simple answer is that, barring the occasional attack on a hotel clerk, long-distance relationships can work — and work well. Research suggests that they don’t break up at any greater rate than traditional, geographically close ones. Plus, multiple studies have found that LDR couples’ levels of relationship satisfaction, intimacy, trust, and commitment are identical to their geographically close counterparts. LDR couples might worry more about infidelity, but they don’t actually cheat more.

LDRs are nothing new, of course. Military personnel, academics, truckers, salespeople, athletes, and entertainers have loved across the miles for years. But experts attribute the prevalence of LDRs today to a number of factors. One is that the working world looks a lot different, and requires different training, than in previous generations. “There are more women having careers, and there’s more specialization these days,” says Seetha Narayan, author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Long-Distance Relationships.” “Many couples invested a lot in their careers, and now they have to follow through. They usually think of it as temporary — this is for now, I’ll put some time into building my resume. Do you love and expand my future options.”

Second, the world is a smaller place. “Before, people met one another by proximity,” explains Greg Guldner, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships. “You married your classmates, you ran into people who lived in the same town. That’s really changed now with the types of careers people are taking. There are many, many more conferences — this is a theme that comes up over and over again: People meet someone at conferences that are either national or international.”

Technology is also increasing the number of people who are meeting at a distance. Consider the growing popularity of online dating services. People lsumook in the four zip codes around them, and if that doesn’t work, they expand their search. “Because of the isolation that is built into our society right now, people are more willing to take a risk with a long-distance relationship,” Guldner says. Add it all up, and you’ve got a lot of people logging a lot of cell-phone minutes.

LDR FACTS
There are an estimated 7 million long-distance couples in the U.S., including 2.5 to 3 million long-distance marriages. Between 1999 and 2002 (the most recent data available), the number of long-distance marriages increased by 385,000. The average couple in an LDR lives 125 miles apart, visits each other 1.5 times a month, calls one another every 2.7 days to talk for 30 minutes, and expects to be separated for 14 months.

Source: Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships
Unless, of course, it costs your significant other 31 cents a minute to call your international cell phone, in which case you must ask him to call you on a pay phone down the street. When you finally make it to said pay phone — no easy task when you consider that the phrase “yield to pedestrian” doesn’t have much resonance with the average French driver — you then obsess over the nasty pay-phone receiver and how many people have breathed all over it or touched it with fingers that have been God-knows-where. In other words, my phone conversations with my husband were not exactly the breathless, romantic calls I’d imagined my phone conversations with my husband were not exactly the breathless, romantic calls I’d imagined they’d be, the kind where you whisper sweet nothings into your lover’s ear.

Communicating
Instead, we spent three months communicating through emails, text messages, and, yes, quick phone calls, usually about the most prosaic of things. As it turns out, that’s one of the surest ways to a successful LDR.

Here’s why: When psychologists talk about intimacy, they’re generally referring to two components. The first is the ability to verbalize fairly deep vulnerabilities — for instance, to say “Do you love me?” and “I miss you.” The trickier, almost subconscious part is maintaining the feeling of being intermingled in your partner’s life, a state the experts often refer to as “interrelatedness.” Couples that are geographically close establish this by discussing the mundane details of daily life, whether it’s the fact that you had to take a different route to work because of road construction, or that you have a 2 p.m. meeting with a new client, or that you had a turkey sandwich for lunch.

The fact that you had a turkey sandwich for lunch is so trivial that its shelf life is even shorter than that of the sandwich itself — if you don’t talk to your partner on the day you ate it, you’re probably not going to mention it. “The problem is when you get a couple that is very good at sharing the deep emotional things but doesn’t know anything about each other’s lives,” says Guldner. “You ask them, ‘What’s going on with your partner today?’ and they have no idea. This happens fairly frequently in long-distance relationships, especially in military ones, and it erodes a fundamental part of intimacy — people stop feeling like they’re connected. You have to do things to try to create that interrelatedness.”

Intimacy has its costs
But intimacy has its costs. The closer you are to someone, the more likely you are to miss them. “Missing” involves several different feelings and thoughts, says Ben Le, an assistant professor of psychology at Haverford College in Pennsylvania who studies romantic relationships. These include sexual desire and longing, thoughts about the future and what the partner is doing, and behavioral tendencies such as looking at pictures of your partner or talking to friends about him or her.

For me, there was a defining moment of missing my husband. It was after his first visit, a quick, four-day trip during which we went to several of the Loire Valley chateaux that surround Tours. At one chateau, as we descended a narrow spiral staircase, we both remarked — almost simultaneously — that the staircase sagged inward toward its central support beam. (Actually, I think we both said “Whoa.”) Several days later, after Andy had returned to the States, I was walking down the stairs of my language school and was blindsided by an intense pang of missing him. It took me a few minutes to figure out why, but I realized that the steps tilted inward, just like the ones at the chateau. The sagging stairs had been only momentarily interesting when we’d seen them together. But days later, experiencing something similar while I was alone triggered a memory that made me miss Andy acutely.

Missing a loved one
Missing a loved one actually involves something much deeper than wanting to be around them. Whether you know it or not, your relationship is an important part of your self-concept; when your partner leaves, you might — at least initially — have to redefine your sense of self. This redefining takes many forms, Le says. For example, at the beginning of a relationship, as two people become closer, they shift their language and begin to use “we” statements where they once would have used “I” ones — for instance, “We slept in Saturday morning,” or “That’s our favorite restaurant.” When couples are spending significant amounts of time apart, partners inevitably are using more “I” language, simply because they’re alone more.

“The absence of a partner could, in the short term, result in a loss of part of the self,” Le says. “As the long-distance relationship persists, it’s likely that the self-concept would shift to account for that LDR — being a ‘person in a relationship’ would shift to being a ‘person in a long-distance relationship.'”

In retrospect, I think my missing Andy on the school staircase was part of a struggle between what I’ll call my EuroSelf and my AmeriSelf. My EuroSelf got used to experiencing strange new things on its own. It drank Saumur at lunch, marveled at 12th-century stained glass, and talked in broken French with everyone from farmers to former diplomats. My AmeriSelf, on the other hand — the responsible working girl, the loving partner, the someday mom — had been temporarily left behind. A funny thing started to happen, though, as I got over my initial panic: I started to laugh at my verbal missteps; I began to appreciate the charm of my unusual hosts; I realized my husband and I could live apart temporarily. The EuroMe started to merge with the AmeriMe, and I began to truly enjoy myself, despite the fact that Andy was thousands of miles away.

Some people in LDRs aren’t so lucky, however, especially if the separation lasts a significant amount of time. Guldner’s research shows that most couples tend to go through three phases of separation: protest, depression, and detachment most couples tend to go through three phases of separation: protest, depression, and detachment. The “protest” phase can range from mild and playful — “Please stay” — to significant anger. Once an individual has accepted the separation, he or she might experience low-level depression, mostly characterized by slight difficulty concentrating, trouble sleeping, and the feeling of being a little down. “Unfortunately, that seems to be a reflex,” Guldner explains. “In other words, it persists. It continues with each separation and, in fact, sometimes worsens with each separation. There is very little one can do to prevent it.” Some people experience this in a more pronounced way than others.”
Detachment phase

In the detachment phase, each person begins to compartmentalize his or her life, breaking it down into the sections with a partner and the ones without. It’s an effective coping mechanism that allows the individual to be in a relationship while doing what has to be done — until the occasional moment of weakness, that is. One day, while checking my email in the language school’s crowded computer lab, I heard the young Asian girl next to me sniffling quietly at her computer. A glance in her direction revealed a live Web-cam feed of a young man alongside an instant-messaging chat box. She typed her goodbye in language characters I couldn’t identify, closed the window containing his image, and wiped her eyes before walking away. No matter how well-established your coping mechanisms are, a moving image of your loved one from half a world away carries a particularly powerful emotional punch.

As the number of LDRs continues to grow, there is hope that in the future we won’t have to accept detachment from our partners in the same way we do today. Cornell University scientists, for example, have started researching “minimal intimate objects” as a supplementary means of communication. Imagine both you and your partner spending your days at a computer. In the taskbar of your computer screen, you see a small box with a little circle. When you click on your circle, the corresponding circle on your partner’s screen lights up: a quick, one-bit message that’s nonintrusive but establishes an ambient awareness of you.

As you work, you’re right there with each other.
Researchers at the now-defunct Media Lab Europe in Dublin, Ireland, developed a prototype aiming to create that same perception of togetherness using “radio frequency identification” technology to network furniture (no, that’s not a typo). For instance, you might be sitting in your living room, and an image of a coffee cup would suddenly appear on your coffee table, alerting you that your partner was enjoying his morning coffee. One of the lead researchers, Dipak Patel, who also works for British Telecom, hopes to pick the project up again soon. Although it might sound a little bizarre — and there are some inevitable privacy complications — the basic awareness of your partner’s “presence” might help maintain the intimacy that’s so important.

Of course, there will never be a real substitute for living in the same place as your significant other. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t disclose the fact that, after my return, Andy and I had several discussions about space — namely, that in the three months I was gone, he’d developed the habit of sleeping spread-eagle, taking up the whole damn bed. But in the end, living apart allowed us to expand ourselves by adapting who we are as a couple. It may not be matching red-leather pants, but that’s my kind of marriage.
Distance “Do’s”

Your LDR doesn’t have to mean long-distance misery. Here’s what the experts suggest:
Make a plan. It helps to establish a plan that includes an approximate timeline for how long the seitemtion will last — and, to the extent possible, a schedule for predictable visits. “If you can mark down on a calendar when the visits will take place, it keeps you reliable to your friends and colleagues and makes life less crazy,” says Seetha Narayan, author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Long-Distance Relationships.”

Discuss ground rules. If you’re not explicitly committed, it might be a good idea to set boundaries about interactions with other people that could pose a threat to the relationship. According to research by Greg Guldner of the Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships, only 30 percent of couples who discussed such rules broke up, regardless of whether or not they decided to date others — but 70 percent of couples who didn’t discuss the topic split.

Deal with conflict immediately. Particularly for newer couples, dealing with problems as they arise is key, even if it means spoiling the reunion weekend, Narayan Burtner says. And without the luxury of body language, you’ll be forced to communicate well, a skill that can only help you down the road.

Share the details of your daily life. Guldner suggests emailing at least twice a day — once in the morning to share what’s on tap for the day ahead, and once in the evening to recount what happened. And be sure to send handwritten letters — they help to foster intimacy, Narayan Burtner says, since they’re concrete reminders of your loved one that can be carried around in a pocket or a purse.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Though dealing with conflict is important, couples should remember that they will be particularly sensitive just before and after a reunion. “If one person is picking a fight or acting cranky or finding fault, and it’s inexplicable, just let it go — it has more to do with the transitions than with anything real that’s going on,” Narayan Burtner advises.
Learn the art of long-distance sex. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of phone sex, Guldner suggests reading sexual fantasies over the phone (or even just to yourself, at first). If you can’t do that without giggling, send an erotic email with the help of HoochyMail.com.
Develop a strong network of friends and family. “Couples who have those kinds of networks tend to endure, and people report more satisfaction with the relationship and in life if they have this support,” Narayan Burtner says.

Stay optimistic — and forget the naysayers. A positive outlook is an LDR’s best friend. “Studies show that the only coping style in long-distance relationships that seems to predict mental health as well as a satisfying relationship is when both people realize that it’s a very reasonable option — that it works just fine,” Guldner says. “It has its own issues, just like anything else. But don’t let people convince you that [LDRs] don’t work.”

How To Take The Bad In With The Good.

August 18, 2007 - Leave a Response

Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve—because if you do…eventually you will bleed to death.

Things don’t go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up again so that you can be where you were intended to be all along. It always seems like the good doesn’t last very long because sometimes shortly after the good ends up hurting you…but some things do last forever. A good song, a good book, or a good memory you can take out and unfold when you’re hurting.

You can’t change fate. It is inevitable. Things happen; good, bad, and indifferent. You just have to hope they turn out. It’s like falling…you’re mid air, you know it’s going to hurt but there isn’t enough time to stop yourself…so you just close your eyes and hope for the best. And I can guarantee you that the world will give you the best every once in a while. The bell will ring and you go to the corner where someone will dab mercy on your beat up life. Pain is only temporary but the things we do in life: actions we do, words we say, and connections we make…they last forever and change our lives in ways we are not yet aware of.

Life is tricky like that. Of everything it robs us of…it grants us something too. Sometimes it’s a new friend. Sometimes it’s a better understanding of ourselves, and sometimes it’s just a perfect day. There will be that moment, when you’ve figured out how much you’ve really let go. How much you’ve grown, and it takes you back and makes you think; it makes you realize that you can’t look back anymore. It is when you realize that you need to live your life for you and no one else.

All you need to do is keep your fingers crossed in hopes of someday catching that happiness that you’ve tried so hard to find all this time. That’s the one thing about happiness. It’s fleeing. Think back to when you were a child and you trying to catch a firefly. No matter how many times you smacked your hands together and swore you had it—all to find out you didn’t, you never gave up. Then you finally caught it…put it in your jar, and that firefly lit up your room, lit up your life so-to-speak…because you worked so hard for it.

Make every moment just like that. Make every moment add light to your life because you worked endlessly on it.

How To Find A Perfect Man

August 18, 2007 - Leave a Response

101 Things to Look For In a Man
BY: Caitlin Burns

It is perfectly fine to adjust and change what you want in a man
but don’t ever adjust what you want for a BOY.

1. Honest
2. Passionate
3. Compassionate
4. Protective
5. Unconditional-love
6. Caring
7. Educated
8. Intelligent
9. Sense of Humor
10. Trustworthy

I realize that I’m writing this guide for you, but the first ten are a must-have. Every man must be at least those ten things otherwise he is probably a deadbeat.

11. Good with children
12. Family man
13. Goal Driven
14. Motivated
15. Spontaneous
16. Fun to be with
17. Adventurous
18. Athletic
19. Understanding
20. Has a good reputation

These next ten are not set in stone. You can change them out; but they are just examples…for every trait you disagree with, replace it with one of your own. If you agree, less work for you!

21. Loyal
22. Supportive
23. Respectful
24. Creative
25. Secure
26. Worldly
27. Out going
28. Kind-hearted
29. Employed
30. Strong willed
Who wants a boyfriend/husband that isn’t loyal, respectful, or supportive? Hopefully not you. I’m sure it sounds silly to say that your boyfriend/husband must be gainfully employed, but if he isn’t employed what is he doing with all of his time?! The next few will be a little more in depth.

31. Has his own life
It is important that your man has his own life outside of you. Whether his friends are from high school, college classes, activities, or work. Make sure you keep a set of friends separate from each other’s.

32. He isn’t crazy.
Earlier I stated that the man should be protective. Yes, but not crazy. There is a fine line between the two and he must be on the side of just protective and not crazy.

33. He isn’t obsessed with PS2, XBOX, Wii, PS3, PSP, etc
I’m pretty sure that this one is self explanatory. If it isn’t…save yourself annoyance. He needs to put down the gaming control and go outside, throw a football or take you out on a lunch date.

34. Same or Like music interests.
Sounds silly, right? Let’s say that you and Joe Music like completely opposite music and you live in different states. Well you invite Joe Music to come home and visit your family. That means it is either—4 hours of constant “your song-my song” or he plays his songs and you put in your iPod, which leads to 4 hours of no communicating.

35. Make sure he has manners
Let’s get real…it is cute & amusing to burp the alphabet ONE time before it becomes ridiculous and juvenile. Make sure your man has manners. This means but is not limited to opening doors (to: cars, buildings, etc), coming to the door to get you for a date, walking you to the door, etc.

36. Same interests or similar ones
There is the saying “opposites attract” and yes, that may be true…but not only is that rare, but it sure doesn’t say “Opposites attract, get along, get married, and stay married.” So pretty much you get the idea.

37. Goal Oriented
Who wants to settle down with someone who is okay with being mediocre?! No one in this world is perfect and there is ALWAYS room for improvement. Find a man who understands and grasps this concept.

38. Good Hygiene.
Hopefully this one does not have to be explained.

39. Can do own chores.
You aren’t his mommy so don’t let him weasel you into doing a load of laundry here and there for him and don’t allow him to put the cooking all on you either.

40. ****NO MOMMY’S BOYS****
I don’t know how to stress this more.

Under no circumstances do you date or deal with any MAN that has an annoying & sicksicksick bond with his mother. The majority of immature BOYS think that their dream girl is someone just like their mother. That couldn’t be more wrong. All they really want is a maid and someone to have sex with. The combination of the two is disgusting enough already. So save yourself the heartbreak and MOVE ON.

41. Health Background.
I know that is sounds ridiculous but it is important to know your man’s background for many reasons. One being that you want to know what genes your children will possess and two if your man has heart disease in his genes you’ll want a good life insurance policy 😉

42. Financial History.
Of course it’s wrong to marry for money. But no matter if he is rich or poor, does he live within his means or does he have a caviar taste on a tuna fish budget?

43. Religious Beliefs.
It’s important that the two of you have the same views or that you both know how to have a mutual agreement on religion. If you’re two different religions, are there similarities? How would you raise your children?

44. Is he controlling?
This goes along with the protectiveness & craziness. It is 110% inappropriate to be controlling. It IS a form of abuse and it is NOT tolerated.

45. How does he treat his mother?
Previously discussed, there are to be NO MOMMY’S BOYS. But it is a safe assumption that the way your man treats his mother is the way he will treat you.

46. Has he ever cheated on anyone before?
Once a cheater, always a cheater. That type of behavior is in all men, no exceptions. But what you do need to know is that a REAL man will control himself. If he truly loves you, he will avoid putting himself in questionable situations.

47. Morals.
Obviously those are a must. But what kind of morals does he have? Do they compliment or conflict with your morals? Are your morals adjustable? Are his?

48. Political Views
As much as politics are bullshit these days, sometimes if an elephant goes up against a donkey all you get is a giant ass. So figure it out.

49. Parents: Divorced/Married.
Sometimes girls gravitate to men that have parents with the same marital status as their own. By this I mean, if her parents are divorced—she will likely have something in common with a man with divorced parents. If his parents are divorced, how does he feel about it? FIND OUT!!

50. Work Ethic?
If he is lazy, he will be lazy in your relationship. If he works hard in life—he will most likely be willing to stick it out when times get rough.

I’m sure all of this seems like a lot of information to absorb. But don’t worry, once you date a few more losers, meet a couple more dumbasses, and dodge about 200 more douche bags, you’ll be able to spot a loser, dumbass, douche—a million miles away. Soon enough you will be doing it with your eyes closed. So relax…keep reading and LEARN LEARN LEARN.

51. Wild or Calm
If your man is wild & you’re calm it could possibly fail, relationship wise. But if you’re both wild then it could still fail due to the fact your faithfulness might not be intact. Find a comfortable center…keep it balanced.

52. Alcohol vs. Drugs
I’m hoping that this one is a no brainer.

53. Secure or Insecure
Is your guy secure or insecure? Do certain things make him feel uneasy? Figure out what makes him tick…see if you’re willing to adjust what it is you do to him. If not, cut ties & move on.

54. Selfish or Selfless
If he’s selfish with his boys (i.e. not sharing French fries or a case) then he will probably be selfish to you. But if your guy is all about sharing a case or bag of chips you’ve got a winner. Just make sure that he is not a push-over.

55. Man’s Man or Metro
What type of man do you like? A fisherman/hunter? Or Express for Men? Football or Soccer?

56. Funny Guy or Serious Man
Nothing is sexier then a man who can make you laugh, am I right? But sometimes it’s good when your guy can buckle down and be serious and make you feel secure.

57. Smoking or Non-Smoking
No girl likes to make out with an ash-tray.

58. Text Message or Phone Call or In Person
I believe that this says the most about a guy. If he is text messaging you how he feels, he is probably a shy guy and unable to verbally express his feelings. If he is a phone guy then he is a little more comfortable with his emotions. If he wants to talk to you in person then he is the real deal. Not afraid of showing that he is vulnerable, and he isn’t going to hide anything from you—hopefully.

59. Christmas or New Years Eve
This also says a lot about your guy. If he likes Christmas he’s more of a family man and calm. New years eve guys love to party.

60. Polo or Graphic Tee
Polo’s say: “Sophisticated, intelligent, attractive and confident”
Graphic Tee’s say: “Fun, outgoing, silly, cute, and crazy”

Black and White; Finding a man is everything but that. Embrace the chase. Love every moment of it. You have your whole entire life to be married to that one person…enjoy the fact that you are single.

61. Remembers Dates
As much as we women deny it, we are excited when our guy can remember our important dates (i.e. birthday, anniversary, day we met, first kiss, etc)

62. Likes Animals
I believe it says a lot about a person if they don’t like animals. Now, I’m not saying they need to be a part of PETA or an animal activist…but simply liking/enjoying animals is fine.

63. Comforting
You’re away at college, your grandfather dies, and you need comfort. Your roommate is busy studying for a test—who do you go to?! Hopefully you are able to go to your guy and hopefully he doesn’t feel uncomfortable giving you comfort.

64. Good with old people
Well, your grandfather is still alive, and for some reason he comes to visit you at school. You want to introduce your guy to your grandpa…how will he behave? Does he try to be funny & talk about his latest DUI or spending the night in the drunk tank? Or does he act old-fashioned and sweet like your grandpa treated your grandma?

65. Understanding
Let’s say you have a class with your guy and he is ridiculously intelligent. You study all day and night with him…he makes an A+ and you make a C- and you’re upset. Does he shrug it off or is he understanding and kindly attempts to go over what questions you missed?

66. Open minded
Everyone has at least one weirdo in their family. How does your guy react to your family weirdo? How about this….? How does he feel about gays? Racial issues?

67. Bold
No girl wants to date a wiener. Make sure he’s brave.

68. Sensitive
There is sensitive & then there is too sensitive. We want something right in the middle. A guy who knows how to platonically comfort your girlfriend when her guy cheats on her. A guy who can bring you flowers when your dog dies…

69. A People Person
Take it from me…It is kind of awkward when your boyfriend is standoffish or even shy. It’s nice to have a guy who can hold a casual conversation at a party or dinner. It is also great when everyone you come across says something positive about your guy.

70. Easy to talk to
Communication is 90% of a relationship. If you can’t talk to him—you might as well not date him.

I’ve gone over seventy different characteristics that you should be looking for in a guy. Take off your blinders…the first guy you become serious with won’t be all of these things—so don’t kid yourself. That’s okay though, he could be Mr. Right-Now…but don’t stay too long because you might miss Mr. Right.

There is going to be a little shift…the last thirty-one things are going to be all about you, then I will close with a little life lesson.

Every Woman Should Have…
71. Enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own, even if she never wants to or needs to.
72. Something perfect to wear if the employer or date of her dreams wishes to see her in one hour.
73. A youth she’s content on leaving behind but a past that’s juicy enough that’s she’s looking forward to retelling in her old age.
74. A set of screwdrivers
75. Cordless Drill
76. Black lace bra
77. A friend who makes her laugh…
78. And one who let’s her cry
79. A good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone in her family
80. Eight matching plates
81. Wine glasses with stems
82. A recipe that will make her guests feel honored
83. A feeling of control over her own destiny

Every Woman Should Know…

84. How to fall in love without losing herself
85. How to Quit a job,
86. How Break up with a lover,
87. And confront a friend…without ruining the friendship
88. When to try harder and
89. When to walk away
90. How to change a flat tire all by herself and
91. How to check her tire pressure
92. That she can’t change the length of her calves or
93. The width of her hips or
94. The nature of her parents
95. How to negotiate with a car salesman
96. When to stop feeling sorry for herself after a crisis
97. How to reject a man and stay level headed about it.
98. How to get along with her in-laws
99. What she would and wouldn’t do for love.
100. How to live alone, even if she doesn’t like it.
101. How to take rejection and how to recover from it.

Hello world!

August 18, 2007 - Leave a Response

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