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Love at first flight

Dating in Toronto is a bit rough. It seems that no one wants to commit and all of the dating apps and social media platforms only exacerbate the issue because there are endless distractions right in front of everyone at all times.

I’ve had my fair share of heartbreak over the past few years. A man I’m enjoying spending time with and who seems to be interested one minute, ghosts me for weeks, only to get in touch again, acting as if contact was constant. To him I say “Seriously? Adios. I know your game.”

After a decade enduring this repetitive dating game in Toronto, I found myself being driven to the airport in Ottawa by my father, who I confided in. He told me to be honest with myself about what I want and the perfect guy will come along.

As if fated, I boarded a WestJet flight back to Toronto and that perfect guy was assigned the seat directly next to me.  We connected immediately, and are now inseparable. At the time Cody was employed in Alberta but was born and raised in Nova Scotia.  Only two months into knowing one another, this man who captured my heart, moved to Toronto to be with me.

From day 1 I knew Cody was different from the men I had previously dated. I never expected such maturity and to feel so safe, especially because he is a few years younger than me. He had impressed me from the beginning and hasn’t stopped impressing.

One day, after Cody had made me a fantastic meal, (as he does every evening), we were enjoying wine in the kitchen when he tore a loose thread from my sweater and proceeded to wrap it around my ring finger, while asking me to marry him. I giggled, almost as a defense mechanism because I wanted it to be real, but also felt it could just be a joke. I said yes but laughed it off and we headed out for the evening, never to mention the moment again.

Until one day while watching an episode of The New Girl, Cody turned to me and said, “Really though, wanna marry me?” I could see he was serious. I smiled as he took a ring from my other finger and proposed with it. I said yes again and he suggested we go looking for a ring.

No rings were purchased, but talk of our engagement continued. My parents came to town the next weekend, and Cody shared that he wanted to be respectful and ask my dad for approval before putting a ring on my finger. While I was working, my dad went to our condo to get it appraised. Cody was there and shared his intentions, then later told me how my father came close to tears and expressed how rare it is for men these days to want commitment and be so respectful. My dad obviously gave his blessing and welcomed Cody to the family.

I arrived home later that day to my favourite meal- tacos and red wine-  Cody was ready with the ring to ask the question again, this time, with the ring I chose.  There is so much to be said for a man like him, a man who has totally demolished my negative perceptions.

I feel as though I have hit the jackpot but am trying to make sense of why some young men like Cody are so inherently good to women and others feed into my previous perception of males. Is it how he was raised? Possibly. Did I simply meet him at that “time to settle down”  turning point in his life? Is it because he’s a small town boy?

One thing that makes a huge difference in how he and I connect in comparison to my past boyfriends is that Cody could not care less about social media. He is not steadily checking his Facebook- he had 89 unchecked notifications on his phone yesterday- He often even gently takes my phone when he sees I’m using it too much, and instead  pulls me in to cuddle. He is always looking to truly connect with me and in a world where we are racing around distantly “connecting” on apps and gadgets, the real in-person closeness is what many are missing. I’m thrilled I’ve finally found it.

 

When ghosting leads to gratitude

I met Jake at his restaurant. He owned my favorite brunch place that I’d go to all the time (they made a duck confit hash that was to die for). Whenever I came in for breakfast, he’d step out from behind the counter to take my order personally. I liked him right away — and not just because he supplied me with two of my favorite things: bacon and coffee.

Tall with a neatly trimmed beard and intense dark eyes, Jake was cute in a sexy lumberjack kind of way. He seemed to like me too. When he opened another restaurant right next to my house and I found myself looking for any excuse to go in to see him, I knew I had to ask him out. He said yes.

Along with sizzling chemistry, Jake and I shared a passion for good food and collecting vinyl. The conversation was great and the sex was even better. We dated for four months, until one day when he stopped returning my texts and disappeared off the face of the earth.

(Well, that’s not entirely accurate. Jake still owned a restaurant next to my house. If there’s a prize given out for the most awkward ghosting, he would surely win.)

Jake re-emerged 79 days later to apologize (his excuse: he was in a “weird place”). He asked me out for dinner. When I agreed to meet up with him to talk, he ghosted again. Go figure.

While I’d like to say I never saw this coming, the signs were there from the beginning. Jake was unable to make plans more than twelve hours in advance (“the restaurant business is so unpredictable,” he’d tell me) and often I’d wait up to 24 hours for a reply to a text. It made me feel off-balance, like I never knew where I stood with him. Last but not least, he was petrified of commitment. Even a passing mention of marriage gave him a look of utter terror.

When Jake ghosted, I was confused and hurt. It was months before I felt ready to date again. Eventually though, those feelings gave way to something else: gratitude. Although I lost my favorite brunch place, Jake did me a favor. Thanks to him, I know the warning signs to look out for in the future. By breaking up with me in an immature manner, Jake cleared the path for better, more suitable people to walk into my life.

 

 

Why consent should be included in #MeToo movement

A woman has made allegations of sexual misconduct against television actor and comedian Aziz Ansari. In her claim, she says the two went out on a date and when she indicated, using “nonverbal and verbal cues” that she wasn’t interested in having sex with him, he tried to seduce her over and over again. Eventually, he called her an uber and she went home.

Ansari has told the media that “it was true that everything did seem okay to me, so when I heard that it was not the case for her, I was surprised and concerned.”

While the allegations may not be as serious as those against Harvey Weinstein or Kevin Spacey, these kind of stories do expose an important issue of consent, or basic respect, on the dating scene. The criticism this woman is receiving online is reason enough why this story is so important. People are saying this woman should have been clearer about her sexual desires, and that it wasn’t fair to Ansari to ruin his career over something he didn’t know he did wrong. An opinion columnist in the New York Times actually said the only thing Ansari is guilty of is not being a mindreader.

Essentially, those responding to this story are saying that because this woman didn’t cry out “no” and push Ansari away, this story has no value to the #MeToo movement. I disagree.

This story is one many women, and probably a few men, are familiar with. Their date indicates a need to slow down, and are promptly ignored. You kind of like the person, so you try to express your consent in a different way. You do this by joking around, distracting your partner, suggesting alternative activities, and finally, by saying you aren’t in the mood. This can result in anger, frustration, embarrassment, and sometimes lead to dangerous situations.

I was dating a man for a few weeks I met online. He was funny, smart, and nice — pretty much exactly what I was looking for. During conversation at dinner, my date invited me back to his apartment. I said that while I liked him, I wanted to take our relationship slow. I like to really get to know a potential partner before jumping into bed with them, especially considering the dangers of the online dating scene. I was about as clear as a person could be about my romantic intensions, and my date seemed understanding. He said there were no strings attached to the invitation, and we could simply watch a movie, drink coffee, and spend more time with each other.

Isn’t that sweet?

Of course, once I arrived at the apartment, there was no coffee. He did put on a movie, but as soon as the opening titles started scrolling along the screen, he was blowing in my ear (is that a thing!!??). The next thing I knew, his hand was on the back of my head, pushing me towards his face. I broke away a few times, joking about how we were going to miss the movie. A few minutes later, his hand was on my cheek, guiding my face back to his.

I consider myself a strong and independent woman, but when I was confronted with such an uncomfortable situation, I am ashamed to say that I lied. Instead of telling my date that his behaviour was unacceptable, especially considering our conversation at dinner, I looked at my phone and said “my dad just called me. My dog is badly injured and he needs help lifting her into the car. I’ve got to run.” And out the door I went.

All that is to say it is not as easy to say “no” as people may think. When you are alone with a person in their home, you are vulnerable. Your partner has the advantage.

It’s also important to remember that consent is not the absence of the word “no”. Consent, according to the Oxford dictionary, means to give “permission for something to happen.” In the case of a sexual relationship, both parties must clearly agree to a sexual act and each person has the right to say no. Consent should never be assumed or implied.

Again, let me stress, consent is not defined by the absence of the word “no”. And that is why this conversation should be a part of the #MeToo movement. Understanding this definition is part of that patriarchal mentality women are trying to change. It is something that will take time and needs to be exposed in order for people to learn.

Could Ansari really not understand this woman’s non-verbal cues? It is absolutely possible. Should he be punished professionally and personally for his actions? I’m not too sure. His reaction is probably similar to hundreds of thousands of men out there who were in similar situations. Men who don’t understand what those non-verbal cues mean and are subject to retaliation in the media.

For those men, here is a very simple guideline: just ask. Ask your partner if it is okay to kiss them. Ask if they want to go to the bedroom. Ask if they are willing to have oral sex. Always ask. When you ask, you will get a firm answer. And continue to ask! Is this okay? Are you okay with me touching you there?

It’s really rather simple. And no, it doesn’t detract from the mood. Trust me, it’s actually quite attractive to have a man stand by your door, saying “you look absolutely beautiful, I would like to kiss you. Can I?”

Sexual assault and sexual harassment within industry and the workplace may be the foundation of the #MeToo and TIME’S UP movement, but it shouldn’t end there. Let’s add consent to the discussion.

Woman of the Week: Miriam Verburg

Do you remember those teenage years — all of the confusion, the expectations, and the social awkwardness?

That’s one of the reasons why Miriam Verburg helped to create the LongStory Game, a dating sim, choose-your-own-adventure type game that helps pre-teens and teenagers learn the ins-and-outs of dating. Users get to pick a character —boy, girl, or trans — and must solve a mystery while navigating social scenarios. Some examples include, bullying, backstabbing friends, alienation and immigration, and experimentation with their own sexuality.

“I made it as a response to other dating sims, which follow boring storylines – you buy enough nice clothing and people will like you,” Verburg said. “LongStory is less appearance based and more ‘if I was 13 playing a game about relationships, what would I want to practice doing’.”

Verburg is modest to a fault. She is a self-affirmed feminist who wants to be a force of change and social good, but would rather work behind the scenes than in front of a camera.  She considers some aspects of business like advertising and monetization a challenge, as she wants her work to retain it’s authenticity and accessibility — something many other businesses can’t claim.

Verburg became interested in technology at a young age. Her father worked for the Bloorview Macmillan Centre in Toronto as a researcher, developing rehabilitation programs for kids. He often brought home weird-looking laptops and would let the kids play with them. Verburg caught the creative bug, and studied art in school, primarily print-making and digitization.

After graduating, she worked at Studio XX, an “explicitly feminist art studio” in Montreal, where self-taught women in technology could teach others. After a while, her interests changed to web development. She completed her Master’s in Communications and Media Studies at Concordia and got a job teaching kids digital literacy at a library in Montreal, something that inspired her to continue to work with kids and technology.

While doing all of this, Verburg started her own website development company with some friends called 3scoDesign, which focused on helping non-profits design and integrate their digital footprints. Verburg has maintained that entrepreneurial spirit and is now the founder and CEO of Bloom Digital Media, a “boutique gaming company” that specializes in user experience and project management.

LongStory launched two years ago through Bloom Digital Media and it’s quite the success. Verburg’s target audience at the beginning was young girls; she wanted to create a game that taught consent and allowed girls to experiment with their desires.

“It was 2012 — Rehtaeh Parsons and Amanda Todd — I found those stories sad and surprising,” she said. “It seemed to me, as a teenager, I was pretty convinced that the dating world was not constructed in a way girls can experience themselves fully with power and freedom.”

LongStory has since grown into a phenomenon that transcends gender, a game that appeals to young people across the board. Users can choose a character that accurately represents how they choose to be identified — “he”, “she”, or “they” — and can try things they may be embarrassed to try in public.  The challenge, Verburg says, is to keep the game authentic and available, so that teenagers are comfortable using it and parents don’t mind them doing so.

“There has been lots of pressure to make this educational and put it in schools, which is something I’ve resisted,” she said. Teenagers see devices as a place where they can be free to be themselves, and if you introduce it into classrooms, that whole idea changes.

Her team is also made up of an equal number of men and women — something Verburg says should be the norm no matter the company.

“The team is fairly evenly split and we also try to have a lot of LGBTQ members to represent that idea authentically,” she says. “People say it’s hard to have diversity in a company, but it’s not.”

One of the things Verburg hopes will change is the perception issue regarding male-dominated industries like hers. People say that more women should be involved in gaming or web development, but they don’t actually speak with women to find out what kind of games they would be interested in. That’s something Verburg has actively been trying to change.

“We spoke with a lot of girls during market research,” she said. “I want to explore how to create a community around that idea of gaming – how to help [girls] find better games and enjoy the experience more. There is such a strong community around building games and it makes me sad to see that if you ask girls if they want to get involved, they say ‘it’s still not meant for me’.”

Verburg was also involved with Dames Making Games, a not-for-profit feminist organization that runs events and programs for “women, non-binary, gender nonconforming, trans and queer folks interested in games.”  When she isn’t working or involved in the gaming community, Verburg enjoys doing circuit training, going for a walk outdoors, or playing a board game — anything that doesn’t involve analytical thinking.

Season two of LongStory was released a few months ago, and Verburg is excited to see where it will lead. “It’s like an Archie comic,” she said. “It can only go on.”

How to date more successfully

It’s no secret that most of today’s dating happens in virtual space. One swipe here, one click there, and presto! You’re matched! The problem, however, is that there is a reverse mentality associated with this world. Many women are using these dating apps with the hopes of impressing a man enough to win his approval. She may be wondering things like, “Is my pic good?”, “Did I write too much in my profile?”, “Should I say hi first?” Notice how all these anxieties are based on the idea that the man is the decider, while the woman seeks validation. How often do you try to earn his thumbs-up? This reverse mentality is important because it allows you to recognize your own power and start approaching dating with more confidence.    

Know your Worth

Knowing your worth is an important part of dating the smart way. If you truly believe in your value, he’ll be more likely to invest in your stock. He’ll be seeking your approval instead of the other way around.

How can I do this, you ask? Simple: you just need to know your worth. For example, a guy from an online dating app makes a teasing remark about how you should take him out for dinner. Many men think this is flirtatious and endearing— so instead of playing along, you should assertively say something like, “But we haven’t yet established if you’re even the right one to make me leave this dumb app.” With this approach, you’re creating the understanding that you’re also someone who deserved to be pursued.

Date Around

In the words of Billie Holiday, “A kiss that is never tasted is forever and ever wasted.” In spirit of this mantra, you should treat dating as a sampling buffet. This is not to say that you should gobble down every dessert at the table. Rather, you should select a few delights that interest you, and take the time to learn about the individual flavours you enjoy the most. When you discover a type that you genuinely like, you can then invest your time into nurturing that match.

The bottom line is that you need to see the dating process as your chance to discover your needs and wants, and focus less on becoming what your partner wants. The more you learn about your personal dating goals and desires, the more confident you’ll become later on when choosing the right guy.

Stop Dating Jerks                          

Most women who date jerks secretly hope that they’ll be the one who changes him. The problem with this mentality is that you’re wasting all your valuable time and effort trying to improve someone who’s not fit to date you in the first place. If he needs that much changing, why are you so attracted and invested in him? If he’s not making you feel like the most special woman in the world, why bother? Find someone else who doesn’t need changing because he’s already a great guy.

 Reconsider your Dating Apps

 Finally, you may also want to reconsider the dating apps you’re using. Apps like Tinder and POF are usually just a virtual sex platter. There’s other apps like Match and WhoWinkedMe, which are better suited for quality singles looking for the real deal.

 

Ultimately, if you want to enjoy better dating experiences, you need to start improving yourself first. Make good choices about who you date and, most importantly, how you treat yourself.

How to lose a guy in ten days: the tech version

Dating has become more accessible since the invention of the Internet and the cell phone, but it comes with it’s challenges. There are potential land mines everywhere — and so many ways to mess up a potential relationship.

How soon should you text him or her back? When should you add the prospective person on Facebook? When should you call instead of text? Here are a few ways this technology can leave your potential partner running for the hills, with their cell phone in tow.

  1. Text five minutes after your first date

Your date has gone well, it had good conversation and you were left wanting more. This is GREAT news! So what do you do next? You text them after you leave, just a little note to remind them that you had a great time. To this, I say no! DO NOT PROCEED, turn the car around. Always wait to text your prospective partner back. It shows that you are confident and in it for the long-run. Texting large blocks of text is another no-no. Basically, wait until the following day and send a casual text that lets the person know you are still interested and otherwise refrain from contact.

  1. Stay glued to your phone while on your date

You have made it to your second date without blowing it via text overload and this is fantastic, but you remain glued to your phone the entire date, checking emails, Facebook, Instagram and maybe even a quick swipe on Tindr. This is another big N-O. Having your phone glued to you while on a date is rude and takes away from the authentic experience of getting to know the person sitting across from you. I take this rule so seriously that even having your phone on the table while on a date will set alarm bells off.

  1. Don’t use cute nicknames too quickly

I am a big fan of using nicknames for people such baby, hun, or darling. I think pet names are endearing though many would disagree. But using them right away is a sure fire way to scare the crap out of a potential boyfriend or girlfriend. Nicknames need to be avoided before a certain point in the dating game otherwise it will come off as clingy or rushed. Once you are sure of the person though, bring out the nicknames and create some of your own personalized versions. It can be quite fun, hunny buns.

  1. Deep and dark texting

Keeping it light and easy via text once you are dating is a good step forward to getting to know someone without being too intense. Asking deep and dark questions to your new lover can be terrifying and set a tone in the relationship that is unnecessarily intense. Certain questions can also denote a sense of insecurity or pessimism when a new relationship should be enjoyable and light-hearted to start. If you feel you have ask to ask serious questions, make sure to do it in person. On the other hand, avoid the excessive use of emojis to lighten the mood. Too many LOLs or smiley-wink faces can be a real turnoff and can make you come across as immature, needy, and just plain weird.

  1. Drunk texting

Breaking out your phone after a few drinks can seem like the best idea ever, but in reality, it is a recipe for disaster. When we text after a few cocktails, the message seems to be the most humorous and interesting thing we could ever say.  Oftentimes, the texts that are sent are less appealing. Keep your phone away from you when drinking so that you don’t feel inclined to send silly messages that you will regret in the morning along with your headache.

If you can avoid texting too quickly, using your phone too often, or breaking your phone out after a few drinks, you may find yourself a dating guru.

What are your funniest technology fuelled mess-ups while dating? Post in the comments below.

10 Bizarre Dating Sites

There has always have been this underlying stigma towards singles about being lonely, sad, and undesirable. So its no wonder as to why no one wants to be alone for more than socially acceptable  an hour. Website developers are taking this weakness to their advantage by creating dating services to fit people’s needs and wants. They may seem a little strange to you and me but reviews show that people have actually found their soulmates through these bizarre and rather questionable apps:

1. https://www.50shadesofgreydating.com/ 

You’ve seen the movie. But have you lived the movie? Now you can, in 50 Shades of Grey. This flashy website is designed for those you want to indulge in their BDSM fantasies. Just don’t except a helicopter ride or a fancy car. “Come and find your perfect Anastasia or Mr Grey.”

2. http://www.feetfetishdating.com/

“Let’s face it, sometimes it can be challenging to find women and men who are open-minded or accepting enough to want to stay with you once they’ve learned about your foot fetish.  Meet someone who ‘gets’ your fetish, or maybe even shares it!”

3. http://www.ghostsingles.com/

Women’s Post tested out this site because it was so ‘out of this world’. “A dating site for singles who know how to get a life! Well, an afterlife. Okay, maybe some sort of in-between, nether-world, ethereal existence. But if you’re looking for love, and you’re dead, Ghost Singles is the site for you.” Turns out, its just a website with comical profiles on dead-studs. Hey, whatever floats your boat, right?

4. http://www.glutenfreesingles.com/

Featured on Ellen, “GlutenfreeSingles is a website committed to building a national and global community for those who are gluten free. Living a gluten-free life can be challenging, especially in a world where gluten-soaked foods are just about everywhere. At GlutenfreeSingles, you are not alone!”

5. http://www.farmersonly.com/

With a tagline like “City folks just don’t get it”, its easy to see how one would instantly be attracted to this farmers only dating website. Forget tall buildings, if you like large acres of corn and men who harvest said large acres of corn, this website is for you. Nothing screams dating than plaid shirts and straw hats.

6.  http://www.clowndating.com/

“It’s no fun looking for love when you’re a clown, behind all the make-up and the red nose is a lonely heart. Clown Dating offers a community for single entertainers to chat, have fun and arrange dates. Being on the road all the time can make it hard to find someone close by, but with members from towns and cities all over the world hooking up has never been easier. You don’t have to be called Coco, or Cathy to join!” Lonely red-noses unite!

7. https://www.seekingarrangement.com/

Sugar daddys. They’re rich, they have significant life experience, and they’re only interested in your looks. What more reason do you need to find one? As advertised, “Unpaid bills no longer have to be a concern. Indulge in shopping sprees, expensive dinners, and exotic travels.” Sold!

8. http://www.polyamorouspassions.com/

“If you comfortable with open relationships, or you are interested in forming relationships with multiple partners simultaneously, then Polyamorous may describe you. Polyamory reflects a fluid attitude towards interpersonal relationships and bonding, based on the individual(s) involved, and what they feel comfortable with.” Side flings have never less stressful.

9. http://www.marrydoctor.com/

“The medical profession is certainly one of the noblest around. It’s little wonder that single doctors are considered quite the catch as they not only help the sick and injured, but are highly respected in the community, are highly educated, have a compassionate nature and many of them earn a considerable amount of money as well.” Finally, a dating site that truly understands women’s needs.

10. http://www.datingformuggles.com/ 

“Meet like-minded fans in your city, and find friends, romance & much more today! No Felix Felicis or love spells required! Join the muggle dating community!” Muggles meeting muggles. How magical!

There you have it! If a dating app you use has made the list, please do not take offense. Rather, comment below and tell us how your experience was! Remember, it’s okay to be single once in a while. Finding love is a natural, unexpected situation that just happens when its supposed to. However, if you want to have some fun along the way- we don’t blame you! 😉

5 things you shouldn’t do on a first date

In today’s cut-throat and unforgiving dating world, searching for romance is like scouring through a jungle of animals in search of “the one.” While this process can be tricky, awkward and sometimes downright frustrating, it’s important not to lose faith. Of course, women are not usually to blame, us being fabulous and all. We know full well that the world is plagued with tragic male singles, ready to perturb us with dull conversation, sloppy first kisses, and attempts at one-night-stands.

However, not all men necessarily commit these habits. And while it can be amusing to savagely gab to our friends and rant about our recently blacklisted bachelor, we should take a moment to realize that we are not always the victims of failed dates. In fact, many of us spend so much time sizing up our gentleman callers, but we rarely ever consider how our own habits might be affecting our dating experiences.

So, perhaps we could all benefit from a tad bit of humility by considering the male perspective as we reign comfortably on our royal thrones. This being said, let’s take a look at five things you shouldn’t do on a first date:

1. Do not ask about the future … yet

© Duane Osborn/Somos Images/Corbis

On the first date, it’s not appropriate to raise future-related questions unless he does. This is a double standard we all loathe but must regrettably obey. This means avoiding certain questions: Do you see marriage in your future? How many kids do you want? These are issues that will surely be addressed as you move through the dating process. Until that point, a man doesn’t want you envisioning his future before he’s even had a chance to get to know you. It’ll make him feel trapped and definitely turned off.

2. Do not dress like a high-class call girl

Many women enjoy dressing provocatively for their dates. Although it’s natural to want to look impressive and sexy, women should focus on flaunting their personality whether than their skin. As a general rule, if you’re going to show off your legs, hide your cleavage. And if you’re planning on covering up your lower half, then feel free to show a little more décolleté (without giving him an overly generous glimpse!).

3. Do not ask about his assets

While you may have your quality checklist, you must put this aside for the first date. Many men find it incredibly invasive when a woman asks incessantly about their assets, especially so early in the dating process. You do not want to appear over ambitious or shallow. This means you should focus on getting to know your date on a personal level and learn about his quality not his quantity.

4. Do not get drunk

© Hero Images/Corbis
Nobody likes a waste-case.

When trying to control your first date jitters, it’s easy to drink a little more than usual. But while a couple Cosmos can be helpful, make sure not to overdose on this nerve-easing delight. Otherwise, you may become too comfortable and possibly lose your sense of etiquette. You may start blabbering excitedly or even let your hormones do the talking. For this reason, it’s best to let your sober and wonderful self shine through on the first date.

5. Do not sleep with him

If you have a more laissez-faire attitude toward dating, you may have pulled a one-nighter or two. Sometimes when a great date becomes heated with good conversation and a few too many martinis, it’s tempting to lose yourself in a steamy moment. You may have even been guilty of convincing yourself that you’ve found your “soul-mate” and believe it’s a free pass to rush into the sack. No. Stop. What you might mistake for your long-sought-love is really just alcohol and hormones. In reality, rushing to sex rarely leads to a long-lasting relationship. Moreover, building a real intimate connection requires a couple to establish communication, respect, and trust over an extended period of time. A hot night in bed does not establish this connection — no matter how great the sex.

By avoiding these crimes of romance, you may save yourself from plunging into dating hell. Ultimately, it’s important to understand that great dates are a two-way street. While we can expect to be charmed and courted, we also have a responsibility to avoid poor dating habits. Unfortunately, these rules will obviously not protect you from meeting awful men, but at least you can take comfort in knowing the failure was on him, and not on you.

Good luck!

All images courtesy of Corbis

DATING FOR DUMMIES: Relationship rules defined

Is date three always the sex date?

By Shannon Hunter

The third date is universally accepted as the ‘sex date’. I’m not sure when I first heard this or where, but I know I’ve heard it more than once. And to be honest I’ve never really been comfortable with it. Why should the number of times you’ve gone out dictate when it’s socially acceptable to get busy?

I’ve said before if the first date goes well and you just so happen to end up in bed together you shouldn’t feel guilty. Sometimes these things happen – denying yourself of what you feel is right because of an unwritten rule is ridiculous. I apply the same logic to a third date: If you’re ready – go for it.

Dating is complicated enough without imposing MORE rules on ourselves… we’re careful to wear the right make-up, never drink too much but not too little either, show the right amount of skin, and share ourselves but again not too much; all things we’ve learned to do naturally. When other people start giving us rules to follow it becomes a little too much to handle.

So when it comes to the ‘sex date’ I think the call is simple. If it happens it happens. If it doesn’t it’s not because your relationship is doomed, it’s not because he doesn’t like you, and it is most definitely not because he doesn’t find you attractive. So check your insecurity at the door.

Relationships play out in so many different ways that when we create rules and mandatory milestones we kill the romance, the fun, and the spontaneity.

Stop planning life and let it happen. Because when something really fantastic does happen it’ll always be better than anything you could have planned.

In Sickness and in Health

By Jen Kirsch

You’re sick in bed.  You feel everything that the words ‘miserable’ and ‘discomfort’ are made of.  You would give it all up if only you could – for the love of Fendi – feel better. You look over at your partner and his ‘How can I save you eyes of sympathy’ peer into yours, which suddenly light up.  Because let’s face it, when we are as sick as can be, we all – even the Sam Jones’ of the world – love (and dare I say need) some good, old, classic, TLC.

I may go as so far as to say that TLC makes for the best medicine.  A prescription often prescribed, yet not always filled. Which is just what happens when – after you tell him how grateful you are for having him around to take care of you – he tells you he’s going to go sleep on the couch tonight so he “doesn’t get sick.”

Excuse me?’ You wonder to yourself thinking you may have misheard his words.

There are two types of men when it comes to the direction of sleeping habits when you’re under the weather. There are those who are a) at your beck and call, by your side all night and wouldn’t think to have one sleep away from you (sick or not), or b) the cautious ones that are more concerned about catching a cold.

I don’t know about you ladies, but when I’m sick just so happens to be synonymous with when I need extra cuddles, love and attention. I’m more than happy to give that same extra TLC to a partner when they aren’t well and I genuinely want to because I know how it feels. A great feeling comes with knowing someone is there for you without having to ask for it. When a partner goes to sleep on the couch, it’s ever-so-easy to take it personally.

I understand with keeping your distance, but the fact remains that the germs are already in the house and we are more contagious before we are sick than during. So be conscience that you are sick but make sure that you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to your sleeping arrangements. Because the last thing any of us need is the added stress when our mind tells us ‘we’re uncared for’ when in fact we very much are.

 

 

Dating around the world

By Karolina Weglarz

We all know that dating is complicated. What am I going to wear? What will they think? What do I do if they ask me back to their place? Thoughts race through your head at a mile a minute – possibilities of love, possibilities of heartbreak. Things get even more complicated when you’re living abroad, where customs and expectations are different than your usual norm. Even if you’re in a metropolis, a date with a foreigner brings a set of new expectations and new customs you might not be used to.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, George Eves of Expat Info Desk, offers some valuable tips of what to expect from dates around the globe:

Russia

Chivalry is dead. Think again. If you don’t want to offend your Russian date, keep your wallets in your purses and be prepared to have your doors held open for you. Don’t worry though; for the most part he’s not expecting anything in return. And, never take the word “casual” too seriously. Be prepared for make-up, heels, and sexy outfits on the regular.

Germany 

Terrified of the truth? Like flattery instead? Forget about dating a German man. If you’re not ready to hear the truth about your weight, new outfits, or friends, don’t bother asking. Don’t say anything you don’t mean either – Germen men take what you tell them quite literally. Skip on the small talk or he’ll consider you superficial.

Italy

Don’t bail if an Italian man won’t stop talking about his mother. For many, she is considered sacred, and though he probably thinks no woman will ever compare, refrain from criticizing. Don’t take flirtatious comments as an invitation to date either. Comments that some might consider sexual harassment are common practices in both social and work environments.

France

Ditch your day planner when setting up a date with a French man. Rarely organized as “official,” dates are quite informal and often take place in groups. A word of caution when leaning in for that goodnight kiss: kissing means serious business for the French, so unless you intend for him to be your boyfriend, forget about it!

United States

Don’t believe in casual, open relationships? Make sure you’re straight up with your man. Don’t be surprised if he’s seeing other women on the side. Until you make it known that you want to become exclusive, it’s common for him to juggle several partners to assess their strengths and weaknesses before settling down and making a decision for good. The upside? You’re allowed to do the same!

Middle East/Islamic Nations

Forget about PDA when you’re in the Middle East. For most countries in this region, it’s illegal to have sex before marriage and touching, kissing, and cuddling are better kept behind closed doors.

Japan

If punctuality isn’t your forte forget about dating a Japanese man. Being late on a date is considered extremely rude; you’ll be lucky if you ever hear from him again. If you find he talks a little too much about his salary during the first date, don’t stress, he’s just showing that he can care for his mate.

Australia

If you like your man to take charge on the first date, forget about dating an Australian. It’s not unusual for women to ask men out and pay. Don’t be surprised if your man asks you out via text message.

China

Flowers, chocolate, and romantic restaurants are just a few things your date will have in store for you on Valentine’s Day. In China, Valentine’s Day is observed religiously. Singles in China tend to live with their parents until they get married, so don’t resist an invitation to meet his parents promptly after your first date.

 

 

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