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"Where is this relationship going?" It might be a question that strikes fear into the hearts of men, but its answer is important to partners who want to know if their mates are in it for the long haul. The timetable may vary - there are no... Read More
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Is Online Dating For You?

In the past several years, the dating scene has changed considerably. People are busier, careers sometimes move to the top of our priority list, and dating has had to evolve as a result.

Online dating has transformed the way adults can meet their next date, expanding your options far beyond who you can meet at the local watering hole. Pick-up lines have been replaced with profiles, and the online dating scene has opened up a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to relationships and dating.

Online dating is a more organized, thorough approach to meeting someone. People who sign on to online dating sites usually provide basic information about themselves, such as their name, age and where they live. Pictures and personal tastes, such as favorite types of music and movies, as well as general interests can also usually be added to a user profile.

Some dating websites also allow users to indicate the type of person they are looking for, and in some cases matches can be made for you. Part of the process is deciding which type of online dating site you prefer and which one(s) use a method that works for you.


Some of the most popular online dating sites include:

eHarmony - eHarmony has a compatibility matching system that uses 29 personality variables to determine who you are most suited to. It will only allow you to contact people that the matching system determines you may be highly compatible with.

Match.com - With 15 years of experience, Match.com is ranked as one of the largest dating sites in the world.

Okcupid - This is a free dating site that allows you to contact anyone you like on the system. They can also provide matches for you and also allow users to create and complete fun quizzes to help you meet like-minded singles.

Lavalife - Some users will find a bit of versatility with this site, where members can select from a variety of options that include dating, but allow for other choices such as: relationships, intimate encounters, and so on.

Chemistry.com - Uses research from world-renowned biological anthropologist, Dr. Helen Fisher, to make predictions about who best matches your chemistry profile.

Advantages to Online Dating

There are a number of advantages to online dating. One of them is that with millions of people participating, you practically have the pick of the litter. Online dating has also become an increasingly popular way of meeting others without resorting to bars or trying to pick someone up in a book store, which means online daters can look for their next date from the comfort of their living room.


Many online dating services also offer special features that will get you that much closer to meeting someone special. With profiles, pre-screening, personality tests, and other functions, you stand a pretty good chance at finding the perfect date or future mate - depending on the service you choose.

Another advantage to online dating is the sense of control it offers. When you set up a profile, you can choose how much information to share. You are also able to specify the type of person you want to meet. Since there is no requirement that you meet anyone in person, you get to decide if you want to give someone your phone number or meet up at a physical location. You can take your time interacting with and getting to know someone online before you make the decision to actually go on a date.

Honesty is an issue that you will have to consider. You are never guaranteed that someone you meet online is being honest. Yet the same can be said for meeting someone face-to-face. Most online communications involve a great deal of frankness. In these discussions you can get right to the point.

This may eliminate many of the emotional risks that are otherwise involved in dating. Plus, if you decide you are no longer interested in communicating with someone, it's much easier to stop responding to them online than awkwardly leave a restaurant or have to wait for a horrible date to end.

There is also a lot of flexibility with online dating. Whenever you want, you can log on and chat, check profiles, or see who has contacted you. No matter what time of the day it is, or what day of the week, the world of online dating is at your fingertips.


Disadvantages to Online Dating

Naturally, there are some disadvantages to online dating. Just as having an opportunity to be really honest can be an advantage; there is the potential that what someone says online is not entirely-or even partially-true.

It is impossible to know if a profile or photo is completely truthful, so there is always some risk involved that the person who shows up to your first date is very different than the person you thought you met online.

You also have no guarantees of what will happen once you meet face-to-face. Online it might seem like you are a perfect fit. However, once you meet in person, if the chemistry isn't there or there are some things about the other person that were never disclosed (physically or otherwise), your date might not end up being the right fit. All the time spent nurturing and building a virtual relationship could come up empty-handed once you actually meet the person.

Another disadvantage is distance - especially if you meet someone who lives far away. While the Internet is great at bringing us closer together, trying to date someone across the country can be extremely difficult, especially with someone you may have never even met in person. Unless, of course, you are ready and willing to possibly begin your life somewhere new.

Finally, there is a cost to joining many online dating services. Most charge some type of fee, such as a monthly membership; however, other sites may charge extra fees for features like messaging, contacting another member or setting up a more advanced profile. It's important to find out what the fees are going to be ahead of time and get a good feel for the online dating service. You don't want to pay for months of service only to find out after a week that this site is just not for you.


There are advantages and disadvantages to online dating, so weigh them carefully before you jump in with both feet. Having a clear understanding of what you are getting into will make the experience more successful. Be realistic about your expectations and what you hope to gain from it. Spending time researching the different online dating services will also help you find the best fit.

In addition to the popular online dating services listed in this article, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of others designed for almost everyone. Some online dating services are set up based on specific hobbies, lifestyles, interests, and relationship types. By doing a little research you can find an online dating site (or several) that offer exactly what you are looking for in a dating service-and a mate!

Life is busy and sometimes it's hard to find the time to get out there and meet someone, particularly if you are sick and tired of the single's bar scene. If you are looking for true love or just a friend, then online dating could be just the answer for you.


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Passionate Sex: How to Overcome Boredom in the Bedroom

By Richard Nicastro, Ph.D.

Q: I love my husband, but somewhere along the line we've become more like friends than lovers. We had an amazing sex life early in our relationship but now we're lucky if we have sex once a month, and when we do it's pretty unremarkable. I really enjoy sex and I'd like to make it a regular part of our life again. Any suggestions?

A: First of all, you need to take solace in the fact that you're not alone with this problem. Most couples in long-term relationships note a marked reduction in the quantity and quality of sex as the years progress. When you're wrapped up in the heady euphoria of a new relationship, it's hard to imagine that the grinding reality of daily life can ever dampen sexual desire, but, voila! Here you are, years later, juggling kids and a mortgage and a new career, and sex just isn't a priority. And the first step in rejuvenating a lackluster sex life is the awareness of this natural ebb and flow.

Providing there aren't medical reasons for your dwindling sex life (if you're not sure, have a doctor check you out), there are some simple ideas you can incorporate into your life now that can help you and your partner resuscitate your sexual desire:

1. Prioritize sex.

Both partners need to make a commitment to nurture the physical aspect of the relationship. It's a big step to acknowledge that you've been neglecting passion. But once you do, you can begin having the discussions that will get you thinking about sex and eventually bumping it up on your list of priorities. There is no shame in saying, "Hey, we got caught up in life and left something behind that we really miss. Let's agree to openly and honestly work on this together."


2. Plan for sex.

Once you've both agreed to make sex a priority, it's time for some planning. You may be thinking: "Sex should be a spontaneous, natural experience. Planning for it will ruin the magic." Not at all! Quite the contrary: many of the most enjoyable, rewarding things we experience in life are things we must plan for. And when couples put effort into creating the time and space they need for physical intimacy, they temporarily take themselves away from the stresses of their hectic lives. This planned-for time and space actually allows spontaneity to flourish.

3. Plan for romance.

A word for some of you men out there (you know who you are): Planning for sex doesn't mean buying a new multivitamin and sprinting into the bedroom for a quickie. The type of sex that fosters a couple's connection occurs within the context of a loving, intimate relationship. When you nurture romance and make your partner feel special, you set the stage for an evening of passion and great sex. Romance doesn't have to be costly or time consuming (of course, it can if you want it to be). A sensual body massage with your partner's favorite lotion can go a long way in setting just the right mood for passionate love making. Pay attention to romance first, and sex will follow.

4. Become playful and provocative.

Couples in long-term relationships need to revisit the art of flirtation. Flirting and teasing are great ways to fan the flames of desire. Have you ever noticed how people in a new relationship excel at teasing? Whether seducing each other at the supermarket or while sitting at a red light, new lovers discover ways to turn each other on in the most ordinary of circumstances. Unbeknownst to them, these couples are actively creating opportunities to flirt and entice each other. Are you ready to enter the game of flirting with your partner?

5. Nurture your sexual attitude.

The art and skill of flirting starts with a particular attitude. The most important part of this attitude involves giving yourself permission to be playful and provocative with your partner. Without permission, you will remain inhibited and lose the freedom necessary to have a fulfilling sex life. Learn to give yourself permission to have fun with your partner.

6. Talk about sex.

Your assumptions about what your partner enjoys sexually might be standing in the way of a great sex life. You're both evolving--your partner's tastes in music, food, and clothes have probably changed over the years, so why do you assume that his/her sexual desires are the same as when you first met? Ask your partner what turns him/her on today. Don't assume you know (even if you believe you know your partner really well). Maybe there is something s/he would like you to try sexually that s/he would find exciting. Information about your partner's sexual desires and fantasies can go a long way in creating an exciting sex life.


7. Become less predictable.

Some couples fall into a rut because their sexual routines have become too predictable. While familiarity is comforting and helps build trust, it can also become a little boring when it comes to sex. Uncertainty and novelty feed excitement and can give your sex life an electrical charge. Experiment together (there are many good books available to help couples work on improving their sex life) and create a shared sense of adventure in the bedroom (or the living room, or the study...)

Is your relationship worth protecting? Are you ready to make your marriage everything it can be?

To discover more relationship tips, visit http://StrengthenYourRelationship.com/ and sign up for Dr. Nicastro's FREE Relationship Toolbox Newsletter. As a bonus, you will receive the popular free reports: "The four mindsets that can topple your relationship" and "Relationship self-defense: Control the way you argue before your arguments control you."

About the Author:

Richard Nicastro, Ph.D. is a psychologist and relationship coach who is passionate about helping couples protect the sanctuary of their relationship. Rich and his wife founded LifeTalk Coaching, an internet-based coaching business that helps couples strengthen their relationships.

Article Source: ArticlesBase.com - Passionate Sex: How to Overcome Boredom in the Bedroom


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Communication in a Relationship

By Michael Brady

Communication is a vital part of our lives: a typical day involves many interactions between ourselves, our work colleagues and clients, our children, our friends, our ex's, future relationships, etc. This interaction takes place where we live, work, relax, socialize and wherever we perform routine tasks.

Communication skills are critical for building healthy relationships, especially when one realizes that one of the most common causes of relational breakdown is a lack of communication. Just as communication can be the most important part of a relationship; arguments can be the most destructive aspect - the closer we are to someone, the more easily we can bruise or be bruised. There is very little truth in the saying: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me." It's not what we say, but rather how we say it, that most often hurts another person. {relatedarticles}

Do you identify with any of these statements?

"He never listens to me when I talk!"

"She talks and talks, but never actually says anything!"

"It's like talking to a brick wall"

"I can't get through to you"

"We can't talk about anything important without getting into a fight"

"She's too emotional - she's either crying or shouting or complaining. It's easier to avoid her"

"He always gets defensive when I try to talk about issues"

Communication is a complex process; of which speaking only makes up for 10-20%. The other 80-90% is made up by facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, etc.

Communication is the art/ science of transferring a thought/ idea/ information from the mind of one complex human being to the mind of one or more complex human being(s). For communication to be effective, it must be a two-way process.


Dynamics of Interpersonal Communication

1. Facts: are both people communicating about the same set of facts? Try to separate the facts from thoughts or feelings.

2. Interpretations, Thoughts or Perceptions: Each person interprets a fact differently based on their belief system, personality, values and experience.

3. Feelings: how we are feeling, our current mood and frame of mind, etc can sub-consciously affect decisions and thoughts.{relatedarticles}

4. Intentions, Needs or Wants: hidden agendas; are we looking for comfort, clarification, information or simply a chance to interact? We judge ourselves on our intentions.

5. Actions: choice of words (is the intent to create harm?) + tone of voice + non-verbal speech = body language, posture, eye contact, facial expressions, etc.

"The medium is the message" => the way the message is delivered is the message itself.

6. Self: The communication centre, which includes the issue, topic or conflict at hand, has been "filtered" by the facts, interpretations, thoughts, feelings, intentions, and choices of behaviour / actions.


Listening and Feedback

Did I say what I meant to say? - Invite feedback to clarify communication.

Someone who's not listening lets their mind drift and is already preparing the next argument or opposing thought; inaccurate feedback or limited eye contact.

Listening is an active, not a passive process. When two people argue, they only hear "what they want to hear", not what's actually said. This equates to the accusation of "not listening". Most couples start arguing and within 5 minutes are arguing about the way they are arguing.{relatedarticles}

Don't argue when you're angry - you will not be able to listen objectively. Give yourself time to cool down and then broach the subject when you are in a more reasonable frame of mind.

It's important to give feedback - checking and confirming. Did I understand you correctly? Is this what you mean? I heard you say this: am I right? Feedback can be verbal / non-verbal e.g. a nod, smile, silence or a cold shoulder. No feedback is in itself a form of feedback.


If the words and actions contradict each other, it is better to believe the actions!

Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution can either be Constructive or Destructive.

Destructive Style - hinders or inhibits the conflict resolution process:

Confrontational (win or lose, blaming)

Sabotage (focus on weak points, shaming)

Manipulation (blackmail, withdrawal){relatedarticles}

Giving in (passive, submissive)

Avoidance (denial, withdrawal)

Constructive Style - trying to minimize the issues and avoiding the difficulties in resolving the problems:

Compromise (meet halfway, understanding)

Accommodate (open discussion, communication without confrontation)

Partnership (solutions, forgiveness, honesty)


When trying to resolve conflicts, try to clarify your goals, as you will probably share many of the same goals despite of your differences. Avoid bargaining, as this may lead to each party taking a rigid position which in turn can flare tempers.

When resolving conflicts, remember that their causes may run deep. Sweeping issues under the carpet isn't going to work in the long term, as old baggage will be brought up each time an argument starts. Try to fully resolve each issue as it comes along. You may find the following method useful:

1. Ask the other person for their feelings. Your conflict probably isn't about the issue that caused it to start in the first place. Don't forget that your goal is sorting out the problem, not winning an argument!{relatedarticles}

2. Ask the other person to define the problem. Stick to solving one problem at a time, that way you can understand each problem as the other person sees it.

3. Express your own feelings. Be careful to word them carefully, for example use phrases such as "I feel..." rather than "I think you..."

4. Define the problem as you see it. As your feelings come out, the solution may become clearer. Remember that by you listening to the other person; you will have set the tone for them to listen to you.


5. Create multiple solutions. Don't go back to your original agenda. Aim to find alternative or creative solutions that reduce emotions and tension.

6. Rate the possible solutions. Remember that no one can force an unacceptable solution on the other.

7. Combine and create a mutually acceptable solution. Create something acceptable to both parties, if this doesn't work - go back to step 1 and ensure both parties are being totally honest.

8. Be sure both parties agree to work towards resolving the issue.{relatedarticles}

Troubleshooting For Problems in Communication

Control or Power Issues: Effective communication cannot take place if one person has "control" over the other or where there is not mutual respect and equality of relationship. To stay in control leads to relational isolation as the underdog reacts in anger at being manipulated or belittled.

Triangulation: Do not bring in a third party to avoid direct confrontation. If you have a problem with someone, go directly to that person. Don't dump your accusations on mutual friends or your children in the hope of winning support to balance the scales in your favour - it leads to more substantial and long-lasting damage, especially when a child is used as a weapon between parents.

19 Steps to Effective Communication

1. See communication as an opportunity to praise, build-up, affirm, heal, support and give positive reinforcement, rather than to correct, criticise, tear down, hurt, wound, lash out at. Praise opens doors to further communication, while criticism shuts them down.

2. Remember that actions speak louder than words; non-verbal communication usually is more powerful than verbal communication. Avoid double messages in which the verbal and the non-verbal messages convey something contradictory. (Credibility gap)

3. Define what is important and stress it; define what is unimportant and de-emphasise or ignore it. Avoid fault-finding.

4. Communicate in ways that show respect for the other person's worth as a human being. "Avoid statements which begin with the words "You never ..." or "I think you ...".


5. Be clear and specific in your communication. Avoid vagueness.

6. Be realistic and reasonable in your statements. Avoid exaggeration and sentences which begin with "You always ..."

7. Test all your assumptions verbally by asking if they are accurate. Avoid acting until this is done.

8. Recognize that each event can be seen from different points of view. Avoid assuming that other people see things like you do. (Perception)

9. Recognize that your family members and close friends are experts on you and your behaviour. Avoid the tendency to deny their observations about you - especially if you are not sure.{relatedarticles}

10. Recognize that disagreement can be a meaningful form of communication. Avoid destructive arguments.

11. Be honest and open about your feelings and viewpoints. Bring up all significant problems even if you are afraid that doing so will disturb another person. Speak the truth in love. Avoid sullen silences.

12. Do not put down and/or manipulate the other person with tactics such as ridicule, interrupting, name-calling, changing the subject, blaming, bugging, sarcasm, criticism, pouting, guilt-inducing, etc. Avoid the one-upmanship game.

13. Be more concerned about how your communication affects others than about what you intended. Avoid getting bitter if you are misunderstood.


14. Accept all feelings and try to understand why others feel and act as they do. Avoid the tendency to say, "you shouldn't feel like that."

15. Be tactful considerate and courteous. Avoid taking advantage of the other person's feelings.

16. Ask questions and listen carefully. Avoid preaching or lecturing.

17. Do not use excuses. Avoid falling for the excuses of others.{relatedarticles}

18. Speak kindly politely and softly. Avoid nagging yelling or whining.

19. Recognize the value of humour and seriousness. Avoid destructive teasing.

Summary

As you look ahead to new relationships, you need to be able to break old and faulty communication patterns to allow for healthier interaction. The use of praise and positive reinforcement will reconstruct wounded and broken self-images and will build self-esteem, particularly in children. By becoming an effective communicator, you will also grow and become a better person which will positively enhance all your relationships.
About The Author

Michael Brady is web entrepreneur and is currently running a very popular dating site (Dating In Ireland). He wishes to coach people on some skills that will make them more prepared for an online dating experience.
The author invites you to visit: http://www.datinginireland.singlescrowd.com.


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