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Posts Tagged ‘relationship’

Single Awareness Day Isn’t For Everyone

In Hate, Love, Relationships on February 14, 2011 at 11:10 am
 written by Sway

V-Day is about more than gifts!/bostonherald.com

It’s that time of year folks. Valentine’s Day aka “Single Awareness Day”. Today is the day people around the country will fall into one of these categories. They will:

  •  hate the fact that they don’t have a valentine (or hate Valentine’s Day) so they purposely wear all black and boycott the day and all of its red and pink glitter glory
  • hate the day because they do have a valentine and have been given the duty of  planning the “perfect” romantic day that their significant other won’t forget
  • love the day because they have a valentine and are the recipient of this “perfect” romantic day
  • feel neutral about the day and may or may not have a valentine, but don’t really care because they are treating today like a regular day

I am proud to say that I fall into the last category. I’m also proud to say that I going forward, I am choosing to be in this category every year. I’m not necessarily boycotting Valentine’s Day, I am boycotting what seems to be presented as the most significant part of the day according to flower, card, and chocolate companies alike: the gifting.

I can admit that a lot of single women see this day as the day that points out their relationship status and some don’t like to be reminded of it. The thought of going out on this night with a group of single girlfriends just to be surrounded by lovebirds over populating restaurants and walking down the street hand in hand with PDA on blast, is enough to make them want to stay home. But trust me, this day is a lot harder for people in a relationship. Well, I should say this day can be a lot more stressful. It seems society has made this day especially for the men to prove their undying love and commitment to their S.O. For some its redemption day–the day for them to attempt to  make up for any wrongdoing over the past year.

For others, it’s just another day to browse through Yelp looking for reservations to the highest Zagat rated pricy restaurant, have flowers shipped to their love’s office on last minute, and shell out big bucks giving them a gift that tops last year’s.

And for women in relationships, they hold some responsibility so it seems. Victoria’s Secret stores nationwide probably expect some of their biggest sales around this day as females look for body sprays and lotions with the  words “enchanting” or “sexy” in the title, and scour the racks for the perfect lingerie (or lingeree as I call it) to show off to their man.

Okay, okay, so when it comes to the gender roles on V-Day, maybe I’m generalizing here. But either way, I have come to the conclusion that I, nor my boyfriend, will play a part in any of it. Why you ask? This is all due to a book I read called Waiter’s Rant. This book, written by an anonymous ex-waiter, detailed the ups and downs that he encountered while working at an upscale NYC restaurant. One chapter in particular about Valentine’s Day made me realize something that I think I’ve always felt. Why celebrate a day with my loved one just because the card companies told me so? Why should we fall into yearly gifting and planning of elaborate affairs just because on this same day others are doing it?  Isn’t that what anniversaries, birthdays, and Christmas are for? I guess I feel like for males or females, Valentine’s Day is a just another day to compete against yourself. What kind of gift can you buy for your S.O. this year that will be better than the last? What kind of night can top all the past V-Day’s?

This isn’t a bitter rant everyone, it’s me realizing that I don’t need to be sucked into society’s idea of what this day should be about. I’m just not buying the hype (no pun intended). On this day, I will enjoy myself just by spending quality time with my significant other, and that is a gift good enough for me!

How do you all feel about Valentine’s Day? Yay or nay to celebrating it?

Complacency

In Communication, Relationships on October 5, 2010 at 8:00 am

written by Swag  

Lazy Smurf and Gargamel

Don't get lazy in your relationship. Something might creep up on you.

 

 

It’s far to easy to become complacent in a relationship and complacency goes hand in hand with entitlement. When an individual takes their partner for granted, essentially, they believe they are entitled to the benefits they have been receiving. They expect some mandatory level of service. This expectation occurs on a subconscious level so I am not saying anyone is acting maliciously, but there are harmful side effects to believing your partner is supposed to do anything. Love isn’t based on obligation. It’s based on mutual, empathetic consideration.  

As relationships progress, habits form and little by little, the generosity and consideration that was once appreciated and celebrated becomes routine and expected.

Like a cancer, once it has crept into the relationship, complacency is very hard to shake and when it sets in, you may have to put your relationship through chemo just to expunge it. You may have to journey through an uncomfortable, transitional period in order to promote long-term growth.

Dealing With Complacency In Others – Be Honest

The worst thing you can do when you feel like your partner is becoming complacent, is to not say anything, at all. Every habit, that is ever formed, is reinforced both positively and negatively. When you are not communicating to your partner, you allow them to develop their own balance of reinforcement. Imagine a habit your partner has that is beginning to wear on you. Rather than bring it up, you decide to just deal with it. You figure, if things stay the same, it’s not a deal breaker. You believe this is the better route, despite knowing that if things were to change, you would probably be more satisfied with the relationship overall. Not only are you learning the unhealthy habit of appeasement, you are also eliminating an opportunity for your partner to improve themselves. In essence, you are stunting their emotional growth. You aren’t allowing them the chance to love you more fully.

When you communicate your dislike of anything, you alter how your partner perceives it. But if you want them to change you can not approach them with 100% negative reinforcement (i.e. “I don’t like it when you let the trash overflow”). There must also be some positive reinforcement that works in tandem (i.e. “Thank you so much for taking out the trash). Granted, if the reversal of the bad habit has not yet happened or even started, you may need to generalize your positive reinforcement so they get the hint (i.e. “I love it when you help out around the house”).

Dealing With Being Complacent – Don’t be Disingenuous

The best medicine is always preventative medicine (healthy lifestyle/diet) as opposed to reactive medicine (surgery/antibiotics/chemo). When you begin a relationship, it’s always best to start out as honestly as possible. When I was younger, I believed I would have better chances with girls, if I was romantic, so I catered to those beliefs. I wanted to be prince charming. I wanted to make girls swoon with overwhelming emotion.  Soon, however, I realized that I was being dishonest and when those girls fell in love, they fell hard. I couldn’t keep up the charades and slowly, over time, I stopped most of the romantic activity that had gotten me the girl in the first place.  I am not saying that I am no longer romantic, it just means I am no longer being romantic for the sake of getting someone to react. It reduced the chances of me losing the motivation to continue those acts later on in the relationship.

Complacency occurs when you inadvertently decrease the amount of energy and emotion you are investing in a relationship. It’s possible to set yourself up for complacent failure when you start off a relationship doing things that don’t come naturally just to seal the deal. Once the dotted line is wet with ink, all your contrived actions will slowly dissipate like exhaled breath on a mirror. Soon you begin seeing yourself for who you really are. A romantic fool at best and manipulative at worst. Integrity involves being honest with yourself and it’s important to know how you really feel before communicating those feelings to someone else. Otherwise, you run the risk of falsifying your emotions and relationships are hard enough as it is. You don’t want to have to maintain one while living an emotional lie. Stay true to yourself so that you avoid ending up in a complacent rut.

“If we probed deeper, we might lay witness to pools of disappointments, rippling from stones thrown by our own selfishness.”

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Sway’s Sound Off: Leaving My Friends for My Boyfriend?

In Relationships, Sound Off on September 29, 2010 at 9:00 am
 written by Sway

Myyyy girlfriends....there through thick and thin..."

Let me tell you right off the bat, that I am sounding off about myself.  

I am guilty.  

Framed…  

Of what, you ask? It’s hard to admit, but for the purpose of the post I will tell you.  

I am guilty of forgetting about my girlfriends sometimes.  

Yes it is inevitable, that once someone gets into a relationship, they will hang out with their friends a bit less than before (well sometimes).  Instead of having to divide their time to just work/school, family, extracurriculars/responsibilities, and friends, they now have to add their significant other in the mix which. And this usually results in less time allotted to one of the other areas.  

And for me, that area is my friends. I’ve realized over the years that I have a pattern of getting into a relationship and hanging out with and/or calling my girls significantly less than before being attached. It’s not like I cut all ties to them or ignore them, but sometimes I will “think about going” to something they invited me to just in case something  my boyfriend wants to do comes up. I know, I know, it’s no bueno…  

What I’ve noticed is that while this trend happens to both genders (admit it guys, you know you’ve had that feeling of wanting to spend all your free time with your new girl because they excite you and make you feel all giddy inside), females tend to fall victim to it more often.  

When females are single, we attach ourselves to our friends and live for girls nights out at the club. We shop, get mani’s and pedi’s together, plan lunch and dinner dates, and go to happy hours galore.  

Lauren, Audrina, and Lo always carve out "she-time" for each other/stylebakeryteen.com

Then all of a sudden we get a boyfriend and BOOM!…girl-time is now diminished to meeting up when we “have the time”.  

Guys are a different story. Example-when guys are single, they go clubbing, watch ESPN with the boys, play their PS3, and play ball. But what happens when they get a girlfriend?  

Guys always have time in their schedules for "he-time"

They go clubbing, watch ESPN with the boys, play their PS3, and play ball, lol.  

From my experiences, nothing really changes too drastically. I’ve noticed that guys don’t seem to place their friends on the back burner as much as women do once they get into a relationship. I’ve had this conversation with a few of my girlfriends and they all agreed.  

Sadly, I have been guilty of this. And some of my friends have been guilty as well. You ladies may be guilty of it and don’t even realize it (The times when I discover that I hang out with my boyfriend’s friends more than my own is when I think about this).  

But I guess the question is, what is it about getting into relationships that causes us females to detach ourselves from our true blue friends?   

Your girls have always been there for you. They took you out for an all night drinking binge to forget your nasty boss when you got laid off. They were the ones to throw you a surprise party for your birthday. They let you borrow their favorite formal dress when you had nothing to wear for a last-minute gala invite. And when that guy who occupied all your old girl-time for months broke up with you, your friends were at your doorstep with kleenex on hand and shoulders to cry on.  

My own true girlfriends have done so much for me. And while I cherish them, sometimes I feel like I fail to show it. I never want to be that girl who my friends think has “disappeared off the face of the earth” just because I have a man. I never want my friends to feel like they can’t come to me with a problem because I’ll be too busy for them.  

I refuse to be a "friend" like Heidi Montag!

There is a way to balance my-time (time with myself), we-time (time with my boyfriend), and she-time (time with my girls). I am definitely better at it than I was before.  But I’m going to have to take notes from my boyfriend and other males in relationships on this one, and imitate what they do. After all, if they can balance he-time and we-time successfully, then there is no reason why I can’t either.

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Honesty, Empathy, and Effective Communication

In Communication on September 20, 2010 at 10:21 am

written by Swag

A relationship provides ample opportunity for annoyances, disturbances, and disappointments. Sometimes, it’s necessary to give voice to these grievances and when doing so it’s also wise to make sure communication channels are open, loved ones are receptive and intended messages are clear. In the everyday world, proper evidence and a sound case may be sufficient to get someone to reconsider their actions but relationships are about much more than mere facts. They can be complicated baskets of emotions, actions, and intentions. 

We have all heard the saying: It’s not what you say, but how you say it, so we understand that communication is a key factor, especially during conflict. No problem in a relationship can or should be summed up in “Here’s what you’ve done wrong, now fix it” because that just translates into “Look how much you suck.”   

Communicating with your partner at anytime is like delivering a parcel of mail. It’s that much harder to deliver that parcel when either person is angry or upset. Even if you put the message in the mail, it doesn’t mean you have the right postage, the right address, or that the other person is even willing to sign for the package.   

Image taken by User:Minesweeper on December 14...

Image via Wikipedia

 

Incorrect Postage – (Passive Aggressive Communication): When your message does not have adequate postage, it means your delivery is lacking. How you present your message is not effectively getting your point across. Imagine a woman dating a man who is notoriously late for every arrangement they make. When they go out to dinner, he’s late. When they go to the movies, he’s late. When they meet up with friends, he’s late. She wants to tell him that his actions are affecting her in a negative way. They make her feel under-appreciated and devalued, so at the dinner table, she sulks.  At the movies, she complains. When with friends, she bad-mouths him. Unfortunately, her message hasn’t been delivered at all. He is unlikely to connect the tone of her actions to his tardiness and her moodiness will bubble to the forefront, taking attention away from the real issue. She should place more postage on her message and be direct by telling him explicitly what is bothering her.   

Incorrect Address – (Ineffective Communication): Disagreements, the fruit of a successful relationship. I kid, of course, but we all know that disagreements are a very natural occurrence in long-term commitments. How healthy a relationship is, depends on the trajectory of the conflict and how well it is resolved. It’s very easy, in a heated argument, to get side-tracked on superfluous points. Imagine the man who wants his wife to take dancing lessons with him. He approaches her with the idea and she seems uninterested. In an effort to get her interested, he hints at finding a different partner and an argument ensues about whether he has his eyes on other women. He intended to communicate his desire to do something fun and intimate with his wife, but his decision to veer off into unpredictable territory nullifies his message. He sent his package to the wrong address. This leaves him feeling dismissed and leaves her feeling underappreciated.   

No signature. No delivery – (Over Aggressive Communication): Imagine if someone threw something at you unexpectedly. What would your reaction be? Most likely you would shrink your body size by turning sideways and/or ducking, effectively reducing your chances of getting hit. You might also throw your hands up over your face to protect your most vulnerable areas. Instinctively, you would defend yourself the best way you know how. It’s only natural. Now, imagine if your partner hurls an accusatory or demeaning statement at you. You are bound to do the same thing. Defense is the only reasonable reaction. The way we speak to our partners goes along way towards breaking down those very defenses. Being able to present a message without it seeming like an attack actually makes the other person want to receive it. It shows a level of empathy that is necessary if they are to believe you have their best interest at heart and not believe that you are simply out for vindication. Your partner is more likely to sign for their package (your message) and appreciate it for what it’s worth.  

It takes courage to be honest with our partners about how we truly feel. Sometimes we can be so weary of their emotions that our messages and intentions never match up. Empathy is also required so that we can be cognizant of how our partners will react to our messages.  Without an awareness of our partners perceptions, we may inadvertently hurt their feelings and cause them to shut down. If we communicate with honesty and empathy, there are very few obstacles that pose a significant threat to relationship success.

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Forgiveness & Vindication

In Hate, Love on July 19, 2010 at 9:13 am



You know, Sway’s been speaking some truth about Emotional Baggage over on the Bag Lady post. It got me wondering though. Why is it so hard for people to love, let live and forgive.

Do you feel vindicated when you don’t forgive someone as if you are enacting some righteous punishment? Do you feel justified for hating the person who has wronged you?

Forgiveness is not reconciliation. You don’t have to make amends and you aren’t required to be friends. Forgiveness is also not forgetting what happened (that’s called psychological repression – like a backed up toilet, it will come back to haunt you).

What I mean is authentic, peace enducing  forgiveness. Some of us may even need to forgive ourselves as well. Below are three ways to help you stop emotionally prosecuting those who have wronged you and move forward with your life.

1) Reframe the situation – Bad things happen to everybody. It’s not  a matter of what happened but how you react. It may be difficult to do at first but try telling yourself it was meant to be this way. The Good and the Bad allowed you to refine what standards you can and cannot compromise.

2) Do You – Seriously, just DO YOU!! Stop worrying about past, present and future relationships. No person is completely defined by the interactions they have with others. Which means your worth isn’t completely based on having a significant others in your life. Many of us seek appreciation in others because it’s hard to value ourselves. Go try something you have never done before. Pursue a talent or hobby that has been waiting for some love. Don’t wait for the emotions to pass, make them pass by replacing them with better emotions.

3) Set Standards not Sentences – If you’ve been hurt, then most likely you will create standards and beliefs that will help you to avoid being hurt again. Smart and reasonable, I say. What you can’t do is make your standards a life sentence. If the next person that comes along doesn’t measure up to your standards when you meet them, most likely they never will. Stick to your guns and don’t sacrifice for the sake of ‘what-if”, ‘maybe’, or ‘they can change.’

Swag

Note – Forgiveness is just as necessary in a relationship as it is after one.

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Waistlines in the Summertime

In Uncategorized on July 16, 2010 at 12:07 pm

I’m reading some really interesting stuff at the moment. Currently I am in devour mode on: Intimate Relationships – Miller/Perlman. It’s highly recommended.

So as I read, I come across TRUTH. These guys start speaking about universal attractive qualities and how there is one thing that every culture recognizes as beautiful.

The infamous Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHR). Every man in the world knows it when he sees it. Ever wonder why ethnic woman are given a pass on carrying more weight. It’s because their waist to hip ratio doesn’t change. In fact weight has nothing to do with it. We all understand what a proportionate woman looks like.

WHR is the scientific verison of the hour-glass figure. The ideal number is 0.7. This means that your waist (at its smallest point) is literally 70 % the width of your hips (at their widest point).

Go ahead Ladies. Measure it. Take a measuring tape, measure yourself and divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement. Is the result close to 0.7? Good, it means you are probably more fertile than most women and instinctively, men know this.

So next time you see a guy checking out your derriere, dont’ get mad. He’s just calculating your Waist-to-Hip Ratio.

 Swag

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