Starting a new year always reminds me of what it was like back in school. We had new books; pristine blank pages that were waiting to be written on. It’s an exciting time of the year and the perfect time to put a jolt of positive perspective into your love life.
There is never a more exciting time, then the start of a year. It’s like we subconsciously associate a new year with a fresh start. The chance to build what we want and do it right this time.
And that’s just the thing, this year can be different from the rest, if you want it to. Finding love doesn’t have to be delayed any further if you are ready to put into place the steps necessary to make it happen.
There is something wonderful about meeting someone that you can share and build your life with.
It’s easy to think that just because you feel something strong for your partner that you will always be on the same page.
Unfortunately, healthy and strong relationships are not built on feelings alone and growth within each person is inevitable.
So, what do you do when you grow at separate rates or in different directions? How do you still insure unity within change?
If you are worried that the stress, confusion and conflict in your relationship is caused by certain growing pains, here are 5 ways to tell if you are reading from the same book or writing separate ones altogether:
1: You just don’t seem to have as much in common anymore
You no longer seem to be able to relate to things that you used to connect on before. Whether you or they have changed and grown as a person, this could now mean that different interests have developed. As your character develops and you learn more about yourself, it’s no wonder that who you connect with changes because your own interests, morals, priorities and thought patterns can become totally different.
2: You crave more attention apart then together
When you have more fun away from them, then with them, it’s a good indication that you are drifting apart. Unity takes work and compromise in a relationship, but you should always be craving to be with them, more so than apart. Your partner should be adding to your joy and existence, not hindering you from feeling happy or moving forward.
3: You are starting to resent them for everything
This is because you have become frustrated with who they aren’t, as you have become more who you are. You may find yourself starting to pick at them for small insignificant things, because internally you may be frustrated that they aren’t on the same page as you, or simply because you feel you can no longer connect with them.
4: You feel like you have to explain everything to them
You become increasing frustrated with them, because you are either constantly pulling them up to your level, or having to explain your new thinking and actions towards them. When we develop emotionally and mentally at a different level to our partner, it makes us become less patient with them. We expect them to be on the same page and get annoyed when they aren’t.
5: Indifference has set in, along with a lot emotional space
The opposite to love is not hate; it’s indifference. When you start to feel nothing at all towards your partner, because of the lack of connection, understanding or unity, that’s when you know your relationship is in deep trouble. Wanting space either physically, emotionally or mentally from your partner is a strong indication that you are growing apart in different directions.
So here’s what to do…
Growing at different rates is something more common than we think, that’s why it’s important to date someone from the get-go that you see compatibility with.
When two people start off as one and then slowly drift apart it’s integral that you bring it to light. If you are feeling the void increasing between you both, then you need to have a talk about it.
Avoiding or accommodating for the elephant in the room isn’t going to solve the issue.
This isn’t just about liking the same common interests, but wanting the same things and both being able to adapt to change whilst communicating how you both feel.
Unity is not always built on convenience and common interests, but on choices , sacrifice and awareness of what is causing division.
Love isn’t meant to be complicated or painful. It shouldn’t take an extreme habit or behaviour for anyone to realize that they are either ill matched or in a toxic relationship.
Whilst some people can change over time due to circumstances or unaccounted for baggage, there are almost always sure signs to tell if someone is right for you.
Dating successfully is about being able to identify the difference between someone who will add value to your life and someone who will hold you back.
No one wants to invest time and energy into someone who is going to let them down, so here are 9 red flags to look for early on:
Communication is lacking
Are you sending novel texts and they’re giving one word answers? Yikes. Are they taking their sweet time between responses and very rarely initiate the conversation? If someone can’t put in the effort required to communicate from the beginning, they already don’t value you.
They are critical of your every move
Either they pull you apart or always seem to put you down. Even if it’s only a joke, someone you are dating should be lifting you up right from the get-go. If the person you’re dating comments negatively on your physical appearance or can’t be proud of your successes and accomplishments, you MUST let them go. You deserve so much better than this.
Levels of respect don’t match
With a relationship comes respect for one another, whether that be their space, time or boundaries. Lack of respect for another human being is a huge insult. Where there is little respect, there is immediately a lack of trust or growth in a relationship. Don’t let someone else determine your worth, especially if they can’t even see their own.
It’s not easy
If you are feeling anxious, confused, or like you’re trying too hard to make it work early on, chances are this isn’t the one for you. Being fabulously single and taking your time to find the right one will be worth it in the end. When you find them, your first thought should be “well this is refreshing and effortless!”
Sex is brought up…alot
Sex is a great thing, but if you notice your date brings it up really early on and frequently, chances are their mind is on one thing and one thing only. Perhaps they are looking for a friends with benefits vs. a long term commitment.
Their plans always change
You have a date scheduled for Thursday, but they text you that something has come up last minute (zero details included of course.) This could be because they are making you an option instead of a priority. Another option beat you out and they chose to take it.
You can’t trust them
They’re inconsistent – their words do not match their actions or vise versa. Or maybe you have a gut feeling that just won’t go away; trust is integral to a relationship, even in the beginning so don’t ignore the signs and the power of intuition.
They have a wandering eye
Cheating starts in the mind and heart before it even becomes physical. If you don’t feel like the only man or woman in the room when you are with them, then it could be an indication that they aren’t wanting to full commit.
They won’t delete their dating profile
HUGE red flag! If they still want to have an active profile online, it’s because they aren’t willing to commit and want to keep their options open. Even if they say they aren’t ‘active’ on it, it warrants the question as to why then do they feel it necessary to still have it at all?
Most of us know the experience of heartache or being taken advantage of. It’s not something we would wish on anyone, especially our close friends.
So, when we see someone close to us fall victim to a toxic relationship it’s only natural to want to rescue them from it.
However, it’s not always as simple as telling them what they should do or how they should leave. When it comes to toxic situations there is usually a lack of self–love and therefore an absence of confidence or direction, which in turn gives us the strength to break free.
So how do we support them in such a way that they learn to rescue themselves?
Here are 5 quick tips to help you guide them whilst still keeping your friendship intact:
1: Hold them accountable
Accountability may not always come across as love, but it is an action that helps keep things in perspective. In most cases, your friend will either be in denial or justify their partner’s actions. They may have moments of weakness, vulnerability or guilt, so it’s good to keep an eye on them and say something to help them see beyond the circumstance.
2: Remind them of their worth
When we lose our value, we fall prone to being taken advantage of. Encourage your friend daily with positive affirmations and help remind them of their own worth. We find strength when we realise just how valuable we are and what we are worthy of.
3: Set some boundaries
For the sake of your own happiness and the friendship, it’s important to set some boundaries. You don’t want to constantly be feeling drained or responsible for their progress or lack thereof. We cannot force people to make better choices, we can only guide, model and encourage them to do so. It’s easy for them to start to use you as a crutch, so just make sure you aren’t accommodating for their fear or lack of understanding to want to break free.
4: Suggest some exit plans
When we can bring achievable strategies into place, we feel more certain about the outcome. Do some brainstorming of how the toxic behaviour can be resolved, whether it’s going to a counsellor or getting financial advice. In times of emotional turmoil, the best thing you can do is up your emotional intelligence.
5: Know your limits
If your friend refuses your support or to get help and starts to play the victim, that is a sign that you need to walk away for a period of time. We cannot rescue people who don’t want to be rescued. Ultimately it is up to them to want to do the things necessary to break free.
However, helping them should never come at a cost of losing your own peace and happiness.
Life can get really busy, and most of the time we like to think our dream partner will manifest their way into our existence, whilst fitting seamlessly into our weekly schedule.
By throwing a smile at a stranger or creating a online dating profile, you think you’ve done all you can to find the right one. But it’s all about your consistency in taking real action to prioritize your dating life.
Needless to say you may have become incredibly impatient and frustrated when your love life doesn’t seem to progress the way in you had hoped it would.
But let’s get serious; whatever you value, you prioritize and make time for. This is why you need to set active time aside in our weekly schedule to date.
It’s not necessarily about allocating a specific time slot each week, but rather making room for the possibility of love in general.
So here are a couple of reasons why you need to start putting date night in the calendar and how to go about it:
1: See the bigger picture rather than just the present circumstances
You think finding love or dating someone is about the right timing. Sure, there are more ideal situations or circumstances to meet someone, but you need to stop limiting the opportunities based of what is or isn’t convenient for you. See beyond some of the challenges and obstacles that are taking up your time right now, and understand that in order for you to reach a future goal, you have to start with what you can do now in the present.
2: What you allow is what will continue
It’s so easy to blame time (or the lack thereof) when it comes to life in general. Yet you are the one in control of every decision you make. We must make time for all the things we like to do outside of work. Take responsibility for the part you play in your own life to attracting and receiving love.
3: Re-organize your routine and make space for love
Like anything, it comes down to how bad you want it. Do you want to find love enough that you actively start scheduling date nights in your calendar? By just thinking about dating, won’t get you very far. Progress in any area of your life takes action. It’s time to re-organize your priorities and become more efficient in balancing your work and social schedule. You can’t keep pushing it back and hope it automatically takes care of itself.
It’s easy to play safe or become all too comfortable in our daily routine. Saying yes to a drink with a friend or partaking in a night on the couch, instead of meeting someone new, may seem more appealing, but it isn’t going to get you the long term result you’re looking for.
Finding love means stepping out of your comfort zone, even if it means saying no to other people and things.
4: Set a few goals
If you need to put a few goals on your to-do list to achieve some romance, then don’t think twice about doing that. Whether it’s joining a new social group, heading to a singles event or aiming to go on at least two dates a month, try and visual what’s needed to achieve your ultimate desired outcome. When you set goals to keep you accountable it gives you a sense of progress and direction.
It’s a natural instinct to try and protect ourselves from being hurt. Let’s face it, finding love puts us in a vulnerable position. When we put our heart on the line there is always a chance that it could get broken or rejected. It’s this fear that then causes us to start to heighten our defenses and play games to try and stay in control.
However, when there are games involved, it means there will always be a loser. It doesn’t matter whether you are female or male, playing games is never going to bring you long- term happiness. In fact, it’s going to block the right person from feeling like they are welcome in your life.
So here are a few tips on why it’s time to just stick to chess and give love a real chance:
1: Shutting people off will leave you lonely
When we start to toy with people’s emotions, it will automatically make them shut off. They will start to withdraw for fear of being hurt or rejected and in the end, you won’t be left with anyone. Love takes vulnerability and that means risking a certain part of your mind and heart in order to let someone in. Game playing will only discourage the right people from wanting to get close to you.
2: Playing games ruins trust
Here’s the thing, you need to be consistent and transparent when you start dating someone, as this is what builds trust. If you are acting like a yoyo with your emotions or sending mixed signals then your dates won’t know where they stand with you. How can you expect someone to open up and have confidence in you if you are constantly breadcrumbing?
3: Being a player attracts the wrong type of people
It will only be a matter of time before the player gets played. If you put out a certain behaviour, then you will attract a similar one back. If you want to have a healthy, strong and loving relationship then you need to decide how you want to be perceived and how you are going to act.
4: Playing games is counterproductive and a time waster
If you are on a mission to break as many hearts as you can, just so you don’t get yours broken, then you need to stop and think long and hard. By fooling around and being dishonest to yourself and the people you hurt, you are not only wasting their time, but you are wasting yours as well. Eventually all of this will catch up to you and you will be left wondering if it was all worth it in the end. So save yourself the time and heartache and allow yourself to let people in. Love isn’t always easy but it’s definitely worth it.
Most of us know what it feels like to be rejected or broken up with, so it’s no wonder that we can be hesitant about inflicting that same emotion on someone else. However, staying in a relationship either out of guilt or fear is no way to live. Like anything in life, the best decisions we can make come from emotional intelligence and rational . When we allow anxiety to control our actions and relationships we invite an endless cycle of negativity into our life.
Love is a journey and finding the right person to spend the rest of your life with is a process. We often think we should stay with someone just because we have already spent so much time with them. We use our emotional investment and history with them as justification for putting up with being unhappy. We get comfortable.
But here’s the thing, you shouldn’t have to settle for someone just to keep them happy or to have an average relationship. So here are a few tips to getting you confident and brave enough to break it off:
Look at the bigger picture
Most of our anxiety starts when we overthink all the details instead of just seeing the bigger picture. When should I break up with them? What will they say? How will they react? How should I say it? and so on. Yes, people will get hurt along the way and it’s not going to be an easy process, but everyone has the ability to move on. You can’t get stuck in the moment and make up a list of empty excuses as to why you shouldn’t let go. Whether you are feeling guilty for hurting that person or are scared about what the future holds, you have to try and put everything into perspective and see beyond the initial break up.
Know your worth
If you are in a toxic relationship and feel utterly exhausted from the daily fight with your partner, then it’s even more of a reason why you need to call it quits. Don’t forget about what you want as well, and if you are not fulfilled or happy and your relationship is tumultuous, then it’s time to break free. Focus on building up your self-love and confidence so you can have the strength to say goodbye.
Take it a day at a time, but have a plan
The best way to tackle a fear is to have a plan of action. This means creating a practical solution for a problem. If you are struggling or fearful about ending your relationship then chances are you won’t just randomly wake up one day and do it. Keep a time frame in mind of how long you will wait, but don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself. Instead start to build daily habits and choices into your life that will helpgive you the courage to do it. Whether it’s focusing on self-love, or having a financial back up plan so you aren’t stranded. Good preparation will make the whole process a lot easier and take some of the stress away.
Hold yourself accountable
Lastly, it’s important to surround yourself with good people who inspire, encourage and support you. If you know you need to end your relationship because it is unhealthy or unfulfilling then make sure you tell the right people so they can keep you on track. With fear also comes excuses, so connect with people in your world you will keep you accountable to your happiness.
When we embark on finding love, we can sometimes get caught up in a whole lot or rules and regulations. Should we do this vs what we should actually do now. Whilst there are still core values and foundations to follow in building a relationship, the way in which we date has changed a little. So, it’s time to dust off the rule book and cross a few out to re-write some new ones:
The guy should make the first move
Sure, it’s nice for men to take the initiative to contact you, but let’s not forget that they can be just as shy. Don’t be scared to make the first move or contact. Men love a confident woman, plus it also helps getting the conversation happening, rather than waiting for days to be able to chat. The important part is to remember not to come across to aggressive or desperate. Be friendly and bold but let him do the chasing.
The man should always pay for the dates
Personally, I think it’s always more traditional and romantic if the man pays for the first date. But that doesn’t mean that he should be expected to! Make sure you also offer to pay your share. It’s not about trying to own him or test him, but rather contributing to the date in some way to pay your respects. It’s all about finding that balance on the first date.
You must wait a day before you respond to them
Playing games in dating will never get you anywhere. Yes, there needs to be a little bit of chase, but don’t confuse leaving some mystery about yourself with playing too hard to get. Being honest and open will mean that you can send clear signals and get clear responses back.
It’s embarrassing to say you met online
It used to be taboo to say you met online, now it is more common than meeting someone in real life! There is nothing to be ashamed about when it comes to online dating. We forget that looking for love online shows that we are being proactive and taking control over our love life, instead of just waiting for it to happen.
No kissing on the first date
There is something magical in waiting until you start being intimate, however if the moment calls for a quick kiss then go for it! It’s important to have fun when you date and not get stuck on the rule book. Whilst I do think you should wait awhile to go the whole way , stealing a kiss when you can both feel the chemistry is always something that will help you decide whether or not you want to see each other again
You need to go on at least two dates to give them a go
If you aren’t feeling it from the first date, then chances are you won’t be felling it on the second. Don’t feel obliged to continue to date someone just for the sake of it, or to try and force it to work. You’ll only be wasting both of your time and holding back the person who is right for you.
If you are someone that needs a little more than a subtle hint about how someone feels about you, then listen up. Body language is one of the simplest and most telling signs of someone’s true feelings. People will subconsciously reveal their reactions and emotions to a person or situation without even meaning to through body language. As the saying goes, “listen to their words but watch their actions”. Here are a few common body language movements decoded:
Crossed legs or arms
If any part of their body is crossed, it means they are guarded and not feeling completely relaxed around you. If a woman’s legs are crossed (as most women do this for modesty and comfort measures) look at where her legs are pointing, are the crossed away of towards you . Folded arms over the chest also indicate that your present company still needs to be convinced.
Playing with hair or ear
When someone plays with their own or someone else’s hair, this is usually a flirting technique. It means they feel comfortable and attracted to you and want to be able to get closer to you. However, ear grabbing usually means that the person doesn’t like what they are hearing and feel uncomfortable and a little nervous as well.
Touching of the neck and décolletage
This can be taken in two different ways. Someone who is stressed can rub their neck or loosen their collar, or even place a hand up around their own neck. These signs will also go with probably a straighter back and maybe even crossed arms. On the flip side if someone is grazing their fingers playfully around this area it can also mean they are flirting and are attracted to you.
Eye contact vs. no eye contact
The eyes will really tell you a lot about someone. If you are yet to be able to master reading the small movements of the eye, then just stick to understanding the importance of eye contact. When someone feels comfortable and attracted to you they will make eye contact. Anyone who is bored, nervous or uncomfortable will not be able to hold your gaze. They will keep looking away, or down and will answer your questions without looking at your directly.
Smiling with teeth vs smiling with no teeth
A big open smile with lots of teeth, shows that the person you are with feels relaxed, happy and comfortable. It’s also a clear way of flirting. A more demure and coy smile with no teeth but smiley eyes will also indicate a playful and flirty nature. A smile that has no teeth and no “smiling eyes” indicates they are just being polite but are most likely not interested, lacking confidence or comfortable.
Remember just because their body language indicates one thing at the start of a date, doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t change throughout the course of the date.