Spring Clean Your Relationship Clutter

Spring is here! This is the time of year when people clear out their closets, clean their homes, and refresh their wardrobes. But what about the other stuff? The stuff that actually matters? The stuff that you bury in your heart? The stuff that you are too scared to face?

Yea, that stuff.

I call this relationship clutter. It’s old baggage from past relationships – baggage that we either consciously or subconsciously cling to. This clutter is the reason why you’ve found yourself in a cycle of mediocre, awful, or toxic relationships. If you feel as though your relationships seem to embody the same theme… it’s because they do. When you hold onto your relationship clutter, you’re holding onto those stories; you replay events over and over again, driving yourself to insanity. Then you find yourself going out on another date with another mistake because you have yet to learn your lesson.

It’s time for you to spring clean your relationship clutter. Let go of the stories, release the past, and make room for healthier, more fulfilling relationships. You can do so by following these 3 steps:

Recognize Your Clutter

Ask yourself: “What old relationship stories am I holding onto?” Are you holding onto stories of being cheated on? Being dumped? Or feeling neglected? Take some time to reflect back on your past relationships… What did you walk away with? How were you left feeling? Recognize each and every single one of these stories so that you can finally accept their presence in your life.

Acknowledge The Clutter’s Affect On Your Life

How does your old relationship clutter affect you? What type of impact does it have on new relationships? I’m going to assume the impact isn’t positive. When you hold onto past relationship stories, you’re allowing those stories to hold power over you. They will seep into every new relationship experience, tarnishing it from becoming something different. For example, if you’re holding onto stories of being cheated on, you’ll probably find yourself living a ‘victim’ mentality and won’t be willing to trust a new partner. This is how you end up in a toxic relationship cycle. Go ahead – take note of how each past experience holds power over your current life. If you want to gain your power back, you’ve got to clean out the clutter.

Release The Clutter

This step is all about your willingness to move forward. It’s time to release your old relationship clutter. This is where you start dropping F-Bombs, aka FORGIVENESS. You’re probably cringing at the F-word, but that’s because you don’t fully understand how forgiveness serves you. Forgiveness does not condone another person’s actions; it’s about allowing yourself the freedom to let go. The more anger and resentment you hold against another human being, the stronger the bond. Think about it… Remember your ex? The one who cheated on you? How many times a day do you think about them? How have your thoughts about them negatively impacted new relationships? You’ve basically rendered yourself powerless to this person! It’s time to let go. Forgive them, forgive yourself, and cut the ropes that keep you tied to your past. Clean out every single piece of relationship clutter from your subconscious knowing that by doing so, you’ll create space for healthier, more positive relationships. FYI: If you’re having difficulty with this step, I would question your willingness to actually create change.

Relationship clutter is comprised of all our old wounds, hurts, and scars. But guess what? These things heal! You just have to allow them the opportunity to heal. It’s time for you to get rid of that stuff. It’s time for you to rid yourself of these old wounds. And Spring is the perfect time to begin cleaning out your relationship clutter.

8 Lessons Frank Underwood Taught Us About Love

With the third season of Netflix’s “House of Cards” right around the corner, there’s no better time than now to reflect on the wise teachings of Congressman-turned-Vice-President-turned-President Francis Joseph “Frank” Underwood.

Besides being a master of manipulation and murder, Frank is also an expert in love, so before you grab the ribs, pull up Netflix and pop a squat on the coach for the next three days, let’s take a look at the eight best lessons Frank Underwood taught us about love.

Note: If you have not seen the second season of “House of Cards,” or if you’ve never even watched the show (shame on you!), you might not want to read this article – just sayin’.

“I love that woman. I love her more than sharks love blood.”

If you can love someone as much as Jaws loves attacking beach-goers, then you’ve got yourself a match, and Frank found himself a match in Claire.

“A great man once said, ‘Everything is about sex. Except sex. Sex is about power.’”

Sex is an important part of any relationship, but Frank isn’t naïve enough to assume there isn’t an underlying power play always going on. His relationship with Zoe proved that.

“I should have thought of this before. Appeal to the heart, not the brain.”

Most of the time, love and logic don’t go hand in hand, and Frank used this to his advantage when he tried hustling Donald Blythe for his vote.

“When we care too much, it blinds us.”

Frank only loves a few people, and Freddy is definitely one of them. However, he doesn’t let that love cloud his vision when it comes to doing what’s best for him. Can you say the same?

“He can go after me all he wants, but to go after my wife? No class.”

If you’re not going to stick up for the ones you love, who will?

“Did Zoe expect me to twiddle my thumbs until her arrival? Perhaps she’s making the mistake thinking her time is as valuable as mine. Proximity to power deludes some into believing they wield it. I put an end to that sort of thinking before it begins.”

Always remember that you have control over your life and your relationships – no one else does. Frank doesn’t sit around waiting for a man to call, and you shouldn’t either!

“Did you smell that? The smugness, the false deference. She thinks I can be bought with a pair of tickets. What am I? A whore in post-war Berlin salivating over free stockings and chocolate. What she’s asking will cost far more than that.”

Don’t let anyone, especially someone you’re dating, treat you less than what you deserve.

“There are two kinds of pain. The sort of pain that makes you strong or useless pain. The sort of pain that’s only suffering. I have no patience for useless things.”

After a bad date, fight or breakup, let those things give you strength instead of drowning your sorrows in a bowl of mac and cheese the size of your head. (Or maybe do that after the mac and cheese. No judgment!)

So the next time you’re contemplating your next move in love or in life, think about what Frank Underwood would do. Tap, tap!

As the editor-in-chief of DatingAdvice.com, I oversee content strategy, social media engagement and media opportunities. When I’m not writing about cheese or my 17-year love affair with Leonardo DiCaprio, I’m listening to The Beatles, watching Harry Potter reruns (I’m a proud Slytherin!) or drinking IPAs. Connect with me on Google+ and Twitter.

The Science Behind Why “Friends With Benefits” Doesn’t Work

Question: If a sexy, trustworthy male friend were to offer you this situation, and you hadn’t yet found your forever guy, what would you say? With many women spending significant portions of our lives single, the “friends with benefits” arrangement can sound ideal. And yet, factually speaking—it’s probably not.

The Thirst-Quencher?

Drive reduction theory shows that when we have an increasing physical need—like sex—then our motivation to meet that need also rises. So if we are horny, we might be motivated to get up off the couch and shave our legs and put on a sexy outfit and hang out someplace where hot men tend to hang out.

Unless of course, that thirst has already been quenched by lots of sex through a “friends with benefits” situation. Then it becomes much too easy to spend our nights eating pizza in front of Hulu until our boy toy arrives.

What’s In It For You?

In repeated studies, over 75% of women say they have an orgasm every single time if they’re with a committed partner—yet that same percent of women says they don’t orgasm with more casual flings.

Um, bummer.

Chemical cocktail, anyone?

Ever wonder why pleasure from sex toys can leave you feeling a little unfulfilled, compared to the physical and emotional satisfaction of sex with a partner? Drugs. Our bodies produce an abundance of chemicals in anticipation of and in response to sex—creating mood-boosting properties similar to anti-depressants.

And the more often women have sex with any one partner, the more of this Chemical Bond-O our bodies release. Meaning? We get stuck on partners even when we don’t want to.

And so, the scientist in me recommends the following:

Ask yourself the following three questions:

  • Are you one of the ¼ of women who can actually have casual sex and not get attached or hurt?
  • Are you among the minority of women who will be sexually satisfied without an emotional bond and/or commitment?
  • And if your FWB is gloriously capable of bringing you pleasure, will you still be motivated to do all the work of finding the right man for you?

If you answer all three questions in the affirmative~great! Use condoms, use your head, and have fun.

But if you’re like most women and answer No to even one of those questions, we’re back to sex with ourselves while looking for The One.

Duana C. Welch, Ph.D., is the author of Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do (2015), which is available now. You can get a free chapter and see more at http://www.lovefactually.co

The 5 Most Romantic Hotels In North America

When you’re planning a vacation with your significant other, you likely want to stay at a romantic hotel that surrounds you with beauty and sets the tone for romance, immediately putting you and your loved one in a blissful state of serenity. Most of us don’t get very many opportunities to go on vacation, so it’s important that we stay somewhere amazing! Here are 5 romantic hotels that are sure to blow your mind:

1. Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre

The bedroom's beautiful mountain view at the Pan Pacific Whistler Village
The bedroom’s beautiful mountain view at Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre


Nestled in the heart of Whistler Village in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, this beautiful hotel is sure to exceed your expectations.

The full-service, award-winning Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre boasts slope-side accommodation and spacious private residence-style suites with full kitchens, cozy fireplaces and balconies that offer fresh mountain air and breathtaking views that make you feel like you’re in a Winter Wonderland.

Its prime location in Whistler is ideal for sightseeing, dining and shopping as well as easy access to a host of year-round adventures, Whistler-style. There are many romantic winter activities you and your loved one can discover nearby, such as snow-shoeing under the stars, cross country skiing among snow-covered pines, walking to the beautiful lost lake, or relaxing at the Pan Pacific Whistler Village hot-tub surrounded by snowy mountains.

The romantic hot tub surrounded by mountains at the Pan Pacific Whistler Village.
Outdoor hot tub surrounded by mountains at Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre

Whether you vacation at Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre in the Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, you’ll be surrounded by gorgeous scenery and an

View from balcony in suite at the Pan Pacific Whistler Village Suites
View from balcony in suite at Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre

array of year-round activities at your fingertips. Nearby glacier lakes sparkle emerald green in the summer, while in the winter you might opt for a snow-shoeing venture under the stars with your loved one.

Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre at nighttime

 

2. The Westin Maui Resort & Spa

westinmaui3Located on the beautiful and romantic Hawaiian island of Maui, the Westin Maui Resort and Spa is a luxury beachfront resort on the famous Kaanapali Beach.

 The resort boasts layers of luxury ocean front pools and hot tubs with a perfect view of that gorgeous Hawaiian sunset. At night, the resort lights twinkle and the pool and hot tub change colours to create a majestic feeling for couples to enjoy.

The Westin Maui’s ocean view suites will take your breath away. Your private balcony is the perfect sanctuary to enjoy the surreal Hawaiian sunrise and sunset. The resort’s grounds breathe the essence of Hawaii with lagoons, Hawaiian flowers and happily swimming swans.

Rent a cabana for two on the beach or enjoy poolside drink service with your loved one. Take a walk along the Kaanapali strip where there is a variety of beachfront restaurants and live traditional Hawaiian music.

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An ocean view suite at sunset at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa

 

3. The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

 

Photo courtesy: fairmont.com
Photo courtesy: fairmont.com

Can you imagine what it would be like to stay in a hotel right on a beautiful Canadian glacier lake? Book a room at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, and you will see just how romantic of an experience it is. The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is located in Alberta’s Banff National Park, and it is surrounded by the stunning Victoria Glacier and its sparkling emerald green lake, Lake Louise.

From ice skating and horse drawn sleigh rides in the Winter, to hiking, canoeing and horseback riding in the Summer, this hotel is majestic any time of year and offers luxury accommodation in a serene and breathtakingly beautiful location. It’s no wonder ABC’s The Bachelor chose the Fairmont Lake Louise as one of their romantic getaways to feature.

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Bachelor & Bachelorette at the stunning Fairmont Château Lake Louise

 

4. The Beach House Hotel at Hermosa Beach

hermosa1This California hotel on Hermosa Beach is an amazing couples retreat due to its unique loft-style spacious rooms with gorgeous ocean views. Being a beach-front hotel, The Beach House Hotel at Hermosa Beach is perfect for those romantic moonlight strolls as the beach boasts a pier that stretches into the moonlit ocean.The romantic and spacious balconies are the perfect spot to have a glass of wine while watching the sunset.

Cozy up by the fireplace at night if it’s chilly, because each suite has its own fireplace.

 

 

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Suite with balcony and ocean view

5. The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

New York is a romantic city to visit for so many reasons: sight-seeing in a horse and carriage for two, fine-dining in some of the world’s best restaurants, and that view from the Empire State building. You can’t go wrong with a room near the iconic Central Park, and the luxurious Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park is a great hotel choice while staying in New York with your significant other.

The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park boasts luxury rooms with captivating Central Park views in a fabulous central location.

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The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

Whether you enjoy ice skating at Rockefeller Center or a sleigh ride in the Winter, a stroll in Central Park surrounded by the many beautiful colours of Fall’s leaves, or spend summer nights touring the city and fine-dining on patios, any season is a great season to visit NYC.

The One That Almost Got Away: A PlentyOfFish Love Story

Every single day, happy couples who met on PlentyOfFish share their love stories with us. These success stories are always music to our ears here at the PlentyOfFish office. The love story of Kelly and Jake, however, is a very special one.

Kelly and Jake, a happy couple from Vancouver, British Columbia, met on PlentyOfFish two years ago. They went through some unique twists and turns to get to where they are today – you’ll never believe what Jake did for Kelly! Below is their exclusive interview with us:

Kelly, please tell us the story of how you met and fell in love with Jake!

Jake and I met two years ago, the night after I celebrated my 27th birthday. He was persistently asking to meet me in person for awhile (via POF messages) but I kept avoiding meeting him – for no particular reason. Finally on this lazy Sunday I agreed to go out for a late dinner. We had great conversation throughout dinner, which is important to me, but I didn’t feel that initial spark that some people say they get right away.

What is funny to look back on, is that I remember going to my friend’s house after our date and saying “nope, I’m not into him! He has a tattoo on his hand.” However, after that first date, Jake continued to pursue me and we hung out a lot during the following months. We formed a very strong friendship and connection. I was still on the fence about dating him because he has a son, and I wasn’t sure I was ready to get involved in that kind of a relationship or play that role at that point.

Over the next year, we kept it quite casual due to me not really being ready for anything too serious. At the end of 2012, I decided I was going to live abroad in Australia, solo. This was something I had always wanted to do, and had planned on doing before meeting Jake. Jake seemed happy for me and even helped me plan my trip, but he admits to me now how sad he was to see me go.

In January of 2013, it was time to say goodbye. Jake and I hugged and cried, and we said “I love you” to each other for the first time. It was extremely hard leaving him. Perhaps, in the midst of being distracted planning and getting ready for Australia, I was blind to the amazing relationship and bond we had formed over the last year.

While I was in Australia we kept in touch almost daily, but during the first 3 months I was mostly into sightseeing, meeting new people and just doing my own thing. However, I definitely missed him a lot.

On March 12, 2013, I received a knock on the door of where I was living in Melbourne, Australia.  I was in the middle of having an afternoon nap. I peeked through the blinds and all I saw was cargo shorts (I should have know by that very fact) I opened the door, rubbing my eyes, and I couldn’t believe my eyes that JAKE was standing there.

kelly1Needless to say, I was in complete shock! Jake had flown from Vancouver, Canada to Melbourne, Australia, to surprise me and knock on my door. He told me that I am the love of his life and that he had to tell me in person! I laugh now because I still can’t believe men like him actually exist! Really? A man doing something like that is practically unheard of in our generation. What makes his grand gesture even more romantic, is that he was only able to get away from work for four nights, but he still came all the way to Australia! That’s a 24 hour flight each way, so he knew he’d only get to spend two days with me – but he still thought it was worth it!

There was a mutual understanding that Jake wouldn’t be staying. Living abroad in Australia was something I wanted to solo, for myself. However as time passed, and after the shock of his surprise visit wore off, I missed him more and more and realized that he is the one I want. No new opportunities in Australia could compete with what my heart wanted: Jake.

In July 2013, he flew me to Bali and we got to spend 10 days on vacation together. That trip was the tipping point for me; I knew I had to come home from Australia earlier than planned, to be with Jake. He booked me a flight back to Vancouver for September 2013, we moved in together, and the rest is history!

Jake, what made Kelly stand out initially on POF? What made her stand out when you met?

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Kelly & Jake drinking “poo tea” together in Bali.

I thought she seemed like an honest down to earth woman, and she was super cute. When we met she was very bubbly and positive, and I am very attracted to that. She was very easy to relate to and talk to.

Kelly, what made Jake stand out initially on POF? What made him stand out when you met?

Jake kept messaging me on POF, pestering me to hang out, and when I finally did I loved our conversation. We had a lot in common. He seemed like a really solid, nice guy- with a great smile. Oh, and he was tall! I like really tall guys!

 Jake, how and when did you know that Kelly was someone who you definitely wanted to pursue?

 The closer it got to the time for Kelly to go to Australia, My feelings got stronger and stronger. When she was away in Australia, it really hit me that she was the one.

 Kelly, how and when did you know that Jake was someone who you definitely wanted to pursue? 

After Jake left Melbourne I started to have really strong feelings for him, and after Bali I knew he was the one I wanted to be with.

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Today, Kelly and Jake are still happily living together in Vancouver, British Columbia. Jake owns a sign, print and graphic design company called Liquid Grafix. Kelly, a very talented furniture refinisher, realized she had a lot of DIY tips and now runs her very own lifestyle blog A Shabby To Chic Life. Kelly also works as a web designer and social media manager for Jake’s company, Liquid Grafix.