How to Throw an Epic Summer Bday Party for Your S.O.—On a Budget

It’s easy to want to go all out for your S.O.’s birthday, especially if it’s a milestone age, you slacked off last year and need to make up for it or you’re in a new relationship. Just remember, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars for people to have a good time. The number one rule to throwing a party on a budget is planning in advance. It sounds cliché, but throwing something together last minute is stressful and you end up not caring what the price tag says.

Summer’s warm temps are perfect for a b-day bash, allowing you to take advantage of outdoor spaces, pools, beaches you name it. Here’s how to throw an epic budget-friendly summer b-day party for your S.O.:

GET CREATIVE FOR FOOD COSTS

Food is expected at a birthday bash and can be a significant cost compared to other expenses. In fact, 60 percent of American’s polled said food is their biggest expense when throwing a summer party. It may seem old school but going pot-luck style can save you money for you S.O.’s big bash.

If you want to make sure your love has all his or her favorite foods to choose from, create a list of items and ask attendees to choose one thing to bring. If you don’t feel comfortable asking others to bring food, buy things in bulk to cut costs and always keep ingredients simple.

Consider something fun and relatively inexpensive like a taco bar, which you could then carry the theme throughout the party. Also choose the time of your party wisely—an afternoon backyard bash or brunch pool party will likely be less expensive than hosting full-on dinner for 40 of your closest friends.

DON’T RENT AN EXPENSIVE SPACE

While renting out VIP tables at a nightclub or dining at the most exclusive new restaurant is great, they come with a huge price tag for you and your guests. Think about places you can meet a large group of people for free, such as breweries or rooftop bars.

Breweries are popping up all over the map and since most don’t operate a kitchen on site, they team up with food trucks for happy hour or dinner. While you don’t have to provide food for everyone, order a handful of appetizers for your party and let everyone indulge! Just be sure you call ahead to get the food truck schedule so your guests aren’t left hungry.

Rooftop bars are also hot right now—what better way to hang with a group of friends and celebrate your S.O. than on top of a roof with beautiful views of your city? Check out the space before hand and make sure there’s enough space and staff to accommodate a large party.

TELL YOUR FRIEND TO BYOB

Don’t be embarrassed to ask your friends to BYOB to your party. Especially if you’re hosting somewhere like a beach or pool, where people will need their own coolers anyway, it makes sense. If you think it’s tacky, you could make your S.O.’s favorite signature cocktail and serve it up to your guests, but don’t think you have to supply alcohol.

Of course you wouldn’t want anyone to go without so be sure to communicate BYOB to everyone in advance. If you decide to purchase alcohol, pick beverages that make sense for the occasion. For example, for an outdoor pool party, you probably won’t want glass beer bottles or a full-liquor bar.

Pro-tip: consider making your own frosé—it can be inexpensive to make large portions, refreshing on a hot day and it’ll surely impress your guests!

5 Unique Destinations for Your First Couple’s Vacation

Your first romantic getaway is a memorable rite of passage for any relationship, and when the planning begins, forget about the generic hot spots, like Vegas or Cabo. To make it truly unforgettable, choose a destination that neither of you have ever been to—better yet—never even heard of. With fewer tourists around, you’ll be free to enjoy the culture and one another without distraction.

Start your vacation prep with some research on the following unique destinations.

Port Louis, Mauritius

For the: Artisan couple

Referred to as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean,” this island off the African coast is a multicultural nexus with diverse attractions to keep both you and your sweetheart entertained. The waterfront capital of Port Louis, dating back to 1735, offers all the excitement of a trendy urban center. With outdoor artisan markets, upscale shopping districts, performance venues and exotic scenery, you’ll want to spend the week just taking it all in.

Photo source: Elite-Voyage

Scottsdale, Arizona

For the: Outdoors-y couple

Fringing the outskirts of metro-Phoenix, this western retreat has been described as the “desert version of Miami’s South Beach,” according to The New York Times. Once overshadowed by its more populous neighbor, Phoenix, Scottsdale is now an up-and-coming hotspot in its own right with miles of rugged hiking trails, artistic and cultural exhibits, Sonoran-inspired cuisine and a vibrant nightlife atmosphere.

This is a perfect vacation spot for the adventurous couple that enjoys wild exploration and cosmopolitan energy.

Photo source: Huffington Post

Cape Town, South Africa

For the: Little-bit-of-everything couple

Voted the “world’s best city” in 2016 by readers of Telegraph Travel, this South African capital is a beacon of post-apartheid triumph and revitalization. It’s become a mecca for vacationers of all kinds, from thrill-seekers to history buffs. Top stops include Tabletop Mountain, False Bay, and Cape Wineland.

Don’t stop there, because Cape Town is alive after sunset: “This vibey city doesn’t need much sleep and generally, the party in the city centre areas of Loop, Lang, Bree and Waterkant Streets start an hour or so before midnight,” according to Cape Town: Discover South Africa’s Most Charming City.

Photo Source: Nox Rentals

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

For the: Mountain couple

Steamboat Springs inspires romance around every spruce-lined corner. This lesser-known Rocky Mountain enclave is home to geothermal basins, idyllic white-capped peaks and ski slopes featuring “champagne powder” snow. It’s also the perfect backdrop for long days in the snow and snuggling near the fireplace all night. It’s located three hours north of Denver, and is a less touristy option if you’re interested in popular destinations like Vail or Tahoe.

Photo source: SkyRun Steamboat

Algarrobo, Chile

For the: Luxurious couple

Known for its 3,324-foot swimming pool, which is among the world’s most expansive manmade lagoons, this South American comuna is a favorite summer playground for Santiago’s urban elite. Whisk your sweetheart to the luxurious San Alfonso del Mar resort, where you can wander hand-in-hand along a poolside promenade flanking the Pacific Ocean. Then cool off with various amenities and excursions, including scuba diving, kayaking, sailing and a waterslide that spans almost 330 feet long. No matter what you do, this luxurious town is sure to impress.

Photo source: Odd Stuff Magazine

Your first vacation as a couple is one you’ll tell friends and family about for years to come. Choose a destination that’s unique and magical, and you’re sure to have plenty of stories to share and memories to look back on.

8 Essentials To Discuss Before Moving in With Your SO

Your relationship is going well and things are falling into place. One or both of you think it may be the right time to take the next step and move in together. Before you just spring into action and get busy with moving, make sure you take the time to talk to your partner about these important factors.

His place or yours?

The first question is, where are you going to live? It’s all too easy for one or both of you to assume you already know the answer. Maybe your beau thinks you’re just moving into his place or perhaps you think your place is perfect for you both. If you’re moving in or vice versa, remember this: it’s no longer your place or his, it’s both of yours. Sounds simple enough, but that means you will need to share your space. He may want to hang up his sports or Star Wars posters, and although that may mess up your feng shui, you have to remember he wants to feel at home, too. On the other hand, if you move into his place, what will it take for you to feel comfortable? Whose furniture will you keep and what will be discarded?

The best solution may be for both of you to find a new place together. That way it’s not yours or his, but a neutral location where you can start your next chapter together. Even if this is what you want to do, there are still some things you have to talk about. Discuss must haves and simply cannot do; do you want to stay close to family? Will one of you be commuting while the other has an easy two-minute walk to work? Take these things into consideration as you’re looking for your new place.

One or Both of You May Need to Adjust to the New Space

Whether you stay at one of your places or find a new apartment, it’s going to take some adjusting. Even if you were spending nearly every night together, it’s not quite the same as living together. Get ready to learn some new things about your significant other and your similarities and differences. For example, does he have an open door policy and like to have buddies over to play video games while you prefer a quiet evening in? Is he a neat freak and you have a tendency to get cluttered? These are the types of discussions you’ll need to have early on.

You will also learn about how much space each of you needs. Now that you’re spending so much time together, you may have to carve out some alone time to pursue your individual interests.

If you’re living in a new place you should also discuss what is required for each of you to feel safe. If you’re in a new or unfamiliar neighborhood, you may also want to consider some easy DIY security upgrades like a wireless alarm system or motion detectors. Also, it may help you to come up with a leaving-the-house checklist to remember to lock your windows and doors but also to make sure electronics are powered down before you leave the house.

Bills, Bills, Bills

If you haven’t discussed money with your partner, this is a topic you should tackle before you move in together. Will you write a check to your SO and he will write a check for both of you? Will you write separate checks? What about your utility bills? If he insists on having ESPN but you never watch TV, will you split the cable bill evenly or is that his responsibility? Money is an unpopular topic to talk about, but it will save you some headaches if you have the discussion early.

Who Gets the Dog?

If one of you has a pet, who will handle the responsibilities like walking the dog or cleaning the litter box? If it’s your dog, your partner may just assume you will handle everything, but what happens when you’ve had to work late and you come home to find out your beau didn’t walk the dog or feed him?

Talk about how things will be different when you live together. Will you both care for the pets or will it be one person’s responsibility?

Take Out the Papers and the Trash

In addition to the responsibilities that come with a pet, how will you divide household chores? This is something you really need to talk about because if you just assume one person is in charge of a certain chore, it may make one of you resentful if you’re constantly stuck with a task you hate.

You may want to designate responsibilities like you do the cooking and he does the dishes and you do the laundry and he cleans the bathroom. Or you may want to devise a system where you rotate responsibilities. You can do whatever works for you just do yourself a favor and make sure you talk about this!

Why Do You Want to Live Together?

What is the real reason the two of you want to live together? Is it simply easier to split the rent versus paying for two places, or is it for convenience: so neither of you have to pack an overnight bag? While these are added perks of cohabitation, they shouldn’t be your underlying motivation. As you can see, living together is a big adjustment, and one you should discuss at length before making a rash decision. Make sure the desire is there and that you’re not just doing it for financial necessity or convenience.

Discuss Expectations

What does moving in together mean? Believe it or not, it may mean something different to each of you. In many cases, men and women have a different view of what living together means. While some may think it’s a step toward engagement, others may have a different idea entirely. One of you may want to get married in the near future, while the other isn’t thinking in those terms yet. Before you move in together, make sure you communicate about what you both want from the relationship. It may be hard and scary to bring up the topic, but it will save you a lot of anguish in the long run if you’re both not on the same page.

Remember: You’re Teammates, Not Roommates

When you share an apartment you will naturally discover some unflattering things about your partner. This is a great chance for you to learn to embrace the good with the bad and learn to communicate and pick your battles. At the end of the day, remember, you’re significant other isn’t just another roommate who splits the rent and you only see on occasion. You’re joining forces, you’re sharing space, and hopefully you’re making memories that will last a lifetime.

If you think you are ready to move in with your boyfriend or girlfriend, make sure you sit down together and have a heart to heart. Good luck, you’re taking an exciting step in your journey together!

 

5 Ways to Know You Are Absolutely Positively in Love

Love. So often we use the word but not nearly as often do we reflect on what it really means. While the definition of love is as diverse and complicated as the people who experience it, here are five of the ways to know you are absolutely, positively in love!

You can be 100 % yourself

The beginning of a relationship is a truly exciting time, consumed with wonderful, intoxicating, almost too good to be true feelings over another person. This is the honeymoon phase where each of you can see no wrong in each other and always put your best foot forward For some, this means going to great lengths; perhaps even sleeping in full glam makeup or strictly wearing only your least comfortable, yet most attractive outfits. Sweatpants are, for the time being, banished to the darkest corner in your closet…Not that I or any woman has ever done that…

The longer the relationship lasts; however, the more your authentic self emerges, which is especially true when living with someone. True love is letting your guard down, surrendering trust in each other, and accepting one another for who you really are behind closed doors.

You share in each other’s happiness

A win for them is a win for you! If your partner got a promotion at work or are beaming after their dance class and you’re truly happy for them, it’s evident, a large part of your happiness resides in them being content.The thought of a life without them has your stomach in knots and it simply it does not make sense. If seeing your partner happy invokes joy within your heart, that is a definite sign that cupid has paid you a visit.

You always want the best for them, even when they drive you crazy

Even the most seemingly perfect couples, rest assured, have their combative moments. But when you truly love someone, annoyance and even anger are overridden by the fact that, at the end of the day you care for this person and will work it out because it’s worth it. It’s not your intention to hurt one another, because in doing so, it takes an immediate affect on you as well.

You’re best friends

Yes, it may sound cliché but is there any truer sign of love than a deep and meaningful friendship? Being able to laugh and feel utter joy in each other’s company, whether it’s simply staying up late talking or going on adventures around the world, is all made better knowing that you’d never want to do it with anyone else, but your best friend.

Time tells all

In the end, time reveals to us whether something is meaningful or fleeting. It’s can be difficult sometimes early on into a relationship to identify whether it’s true love or infatuation. A healthy, long lasting relationship requires patience, understanding, and compromise. In time, if you can still easily accept your significant other, including all of their faults, then you can safely bet that you’ve found that elusive, wonderful, all encompassing, true and everlasting love.

If all of the above applies to you, you’re a lucky one! Never let your partner forget what they mean to you because we are never promised tomorrow, so make sure to show that you love them today.

The 3 Most Unattractive Qualities In a Partner

The self-help revolution has taught us for decades about how to become better at sales, more confident, or more outgoing. But what about how to become a better partner? And what about distinguishing between someone who brings light and energy into our lives versus someone who continually drags us down.

Below I’ve listed the most unattractive traits that could poison a relationship from the inside out. Keep an eye out for them, either in your potential partner or even yourself!

Is your partner too pessimistic? 

There’s nothing wrong with being realistic- when you have rent and bills to pay then you have to keep your feet firmly on the ground. Just be wary of someone who takes every opportunity to put a damper on things: this person misses opportunities because they look for the worst in any situation.

You might think that you can help them, or maybe convince them to be more positive (and there’s more about that later) but it won’t work. You’ll find yourself living a dull but frustrating life, one where things ‘just never seem to go right’, where the world seems to always work against you, all because your glass is half empty. Their attitude will slowly poison your outlook on life.

And if your partner looks for the reasons why things can’t work rather than how they could, then the moment you hit a rocky patch together, they’ll be out the door. Nobody want’s to feel like they are continually treading on egg shells.

Is your partner jealous and possessive?

Again, healthy jealousy can be a great thing. It shows you that you mean a lot to them, and that they couldn’t stomach the idea of being without you… Which is great!

But jealousy can have a very, very dark side. When unrestrained, jealousy gives way to anger, misery and even abuse. At its worst, jealousy becomes complete possessiveness: they want to track your every move, your every word, your every interaction. They want to own you, and that definitely isn’t healthy.

Jealousy is also often a sign of a guilty conscience, in particular if it comes as a change in character. If your partner suddenly starts to accuse you of cheating, for what seems like no reason, then there’s a chance that they’re pointing the finger at you instead of addressing their own guilt.

Is your partner too domineering- are they trying to change you?

It’s an adage as old as relationships themselves, and it’s true: you can’t change your partner, and trying to will only end in disappointment. So why do people still try?

Well, some people are natural dominators. They want to be the biggest, best person in the room- it’s just human nature. And there’s nothing that’s necessarily bad about that, but with some people, it can become a slippery slope towards abuse. Dictatorship like behaviour in a relationship can very often drive the other person anyway, causing confusion and hurt.

They’ll often start doing things behind their partners back to avoid any further pressure to change. If they demand their partner change their ways through pressure or force, it’ll never work and leave them with a bitter resentment towards their partner which could spell disaster for the long term.

If you want to ensure a relationship has the longest term chance of success and you see these unattractive patterns in our partners, instead of looking to place blame, first look in the mirror and make sure you’re not the source! i.e. If you catch yourself being overly negative with someone you’re dating, catch your negative thoughts as they happen and try to see the positivity and instead vocalize that.

Another example is, if you find yourself being jealous and possessive, try to objectively look at the situation from an external point of view. Do you have a reason to try to ‘control’ your partner in that situation or is it a projection of your own insecurity – could you do anything to address that?

The healthiest relationship we need to have is one with ourselves and if we want attraction to last with anyone we’re dating, it must start and end with you.

The Better Way To Breakup

Hurting someone’s feelings is never easy but if you want to end your relationship it’s the compassionate thing to do. In fact, the more final you can be the better.

People hear what they want to hear. If you try to sugar coat the breakup your soon-to-be ex will focus on the good stuff and won’t let you go. When hope lingers boundaries get blurred, and emotions get complicated. That’s why a lot of people just disappear, like a ghost, to avoid any emotionally messy situations. However, ghosting someone frequently does leave you open to being haunted because most people need answers. Abandonment anxiety causes otherwise rational people to behave in some pretty needy ways.

You can avoid future heartache and keep a clear conscious by being proactive now.

Eliminating Hope 

Understanding what went wrong and killing all hope for a future together is the way to get over a breakup. So with that in mind, be compassionate but firm and speak your truth. Standing up for yourself raises your self-esteem (which makes you more attractive). Consider breaking up practicing emotional intimacy. Couples commonly have their best conversation as they are ending a relationship because they have nothing to lose, they can finally be honest about their feelings.

It’s Not You It’s Me

The old, “It’s not you, it’s me” is the best approach. No need to make anyone feel bad about them self, just confess how you feel the relationship doesn’t work for you. Pointing out things your partner needs to change implies you want them to, and they’ll probably ask for the chance to try. (Remember, eliminate all hope) Be strong by asserting that it takes two, and that you are done trying. It’s cruel to leave the door open even a crack. There is no harm in acknowledging what a great catch he or she is for someone else, just be crystal clear that person will never be you.

Speak in Person

It’s best to have the conversation in person but on the phone is fine too. DO NOT send a text message or email unless you are too insecure or too selfish to have an actual conversation. If he or she starts yelling hold strong boundaries and end the conversation. Wish him or her luck and express your need for a clean break to move on with your life (cutting all contact). You are not friends and you shouldn’t try to act as you are. That will only prolong your ex’s feelings for you and create false hope of reuniting someday. You don’t want to stand in the way of their happiness.

Act with Integrity

Acting with integrity will make you feel better in the long run, and help you have better relationships. What goes around does come back around because like attracts like. As you get healthier, healthier people will be more attractive to you and vice versa. As you move on from one relationship the lessons you learn about what does and doesn’t work for you will help you make better choices in dating.

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Signs He Is Emotionally Unavailable

We all ideally have the type of guy we want to meet, envisioned in our heads. And I’m pretty sure that the love story you have imagined will involve him falling deeply for you and being able to commit. Choosing to date someone emotionally available is sometimes harder than we think. Mainly because we won’t know if they are until later down the track. However, if you find yourself constantly “ghosted” or single, then perhaps you are addicted to dating men who aren’t ready to invest in love? Here’s a few tell -tale signs:

1: You can’t seem to find someone to commit

When a man is ready to be with a woman, he will do anything to make this happen. Unfortunately, if he has already decided that he doesn’t want anything more, than there’s not much you can do to change his mind. Just because you might be compatible on some levels, doesn’t mean he is emotionally ready to invest himself. This isn’t a reflection of who you are, but rather either a case of bad timing or the wrong guy for you. When someone chooses to commit to you, it means in every way.

2: You are constantly chasing after them

Whilst there shouldn’t be any games in love and relationships, there is always an element of chase. However, it should be the man wooing the woman. Not the other way around. If you are constantly chasing men who just seem to always be out of reach or only giving you false hope, then chances are these men aren’t emotionally available. Save yourself the time, heartache and energy, by guarding your heart and watching their actions. Are they actively pursuing you? If not, then move on.

3: You give them everything and get nothing in return

Love is a two-way street and you shouldn’t be the one doing all the work. When a man wants to invest in you and your relationship, he will be meeting you halfway. A healthy and fulfilling relationship shouldn’t leave you feeling drained.

4: You keep holding out hoping they’ll change

This is so easy to do, but incredibly exhausting. You can’t enter into a relationship in hope of what you want it to be. You need to see it for what it is and decide whether or not that is enough for you. Trying to fix your man or forcing him to feel the same way will only cause heartache, conflict and tension.

5: You make excuses for their behaviour

This is probably because you have put them on a pedestal which can happen when feelings are one sided. There is nothing wrong with elevating the person you love, but they should be lifting you up to. When there is an element of chase, we feel compelled to try and try over again to win that person over. This often results in us making excuses for their behaviour, because we don’t want them to lose any interest in us. We cling to what little they give us.

Are You Actually Ready For A Relationship?

Wanting to be in a relationship doesn’t mean you’re ready for a relationship. A big mistake a lot of women make is thinking that getting into a relationship is simply a matter of the prefect guy showing up, and the reason that they are still single because all the guys they’ve been out with our duds.

That’s not what it’s about, though. You can have dates lined up for every night of the week with the greatest men in all the land and you will still stay stuck in the same spot if you’re not ready to be in a relationship. There are several telltale signs that you are not ready to be in a relationship, but really there is only one major sign that you are ready. And that is…

You know what a relationship actually is!

Huh?! OK, let’s go a little deeper. The reason so many people have a hard time finding love, or making a relationship last is they don’t know what a relationship is. Instead, their minds are clouded with ideas and illusions of what a relationship should be and how it should feel and this gives them false hopes and expectations which inevitably come crashing down, leaving them broken once again and forced to pick up the pieces and keep plugging along.

A lot of us feel like we are “not enough.” We have this feeling of emptiness that lurks deep inside and we just want to fill it and feel OK. The mistake we often make is thinking that a relationship is what will fill us up, what will complete us, what will be that missing piece that will make it all OK. But that isn’t the job of a relationship, or of a man. Only you can give yourself that feeling of being complete, of being OK, of feeling confident in who you are. When you outsource the task to someone else, you will never evade that feeling of emptiness and not being enough.

A relationship isn’t a panacea for everything that has gone wrong in your life. It won’t grant you happiness, self-esteem, completion, worthiness, or feelings of being good enough. A relationship can certainty enhance positive feelings within you, but it can’t be the sole provider.

Healthy relationships are other-oriented, they are about giving and growing together as a unit. Unfortunately, many people have this backwards and are takers in their relationships. They look at what they can get, not what they can give.

When you come from this place, a relationship is really just ego fuel. This is why so many women get trapped in a cycle of going after men who can’t or won’t give them what they want. There is nothing more validating than winning over the guy who claims he does not care to be won. Rather than realizing you can’t have a relationship with a man who won’t commit, they get caught in a cycle of trying to win him over. It’s exciting and it’s dramatic and it’s intense. But it isn’t real. And it’s also a big sign you aren’t ready to be in a relationship

Getting caught up in guys like that is an escape from your real life. You get so caught up in him that you can forget about your problems and what you need to deal with.

The truth is, good relationships are pretty boring and uneventful. The stable guy isn’t as exciting because there is no hunt, there is no guesswork, there is no wondering how he feels and analyzing everything about him for hours on end with your girlfriends because you just know. The true sign that you are ready for a relationship is when you can realize that this is a good thing, that this is the goal. And when you can see this other person for who he is, not what he can give to you in order to make you feel good about yourself. It’s when you don’t need him to feel worthy. Essentially, it’s being with a guy because you want him, not because you need him. That is the key that makes all the difference.

 

Want to Get Real in Your Relationship? Get Online!

So many people are meeting through online dating these days. It is a great, sometimes easier way to find each other with less intimidating first introductions and more opportunity to get comfortable as you take steps toward creating a bond. But there is a lot of navigation that needs to go on in order to progress from that immediate (but not yet very personal) connection to taking the relationship into the real world. In my experience working with couples, there are three common, essential “dos” to pay attention to if you want your online relationship to make it offline, too.

Jump back online so you can carry on your search in picking a partner with potential!

Keep it real.

It is easy to feel close to someone when you communicate with them regularly through texts or emails, offering tidbits of your lives, censoring what you’re sharing. It is important, however, to not fall into what I call “Creature Comfort Contact,” where you feel like you are already in a relationship with that person because you’re touching base at the end of each day or week. The real connection comes in making plans to actually meet and spend time together. I have seen a lot of patients keep the relationship online for months, lingering with messages and texts but never taking it into real time. If you meet someone this way, it is fine to give yourself a little while to get to know each other and become comfortable. But unless there are circumstances you can’t control, such as travel or an illness in the family, a two to three week block should be all you allow before taking the next step.

Keep the flirty at bay.

Along the same lines, make sure your focus is not simply on making each other feel good with lots of flirting and sexy repartee. Lots of times online connections feel so powerful because they are driven by desire, loaded with a strong dose of sexual energy, and about making one another feel hot and excited. It also feels safer to flirt behind the mask of a purely digital interaction. The risk, though, is if this defines your interaction, it can perpetuate itself and continue to be all you share. So instead of letting that happen, think of flirting as a beginning point of attraction from which to grow, not as a destination where all you are looking to do is maintain a feel-good, sexy relationship.

Be decisive.

If you have been dating someone you met online but have decided it is not working with each other, get on with it. Given how easy it is to look in and see what people are up to, curiosity can pull you backward and keep you hanging on. If you said good-bye to someone, whether you wanted to or not, now is the time to look forward to a new person whom you would like to get to know instead of spending your time checking out your almost-ex on POF or Twitter. If you continue to track who you were pining over before, you are going to use energy that can be better invested in checking out someone new who might end up being the real deal.

 

Tune into the Doctor on Call radio hour on HealthyLife.net every Tuesday at 2 PM EST, 11 AM PST. First and third Tuesdays are Shrink Wrap on Call, second Tuesdays are HuffPost on Call, and the last Tuesday of the month is Let’s Talk Sex! Email your questions dealing with relationships, intimacy, family, and friendships to Dr. Greer at askdrjane@drjanegreer.com. Connect with Dr. Jane Greer on Facebook, at www.facebook.com/DrJaneGreer, and be sure to follow @DrJaneGreer on Twitter for her latest insights on love, relationships, sex, and intimacy.For more on Dr. Greer, visit http://www.drjanegreer.com.

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.