Are You In Love or Infatuated?

Love at first sight is a very romantic notion and can feel absolutely real when you meet someone amazing and feel intensely attracted to each other. But the saying should be connected at first sight because true love doesn’t begin until that “I can’t get enough of you” euphoria starts to fade.

 
It’s tricky because what can feel like love is actually just hopeful thinking. Your thoughts create your feelings, and let’s face it; it’s really hard to find great chemistry. So when you passionately connect with someone it’s very exciting, and as women you have warm and fuzzy hormones being released that perpetuate loving feelings. However, you don’t really know each other yet. At this stage you have physical and sexual intimacy, which is how falling in love begins, but without emotional intimacy it’s just infatuation.

 
Emotional intimacy naturally grows during the first two months of a new relationship by talking and spending time together, by becoming part of each other’s lives. During this blissful time any issues you have are subconsciously suppressed. Some people call that putting on your best behavior, but you simply don’t know what you don’t know. You may be falling in love; or you may never get past the infatuation stage.

 
The unfortunate reality is that most relationships only last three to six months. That’s when the hard part begins; it’s the make it or breakup phase. It’s the time that your subconscious issues start to make their way to the surface. They either clash and tear you apart or deepen emotional intimacy and bond you together.

 
True love requires trust and feeling safe to disclose secrets and deeply personal information. That’s easier said than done for people with unhealed wounds from past relationships and their childhood. Jealousy, insecurity, fear, or anxiety all make emotional vulnerability scary for such people, so they erect an emotional wall for protection. Sadly it also shuts good people out. Relationships need to move forward or they eventually fall apart.

 
If you are soul-mates you’ll discover you have commonality, which means you have the same ethics, values, and goals. Everyone always thinks opposites attract but that’s only on a superficial level. At your core like attracts like. It takes two similar minded people who are fully committed to creating lasting love; which means treating each other with respect, and sticking together through the good, the bad, and difficult. When love is real it feels easy.

 
So when you connect with someone great enjoy every moment of those magical first two months, but keep your feet solidly on the ground to avoid breaking your own heart. Keep your thoughts in the present and do not fantasize about your future together. Visualization is very powerful and your thoughts can perpetuate loving feelings and create unrealistic expectations, throwing off the balance of your relationship. Most importantly, don’t allow yourself to get caught in a state of limbo where you feel love for your partner but you don’t feel deep emotional love in return. You absolutely can find better.

Ease Back Into Dating With These 5 Easy Steps!

Winter is coming…and so are the never-ending invitations to family functions, friend’s gatherings and office Xmas parties. Unlike years past, you find yourself single this time around. With the cold weather outside and the desire to stay indoors, dating can be a touch trickier this time of year. I have 5 steps that will help you ease your way back into the dating game!

Throw Away The Ex-Baggage

It is time to let go. Do one big sweep of your apartment and remove all your ex boyfriend’s photographs, pj pants that you once claimed as yours and that extra toothbrush lying next to the sink. This will instantly lift a weight off your shoulders and help you move on with zero reminders of your failed relationship.

Positive Attitude

Start saying yes a little more, even if it’s pouring rain and your immediate response is to hide under a blanket. If you make a habit of staying in 5-7 nights of week, the invitations from friends will become non-existent. If your crew is getting together, join them! Mr. Right isn’t going to miraculously pop out of your tv screen; you have to make the effort and put yourself out there. The odds are always in your favor when you decide to leave your house.

Practice Makes Perfect

Step outside your convert zone and approach the specimen you’ve been eyeing across the bar for the last hour. If this move is too daring for you, grab your wing-man for the extra confidence boost and backup when you draw a blank. The more you engage with the opposite sex, the less intimidating it will be for any future encounters. Trust me, once you hone your skills, flirting will become a lot more natural and simply quite enjoyable.

Build an Online Profile

If the thought of going on a date right now slightly terrifies you and you’re more interested in scoping out potential matches from the comfort of your own home, I seriously suggest you create an online dating profile. Take 20 minutes out of your day to add a picture and write a little something about yourself. The longer you spend creating a profile and the more thought put in, will result in greater success. You can create your profile right now at PlentyOfFish.

Know What It Is You Want

If you are looking for a solid committed relationship, do not settle for anything less than exactly that. You may be having “fun” but if you are ultimately seeking something more than a fling, it is really important to be honest and upfront about your needs and wants. You will find out very quickly if you are on the same page. If not, don’t waste either of your time and move onto the next one.

3 Easy Ways To Prioritize Love

“I’ll accept the right man if he comes along, but I’m not willing to put myself out there anymore,” sighed Claire. She wants Mr. Right; she wants passion and love and a guaranteed date every New Year’s Eve for the rest of her life. How long has it been since her last date? Eight years.

Make A Mental Shift

Instead of losing years, shift in moments.

Imagine being advised not to look for work, because actively seeking a job would somehow scare it away; the right career would come along when it was meant to. Envision telling a career seeker that if the job search isn’t fun, they should stop looking and wait for the right job to find them. Crazy, right?

Yet our culture commonly gives analogous bad advice to singles, to the detriment of beautiful Claires everywhere.

Science flatly disagrees. Once you’re out of school and no longer in environments rife with the available, you’ll have far greater odds of success if you make an ongoing effort—just as active job-seekers are more likely to land a good career.

And dating can be fun. But often, it’s work. Just as we’d never tell someone to cease a job search if it wasn’t 100% fun, we shouldn’t tell ourselves that a lack of fun is a good enough reason to stop searching for love.

Plus, the payoff for effort in love is actually greater than the payoff in the job market. It’s a fact: finding and committing to the right mate will make you happier, healthier, longer-lived, richer, and more sexually satisfied than any other living arrangement—or any amount of career success.

Make Your List

Now make a list, dividing it into Must-Haves—your deal-breakers– and Wants—the negotiable stuff you’d like but can compromise on.

Ever go car-shopping—and then notice your chosen model all over town? The dealership probably didn’t sell more that week; you just began noticing what was already on the road. Similarly, this list is your new best friend, absolutely key to prioritizing love. Not only does it make you likelier to notice Mr. Possibles who are already in your life; it helps you avoid getting waylaid by Mr. Wrong and Mr. Almost.

Despite cultural lore that love is all we need, the divorce rate is driven in part by falling in love with people who aren’t a good enough match. But if you stick to your Must-Haves, knowing the deal is broken if even one deal-breaker is present, you will immediately screen for compatibility. You will stop dating bad choices, however sexy, and you will be free to fall with wild abandon for someone who can be your happily-ever-after.

Make It Known

You’ve got your list, and it’s time to share it—with others, and with the Internet.

You wouldn’t be embarrassed to enlist help in a job search, so let others help here. Research shows that in cultures where people allow their trusted others to help them find a mate, their rates of lifelong, happy marriage are higher than in America. Those people who want your happiness will be happy to help; they know people you don’t know, and they will connect you.

Yes, some of your set-ups will suck. That doesn’t matter. Persist.

And share your list with the world. About one-third of people who have married in the past decade met online, and research indicates that they’re happier than couples who met in any other way. Create a profile that capitalizes, in positive and upbeat language, on what you’re seeking. Put it out there.

I don’t know if Claire has shifted her priorities, but Bella did. Despite Stage 4 cancer at the time of her search, she met her Mr. Right~spending her last eight years with a man she adored, who adored her right back.

None of us truly has forever. But however much of forever we have, if love is what you want, it’s time to make it a priority.

-Dr. Duana Welch is the author of Love Factually, the first book that uses science rather than opinion to help men and women find and keep love.  You can learn more about her and her book and get a free sample here.

How 10 Minutes Of Daily Online Dating Will Change Your Life!

Singles tell me all the time that online dating “feels like a full-time job.” And I know what they mean–there’s a lot of effort that goes into searching, messaging, planning, and ultimately, dating. Maybe you started online dating because it seemed like an efficient solution to singledom, but now it’s become very inefficient instead. What’s an eDater to do?

It’s been said that the more time you invest in something, the more you’ll get out of it, but with online dating, consistency trumps time. After working with thousands of singles as the founder of eFlirt, I can tell you that it is more powerful to spend 10 minutes per day logged in than inconsistently finding an hour on a random day every once in a while. When you make online dating a habit, it moves your love life forward smoothly with less dramatic ups and downs.

Stick to these micro-movements in your digital dating life to make it a daily habit!

1. Make it a habit:

When you log-in daily, the dating site considers you “active.” On some sites, that means prioritizing you in search results so you’re seen by more matches. It’s also a signal to others that you’re approachable and responsive. When your profile mentions you’ve been “online within 24 hours,” a match may reason that it’s more likely you’ll respond. It could mean the difference between getting a message from a match…or an empty inbox. So even if you don’t have time to do anything else on this list, consider this a hack for getting a little boost in your inbox.

2. Take your pick:

It’s easy to get stuck replying to what’s in your inbox, combing through those people who want to meet you. This is especially true for those who get a decent amount of messages, but you should not be defined by your inbox! Who do YOU want to meet? Do a search of your own and find the people you’d prefer to meet so who you’re dating becomes a bit more specific. Send a message to at least one new person who didn’t write to you first per day. When you’re limited in time, it’s best to do an advanced search, so you can get specific with who pops across your screen. If you’re struggling with what to say, download the free chapter of my book on messaging, which will teach you how to craft emails that get replies.

3. Clear the clutter:

I notice that singles who are in a rush read new messages in their inbox but don’t delete anything — including that guy who sent you a “hey baby” or that gal who is wearing a wedding dress in her main photo. Leaving the negative energy of bad matches lingering means you see it every time you log in. Who needs that? More importantly, keeping a clean inbox forces you to make decisions in your love life, a skill that will come in handy when you’re not sure what to do about that so-so date you just went on. Before you log out, make conscious decisions to either continue each conversation…or delete it.

If you find yourself with a bit more time on your hands, 30 minutes per day is ideal so you can get more accomplished. You can always call in help from my team of experts too if you feel like 10 minutes per day isn’t getting you enough dates. Remember that actions – no matter how small – are what will help you meet someone amazing!

Pre-Date Jitters? Follow This Formula!

I find dating really quite terrifying. I am outgoing, talkative and comfortable around my male counterparts, but when it comes to finding a potential suitor, I legitimately feel nauseated. My stomach turns inside out, I start sweating profusely and my mind tells me to curl up into a ball and watch Food network. I have come up with a genius formula which really just consists of 11 random acts that I do to settle my pre-date jitters. These have helped me tremendously, so I seriously suggest you test them out!

  • Call up your cheer-leading squad or at least one member of your crew to give you a pep talk. “You’re fabulous and if he’s a weirdo, it will make for a great story!
  • Write a list of all your killer traits then read them aloud to yourself in front of the mirror. It sounds kind of silly but relax, no one is watching. Give yourself a hug while you’re at it.
  • Drink a glass of wine while you get ready, but limit yourself or you will look like a clown.
  • Sing at the top of your lungs to your favorite tune. This will take your mind off of the “What If’s?”
  • Take a lesson from Julia Styles and wear your most slammin outfit; this is bound to make you feel more confident.
  • Go for a run and listen to “Eye of The Tiger.” Just reenact the whole sequence from Rocky, as it will get the “feel good” endorphins going.
  • Drink a healthy dose of caffeine if you need a pick me up after that 8 hour work day. Be cautious here and know how caffeine affects your body or this will backfire…
  • Change your mindset. Treat the date as though you are simply going to meet a friend, not a potential match.
  • Always have a backup plan so you can leave in case the date is disastrous. This is a great way to prevent the hour date from turning into a 6 hour paint drying session.
  • If you are really worried about running out of things to talk about, have some table topics in mind before to prevent the painful moment of silence. Remember, this is only an hour of your life.
  • You aren’t handcuffed to your chair. If it is really that bad, just say you have IBS and he is sure to run out the door faster than you are.

In the words of Aibileen Clark from The Help:

“You is Smart, You is Kind and You is Important.”

Repeat this to yourself before your next date and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

The 5 Keys To A Long-Lasting Relationship

There are not many aspects of life more challenging, and more rewarding, than maintaining a successful long-term relationship. Through time, struggle, and compassion, you and your partner can forge a deep and lasting union—a combining of two lives into one. That’s why I often describe a relationship as “a journey from me to us.” But forming a consistently happy relationship requires ongoing attention and effort, especially if it is going to last for a lifetime. Each partner must learn to give and take, so that you can grow and change together. All of us can all use as much help and guidance as we can find along the way.

Here are 5 tips that you may find helpful as you progress in your own journey from me to us:

1. Talk about money, and do it early.

One of the worst mistakes that a couple can make is to avoid discussing money. This includes how you deal with your shared expenses (whether you’re living together or not) and your general financial philosophy (are you a saver or a spender?). And if you aren’t clear about money early in your relationship, a conflict is sure to bite you later. After two years of marriage one couple I knew bought a home. It was then, for the first time, that the wife discovered her husband’s credit history was terrible, and even though she had an excellent job they could not qualify for the loan. To avoid an unpleasant surprise later, talk about money early.

2. Be clear about your core values.

Each of us has core values – issues which are important and which we will not compromise. For example, perhaps you would not live with a partner who either smokes or abuses alcohol. If you don’t agree on a fundamental issue, such as whether or not to have children, it’s important to know this sooner rather than later. You don’t necessarily have to agree, but you certainly need to know as soon as possible the important issues on which you have a serious difference of opinion or values. And you then need to develop a plan to deal with those differences. But don’t expect your partner to change their position on a core value.

3. “Yes” is the best word.

Over the course of your relationship, you will receive thousands of requests from your partner for everything from attending a friend’s wedding to picking up a few groceries on your way home. I’ve found that in any relationship, but especially in a long-term relationship, it’s helpful to say “yes” whenever you can. Your partner wants to feel valued, just as you do. When you say “yes” quickly, and often, your partner will be happier with your relationship and will most likely respond by saying “yes” to you more frequently.

4. Learn how to say “no.”

In order to say “yes” with a full heart, you also have to be comfortable in saying “no” when the need arises. “I would love to help you out, but I can’t do that today” is a lot better than, “You know I’m super busy and you should have known better than to even ask.” It’s also better to say “no” than to say “yes” and fail to perform.

“Yes” is best, but “no,” when necessary, is equally important.

5. It’s a Movie, Not a Snapshot.

It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture during a moment of emotional strain and conflict. But this is exactly the time during which you need to remember that a relationship is more like a movie than a snapshot. A relationship is a series of events and memories, like a movie, not just one instant in time like a snapshot. And just as in a movie, a high point will often follow the low. It’s important to keep this perspective in mind during a time of stress, and remind yourself that this is just one of many moments that make up your relationship and there are new and positive experiences just up ahead.

First Impressions Matter: Here’s How To Nail Them

We all know that a great first impression may land you the job but what about a second date? I can not stress enough how important the first seven seconds of any encounter is whether it be online, face to face or the dreaded parent introduction. This is your time to shine; that moment where you can burst through the doors knowing full well you aced the test. It is rare that you will ever get a second chance to make a great first impression. If you have ever been one to fumble or fall flat on the initial “hello,” please do yourself a favor and read the following.

How to make a great first impression….

ONLINE

  • A tasteful profile picture. Keep your shirt on and smile, this is not a mug shot.
  • Proof read your first message three times over, like your grade school teacher is perched on your shoulder. And for the love of god never include the word f*ck.
  • Send a thoughtful first message in which you reference back to your match’s profile. This will show that you have taken the time to actually read what they had to say.

FACE TO FACE INTERACTION

  • Be attentive and on time! Late on a first date is the epitome of saying “I really don’t respect your time or care to be on this date.”
  • Wear your most fashion forward outfit. Change out of the stained sweatpants that you just fiercely sweated in at the gym.
  • Subtleties in your body language. No one wants a Touchy Tom or Salacious Sally.

MEET THE PARENTS

  • Firm handshake and look them in the eye, just like you did in that job interview. You’re on your way to getting the stamp of approval.
  • Make yourself useful and always offer to help where you can. If you are tall and strong,  grab the salad bowl off the highest shelf. You have officially won over mom.
  • Every parent wants you to love their daughter or son as much as they do. Don’t be Mr. Roboto. It’s okay to show your love and affection, but make sure these are small gestures. No PDA I repeat No PDA.

Important Love Lessons From Orange Is The New Black

With the season 3 premiere of Orange is the New Black just around the corner, it’s high time to refresh ourselves on the wonderful, complicated, messy, relationships that form when one is behind bars.

I don’t know about you, but I’m always formulating my contingency plan for if and when the unthinkable happens, my past catches up with me, and I end up behind bars. When I watch OINTB, I study it like a manual, for how to survive in prison. So far, I’ve gleaned lots of great tips like, don’t mess with the person who makes your food, and use maxi pads to make eye masks! #lifelessons

Not to be overlooked, however, are all of the great relationship lessons we learn from watching Piper and her band of merry inmates bumble their way through incarceration. There are some real feels tucked up under Big Boo’s tough facade and Nikki’s biting sarcasm. Despite the dysfunction and absurdity of a lot of the drama, people are people, and these ones are surprisingly relatable.

So what love lessons did we learn from Orange is the New Black?

(WARNING: Spoilers ahead)

You can’t keep your prison wife locked up with you forever

Real Life Lesson: If you love them, let them go.

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One touching Orange is the New Black moment was when Tricia taught us that you can’t force someone to stay with you. When she uses extreme (and illegal), measures to try and keep her prison wife Mercy locked up in order to avoid losing her, we realize just how desperate it is when we do these things in real life. It’s obvious that she’s doing it to assuage her own insecurity and fear of being alone, and we all know that that never really works out. In the end, Tricia has to let Mercy go, and just trust that she’ll still be there on the other side.

Don’t lie about which corrections officer is your baby daddy

Real Life Lesson: Lying about something important is never going to end well

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Big lies, little lies, they all catch up with us in the end. At first, when we’re backed into a corner and things seem really bad, we might think it’s a good idea to tell a lie. When Daya tells everyone that she’s pregnant and the father is officer Mendez in order to save her real love, Officer Bennett, I think even she knows it’s not going to work out long term. Rather than make the situation any better, instead she only succeeds in creating the pitiable, albeit hilarious, situation with Mendez falling in love with her and committing to taking care of her baby. We’re still unsure how that quagmire will play out.

Your fiancé is probably going to cheat on you while you’re in prison

Real Life Lesson: Romantic partners are fallible

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Larry and Piper both cheat on each other while she’s in the clink. The lesson? People need love and reassurance, sometimes in physical form, when they’re in stressful situations. It’s hard to communicate properly and resolve things when there’s a (in this case literal), wall between you.

If you suspect that your ex-drug dealing lover was the one who ratted you out to the police, you’re probably right

Real Life Lesson: People can change, but they probably won’t

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Alex and Piper’s relationship was tumultuous from the beginning. Piper practiced willful ignorance and allowed herself to be manipulated in exchange for attention and excitement, and Alex always preyed on Piper’s insecurities and took advantage of her naiveté. When the time came, Alex sold her up the river to save her own skin. No surprises there. Both parties are at fault, really, but it’s worth recognizing that most people show you who they really are from the beginning. Alex was always looking out for number one. Only time will tell if either of them are worth trusting.

That guy who you’ve been stalking for the past year is probably not going to marry you

Real Life Lesson: He’s just not that into you

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Sweet, sweet Morello, with her online credit card scams and her creep-tastic bubble baths. We’re kind of rooting for her, even though she’s obviously a bit loony tunes. Taking a field trip from prison to break into her ex’s house and wear his new girlfriend’s bath robe? Too far. Hers is a very extreme case of “He’s just not that into you.” It’s true though, that when we get caught up in a fantasy world, we don’t want to recognize the truth that someone might not be on the same page as we are in the relationship. It’s easier to keep ignoring the increasingly obvious signs and keep planning the wedding. Wake up girlfriend!

The newest season of Orange is the New Black will be released on Netflix on June 12th! #excitement