Relationships Advent Calendar Day 23 . Make an Inventory

So as we know from the kids’ school show Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem for the census .. and today, because advent is a time for taking stock, I’d like you to start a mental tally chart of the good things in your life, and how many are possible because of the love and support of your partner.

Keep adding whenever you think of one today and watch that list grow .. it feels good to know you’re not dependent or independent of each other .. but inter-dependent, two people who support and appreciate each other.

advent

Relationships Advent Calendar Day 12 . Share a 6 Second Kiss

Take just six seconds today to share a kiss or a hug with your sweetie .. and consider doing this every day .. 6 seconds that will bring you closer and help to grow your love are highlighted by the Gottman Institute as something that can increase closeness and make you more mindful of your honey

christmas-lights

The Truth about Internet Dating

This month I invited Carol Stoker from A Friendly Face introduction agency, to share her experiences around internet dating. She founded the agency after spending a few years becoming frustrated with dating through the internet.

For the rest of your life“Internet dating is a massive business, catering for all sectors of the community and there are thousands of profiles out there. Freedom of choice is great, but there are downsides:

Rejection . Are you prepared for responses like “Not in a million years” and “I don’t date old women”? (I didn’t make these up, unfortunately).

Safety . You’re going on ‘blind dates’ every time you meet someone. You may have ‘spoken’ via email for weeks, but who are they really? TELL SOMEONE when and where you are going. DO NOT divulge personal details (eg where you live) until you have seen them a few times and seen some form of ID. I ask all my clients for a recent utility bill.

Photographs . It has been known for someone to use a picture of her better-looking sister as a profile picture (true story). Or more commonly photos are from five years ago. This is the biggest bugbear amongst internet daters I have spoken with.

They’re Married . If this doesn’t bother you then ok. But be aware of this if you’re joining a dating site to meet someone to spend the rest of your life with.

Time-wasters . The people who email for weeks and never meet up; they’re just passing time sitting on their computers. Or the people who reply, night after night, with short answers… “I’m ok, how are you?” “What you been up to?”

Social Isolation . You realise you never make the effort to go out with your friends and family anymore.

Scruffs . Your date turns up looking as though they haven’t bothered about their appearance, even though you have spent the last hour and a half making sure you look your best because he/she might be ‘The One!’

Friends with Benefits . And lastly, the men or women who meet you, charm you, you get on well with, and they announce at the end of the night all they want is a sex buddy!”

* * * * *

afriendlyfacelogoCarol meets with members of A Friendly Face more than once, to get to know them and the things they value about a relationship.

The agency has members from all parts of the UK including Scotland, and believes that love isn’t necessarily found on your doorstep.

http://www.afriendlyface.co.uk

@CarolFace12

What do you think? Do you agree with Carol? Have you had any disappointing experiences with internet dating? Would you like some coaching in how to date smarter? I’d love to hear from you.

Babyproof your Relationship

Becoming parents is a marvellous time for many couples, and for others it can be rough, even leading to relationship breakdown.

birth and baby basics The lovely Janine Rudin over at Birth and Baby Basics asked me to write a couple of articles on preparing your relationship for the birth, as well as ideas on how to manage things afterwards.

Janine is an inspiring antenatal teacher, doula, baby massage instructor and postnatal educator, who’s been providing a unique combination of professional support and services from pregnancy through to life as a young family on Tyneside since 2008.

I’m lucky enough to be a mother, but when my baby arrived it was by no means plain sailing. At times it felt like my husband, new baby and I were in a tiny boat on very stormy seas. We had very little support close by at that time and I suffered from post-natal depression. Eventually my marriage broke down, which at the time was really tough, but gave me the motivation to heal, as well as learn how to help others who might be in a similar position.

Go and take a look at Janine’s fab Birth and Baby Basics website and see what I wrote here .. and here.

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I would love to hear what you think about becoming a parent? Did you struggle? Any tips? Any hopes or worries you’d like to share?

Do get in touch by Commenting below or using my Contact details to speak direct.

A Meditation .. Kind Speech

“Do not break the ribbon of love because of a triviality. For once torn it is never again one – a knot always remains.”

Lotus

Today .. I think before I speak

Words possess a strong power, regardless of whether the effect they create is intentional or not. We can seriously harm others and ourselves through words. Therefore, we should speak fewer rather than too many words, and weigh them up in the heart before we speak. With friends it is easy to find pleasant, beautiful words, but to treat those we do not count as friends with love and friendship is a great virtue and takes self discipline.

I invite you to sit for a moment, read the words above and let them sink in, then go about your day today allowing feelings about others to rise and asking yourself ‘What does this mean, right now, for me?’

Acceptance ..

I spend a lot of time reading up on the latest relationship research and debates so you don’t have to. One blog post I read recently suggested a couple ‘really gets married’ somewhere around the 5th year after their wedding. So why, I got to wondering, was this?

One answer comes from Harriet Lerner’s wonderful book Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and The Coupled Up, described as “Required reading for anyone hoping to interact successfully with any other human” .. (a great idea for a wedding gift by the way).

Lerner’s Rule #1 (let’s call it the Uber Rule) is Respect Differences!

In the first, hot, part of a relationship we think our partner is perfect in every way, that we are ‘two halves of the same coin’ and other such sayings. But as time goes on this naturally fades, we become more secure in our friendship and start to really show ourselves. Maybe he really likes nothing more than to sit in his tracksuit pants in front of the football, while she is sulking because he used to take her out for dinner on a Saturday night .. and neither understands why things have changed .. and before long a thousand little niggles have convinced each of them ‘this is the wrong person for me’, or “I love him, but I’m not IN LOVE with him”.

Lerner advises that for a loving relationship to flourish we should not:

“.. get too nervous about differences”, or ..

“.. equate closeness with sameness”, and instead “work on staying emotionally close to a partner who thinks and feels differently than you do without needing to convince or otherwise fix [them].”

When couples can accept and celebrate each other as they truly are the marriage really begins. Which is when she can say “Sweetie, I really don’t get football, but I’m happy you’re enjoying the match”, and he says “Honey, put on your best dress, and when the final whistle goes we’re going out on the town”.

Sometimes getting there needs some independent help, a fresh perspective from an outside source. If that’s what you need get in touch with a well qualified and experienced relationship counsellor who should be able to work with you to achieve your relationship goals.