We all tend to use labels when it comes to our relationships in life. She’s my best friend or he’s my brother, my uncle, she’s my co-worker and he’s my boyfriend. There are people out there however that don’t feel the need to use labels like these and come up with different terms. I think so long as both parties are aware of the rules and what they want to call each other it really doesn’t mater. By definition, people that are dating exclusively and that go on vacations together and attend important events with each other; they are probably in a relationship. But if they don’t want to call it that, who are we to judge?
The two are dating exclusively, go on vacations together and attend important occasions with one another. Still, both cling to the notion that they are not, and do not want to be, in a relationship.
Welcome to the non-relationship relationship — the faux relationship. Can a relationship that begins with a faux foundation blossom into something genuine? Or, like many a string of faux pearls, will it remain pretty to look at, but artificial to the core?
Does it really matter what we call a relationship (monogamous, friends with benefits, open relationships, etc.)? Perhaps it’s more important “to understand that relationships are what the two people in them make them to be,” says relationship expert Brenda Della Casa, author of “Cinderella Was a Liar”
“It can be hard for more traditional types to accept that two people can be in a relationship that has a different set of rules, but if it works for the two people in it, that’s what is most important,” she says. Difficulty arises in the faux relationship just as with any other relationship, when the rules change.
Still, Della Casa explains that, “as long as they are open, honest and respectful of one another and themselves, these situations can work fine — for a short period of time.”
Honesty may be the best policy when it comes to relationships, but what happens when the policy is modified?
“Feelings change” moment to moment, says Beverly Hills celebrity author and psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walfish. “A faux relationship can begin on clear and mutually acceptable terms but, as time progresses, one partner may find his or her feelings deepening or vice versa.”
Another fissure in the faux relationship formula occurs when an individual (knowingly or unknowingly) masks his or her true desire for a real relationship. Basically, an individual conveys to his partner that he doesn’t want to be in a relationship, but inwardly truly does. Perhaps he has been hurt before, and therefore, believes that a faux relationship will protect him from harm.
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When you’re involved in the dating dance it’s important to know who it is you’re dating. There are so many myths and misconceptions about how men are and what they like. It’s important to be able to clear up the myths so that you can have an understanding into the male mind. By understanding men more easily you’ll have better luck when it comes to dating them.
Men enjoy to flirt but they won’t chase a woman for over a year because she’s playing hard to get. That just shows him that she’s really not that interested. Men and women can be friends without there being sexual tension. Men love independent women. The list goes on and on about myths that are out there that need to be dealt with and understood.
Men love the chase
One of the biggest misconceptions out there is that men love to chase women and are titillated by women who are hard to get.
Godfrey Msangi, a 28 year-old engineer, is a single man who does not mind being approached by a woman. “As long as I know her background, I don’t mind. I believe that when a woman tells me that she is interested, she really means it,” he says. For Godfrey, gone are the days when he would chase a woman for a year waiting for her to say yes. “Of course I do enjoy the flirting but I have a limit. Excessive chasing bores me. If a woman does not show interest I look for another option,” he says.
Men and women can’t be friends
The notion that a man and a woman can be ‘just friends’ is debatable and indeed, has been debated endlessly. But apparently, the rule that men and women cannot be friends without sexual tension does not apply to some. As more women are interacting with men in the workplace, on public transport and in social gatherings, randomly ignited sexual tension is becoming a thing of the past.
Sudi Baraka, a 33-year-old banker, has many female friends who he treats just like he does his male friends. “I have so many close girlfriends and I would never contemplate being intimate with them. Besides their physical appearance they are no different from my male friends,” he says. Baraka admits sleeping with some of his female friends in the past, but he says he was never in love with them. Whether that is a good or bad thing is also up for debate.
Independent women emasculate men
Some men are still intimidated by independent women but most are not – after all, it is the 21st Century. In this post-girl-power era, where many women have college degrees and well paying jobs, many men have no options but to date and/or marry an educated, career woman. Even though some men want to be seen as good providers, they are proud to see their partners living fulfilling lives.
Today, given the harsh economic climate, young men would do well to find wives who can contribute to the family kitty. Issa Khalid is a 35-year-old medical doctor who is proud of his wife Sarah, a 32-year-old accountant. Issah met Sarah two years ago when she was living in her own house.
He admired the way she handled her life without help from a man. “There is mutual respect even though she earns more. I feel secure with her because she can take care of the family even if I were to die,” he says. However, Issah admits that sometimes he feels lonely when his busy wife travels on business for weeks at a time. “Still, I like a woman who has her own life, so that I can have some time with my boys,” Issa who is a kickboxing fanatic says.
He won’t respect you if you sleep with him on the first date
Keeping your legs together after a first date with a handsome man with a silver tongue is not easy for some women. And it has been a popular belief that men do not value women who they sleep with at the first instance. These days however, there are men who will respect a woman even after ‘doing the do’ on the first date.
“For me, the timing of the first sexual encounter with a woman does not mean anything – what matters to me is having safe sex,” says Peter Mwaimu, a student at the University of Dar es Salaam. Mwaimu also says that it is important to talk about sex before having it. “Sex creates a certain bond so it’s better to discuss your reasons for doing it and also to ensure that both of you are protected,” he says.
Men are attracted by women’s looks
Women spend a lot of money upgrading their wardrobes, doing their hair and buying beauty enhancing facial products. Many of us spend valuable time looking in the mirror and agonising over how we look. The question is, do men really care about all that? Nelson Banda, a 30-year-old sales person, says that he notices when a woman has gone overboard in her attempt to look pretty.
“Of course the make-up, mascara and fake eye lashes make a woman attractive. But to me, personality matters more than appearance. A woman could dress in a potato sack but if she behaves in a manner that appeals to me I will be even more attracted to her,” he says. For Banda, beauty on the inside matters more than a woman’s outward appearance.
Men are emotionless
Men can look as energetic as gorillas but inside, they can be as fragile as ants. Even though they might not shed tears in public, they still have feelings. Men carry emotional burdens as much as women do. 28-year old George Njisya says he hides a lot of emotions because of the societal expectation that a man has to be tough. “I do feel bad when I’m the butt of people’s jokes. And I get hurt when my girlfriend does not respond to my texts, but I tend to hide it especially when I think she is fishing to find my weakness.”
He is interested in your past
In this dynamic world, it is possible for a woman to date more than 10 men before tying the knot. But does her past matter to the modern man? For Adam Njau, a 35-year-old mechanic, a woman’s past is of no consequence. “I don’t really want to know about your past because some things are better off kept to yourself. I get turned-off when my girlfriend talks about how her exes did her wrong. I prefer talking about us,” Njau says.
Guys have to win every argument
Contrary to popular belief; guys don’t have to win every debate.
In Tanzanian tradition, women have been raised to be submissive and to accept that men have the final say. But today, there are modern men like Adam Njau who listen to their women’s opinions and are ready to be challenged. “If she is right, she does not have to give in. We can have tough conversations as long as we remain logical about it,” Njau says.
Men hate commitment
Finding a man to marry has never been easy. Nowadays, more and more women are resorting to trapping men with pregnancies and so on because they are afraid that without the proper incentive, men will not commit. But while men may appear to prize freedom and independence above all else, in their heart-of-hearts they truly value loyalty. 32-year-old Eric Mwaimale says men who do not want to commit are simply not in love with the woman who is seeking that commitment. “We make excuses like ‘I am not ready’, which simply means that I’m not ready to spend the rest of my life with you in particular, but when I find the right woman, I will be.”
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Keeping the boredom out of your dating life is crucial if you want to maintain your sanity and if you want to keep the romance going. As soon as you get bored in dating the relationship won’t last much longer. Pretty soon you’ll be looking elsewhere for someone you can have fun with. Keep the fun in dating by trying out something different on your dates. Try volunteering together, or playing a board game that you haven’t played in years. There’s always something new to do and ways to keep it fun. Keep the spark in your relationship by trying out some of these date ideas.
No. 5: Physically demanding volunteer project
If you were to choose a background song for our first first-date idea, it would have to be “Let’s Get Physical.”
For this unique date, you volunteer to work on a physically demanding project. You might choose to join a group, such as Habitat for Humanity, that is helping to build or repair someone’s house, or you could join a project clearing weeds or trash from a city park or helping to build hiking trails in a wilderness park.
Even if you and your date don’t click, you won’t have wasted your time. You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you contributed to your community, and you’ll also have gotten some fresh air and a good workout.
And if you do like your date, even better. You’ll have a chance to see what your date looks like in a sweaty, clingy T-shirt.
No. 4: Play a game of Monopoly
For this date, bring out the old Monopoly set and play a game. What makes this date unique is that the game is only an excuse to closely observe your date’s behavior.
Is your date excessively eager to buy up all the railroads? Does he pout if you buy a property that he wanted? Does she look a little too happy when you land on one of her expensive properties?
There are so many things you can learn about people by watching them play. Does he insist on lining up all the money into perfectly parallel stacks?
Worst of all, does your date cheat? If so, better to find out now before you’ve gone any further.
Don’t use any shortcuts. Play the full version of the game. If, four hours into the game, you’re still talking to each other, that’s a good sign that you might be very compatible.
No. 3: Go silent
Pretend that a scientist in a white lab coat has directed you to go on a special kind of date.
On this date, you and your companion may not speak to each other or touch each other. All communication must be nonverbal, either through gestures or through your eyes.
By the end of the date, two things may happen. You may have gotten used to the lack of direct communication. If it feels like it’s normal — if it makes you feel like you’re an old married couple — than you better run. The first date is way too soon in the relationship to be falling into that kind of rut.
If, on the other hand, the moment you are allowed to talk and touch, you fall into each other’s arms and start babbling away, you’ll know that your date may be a keeper.
No. 2: Horror movie marathon
For an unusual first date, try a horror movie marathon. You may be able to find one in a nearby theater — of course, that’s a lot easier around Halloween than other times of the year — or create your own at home with a stack of rental films.
There’s nothing like being scared together to see if you are really compatible. Is one person a screamer and the other a comforter? That would work. If you’re both screamers, though, you will just egg each other on. If you’re both calm comforters, you’ll be frustrated that there is no one to soothe.
Also pay attention to your date’s popcorn-eating behavior. Try making just one bowl and see what happens. Does your date hog the bowl, making it hard for you to reach? Does your date drop kernels on the floor? If your date passes the bowl each time he or she takes a handful, you’ll know you’ve got a winner.
No. 1: Try something new
For a unique date — and a unique life experience — do something that neither of you has ever done before.
It could be going to the opera, riding a hot-air balloon, having lunch in a nearby town you’ve never seen or anything else that is new for you.
The trick is to pick something that is way outside the norm for both of you, not only something you’ve never done before, but something you’ve never even thought of doing.
If your companion is a dud, at least you will have an adventure and a break from the routine, and you might even discover a whole new interest. If your companion seems promising, observe how he or she handles the unfamiliar situation.
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Most older women who date younger men don’t go looking for it. It just happens. And they end up being happy about it. As Madonna states, she didn’t write down on a piece of paper that she was going to start dating someone younger. So often we meet people that we could care about but end up running away because of the social stigma that might surround it. Maybe it’s time to just allow the romance to happen and roll with it. Instead of worrying about what others might think; just go with it. Fall in love with a younger man and have the time of your life.
“Unfortunately we are raised on those fairytales and even if we are sophisticated, educated, intellectually evolved human beings we still, in the back of our mind, think that Mr. Right is going to come along and we are going to live happily ever after,” she continued. “In the front of our minds we keep getting reminded it’s not true and in the back of our minds we keep thinking it’s true so we keep getting disappointed. It’s a paradox – you want it, but if you have half a brain you know it doesn’t really exist.”
But is the singer’s current flame, 24-year-old French dancer Brahim Zaibat, the one?
Madonna opened up about her relationship and her recent penchant for dating younger men (prior to Brahim she dated Brazilian model Jesus Luz, also 24) in an interview with ABC’s “Nightline,” airing tonight.
“I didn’t choose to, you know, I didn’t, like, write down on a piece of paper, ‘I’m now going to have a relationship with a younger man,’” Madonna, who makes her feature directorial debut with the upcoming “W.E.,” said. “That’s just what happened. You see, that’s the romantic in me. I just met someone that I cared for, and this happened to be his age.”
And despite being a proud single mother – she’s mom to Lourdes, 15, Rocco, 11, David Banda and Mercy James, both 5 – Madonna wants someone to stand beside her.
“I don’t want to live my life on my own. I love being a mother. My children fill me up in many ways, and inspire me in many ways, but I need a partner in my life and I think most people feel that way,” she explained. “I’ve never really lived a conventional life, so I think it’s quite foolish for me or anyone else to start thinking that I am going to start making conventional choices.”
The singer also gave her fans a glimpse into what her dating life with Brahim is like.
“I go home and I wash my face and I put on my sweatpants and I lay down on the bed and I say, ‘Oh, please rub my feet,’ and you know, he says, ‘No, you rub my feet,’ so, you know, behind the curtain, I’m just like everybody else,” she added.
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Have you ever turned down a younger man because you were worried about the social stigma? Share your thoughts with us by commenting below.