New Year’s Dating Resolutions – Out with the Old?

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2016 hasn’t been the best year for much of the world. 2016 was the year we realised how many haters were hiding amongst us with victories for the Brexiters and those pesky Trump fans. It’s been dubbed the year the music died with reference to all those famous musicians the 2016 decided to steal away for us. So it’s understandable that most of us are eager to see the back of this year.

For many the start of every new year is seen as a fresh start – a chance to do all those things we’ve been putting off since forever and day. Whether it’s finally losing your puppy fat, running that marathon or actually making a concerted effort to get online and find the love of life – as we move into 2017 most people will be looking to make positive changes and do things differently. And seeing as this  is likely to be our last blog post for 2016 I thought it would be interesting to look at what this new year could potentially mean for us in terms of dating and relationships.

Learn from the past

If you are anything like me, you’ve probably had the same new year’s resolution for the past 15 years. If you find you aren’t winning when it comes to this one change you want to make in your life maybe it’s time to change your perspective. I’m not saying give up entirely but just that with a little bit of self-reflection you might learn you are chasing after the wrong things. So consider the option of jazzing things up a little bit…start looking for Prince Charming in the library instead of that seedy pub you always end up in or stop falling into bed with those smoking hot bad boys and expecting marriage proposals in the morning, and instead give that boy next door a second look.

Figure out what you want

Everyone establishes the resolutions for the new year with the best of intentions. However, the fact is that most of us aim too high by setting unrealistic goals (e.g. find a good looking man with half a brain and decent fashion sense,  who is gainfully employed, isn’t overly reliant on his mumma, has a bit of banter and basically isn’t a philandering jerk – we really don’t ask for much, hey?) and for this reason it’s believed that most people have given up on their new year’s resolution by the 17th January. So to avoid failure it’s important to start by figuring out exactly what you want – maybe it’s do whatever you need to get over your ex? To have a fun summer fling? A long term relationship? Or to tie the knot?

Baby Steps

Establishing what you want is a good start but even then success in dating/relationships requires hard work and a bit of a plan. You aren’t going to find your Prince Charming by sitting on your fat ass watching Sex and The City marathons. Start by taking baby steps – for example if you want to your man to pop the question it might be an idea to start dropping some hints and showing him you are ready for a bit more commitment and if you just want to get back into the dating game after a long period of single time it might just be a simple case of downloading Tinder.

To conclude, yes, 2017 marks a fresh start for some, an opportunity to get rid of the unhealthy things (or people) that no longer serve us and maybe a chance to do thing differently for those who are already in relationships. However, if you are someone who is looking to make some sort of sustainable change, it might require a little bit more thought and effort than simply making a grand declaration at the stroke of midnight.

Dearest Rinsers. Tell us about your new years resolutions for dating and relationships in the comments below. Are you looking to change old habits (or ditch an old relationship)? Or are you planning on working on yourself first before pursuing love? Do you have any words of advice for the rest of the world? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

“Sloppy” Seconds – Is It Okay to Date Your Friend’s Ex and Other Related Questions

image.jpegThe term sloppy seconds can have a very vulgar meaning of having sex with someone (usually a woman) who has just had sex with someone else. In the general dating terminology, however, it is used to describe a person you dated who someone else dates after you (usually a friend or an acquaintance). Inspired by the film “Miss Peregrine’s House for Peculiar Children” where a guy takes sloppy seconds after his grandfather (!), I decided to write a post about the matter.

You’d think that thanks to Internet dating the circle of people that are potential matches in the dating pool significantly increases. Maybe so, in a place like New York but Cape Town is a very small and divided world that despite its potential variety limits you to a finite number of possible partners. From my perspective of a married woman, it translates into bumping into into my husband’s and mine exes which is unpleasant as it is. Imagine, however, how annoying it would be to have someone in your immediate circle dating your ex and therefore taking sloppy seconds after you or to be a sloppy second yourself and be constantly around your ex. Doesn’t sound amazing!

The first question with dating someone who used to date someone close to us, is whether it’ll hurt our friend. I know that people these days love to pretend how MATURE they are and how much they don’t care about having their ex around or even are totally fine double dating (which can be true but from my experience only when the relationship didn’t end up in people being hurt and drama or when a long time has passed). I also know that most of these people prefer to cry in the pillow than to admit that something is hurting them. This is precisely why if we ask someone whether it’s okay if we go out with their ex, they may try to put a brave face on and say yes. In other words, even if someone tells us it’s okay, we should try to figure out whether it really is and not just conveniently accept the answer.

It’s up to a person that’s going after the sloppy seconds to weight the pros and cons. If we’re really into someone we may be prone to go for it and be willing to accept the consequences if our friend decided at some point he or she is actually not okay with us dating their ex. On the other hand, if we know that the person caused our friend a lot of pain and we’re just attracted to them, maybe a better idea is just to let it go. I’m referring here to a relationship which ended. What is the right thing to do if it’s still on and we’re into someone’s partner?

As a default, I don’t think it’s decent to show interest in a partner of our friend, be it a short or long relationship. If we’re interested in them before the break-up happens and showing it, less or more subconsciously trying to lure the person out of a relationship, we’re not being loyal to our friend and we become a frenemy. We cannot foresee where the relationship will go and a taken person is a taken person. We would like others to respect such boundaries so we should respect them ourselves. If a break-up does happen it’s also not the nicest thing to do to pat our heartbroken friend’s back with one hand and with the other stroke her ex’s hair (or something else wink wink) trying to start a relation with him or her. Even if the loyalty argument isn’t convincing, there’s always the self-preservation instinct one shouldn’t forget. Namely, a guy or girl just out of a serious relationship may not be the best dating material and we may end up losing a friend and respect for ourselves over a hook-up.

To sum up, there’s no good answer to a question on whether it’s okay to date your friend’s ex. I think they should be untouchable in principle but I’m aware that there are various situations. If a friend just had a fling with someone and we’re madly in love with the person, I don’t think it’s comparable to a scenario when someone is trying to destroy another person’s marriage. In the latter case, the chances are that the partner so easily lured out of one relationship will do the same to his next better half.

Dear Rinsers, what do you think? Is it okay to take sloppy seconds? Are our friends exes untouchable? The comments section is all yours!

 

 

 

 

Office Party Season – The Challenges of Keeping of Your Job and Your Relationship Safe!

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It’s officially silly season here in Cape Town (and probably elsewhere in the world too). As everything winds down towards the end of the year, everyone starts to ease up a bit on the work front and become a little bit more social, especially at that end of year office party. This all-important social occasion and the challenges such events present both for a person’s professional reputation and also in terms of personal relationships is the focus of my post today.

We all know that such social occasions are an opportunity to let your hair down, have a few cheeky beverages and become more closely acquainted with your colleagues. But as much fun as office parties can be with all that free-flowing booze you can rinse your employer of, it’s important to keep your wits about you and try not to completely destroy your life just for one night of debauchery. So here are some useful tips to keep all you rinsers on the straight and narrow this festive season:

DO: Think of it as a networking opportunity. 

Ugh, I know I’m going to sound like some sort of careers advisor now but here goes. While there are some people feel used and abused by their employer and might utilise the office year-end function as a means to rinse the corporate devil they perform slave labour for by taking advantage of the free food, booze, etc but there are also loads of people for whom spending additional time with their colleagues is considered a fate worse than death where no amount of free stuff can lessen the boredom factor.

Well, if you find that you aren’t all that excited about getting plastered with a bunch of people you despise and already spend too much time with then the only way is to look at it as a networking opportunity. If you work in a big company perhaps you can get chatting to people in other departments and find out about new job openings or maybe over a couple of glasses of wine you can connect with the CEO over your common interest in running marathons. Who knows these new ‘friendly’ relationships you build with you colleagues might lead to the big bucks come January?

DON’T : Go overboard on the free booze and make a fool out of yourself 

There are numerous occasions in our lives where we all ‘decide’ to let loose when it comes to booze/drugs. It’s one thing going overboard and dancing on the table at your own housewarming. You could even be forgiven for using champagne to lose your inhibitions and tell that family member who is trying to swindle you out of your inheritance what you really think of them over Xmas lunch. However, the one place you really don’t want to make a fool of yourself is at work. Getting drunk at the office party and kissing a colleague or telling your boss that they are a fat hypocrite isn’t going to go down well.

So exercise restraint (I know it’s hard when the booze is free) and don’t open yourself up to office gossip (or a disciplinary hearing).

DON’T: Use it as an occasion to start an office romance or shag your way to the top 

A third of relationships start in the workplace and sure you’ve been crushing on the guy from accounts for the past 6 months but the office party is not the place to start something. Not only is : ‘Once upon a time I got intoxicated at the year-end shindig…’ a rubbish start to a fairytale but nothing goes unnoticed by the resident office gossip and your little tryst at the Mount Nelson will be front page news come January if you are not careful.

If you are less romantically inclined should also be careful not to misconstrue my first piece of advice about using the office party as a networking opportunity too seriously. Of course your boss might be a bit friendlier at the party but this isn’t your chance to get your claws in and get that promotion you’ve been waiting for.

Remember he/she probably has a wife/hubby and a couple of kids at home. Plus you are a clever guy/girl and you are totally capable of climbing the career ladder without pimping yourself out!

If all else fails…at least try to be discreet

And if after all these wise words I’ve imparted on you well then at least try to be discreet in whatever sordid acts you decide to get up to at the office party.

Regardless, you are likely to wake up with a hangover but ideally, the only thing you should be regretting are those moves you were busting out on the dancefloor. Waking up knowing that you’ve probably destroyed your own relationship or a few others isn’t going to be the greatest feeling in the world nor is knowing that you are going to be the topic of conversation at the office water cooler for the foreseeable future.

OK Rinsers. It’s your turn. Share your office party disaster stories and advice on how to behave in the comments below. 

All I Want for Christmas Is… About the Things that Really Matter

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I’m sure you know by now that Christmas is just around the corner. For some of us it’s a time of religious celebration for others it’s this rare instance when imposed religion gave the population something good, namely presents. Christmas songs have probably been haunting all of us for a while and we may be tired of seeing all the gifts suggestions in the malls and online. Christmas is, however, when whether we want it or not, we are reminded about the things that really matter due to the excess of free time. It can be either a positive season of gratitude or a sad time of realisation that you don’t have the people around you that you would like to be surrounded with.

Coming from non-believing and divorced parents doesn’t help you to be appreciative of Christmas. Presents, food and being forced to call distant family members is pretty much how I could summarise my typical celebrations. I always REALLY loved the gifts and I equally enjoyed both giving and receiving. Apart from that, I liked the wafer that you traditionally share with the family over the Christmas table but I never really considered the season to be anything special. In short, I was taking for granted the fact that I would be surrounded by my family and showered with gifts every year.

That was true till I left the country and after four months of being in South Africa the internship I came here for and my relationship that started when I was “fresh off the boat” really weren’t working. I ended up spending Christmas with my boyfriend and his family who told his mom but not me that he was meaning to break up with me so she didn’t know how to introduce me to others on a Xmas event as she wasn’t sure whether he had done the deed yet or not. Eventually, he told me “he wanted to sexually experience other people” on Boxing Day (SURPRISE). On actual Christmas Day I ended up on a trip which I had committed to with my then already ex which consisted of hiking at 12 o’clock and partying afterwards where the trail ended. I was hungover as one would be after suffering a major heartbreak the previous day and surrounded by strangers I had to endure conversations with when I was literally dying inside. Still, this was better than being on my own on Christmas, because guess what, as a newly arrived and newly single expat, you don’t have that many options for not being on your own during this period. People have families and even more established expats get invited to Christmas functions of others. Even the ones who don’t celebrate this event often go away for a few days. In short, even if you’re relatively sociable but new in the country or just single with coupled friends you may end up having a bleak Christmas.

I thought that after that year I achieved my Xmassy low but the next year wasn’t much better. I was recovering from yet another heartbreak after a too long fling filled with drama and on the top of it, I really wasn’t doing great financially. South Africa was a tough market for translations and I was considering leaving, even though I put so much effort and money into trying to have my life sorted here. In other words, I wasn’t in the greatest state of mind to spend some time alone, as yet AGAIN, everyone went away for Christmas.

I was missing presents these two years of course, but they were nothing in comparison with how I missed having people who cared about me around (or at least people who knew me). Being a bit lonely as you move to a new country is a normal thing but the loneliness is magnified during the festive season. Even if you have a partner but not the partner, spending Christmas with his family feels less lonely but definitely not fulfilling (this was my experience during my third Christmas in Cape Town). Now, I feel real gratitude when I have my husband to spend a non-traditional Christmas with and it feels great to have that someone special with you.

I think paradoxically, having experienced a bleak Christmas more than once taught me to appreciate having important people around me during this time of the year. When most people are with their families and you’re on your own and not because of your choice, it’s  sad. Sure, you can do something with someone and you’ll always find some company but it’s not the point of life. What is important is to be with people you care about and who care about you. It’s a great opportunity to create good memories with them. Nothing reminds us more about the importance of real connections than the season which is meant to be used for tending to them.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re traditional and spend Christmas attending numerous masses or whether in a less conservative way you decide to go on a Christmas hike (or travel or do anything else that’s less orthodox). What matters are the people around you and quality matters much more than quantity. If you and your family are not on great terms, you can let it be but remember that it’s important to find people in your life who should fulfil the roles they failed to. If you’re lonely this Christmas, you’ll definitely survive but try to make sure that next year there’ll be at least one someone special in your life to share the holiday break with. If you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by all you want for Christmas, then be grateful and remember that not everyone has that.

Merry Xmas, Dear Rinsers. The comment section is all yours to let me know about your thoughts on Christmas, best and worst Christmas stories and whatever else you feel like you’d like to share.

Review: Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction

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Many English speakers are familiar with the series of Adrian Mole’s diaries. It started with the extremely popular “The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 and 3/4” which I remember reading at a similar age to the protagonists. It made me realise for the first time that you don’t have to cry over the plights of adolescence, you can laugh at them too. I’ve been following the series faithfully and when I found a long forgotten copy of “Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction” on my bookshelf I just had to read it.

In this instalment of the series Adrian Mole is 34 years old and still has absolutely no idea what he’s doing with his life. He keeps falling for women for no particular reasons and impregnating them just to realize he doesn’t know why he decided to be with them at the first place. He has two sons but isn’t a great father, doesn’t take responsibility for his life choices and is still trying to get out of his parents house for good. The remainders of his short celebrity past taught him to aim high but he’s very unrealistic about his goals. For instance, he wants to publish a book entitled “Celebrities and Madness” but doesn’t really work on it, apart from sending letters to stars who are highly unlikely to reply. He’s also forever in love with his high school sweetheart who’s always been out of his league and now is a minister. He doesn’t have real chances of ever tying the knot with her even if his mother SO wishes for Pandora to become her daughter-in-law.

Adrian has his ups and downs but never really gets sorted. The aim of the series isn’t to teach people how to become better human beings or how to find the love of your life and create a happy relationship with them. Townsend means to entertain and she manages to do so. If Adrian ever stops writing letters to people like Tony Blair realizing the lack of probability to get a reply, he’ll stop being so funny too. This is exactly why I used to prefer the Adrian Mole series to for instance Bridget Jones which is a haha comedy about a clumsy and unsuccessful woman who all of a sudden does manage to get the Eton educated lawyer when the story is about to end (subconsequently she obviously needs to lose him so that she can continue the quest in the next book/movie).

This novel is definitely not the best one in the series and I guess even within the comedic framework the reader gets a bit bored with Adrian’s continuous love and career misadventures. It is still an entertaining read, though. It even has some serious undertones as the weapons of mass destruction in the title refer to the war in Iraq during which Adrian’s underage son risks his life. The presence of swans deserve a honorary mention too.

To conclude, “Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction” is a book that I’d definitely recommend to the fans of the series. To other people I’d rather recommend reading the first part so that they can become a fan of the series and eventually enjoy the book I’ve just reviewed. I’m looking forward to reading some more about Adrian’s love and professional ups and downs in the next parts of the book but secretly hoping for some change in the formula.

Creating a Monster – The Dangers of Trying to Change Your Partner

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We’ve all heard of those stories where girl meets boy, invests her time/skills/money and childbearing years into this boy helping him to become a better version of himself only to have the new and improved model snatched away by another woman. Ladies, especially, tend to have this Mother Hen instinct which drives us towards problem men. It is as if we  ignore the persons flaws and pride ourselves of seeing potential in them that nobody else does (this may suggest that we are somewhat delusional perhaps). So, in today’s post I’ll be asking whether taking on these pet projects is necessarily a good thing or whether our inability to accept someone warts and all is something which will eventually come back to slap us in the face? Could our desire to remove a persons flaws just lead to the creation of a monster who’ll most likely end up breaking our fragile little heart?

Nobody is perfect. Sure, when we first fall a person and are just that little bit smitten our vision tends to be somewhat clouded and one can be prone to missing certain glaring red flags or minimising their importance. However, as time goes on and we spend more time getting to know certain little (or bigger) things may start to annoy us. The problem is at this stage we are likely to be a bit too invested into this little affair to simply walk away. In some cases, we tell ourselves that the issue isn’t something that can’t be sorted our with a little bit of effort on our part.

Naturally, the things that annoy us about a person can differ. Maybe your man is perfect in every way except his awful hipster beard he is trying to grow to make him look like a BIG MAN. In such a case, instigating change is easy. Simply, tell him that his questionable facial hair situation is aggravating your skin every time you kiss him and BOOM he’ll be clean shaven in no time. Or maybe its just that you are a bit of a fashionista but despite having the potential to be quite the stud your beau insists on wearing in board shorts on every occasion? Embrace your inner personal shopper, take him to the Waterfront, give him a few compliments and soon you’ll have yourself a Ralph Lauren model 😉  And it’s not just the guys that may need a transformation. What happens when the sport obsessed guy who runs a marathon every weekend falls for the good value chubby chick? Well it starts with her waddling her way through a 5k Park Run and next thing you know  the pounds are just dropping off and she is running marathons!

But if only life were that simple. Instigating change may be straightforward but you won’t necessarily get the end result you bargained for. That makeover you gave that dowdy guy might just have been what he needed to get the attention of ALL the other ladies. Next thing you know he is dumping your sorry ass and upgrading to a better model. The chubby chick you trained for the marathon – well maybe her newfound skills will see her leaving you in the dust.

The moral of the story here kids… We have to accept that nobody is perfect and we really need be willing to accept them as they are. Everyone has their imperfections and to the right person those flaws will be endearing. Of course, there is a fine line and a good partner should also challenge you and push you to be the best version of yourself but only by encouraging you to make the changes that you want rather than those that are beneficial to them. Remember that changing person might not always work in your favour so go in with the best intentions, support them in their endeavors but just be aware that change can also be a negative thing.

Now it’s your Rinsers. Have you ever tried to change a partner? Or has a lover tried to change things about you? How did it work out? Were the intended outcomes achieved? Or does trying to change your partner have the potential to destroy the relationship? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Review : Maggie’s Plan – Artificial Insemination, Blended Families and Control Freaks!

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This movie was marketed a some sort of romantic comedy. It was niether romantic nor funny (well except Julianne Moore’s terrible attempt at a Danish accent!). I wouldn’t really recommend going to see it unless you are one of those people who has seen everything under the sun. Actually no, even then don’t. Instead watch something with subtitles or something foreign without subtitles. Watch some porn if you have to. Go for a walk off a cliff. Yes, it was that bad and a waste of 2 hours of my life.

The plot is a far-fetched tale which centres around this control freak called Maggie who has decided to get pregnant by with the local pickle entrepreneur (maybe this is a bit funny too) via artificial insemination. As fate has it, at around the same time as she is busy trying to knock herself up she falls madly in love (I wasn’t convinced) with this married man who subsequently leaves his wife + kids to have a family with the Other Woman (NB not clear who Maggie’s baby daddy is). Anyway, after a few years playing house with the married man and trying to manage a blended family (the half Danish kids are constantly slagging her off in Danish) Maggie has this light bulb moment when she realises that actually her husband (yeah, the one she stole!) actually fits better with his ex-wife than he does with her. Then miraculously these two women join forces to hatch some elaborate plan to bring the original couple together. You can guess the rest.

So, despite being a pretty rubbish movie I think for the purposes of this blog it did raise some interesting questions. Firstly, it did provide some insight into the realities of modern family life. Although many of us, myself included, still chase after this traditional idea of happily ever after – hot husband, that’ll help create a couple of perfect children, move to the ‘burbs, etc, etc. But the fact is that this isn’t the reality for most people. Lots of relationships these days are plagued with divorce, infidelity and other such non-fairytale like things. Boundaries are changing and that idea of what a family should look like is rapidly changing.

I’m running into to more and more women that hit 35 ish and realize that they can’t waste the rest of their child-bearing years waiting for a man to impregnate the fun/traditional way and they essentially head to the sperm bank and do it for themselves. Because women, well at least in more developed countries, are more financially independent they no longer need support of a man/another party to help them raise a child. They other advantage, I guess many people see with the modern way of doing things is that instead of getting knocked up by just anyone/someone you love but maybe isn’t genetically that gifted, you get to vet your potentially baby Daddy. Basically this way give your child the best chance of being born with blond hair and blue eyes or with a mind for mathematics  (as was the draw card in Maggie’s case).

I honestly don’t know how I feel about the whole artificial insemination issue. Part of me doesn’t feel there is a need to bring in more humans into this big bad world and I sincerely doubt I’d actually CHOOSE to go it alone but one should never say never I guess. The thought of choosing super sperm is also a bit much for my fragile mind to handle. I mean we all know that kids often turn out to be the opposite of their parents and most of us were probably told that the stork delivered the wrong child (OK, maybe that was just me). But what happens when you’ve PAID to have a child that is crazy clever and it turns out they just want to be a sex blogger or sit on the beach all day and do yoga? Does that mean they will be loved less?  Just seems like another symptom of this age of consumerism we live in to me.We’ll probably start seeing law suits when people don’t get they child they paid for. I guess it’s a method that would seem appealing to the control freaks of

Anyways, the whole issue is a bit of a minefield and I expect I’ll get a few objections to me views but you know we all enjoy a good debate. So Rinsers….Have you seen this movie? What are your thoughts? And on the wider issue of traditional family units being a thing of the past? Are you all for women doing it for themselves or do you think its a little bit too sci-fi? Thoughts in the comments below. 

 

 

Sensitivity and Relationships – How to Survive When Everybody Hurts

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Have you ever heard that you’re “too sensitive” or “too emotional”? I certainly did and I must say that sensitivity doesn’t make my life easy, especially with how misunderstood I am by other people. The readings of my behaviors are often that I’m overreacting, sulking, lacking willingness to make up or even manipulating. The fact is, however, that I just have a strong  and relatively long emotional reaction to negative events and as much as I’d like to just “snap out of it” I can’t. For years I’ve been trying to suppress my emotions and hide them past the point of what others consider a normal reaction (and please remember, people are more generous when giving themselves time, much less empathic when someone else is involved). It is pointless, though. Such behaviors do backfire and with time you learn to embrace the fact that you are the way you are.

Sensitivity definitely makes relationships and dating more difficult. When I was still single I remember observing people in my surrounding and admiring the fact that they could get over things very easily. Some of these people where clearly in denial, but others were sad for a few days after a relationship finished and after that would jump back to the dating scene. People often ask you about your relationship status when you’re out and about so if I was currently single (and usually heart-broken) I’d say that I’ve just got out of something, even if this something was already a while ago. I knew, however, that anything past a month of regrouping was considered by others as dwelling. It’s not true if you still actively feel hurt and you certainly shouldn’t be jumping into a new relationship at this stage. What is true, is that sensitivity does tempt you into staying in a melancholic state for longer than necessary or good for you, but this is something one must learn for themselves instead of letting others set “recovery deadlines”. From my experience emotional pain often feels very much like a physical one. Therefore, others people expectation to “just get over it” as “the guy was clearly an asshole” is as helpful as advising a stab wound victim to please stop feeling the pain because the knife is no longer in their body.

Another danger of sensitivity is jumping into relationships without thinking about what one’s doing. As sensitive people feel things quite intensely it’s even easier for them than for other people to get into a relation because they interpreted lust as love. The thinking behind it is “If I feel so strongly about someone, how is it possible that it’s not love?”. It’s very possible. Attraction is a powerful thing and especially people with unresolved childhood issues are prone to feel strong sexual attraction towards people with whom they could recreate the abusive relationship they had with their parent(s). If someone is sensitive on the top of it, it’s a dangerous mix because of how intense the feelings get. Once a sensitive person is in a wrong relationship they’re on an emotional rollercoaster which affects them deeply. This is another example of when healing for such people takes longer. They go in too deep with a person who hurt them so they need even more time to get better. As many of sensitive people are also introverts they will emotionally hibernate and withdraw, trying to analyze what went wrong to avoid repeating the same mistake in the future.

Last but not least, there’s obviously the happily ever after. The point when you’ve learnt the difference between love and lust, to observe who you’re dealing with before you jump into a relationship and when you are in the healthy relationship you wanted. Sensitivity also makes some things more difficult here. Being more in tune with what others feel sometimes makes you super conscious of the way your partner is and if you can’t make them feel better it can be difficult to let go. Accepting that some things which happen in their lives are beyond your control is challenging. Of course there are occasional disagreements too and it doesn’t make anyone’s life easier that sensitive people are so quick to feel hurt and to withdraw. This leaves a sensitive person with a lot of work on interpreting what the partner communicates correctly but also the partner has a challenging task of learning how to express themselves in a different manner. Fortunately all that is possible to work through with someone who truly cares. On the bright side, a sensitive person experiences all emotions stronger, including the positive ones. In my experience I can get very excited about little things and express my positive emotions towards my partner generously.

If I learnt one thing about being sensitive is that the trait irritates a lot of people. Many will try to change you, think you’re a wuss or that you’re overindulging yourself letting yourself feel fully. Steer clear of these people and keep them at an arm’s length. You can embrace their ideas about how you should be and be miserable or accept the fact that you feel a bit stronger than they do and let yourself be the person you are. No amount of wishful thinking and attempts to just “be stronger” will change the fact that you’re sensitive. Of course you should put yourself out there and try to get used to as many things as you can so it’s not so intimidating to go somewhere on your own or give a public speech. No one is telling you to avoid life here, but at the same time it’s okay to admit that you’re sometimes emotionally overwhelmed instead of beating yourself up. According to research around 20% of the world population has a heightened sensitivity so bear in mind that you’re not alone or crazy, just in minority.

Dear Rinsers, are you the sensitive ones? Maybe you’re on the other side, trying to make more sensitive people be your way? Is embracing the way we are overindulgence? Are we supposed to try to fit in even if it’s against our true nature? The comments section is all yours.

Stop Tinder Hating! – Why It’s Time To Accept The Realities of Modern Dating

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I am probably as hopelessly romantic as they come. I was recently told that I fell through the ceiling but my head got stuck somewhere in the clouds and I know I’ve ‘wasted’far too much of my life obsessing over Cinderella stories (and Bridget Jones) but even my fragile mind is slowly coming to terms with the fact that real life ‘love’ stories aren’t what the fairytales promised us.

As sad as it is most people’s stories these days don’t begin with a dashing Prince rescuing the chick from the clutches of or fire-breathing dragon or a clumsy chubby girl tumbling down a flight of stairs straight into the arms of a rugby player (although there maybe an element of truth to that last one!). The truth is  even the chances of being asked out by that geeky hipster in your local coffee joint is pretty unlikely. The fact is we live in a world where organic dating is fast becoming a thing of the past and one in five relationships actually start online.

So why then is there still so much stigma attached to admitting you met your Significant Other online? I’m sure we’ve all had occasions where your buddy is introducing his new girlfriend and you casually ask how they first met. Well, most of the time there will be an awkward silence while the two parties conjure up some story and hope the details correlate, then they’ll usually battle to sync their epic tales, speaking over one another like a pair of bumbling buffoons. You just stand their rolling your eyes and whisper ‘TINDER’ to the friend standing next to you. With online dating being so common these days one has to wonder why people go to such great lengths to conceal the truth?

I get it. And I know I’ve said this before nobody really ever wants to entertain the thought their story could begin ‘Once upon a time I swiped right’. It’s not terribly romantic now is it? But I think we need to understand thw epic tales that our grandparents told us, about how their love survived wars and how the thoughts of their one true love waiting at home got them through those horrid days in the trenches, are from another age all together. Furthermore if we did a bit of digging we’d probably learn that every romantic masterpiece has some sordid little subplot (come on we all that there is truth to that thing about the sailors having a girl in every port!).

It may seem like the devilish modern technological advances have changed the nature of dating for the worse; taking the romance out of things altogether and cheapening everything to some degree. But these tools that we now have at our disposal and that we are so quick to dismiss the value do have their advantages. Not only have websites and apps broadened the scope of the dating pool – people are no longer restricted to dating people in their own village, city, country, etc. The world really is your oyster when it comes to who you could potentially date these dates.

The speed at which we are able to communicate and set up a date means that we can now meet more people. As tedious as this can become, the more dates (both good and bad)  we go on the more we learn about a) what do/don’t want in a partner and b) what we can do to improve ourselves. I can certainly say that my +/- 50 Tinder dates have taught me a lot, served to increase my self confidence and given me greater insight into the inner workings of the male mind. And it’s not like we can deny how much things like Skype (and Skype Sex) have probably the likelihood of long distance relationships working?

So what am I getting at here? Well, firstly  we need to  put historic ideas of romance into perspective and remember that there is probably a lot that people filtered out. Next, lets accept that times have changed. No one is above Tinder and most people these days have dabbled in online dating at some stage. Almost everyone and his dog  (yes literally! I am slightly embarrassed to admit I am guilty of swiping right on a guy because I thought his puppy was adorable) has/has had an online dating profile of some sort. Tinder, Grindr, OKCupid, etc are all part of reality when it comes to modern dating. So if you met you Significant Other thanks to a swipe (or if you are an uber cool kid – a SUPER like), you really aren’t alone in this, so OWN your story.  Meeting  your Prince Charming online is really no worse than hooking up at club, being introduced by friends or having him save you from gang lord so stop being embarrassed. And finally, just believe that in 30 years time Tinder will likely be replaced by something far more sordid (if at all possible) and our grandchildren will probably think of swiping as something rather romantic.

Your turn Rinsers – Are you an advocate of online dating? Did you meet your SO online and if so do you cringe when you tell the truth or do you own it? Or are you one of those truly old fashioned romantics that is still searching for their  soulmate in the library?  Answers, opinions and stories in the comments section below. 

 

Your Partner, Not Your Master – Taking Responsibility for Your Role in a Relationship

van-heusen-mans-worldLet me start by saying something that unfortunately still seems to stir controversy these days – men and women are equal. There are few things in which men or women are “just better”. Most of such notions come from gender stereotyping. There’s no reason whatsoever why a modern couple should follow a traditional model of gender distribution of household chores (that is a man doesn’t do anything in the house, while a woman does everything). We have a choice in terms of a partner and things we want to accept in a relationship. It’s high time we stop playing victims and change “I have to” into “I choose to”.

I remember a lot of sexism from my childhood. One instance of this was when a family member was heavily pregnant and her brother and I were in the room. She asked me to sweep the floor and given that the guy and I were of a similar age I asked her why I was the one who’s supposed to do it. He looked at me as if I was crazy and she did too, reaching for the broom to sweep the floor herself. He didn’t even move so eventually I took the broom from her. A real man in his understanding will not degrade himself with female duty. As a real man, however, he’ll stand and watch an eight months pregnant woman do physical work. The other situation I’ll never forget was when I played “The Sims” (a computer game simulating real life, for those who don’t know it) with another young family member. She stopped me from letting a male character prepare a meal. At the age of seven or so she said that it should be a woman who does it. When I asked her why, she said that it’s just how things are. It’s not 1950s and things just aren’t certain way. We accept them and let them be or we don’t.

We go to schools like boys do and yet after school the expectation is often of us and not of our brothers to help out with household chores. We recreate such expectations in partnerships and marriages later in life and some of us end up being highly functional robots who after work pick the kid(s) up from school, take care of them, cook dinners and clean dishes. If you’re a housewife, while your husband works and that’s what you both agreed on then fair enough. In this scenario you work as he does, just doing other things. However, very often such a situation has nothing to do with agreeing on anything but rather with expectations coming from gender stereotyping, simply unfair in the world where both partners work. You don’t have to dance to the same songs that women in your family did. You really do have a choice and it doesn’t seem that some women realize that. Have you ever heard this sentence from someone close to you or even said to yourself: “I’d like to change the way I eat, but I’d have to cook two meals for me and my partner”? You don’t have to cook two meals, you choose to. In fact, you don’t even have to cook one. If your partner doesn’t want to eat what you make, he can cook for himself. If he can’t cook he can learn as you did. We’re not born with innate cooking skills. Men have two hands too. The same rule applies to any household activities.

We should establish reasonable rules with a fair share of chores. If you enjoy cooking and your partner cleaning that’s still a nice distribution. Maybe you can opt for taking turns in doing certain activities. You shouldn’t try to take everything on, though. Of course it’s easy to dismiss such suggestions by saying that our partner is used to the fact that we do this or that thing or that he has this sort of a vision of what men and women should do. It’s up to us, however, to question such expectations. If we’re constantly tired because we’re a professional and a housewife it’s not serving us or our relationship. If our partner prefers to obey the unwritten and unjust expectations of masculinity and femininity rather than see us happy and help, then maybe it’s not the right partner. It’s also possible that he wouldn’t mind helping but we just silently accept our role of a household martyr, without even trying to discuss it.

We cannot change the world and in many places women will be treated as inferior human beings for many years to come. What we can do, is to apply the rules of equality to our own lifestyles, rejecting what doesn’t serve us. By showing people that there are alternatives to the traditional and expected way of running a household, we can change the world step by step. To do so we must realize that we all have a choice and that “have to’s” in our heads are nothing more than expectations of others that we can but don’t have to meet.

So Dear Rinser, what do you think about the issue? Do you treat your man as your Master? Or do you strive for equality in your household? Do you see a lot of female martyrdom around you?