:: Express your needs.
Some people like to text every day. Some people need a lot of alone time. Some people want their partner to plan exciting dates. All of these needs are equally legitimate.
But your partner will never know what your needs are if you don’t tell them. You don’t need to open a first date with a checklist, but once things are clicking along, it’s okay to say, “I want you to feel loved and appreciated. How can I do that?” and when you’ve heard their suggestions, you can share yours. When they do what you asked? Lots and lots of acknowledgement and appreciation.
:: Give without any expectations.
I know it’s incredibly tempting (so tempting!) to keep a mental list of all the nice things you’ve done for your sweetie.
Picked up a new yoga mat because I saw hers was deteriorating...
Made reservation for Friday...
Bought his mom’s birthday present...
This mentality will only end in tears and resentment. We can nourish our relationships by removing the expectation that they to do the same things that we have done for them. Let your partner give to you because they want to, not because they feel as though they owe you.
:: Don’t stop caring about how you look!
Male or female, we’ve all done this, right? Constantly hanging out in our gym clothes and dirty hair, eating pizza for dinner three times a week. You want to find your partner attractive and – not surprisingly – they want to find you attractive. Help them do that by keeping up with your workouts and saving the sweatpants for alone time.
:: Cultivate intimacy and independence.
It might sound counter-intuitive but you can connect while also retaining autonomy. Don’t stop doing the things that filled you up now that you’ve found a partner. Keep attending those pottery classes, keep working on your novel – and keep telling your partner all about it and why you love it.
Just as important? Give them the space to pursue a few passions without you. You’ll both be that much more excited to come home and tell each other about your adventures.
:: Inspire your partner by loving yourself fiercely.
The more you love yourself, the more others will follow your lead. We’ve all witnessed it: the confident woman who maintains healthy boundaries always seems to attract amazing partners.
Do your best to identify your needs and meet those needs yourself. Need creative inspiration? Rather than trying to date an artist or force your accountant boyfriend to take drawing classes, buy a DSLR and get to shooting. Crave a more active social life? Don’t hassle your introverted girlfriend into house parties and nights out. Call up your most outgoing friends and schedule a night out, complete with cute shoes and cocktails.
We teach people how to treat us and when you nourish yourself with love and respect, the world – and your partner – take notice.
Great relationships don’t happen by accident.
Just like that sweet little vegetable patch in your backyard, the more you nurture and nourish your relationship the happier you’ll both be.
And what does that look like? Quality nourishment requires pausing, listening, and paying attention to your partner. It requires that you learn to love people in ways that are meaningful to them and listen when they tell you what their needs are.
Here are 10 ways you can nudge your relationship into a happier, healthier, more fulfilling version of itself.
:: Stop pretending to be someone you’re not and just be yourself instead.
When we are who we really truly are – weird hobbies and all – magic happens. Being true to ourselves allows us to navigate life and relationships free of hangups, emotional baggage, or expectations.
In the beginning stages of relationships, many of us focus on showcasing our best selves in an attempt to garner love and affection. We become ridiculously, painfully focused on making a good impression.
But being who you really are and being who you think someone wants you be – it’s hard to do those two things simultaneously. Take a deep breath, release those shoulders, and stop pretending and polishing yourself. Just be right here, who you are, today.
:: Smile at your loved one.
To the best of your ability, greet your partner with a smile when you see each other for the first time that day.
Imagine how good that would feel – after a tough day at work and sitting in traffic, you walk through the door and are greeted with a smile and a kiss from the person you love most. Wouldn’t that be an amazing way to start your evening?
This is not to say you’re never allowed to share the low points of your day, but maybe save them for dinner – rather than the first five minutes that you see your sweetie.
Other great times to smile at your partner: across a crowded party, before you part ways for the day, when you know they need encouragement.
:: Realize things change.
We’re living, breathing organisms – subject to the changing tides of emotion and circumstance. It can be emotionally crippling to get too attached to the “status quo” – not just in your romantic relationships but in life. Change is inevitable.
Next week your partner might wake up and want to change careers, move to the east coast, or have kids (like, soon). Can you allow space for that? Could you create a new life with him while he pursued something new?
And, of course, things will change for you – your passions, your career, your family, your health. When your partner tells you that they’ve got some big changes in mind – a new workout plan, a move to the country, no more dairy – do your best to listen with an open mind and heart.
:: Work out together.
Exercise gives you energy and it’s great for your sex life! Studies show people who work out regularly enjoy more sex and feel more aroused more frequently. Also, it’s a wonderful way to show your partner that you’re interested in your health and you want to stay cute for them.
Trying new workouts together also helps you bond! Take a couple’s yoga class, a hip hop dance class, or try rock climbing. Even if you’re terrible, later you’ll be able to laugh together about his terrible downward dog or your totally failure to pop ‘n lock.
:: If you want quality time with your significant other, plan it.
You’ve heard this advice before and that’s because it works! Make time for thrilling, exciting things – not just birthdays and anniversaries. As your weekend winds down, take a few minutes to schedule in at least one fun date each week – whether that’s trying a new restaurant, going for a hike, or catching a movie at the second-run theater. Fun things happen when you make time and space for them.
Stay tuned for part 2 of 10 Tips To Help Your Relationship Thrive!
The Valentine's Day holiday is set up to be all about the ladies. From mushy cards to sappy movies, the whole marketing plan for Vday is "hit 'em hard with the emotion." Although the holiday is more for women, we can't completely neglect the guys. What about what men want? Do they really enjoy those romantic dinners or are they just going along with the plan so they can get that obligatory Vday sex that comes later? And what about gifts? Is it a big deal to exchange gifts or nah? We polled a few Made Men to see what they really thought about Valentine's Day and what they really wanted on this universal day of romance.
"A perfect Valentine's Day would be a fun day of doing things with someone that you've never done before. A shared experience that kinda lasts forever because we've both never done it before. So whether that's starting off making a breakfast food that you've never had before to later doing an activity that you've never done before....the memory lasts..it also gives each person the opportunity to be creative and fun and hopefully rekindle a flame and create longer lasting one." - Mike, 30
"Staying at home cooking together...and making a sex tape." - Zeke, 26
"Dinner close to a beach then a long walk listening to the waves crash. Followed by dancing." - Lamar, 27
"To go somewhere dressed up; maybe a concert and dinner. You and your girl looking your best... No kids, just two people. Kind of getting to know each other all over again." - Xavier, 30
"I'm an easy one. Home cooked dinner and some quiet time. I'd be a happy guy." - Keith, 32
"For my lady to have a peaceful, stress free day. She's a working mother so I just want her to have a day of peace!" - Elliot, 31
"I have a lot of late nights and early mornings. I'd love a french press coffee machine for Valentine's Day!" - Rick, 28
"I'm not a big Valentine's day person. I don't really expect anything. Maybe a pair of sneakers?" - Scott, 29
"To spend time with someone who cares about me as much as I care about them." - Shamar, 31
"Men are pretty simple. Tickets to a game is always a good idea. Or something simple like a sexy outfit in the bedroom." - Michael, 31
This article originally appeared on BauceMag.com and was written by Vanessa Walker.
We all wonder when is it okay to finally hit the sack with the man we’re dating. It’s a tricky subject and everyone has a different viewpoints on it. With the double standards between men and women, it is hard for liberated women to do what they want without being scrutinized for it.
The typical labels: if you have sex too quick then you’re easy but if you wait too long then you’re stuck up. Or if you have too many sexual partners you’re a “hoe” but if you don’t open your legs to everyone then you still manage to be a prude. No matter which route you decide to drive down, making decisions isn’t the easiest. Maintaining a sexual balance or defining it rather can be downright hard.
To add more fuel to the fire about when to have sex or not, the “90-day rule” wags its dirty tail and comes into play. This means waiting 90 days after you meet a man before you become sexually involved. This is three months of just dating, talking and learning about each other through intellectual conversation and fun activities besides sex. Usually sex tends to cloud our minds and leave us astray from experiencing the true qualities of a person. When sex seeps in between, you become full of lust and the physical attraction may distract you from the mental and emotional attraction you can create with that person.
If you think that the man you’re dating is someone you see in your future, trying to commit to the 90-day rule is important. You get to learn more about his personality and future long term goals. Women agree with this rule because it allows them to get to know someone better and not get caught up in the complications sex creates.
If you came out of a long relationship and you’re ready to have fun, at least give yourself a little while before hopping into bed with just anyone. With the rise of HIV/AIDS and STDs spreading, it is much easier to contract an infection. One night stands may be fun and sometimes are inevitable if you’re drinking back-to-back shots, but it’s still imperative to always be protected. And even if you're not dreaming of wedding bells, it’s important to have an idea of who you’re about to have sex with, whether it be a friend, acquaintance, or a complete stranger.
Protect yourself emotionally and physically and know your long term (and short term) goals when you’re meeting someone. Once you decide what you want from them, everything else is easier afterwards.
Daddy issues. Do we even know what that means? Usually we hear it tossed around to describe a woman who we perceive to be “damaged” in some way. Or we use it to slut-shame her. (You know, where society jumps all over a woman because she is sexually liberated or behaves in a way that one considers to be “too much like a man…” God forbid she doesn’t play by society’s prescribed rules).
The truth is, the term “daddy issues” should not be taken lightly. Rooted in ideas of psychotherapy, the term "daddy issues" implies that a woman’s problems in her romantic relationships are at least in some way connected to a dysfunctional relationship (or lack thereof) with her father. But these relationships do not always have to scream dysfunction. Sometimes the things a woman learns or experiences in the relationship with her father (or other male figure in her life), can subtly affect her romantic relationships. You would be surprised at how even the smallest things about your upbringing can have a huge impact. So, that begs the question: How do I know if I have daddy issues?
Sorry to break it to you Made Woman, but there is no cut and dry response here. We all have issues, circumstances and events that cause us pain and affect our behavior. Including you guys out there. (Hello!) The key to identifying daddy issues is to make it a goal to achieve some insight about yourself and your patterns in love. Think about the relationship you had with your father or other paternal figure when you were a little girl. What examples did this person set for you? How did he shape your idea of what a man is? How did he contribute to your idea of what a healthy relationship looks like? If you did not have such a person in your life, where did you get your ideas about love and men from?
After you explore the answers to some of these questions, identify maladaptive or non-productive patterns in your relationships: Are you drawn to men who do not value you as much as you would like to be valued? Are you lenient with disrespect and “second chances”? Make some connections and where you see the issues…work on correcting them. Write them down. Think about them. You would be surprised how many women keep dating the same type of man (that is inherently terrible for them) over and over again. And these women don’t know why they are doing it! Be aware of your deficits and weak points.
And what happens if someone snickers at you one day and accuses you of having daddy issues? Laugh it off. At the end of the day, all women are shaped by their father figures and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. You are figuring it out. And you shouldn’t let anyone make you ashamed of it.
Self-exploration and getting at the root of “daddy issues” will not be fun, but in the end you will be a self–assured woman, and less likely to be taken advantage of in an unhealthy relationship.
“Why doesn’t he ever follow through with his plans? He’s SO FLAKY. He has so much potential that he’s not using. I could help him if he’d let me.”
“I wish she was ready to settle down. She knows I want a family but she’s so sure about backpacking through Europe. Maybe if I helped her get a better job she’d want to stick around … and get married.”
“Why is he always flirting with the wait staff? And why is he still listed as ‘single’ on Facebook? I don’t care if it’s just ‘innocent attention’ – if he loved me, he’d change.”
Sound familiar? (I can see you nodding from over here.) We’ve all been there – making a mental laundry list of the ways someone could ‘improve,’ an ongoing litany of their tiny flaws and all the ways we can polish and shine them to perfection.
But I’m afraid I’m captaining the good ship Reality Check today, friends. Trying to change someone is exhausting, disrespectful and (most importantly) 100% futile.
The upside of this? There is a truly life-changing sense of joy + liberation that comes with letting go of our need to control another. It’s when we let go that we finally feel loved and satisfied.
Pro-actively choosing to let go is different than clinging to something only to have it snatched from your clutches. Of course, actively choosing to let go of control – to let go of your need to change/improve another human adult – can be tough. But it’s also liberating and steeped in relief.
Borrow the courage to let go before heavy takes root.
When you proactively choose to let go you make delicious space for what you really want to show up.
When you let go, you allow the acceptance of “what is” to begin healing you.
You stop fighting a fruitless battle + bow to the perfect limitations of your situation.
With a heart ripped wide open you graciously, clearly understand;
:: This is all they have to offer + it’s not enough.
:: It’s time to move on. From this job, this town, this home. It’s been good but you must continue to grow–somewhere else.
Don’t wait until you’re “ready.”
The waiting is wrought with angst.
You have carried it and crouched under its weight long enough.
It isn’t until you give up on wanting them to change that you will find peace.
A few years ago, I was dating a much younger man who, for a plethora of reasons, I shouldn’t have been dating. I felt insecure about my age and finding someone who would love me as-is. My boyfriend was young and careless, partied entirely too much and eventually cheated on me.
After a lot (a lot) of meditation, journaling, and crying to my girlfriends, I realized that I could be at peace by accepting who he was and his choices, I could finally accept my responsibility for our relationship and for bringing him into my life. I decided to accept him for where he was in his life, and most importantly, to love myself. I let go of the weight of trying to fix him or wait for him to reach his potential and I felt hugely, immensely liberated.
When I began to love myself more + be more honest with myself, I made better choices. Since I knew I couldn’t change him and he couldn’t give me what I needed, with love and self-respect, I left.
If you too, would like to let go of your need to change your partner or to cling to things that aren’t working, here are five steps to get you closer to self-love and self-awareness.
1. Accept that the situation didn’t “just happen to you.”
This person you’re dating? They probably didn’t bang on your front door, insisting that you begin a romantic relationship with them. It is doubtful that you are being held against your will in this relationship. At some point, you chose to date someone who, for whatever reason, isn’t meeting your needs. You were actively involved in the decision to be in this relationship.
2. Accept the person for who they are and where they are.
My 23-year-old self is (thankfully!) very, very different from my 37-year-old self. In fact, I imagine my former boyfriends would be quite surprised at how I turned out. The same goes for everyone. Who we are, what we want, the type of love we’re capable of – these things change as we move through life. It’s not fair to expect a 25-year-old to approach relationships the way a 40-year-old divorcee does. Yes, that woman might make an amazing partner once she gets over her ex – but it’s not fair to either of you to sit around, waiting for that to happen.
3. Know on deep level that the only person you can change is yourself.
You’ve probably heard this a million times and maybe you’ve recited it over coffee to a few friends. But saying it and really down-to-the-marrow-of-your-bones knowing it are different. You can’t change the fact that she’s not ready to settle down, that he has a lot of growing up to do, or that she’s constantly running late. You can, however, change how you react to those things and whether those people are allowed into your life.
4. Celebrate your desires + truth.
Focus on your inner world, what you love about yourself, what is true for you, and where you want your path to lead. Instead of worrying about his financial stability, think about how you’re going to earn enough money to buy a little cottage in the woods. Stop focusing on what she does (or doesn’t) love about you and focus on what YOU love about you.
5. Take action in the direction of what you want most.
Building the life you want (filled with the right people) is a daily practice of step after tiny, unglamorous step. Big things start with small actions and those action always involve us and very rarely involve people who can’t meet our needs.
With love and respect, say goodbye to the people who aren’t right for you right now, and turn your attention to something worthwhile – creating a life that thrills you.
Whether you’re a high-heel shoe collector like myself, or an all sneakers all the time kind of Made Woman, you know that footwear can make an outfit. It may be difficult to determine what shoes to wear out on a date, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing for the date --- but don’t worry! I’ve planned many an ensemble around my shoes and when it comes to finding the perfect pair for a potentially perfect mate, here are my suggestions for what to wear:
Ah, yes. Nothing is better than getting wined and dined. Depending on where you’re going for dinner, your shoes can vary in fanciness. I’d go with something that has a medium to high heel since you won’t be walking a lot.
I suggest this Steve Madden animal print heel. The heel is 4 inches, but the design will go with everything, especially that little black dress (or red, or cobalt blue) you should be wearing to dinner. For just $85 you will definitely be getting your money’s worth, because these are shoes you can wear over and over again.
While you are sitting for two plus hours in a movie, keep in mind that you sometimes have to climb rows upon rows and step over people in the dark. Therefore, I recommend a not so high heel for a trip to the cinema.
Right now, menswear-inspired shoes are having a moment. Stay on-trend with these buckled beauties from Sam Edelman for $180. Pair them with cuffed jeans or a short skirt for an edgier look that you can still walk in.
Take advantage of sneakers being in style for a fun and active date activity such as mini golf or an amusement park. I’m especially liking the Converse by Missoni collection. For just $100 you get a high-end designer look that is casually cool.
Never the place for an extravagant shoe, I recommend a tough look that is chic yet wearable or a trendy high-top. These bad boys are only $19, so don’t feel guilty wearing them to walk across peanut shelled floors.
The best thing about grabbing a coffee together (aside from the fact that you don’t have to worry about getting too drunk and making an ass of yourself) is that you can wear whatever shoe you want.
Because you are sitting down, heels would definitely work. Since some coffee stops can be funky and full of art, this pair from Zara is especially cool at $35.99.
If a pair of flats suits you better for casual caffeine consumption, try these sequined beauties for $59 .
If you’re going out to get down and dance the night away, I recommend you stay away from platforms. Lower your heel height by a few inches and maximize your ability to stay out later.
This cage-type shoe has a medium heel and keeps the foot from slipping out. It’s only $100 and you get a few color options.
When it comes to rocking a shoe, there’s no one I trust more than rockstar Gwen Stefani. This piece from her fashion label L.A.M.B. are sleek and hip enough for any show. Since booties are definitely in, I recommend this bold, artistic one as an investment piece for the entire fall/winter season.
I think almost every occasion can be formalized by your footwear choice. That being said, there is a time and a place where you need to bust out the big guns (designer shoes). Maybe it’s a wedding, a swanky restaurant, or a black tie event, either way, make sure your shoes have you dressed to the nines.
Kate Spade loves glitter and bling almost as much as I do. Say yes to the Lilo pump and keep them for special occasions for years to come ($350).
Don’t ever feel like you have to pay an absurd amount of money for a good pair of shoes. Outlet stores, theoutnet.com, and eBay are all great places to get quality footwear and still have money left over to complete your date night look.
Dear Made Woman,
I've been seeing this great guy that I met on a dating website. He’s a successful lawyer, is intelligent, financially stable and all around a great catch. We hung out a few times and everything was good. I called him one night and he said he was out and would call me the following day. It's been one week and I haven't heard from him. All these other articles say to "give him space and then contact him in a few days to check in” or “just sit back and let things work themselves out.” They also say that I should let him “chase” me. What gives? What should I do?
What should you do? I'll tell you what you shouldn't do. You don't need to call him and "check on him" or "make sure he's OK" (sweetheart he is grown man and he's fine). Stop reading these articles that insist on you catering to a guy who doesn't even have the man parts to tell you what's really going on with him. (And please don’t allow the masses to convince you that “busy” is a valid excuse). You also don't need to arrange a girls' happy hour so everyone can sit around and "figure this out" over martinis and snacks. So to answer your question of, "What should I do?" DO NOTHING but LEAVE HIM ALONE. And I don’t mean “give him space” and secretly wait for his call. I mean truly leave him alone...out of sight and out of mind.This whole idea of a man chasing a woman is over-hyped. If you have shown you're interested in him and he hasn't responded, no amount of concerned calls or texts to him and/or nude selfies (you know how who you are…) will change that. Furthermore, do you even want a man around who doesn't think enough of you to call you in seven days? Move on and meet a new man, one that doesn't require an introductory course in common courtesy. When he does decide he's tired of dealing with whoever he is dealing with and gives you a call, you'll be so over him it won't matter to you one way or the other. (Although I’m sure his excuse will be a good one… Now, THAT will be worth sharing over drinks). Don't be weighed down by these games, just laugh and move on.
Made Woman Staff Writer
Dear Made Woman,
I want to write to you about something that many women have experienced: their man cheating. However you found out -- you caught him red-handed, he confessed to you, the other woman confessed to you….it all is a dagger to your heart. HOW he cheated, be it physical, emotional or both…doesn’t matter. It tears you apart. All of your friends and family throw in their two cents: “Girl, get rid of him! You can do so much better!” or “Let me tell you, if that was ME, I would have packed his stuff and left it on the curb for the garbage man!”
The reality of the situation is that betrayal cuts so deep emotionally that it makes it extremely difficult to process both mentally and emotionally. You will experience a wide range of emotions from anger, to sadness, to pain, to questioning yourself and what you don’t have that “she” does have. You may even question whether or not the cheating was “bad enough” to actually leave him. You will catch yourself rationalizing by saying things like, “Well, it’s not like he (insert even worse thing that he could have possibly done here). This is especially true if you have been with him for years and truly love him.
Made Woman, I want to share with you the importance of being patient with yourself after your man cheats. You have to allow the process (as terrible as it is) to take hold. Do not succumb to pressure to “make a decision” about the fate of the relationship or get caught up in what others in your life have to say. You will NOT have all the answers right away because your judgment will be clouded and that is OK. It is also very possible to still love and hate him all at the same time. You don’t need to apologize for that or feel guilty about it. (Now if you’re man is a repeat offender, I have another article for you in a few weeks). Do not ever cut your process short because you want to “keep him” or “compete” with the other woman. The most important person after your man cheats is…YOU. You have to take care of yourself and protect your sanity. Whether you stay with him or leave him, it is your decision and no one else’s. You make your moves when YOU are ready and truly healed. These are things that a Made Woman remembers as she is going through the storm after he cheats.
In your time of turmoil, shift the focus back to you and your emotions. Take a timeout, unwind and unplug. Reevaluate why you were with this person in the first place. Maybe there is a deeper underlying reason for this behavior. The key to containing a messy situation is to avoid acting out of anger and confusion. I know it’s not easy, but it is true that time heals all things. And while I can’t make the decision to stay or go for you, I can tell you that you deserve the best. The ABSOLUTE best. And that you deserve to be respected. While people do make mistakes, they also should know how to make it right. So if he cheats remember before you take action, take some time and get all the facts. Even if the relationship doesn’t work out you will be able to get out and keep your dignity. And that’s something you can hold onto forever.
This article was originally posted on Baucemag.com and was written by Nicole Thompson.
The core issue with “total access” is that it undermines trust. Any truth that your lover tells you can be undone by speculation, misinformation or by small lies and even smaller secrets becoming exposed, igniting insecurities within your relationship. Your partner writing on their ex’s wall or tweeting about being at a concert when he/she was supposed be at home studying becomes ammunition for future relationship warfare as soon as it becomes live information on the internet.
Someone once told me that my relationship wasn’t official until it became “Facebook official,” despite the fact that I’d been in a healthy relationship for over six months. Because I’m not one to succumb to groupthink, I dismissed the notion and continued my relationship without being virtually co-dependent on my partner or using social media outlets as a tool to absorb usually unattainable information…but that’s not to say that I didn’t take a gander every now and then. A close friend of mine, however, fell under the wretched spell of cyber stalking/social media crawling, and let it destroy her 10 year relationship with her fiancé.
With my good friend, what put the final nail in the coffin of her relationship was that she couldn’t stop obsessing about the fact that her ALL of her fiancé’s exes seemed to wander out of the woodwork, simply to friend him. Then, she found out that her fiancé was having regular conversation with one ex, in particular. This prompted her to snoop further. She gained access to his accounts after stealing his passwords. Once inside, she read all of his personal messages, emails and IMs. The insecurity unraveled her, and when she finally addressed his possible infidelities, all of her “evidence” was weakened by the fact that she attained it through dubious circumstances.
The fact of the matter is, there is a time and a place for social networks and the place is not within the confines of a personal relationship. And, if social media just so happens to be a large part of your relationship, then be mindful of the information that you share, and share with your partner how important it is that they don’t consort with their exes. Also, if you feel like you are too involved in your partner’s virtual life, then perhaps you should have a trial online separation while you work on your physical relationship.