:: 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!
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.
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.
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.
This article was originally posted on Baucemag.com.
Whether he’s happy or not, the mention of couple’s therapy is enough to send any guy running. The idea of airing out his dirty laundry in front of a stranger isn’t exactly what he’d consider a day well spent. But if your long-term relationship is in trouble, and you want to fix it, couples therapy may be just what you and your partner need. With that being said, knowing when couples therapy is a viable option is important. It obviously isn’t for everyone and every situation. Read on to see if couples therapy could end up being the solution you’ve been looking for.
Whether your relationship works out or not – and I hope it does – therapy is a chance and an opportunity to learn more about yourself and the way you interact with the people in your life. This could never be a bad thing. Good luck!
This article was originally posted on Baucemag.com and was written by Monique Gossett.
Relationships fail. It’s a fact of life. We’ve all had “the talk” with someone, and a few of us not-so-lucky ones have received “the text”, “status update”, or another equally trifling method as an end to a relationship. No matter who is at fault, someone wanted out and the relationship has failed. F-a-i-l-e-d. Failure. Ugh! The word is so negative. But guess what, you have the opportunity to get something positive from all the hurt, lies, and tears. Are you willing to see the rainbow after the storm? It does get better. Life goes on. If you can just embrace a few of the following lessons you’ll be a better woman for Mr. Right and be able to kick Mr. Wrong to the curb quicker! So grab a pen and a pad and take some notes!
If you start and end every relationship with this principle, you’ll always know how to make the best decision. How, you may ask? Well, if you love, value, and cherish yourself more than you do any man, you’ll demand the same standard of love from him. He will hold you in the same light you hold yourself in. Make him rise to the occasion!
Did I just say that? Yeah I did. Love is an action word that encompasses friendship, trust, support, accountability … need I go on? Believe his actions over his words. He’s gotta do more than whisper sweet nothings in your ear.
It’s really that simple. Don’t over-think it or try to justify it. Trust – your – gut!
Adore him and seek to meet his every need. However, settle for nothing less than the same from him.
It’s easy to lose your sense of self because you want to accommodate his every wish. Be the “you” that attracted him -- the vibrant woman who had an opinion about things, friends outside of his circle, and could go an evening or (gasp!) an entire day doing her own “thang” and not stalking his social media wondering what he’s up to. A real man wants a partner, not a puppet!
A relationship is a partnership. You must be ready to compromise and choose your battles wisely. But FIRST, have a clear understanding on the non-negotiables of what you must have to feel loved, valued, and respected as a woman. Outside of that list, compromise a bit!
Don’t air his dirty laundry or the arguments between the two of you. You’ll forgive his harsh words/deeds faster than your momma or bestie ever will. If it gets back to him you’ll also fracture the bond of trust and communication necessary to sustain any relationship. So keep everyone happy and keep ‘em out ya business!
When the relationship is deteriorating, leave with love. You were sugary-sweet before him but he’s now turned you into a bitter, scornful woman with baggage for the next guy. Trust boo, the constant scowl and rolled-eyes you’re currently rockin’ are really not a good look! Go back to being the easy, breezy, beautiful woman that initially attracted him, so that it will catch the eye of the next guy.
What do you want in a man? Success? Stability? Maturity? Fit body? We’ve all got our “must haves”, but how much of that can you check off for yourself? If you don’t embody most of the qualities you seek in him, work on yourself first. It’s a win for you and him!
Personally, I’ve made some mind-boggling decisions for prior boyfriends. These decisions affect me to this day – years after a break-up! And yet I’m not beating myself up over them. In fact, I refuse to do so. Why? Because I remind myself that although I’m still facing the consequences of those decisions I am now a brighter, better, and wiser woman! I got there, and you can too, by learning your lessons.
This is for all the women out there that want it all (myself included): a thriving career, close friends and a fulfilling relationship with a “special someone.” But what’s the problem when you have everything at your feet and the “world is your oyster?” There are simply not enough hours in the day to enjoy and dedicate yourself to everything.
I was inspired to write this piece based on my own personal struggles to have it all. A few years ago, after just moving to LA, I had a few pieces of the puzzle: a promising relationship and a brand-new masters degree from USC—but I didn’t have many close friends and I was just on my way to building a career path.
Fast forward a few years later, and today, I have everything in spades. That promising relationship turned into a marriage, budding friendships turned into close friends and my career became more focused with every step. Granted, I am still working out the ins and outs of how to have (and enjoy) it all, but here are a few tips that have helped me and my marriage along the way.
One of the most important pieces of my life is my relationship with my husband. He is one of my biggest supporters when things are great (and when things go south in other parts of my life). Balancing a demanding career and a relationship (or marriage in my case) means open communication. We frequently discuss what’s happening at work and our goals. I know where he’s headed at work with both his short and long term plans for himself and he knows the same about me. We tell each other what’s going on and during periods of high work volume or unique opportunities, (like a networking event) we allow each other time to take advantage. Frequent communication and discussions make us a team in both home and career.
Juggling so many activities, events and dates is difficult, but making and keeping a clear calendar is key. I have a work calendar of course, but a home calendar is just as important. This way, both of us know when we have a dinner, late meeting or other event without getting flustered at the last minute over a forgotten commitment. A calendar is also a great way to keep track of your goals and check up on progress. If things are super hectic, (especially if you have kids too) you can use Google’s calendar which you can share with your honey.
I am a big list maker. I love them! Grocery lists, shopping lists, travel lists, to-do lists, it’s part of my process and organization. Make a list of your projects, pending items, goals and specific tasks. Organize them by priority level and due dates. Include items that mean extra time at the office. If you know that you have to put in extra work time one weekend for instance, you might need to schedule your grocery shopping during the week to be able to spend your remaining free time with your partner. Making a list also helps you keep things in perspective and be realistic about your time commitments.
If I didn’t force myself to “unplug” from work, I would end up working 24/7. After spending too many anxiety-ridden weekends worrying about work, I have learned that you have to disconnect and take a breather. My husband and I have a rule not to check work emails past a certain time at night (or even if I slip up and do, I make a point of not responding until the next work day). Get into the habit of sticking to your “work hours,” whatever those might be and really allowing yourself to enjoy something else.
Be it a nice dinner or a day a beach, set dedicated time to appreciate your significant other and make sure that you are only going to be doing that one thing during this precious time. At dinner, don’t check work emails, and at the beach, logout of Facebook. Enjoy what’s in front of you and make the most of moments designated for family, friends and loved ones.
As a counterpart to dedicated time, I also like to align my goals with those of family and friends. Chances are, your partner (and maybe even your friends) want to be involved in all the cool things you’re doing. Invite them to a networking event or include your partner in your passion projects.
As more things are added to your to-do list, and as commitments grow, it’s also important to know that no one is perfect and everything might not get done each week. There are plenty of weeks where my to-do list is neglected in favor of a movie night on the couch—and that is OK. Allow yourself to make mistakes, learn what works best for you and your boo and where your priorities are. But most of all, invest in things that make you happy. After all, living a fulfilling life is the end goal. Learn how you can get there by experimenting and trying different things.
What are you doing to balance your home and work life? Leave us a comment or tweet us @MadeWomanMag!
Lengthy classes, hours of homework, hefty loans: graduate school is stressful enough without the added pressure of dating and being in a serious relationship. Yet you’re actually preparing for your future as an adult, so you’re likely thinking that it’s time to settle down and find your spouse—or maybe you’re just sick of being lonely and would love somebody with whom you could share your agony over grad school. Either way, it’s tough to find somebody while you’re buried beneath projects and exams and staying in to keep up with the workload.
It’s also a difficult time to date during such an uncertain point in life. You may be attending school in a certain city, but what if your hometown is on the other side of the country? What if you have no desire to use your degree in the city or state in which your school is? Graduate school is probably the last, and most vital time, in which you should be selfish. This time is yours to work hard and succeed in school, so you can actually utilize that degree in which you’re investing vast amounts of time and money. Remember, to pursue your dreams before pursuing a ring on your finger, unless you are certain you could do both at the same time.
That being said, if you’re still looking to date and are prepared to worry about a future with someone later, below are some great ways to meet people:
Probably the easiest and most convenient app for (grad) students to meet. It’s free and super easy to use. Tinder connects to your Facebook account (but hides your last name) so you know the people you’re looking at are least legitimate enough to have a Facebook account. You simply swipe through pictures of people and you can “Like” or reject whatever you see. If you like someone and they “liked” you back, it’s a match and then you have the option of messaging them. Be sure to actually put interesting details in your profile and your most flattering pictures.
In order to fully use this service, you have to purchase a plan specific to your desires. It can be as low as $3 a month or as much as $18 a month, which isn’t bad since this site allows you to see people who have accessed your profile, exchange private messages, and customize your privacy settings so only people from the schools you designate with a certain age limit can contact you.
Most graduate schools frequently host networking events or even parties where the students can congregate. Don’t skip these! Gather up your equally-stressed friends and have a blast. Get to know some classmates you’ve been overlooking because you never know who may be your soulmate.
However, if you don’t want to defecate where you dine (so to speak), simply ask your mutual friends to hook you up with someone they know from their job or other graduate school. In return, find a single pal from your school and bring them along for a fun double date. It might be an old fashioned, but it will at least keep traditional romance alive—meeting someone in person, rather than using a phone app to do so.
Even though we know we need some “me time” to decompress and recharge, much like everything else in our lives, we just can’t find the time to do it all. We can’t schedule a massage at the spa - that would take an hour out of our day that we don’t have to spare. When it comes to getting our nails done, anything longer than an express manicure is out of the question. And have you seen how much a facial costs? Oh, hell no. There has to be a solution that allows us to revitalize ourselves while also accommodating our busy lifestyle (and our pockets).
Lucky for us, there’s something we can do to fix our problem - starting with forcing ourselves to make personal wellness a priority. Just because we can’t make it to a luxury spa resort doesn’t mean we can’t pamper ourselves. DIY it and turn your place into a Burke Williams with simple ingredients from your kitchen and some fabulous at home spa treatments. Check ‘em out here:
* 1 cup Epsom Salt
* 1 tbsp Baking Soda
* 3 drops of Essential Lavender Oil ( add more drops for a stronger scent)
What’s more “ahhhhhh” than a hot bubble bath? To create this bathtub oasis, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Once you’re ready to hop in the tub, scoop about a half a cup of bath salts into the water and enjoy feeling all your tension melt away.
* 1 small avocado, mashed
* ½ teaspoon lemon juice
* 1 tbsp plain greek yogurt
* 1 egg
Olé! The guacamole facial is perfect to boost your skin’s moisture. Combine all the ingredients together and refrigerate it for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, smear a thin layer on your face carefully to avoid your eyes. Sit with the mask on your face for 10 - 15 min before rinsing off with lukewarm water.
* ½ cup brown sugar
* ¼ cup white sugar
* 3 tbsp vanilla extract
* ¼ cup almond oil
Get your glow on and exfoliate your skin with this yummy smelling body scrub. Mix everything together before lathering it on your skin in the shower to get rid of dead skin. Don’t be afraid to scrub hard and make sure you rinse well - you don’t want any body parts stuck together!
* 2 lemons
* ½ cup epsom salt
It’s important that we treat our feet! Show your tired soles some love by letting your feet soak for in this healing treatment. Boil a few branches of rosemary in water for five minutes. Find a separate container that you will use as your “foot bath” or purchase an inexpensive foot spa. Place the lemon slices, epsom salt and rosemary water in your foot bath (be careful!). Soak your feet for 15 minutes. Dry your feet a little bit and if you’d like to, attack those callused heels with a pumice stone. When you’re finished with your feet, lotion up with a creamy moisturizer (like a body butter) and slip into a pair of cotton socks to seal the deal. Hello, heaven!
What are some of your favorite “me time” rituals for a DIY at home spa treatment? Tell us in the comments below!