Is Your New Relationship Too Much Work?

One of the strange things about dating is that it is work, right up until the moment it  isn’t.  The process of making oneself available, of creating and editing your profile on multiple dating websites, of going out when you don’t really feel like it, of sifting through the pain of rejection, disappointment, frustration—that is work.  It is often exhausting and sometimes downright hard. We may doubt ourselves and wonder if there is really someone out there for us.

But, when we meet a person who feels like a good match, there is often the sense of everything falling into place. Suddenly, there is the excitement of someone new, the accommodations easily made so that we can spend time with this person, and maybe even the intense ‘in love’ feelings (that last for, at best, two years).  Early in a relationship, it typically feels easy.  We might go into the office early so that we can have more time with our partner after work, or go three metro stops out of our way to get a desert from the bakery we know they like, but these tasks don’t feel like we’re making an effort because of the sense of anticipation and enthusiasm that shape our perspective.

So, when someone tells me that they have been dating someone for a few weeks, or a couple of months, and it seems hard—hard to find time to see or talk to each other, hard because they don’t quite feel comfortable being themselves around that person, hard because they consistently worry about offending them or hurting their feelings—just hard, however it may be, it makes me a bit apprehensive.

The fact is, nearly all relationships become more complex as time goes on, with the effort required to stay connected with one another, shared practical and financial obligations, managing pets and children and extended families; it is the job of building and maintaining a life together. Healthy relationships deepen in delightful ways, and you learn more about your partner and yourself, but ultimately long-term partnerships become more intricate, more complicated.

As the newness wears off, and the intense emotions fade, the accommodations you made so delightfully in the past take a little more effort on your part.  The rest of the world, that often temporarily fades away at the beginning of a relationship, ushers itself back in.  You miss going to your girls’ or your guys’ night.  You may, particularly if you’re an introvert, miss your solitude.  You’re not so eager to go into the office early in order to get an extra hour or two with your partner later on.  This is when the ‘work’ of balancing and fully integrating your partner into your life, the ‘work’ that everyone warned you about, begins.

All that to say, if you’re dating a brand-new shiny person, and you or your partner are finding it difficult to connect, to make the effort, it is unlikely that this will improve in the future.  In the beginning, the relationship tide is working for you–anticipation, the lure of the unknown, and good old fashioned hormones are typically at their peak. If it feels like work at this point, more likely than not, it will feel daunting later on.

A friend of mine began dating a man a few weeks before he was scheduled to leave for a long term overseas work trip.  Because of the distance, she believed the relationship would likely fade when he left.  Despite being in different time zones and having different work schedules, they remain in daily communication.  For them, it doesn’t feel like work to stay connected—the chemistry, attraction and connection persist, so they make time for each other, in the face of a seemingly difficult situation.

The process of finding someone can be difficult, so it can be easy to think that once you start dating an individual, missed connections and vague plans to see each other are par for the course. However, in both my professional and personal life, the long-term successful partnerships I’ve witnessed have overcome various obstacles to be together and have mutually carved out a space for their relationship.  Early on, they had a sense that their partner was worth making the effort for.

If you find yourself at the beginning of a relationship, and somehow one or both of you is too busy to see each other, or you can’t seem to maintain regular contact or [insert dilemma here]—it may be time to ask yourself if this is really worth pursuing.  Odds are it is not going to get easier down the line.


p.s. looking for some help in navigating your latest dating dilemma?  Join us February 26 for #DatingDilemmas- dinner, drinks, & dating experts ready to answer your questions!  Get your ticket now.

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3 Ways to Have Fun Dating

3 Ways to Have More Fun Dating

As the year comes to an end, people start to reflect on their lives. We think about the events of the past year and what we can do to improve our situations in the New Year, or what we can do to maintain the good vibes. With these reflections come the thoughts on our relationship statuses. For those who are single, it is inevitable to want a significant other to come along. Dating can be a fun new adventure in the New Year.

When it comes to dating, there are a few things to keep in mind:


  1. Be open-minded.

We all have our “types” in mind when it comes to looking for a partner, but do not let it derail you from getting to know everyone that comes along. The best partner may be the one you least expect to be with.


  1. Do not sell yourself short; maintain your standards.

Remember that you are worth it; you deserve to have love and be loved. Do not settle for just anyone. Although you should remain open-minded, do not stick with the first person to show you attention. Wait for the one who treats you the way you should be treated and gives you what you want out of a relationship.


  1. It is okay to date multiple people.

When starting out, it is okay to get to know more than one person. That is the whole point of dating. For women in particular, it may seem wrong to be romantic with several partners. However, how are you supposed to discover what you truly want if you do not explore every opportunity there is? With that being said, this is in terms of getting to know people. There is a difference between letting loose and letting go.

In this New Year, do not be afraid to put yourself out there. Go out and find the person that makes you happy. Do not go into these ventures looking for The One. Go into them seeking happiness. See where that takes you :)

Are You Ready to Date?

Are you ready to date?

One of the most exhilarating feelings is the start of something new with someone that catches your attention. The butterflies you get in your stomach when the person you are interested in calls or texts you, the cute little things you start doing for each other, the silliness you feel when you find yourself thinking about them….

But how do you know if you are ready for all of this? How do you know when you are ready to put yourself out there? How do you know when to be vulnerable?

The most important thing to remember before you start dating is to be happy with yourself as an individual.
When you are happy with yourself and give off positive vibes, you are more likely to attract others and find someone to connect with. When dating, people share themselves with others. You want to share happiness, not negativity. It is also easier to be happy with someone when you are happy with yourself. Being happy could also make it easier for you to put the walls down and allow yourself to take chances and be vulnerable. Henrik Edberg writes about how to live a positive life. I would strongly suggest you read some of his articles if you are struggling with self-esteem or if you are not satisfied with your life. This is one of my favorites.

Another thing to think about is whether you have the time to be involved with others. 
It is one thing to be able to go out at night with friends, but it is quite another to be dating people. You have to be able to give them your attention and show that you care, especially if you are first starting out. Evaluate what you have going on in your life. It is not fair to you or whoever you happen to be interested in if you have to cancel dates or “take a rain check” on things. Make sure that they will be able to fit cohesively into your lifestyle and not seem like an obstacle or chore.

Do not take dating too seriously in the beginning.
Dating is not about finding Prince Charming right off the bat. Setting standards is good, but do not make them ridiculous. Looking for The One can cause you to internally put pressure on the people you are dating. You should try to get to know people and see what is out there.

Obviously every person is different and there can be more factors to realizing whether or not you are ready to date, but these three tips are pretty much the key to starting out!

5 Hot Tips to Improve Your Online Dating

5 Hot Tips for Better Online Dating

We have all seen the ads for dating websites–eHarmony, okcupid,  But, I’ve always wondered to myself, do these sites really work? Is it possible that online dating can really help us find our special someone just by filling out a questionnaire?


Last week I ventured onto eHarmony just to see what this site had to offer. Within minutes I was exposed to a wide variety of tips/advice about where to go on first dates, how to figure out what you’re looking for in a date, and even what important questions to ask on these dates. The National Academy of Sciences even reports that those who use sites like eHarmony are about twice as likely to posses satisfaction within the marriage and have reduce rates of divorce compared to those who did not meet online.


Ok….so you’ve decided what you want in a man/woman. Now what?


I have always felt that using these sites to “advertise” yourself tend to be the hardest part. But there are several very helpful tips that can reduce this stress and get you more excited for meeting that special someone.


1. Be yourself-I can’t tell you how many people I have talked to who want to make themselves stand out on paper. But if that’s not who you are, then you are actually hurting yourself when it comes to finding the right match for you. There is nothing wrong with highlighting some attributes that are factual and special, but when you stray from who you truly are you end up hurting your chances of meeting someone who is right for you.


2. Keep it simple-Of course many people have a wide variety of interests, but using them all at once on your profile can take some mystery out of who you are and be totally overwhelming.  You don’t want to give everything away about yourself before even meeting the person.  So keep it simple and leave a little mystery for the date!


3. Don’t compare yourself to others- My mother uses eHarmony and is constantly comparing herself to other women. “I’m not pretty enough….I’m not exciting enough….I won’t find anyone,” she often says. But what she fails to remember is that she is special in her own way and worrying about how she measures up against other women only helps in making her feel bad about herself.  So try to refrain from looking at other profiles and be confident in your unique qualities!


4. Post a “good” photo-  This doesn’t mean it has to be a picture of you from ten years ago at your senior prom! Try to be honest with your  picture because you will be meeting this person in the future, so what’s the point in fibbing. Most people really appreciate being true to yourself  so post a picture that reflects you the best whether it’s with you and all of your children or you  at your favorite sports game! This is what make a “good” photo.


5. Think with your head- Some who use online dating sites tend to see someone who they think are attractive and immediately assume that it is a perfect match. However, there is a lot more to the person than looks and we all know looks can be deceiving. So, check out other qualities the person possesses like his/her hobbies, favorite movies, lifestyle, etc. These are the aspects that can really separate a long lasting love connection from a superficial romance.


So next time you decide to access your online dating account, keep these tips in mind and check out this article for some more advice!


P.S. Tell us how your experiences with online dating and if you have any other hints, we would love for you to comment below.

how do you rate on the friendship meter?

How Do You Rate on the Friend Meter?

How do you rate on the friendship meter this year

As you know, our lives can be very demanding and busy. Sometimes it is very hard to keep up with our own needs and schedules let alone have time to maintain true, meaningful friendships with others and pay attention to their lives. It doesn’t make it any easier that most communication these days is through social media and texting. This tends to make bonding with friends seem very superficial and impersonal.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to keep up with friends via Twitter and Instagram.  And the convenience can make it easier to stay connected with their day to day life… but it can also keep us from connecting in their real lives.  Perusing a friend’s Facebook feed is not the same as  sharing lunch or having a long chat about the things that are happening in their life.

I think  it’s time to reevaluate how we rate on the friend meter- not just online.  Are you connecting and supporting your friends for real?  Human connection is vital to our happiness and health.  So, the next time you want to reach out and connect to someone, instead of “liking” that picture or “retweeting”, try these  5 tips to being a good friend offline:


1. Always be there for a friend in a crisis

Ask yourself, “How can I best help my friend go through this current crisis/struggle?” This could be anything from a financial hardship to a breakup to the loss of a family member or even to an illness. Another question you might ask yourself is, “What might he/she need most from me?” Often times we may be tempted to offer something that is easy for us to give than something they truly need to help them through. For example, a few hours just talking to your friend about their struggles might be a lot more valuable than dropping off a chicken casserole for them to eat.


2. You should be loving and caring through thick and thin

Many people are fair weathered friends. We even see this in fan reactions to their favorite sports teams. We tend to support our team when they’re winning and shoot them down when they are on a losing streak and not performing how we would like them to. This tends to pertain to friendships as well. Many love and want to be around their friends when they are riding high, but aren’t as willing to put time into the friendship if there’s nothing in it for them. So, put the time into your friendships and always be caring no matter what your friend’s situation is.


3. Confront your friend when necessary

Being a true friend doesn’t mean to always be a “yes man.” You don’t always have to agree and support everything that they say and do. You should be able to, out of care and concern, confront your friend if you feel that they are doing something that can be harmful to themselves or others. However, it is important that this confrontation should always be done with their best interest at heart and done in a loving, truthful way so they don’t feel bad about themselves.


4. Don’t gossip, be a good confidant, keep a secret!

Probably one of the most valued attributes to having a good friendship with someone is believing that your deepest, darkest feelings can be shared freely and protected by the other. You should be sounding boards for each other and give your personal insight and suggestions and be very mindful that this information was shared in confidence and should remain a secret.


5. Forgiveness is key

The final step to being a good friend is to always remember that no one is perfect. We all have our faults and we should be willing to forgive the friends in our lives when they have stumbled or fallen. Before you know it, you will need the same treatment and hope that your friend will forgive you as well. So be mindful that everyone makes mistakes and a true friends puts that behind them and moves forward.


Remember to ask yourself have you been a good friend lately? Having lots of friends always starts with being a good friend!



P.S. If you have more advice for being a good friend, comment below! And check out this site for more tips to being a friend and what qualities to avoid in others.

\\\\\\\'Tis the Season To Be Lonely?

It’s always amazing to me how a particular piece of music or song can stir up strong memories and emotions. This is especially noticeable when you start to hear your favorite holiday songs that you only hear once a year, many of which remind us of our family traditions, favorite events, and social gatherings. While most of these thoughts are joyful, it’s not surprising that this time of year can also bring incredible amounts of sadness and loneliness for many people.


Many studies show that loneliness increases during the holiday season for many reasons. Much of this loneliness can stem from romanticizing what the holidays are “supposed” to be based on past memories.


Loneliness can also spring up because of unexpected change that has occurred in the preceding year that has put a damper on this happy time (loss of a loved one, changed family dynamics, loss of a job, etc.).


Here are some helpful tips to fight off those lonely feelings and put a little jingle in your step during the holidays:


1. Set realistic expectations for the holiday season

It is important to accept the fact that change has occurred and embrace the positives of your new situation. Realize that that Hallmark Christmas special with the perfect tree and cookie cutter family eating together is the way the holidays turn out to be for everyone. Perfection is an unachievable goal.  So, set goals that are appropriate to keep you from feeling disappointed and help you enjoy the season.


2. Create new and exciting traditions

Sometimes clinging to old traditions can accentuate the fact that things have changed. So, start a new tradition that brings you joy! My family and I started a tradition last year where we have a fondue dinner for Christmas Eve. Instead of having everyone slave away in the kitchen making a huge meal, we spend time around the steaming wine infused broth preparing our own food. It is a lot of fun and we are able to enjoy each other’s company.


3. Stay social but don’t be afraid to do things alone

This time of year especially has a lot of opportunity for holiday activities. Whether you live in a small town or a big city, check your newspapers for all of the events happening nearby. Get tickets for a free shoe, attend a concert, or see the lighting of the Christmas trees to start of the season with joy! Whether you choose to do this with a friend, by yourself, or arrange an outing with a group of individuals that you would like to get to know better…branch out! You can really use these activities to brighten your spirits.


4. Give of yourself to those in need

Nothing makes you feel more important than helping your fellow man at their time in need. It is a natural inclination to dwell on your own misfortunes and to feel sorry for yourself for things in your life that you feel are not the way you would like them to be. By giving back to others, you are able to put your life in perspective when you realize how many others are more unfortunate than yourself. One of the blessings of Christmas is the increase in charity that we share with one another, and there are many community and church organizations that you can volunteer your time with this season.




“This is the message of Christmas:  We are never alone.”  ~Taylor Caldwell


P.S. For more tips on overcoming loneliness during the holiday season, check out this article.


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