Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Friends With Benefits.

Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis star in the upcoming film ‘Friends with Benefits’. The storyline follows two friends whose relationship gets complicated when they decide to add intimacy to the mix. Casual relationships are usually based on physical intimacy; at least they start off that way. Both male and female will have had the discussion that they’re not looking for a relationship for what ever reason known to them. The truth is that whilst being intimate there are some emotional needs being met. I’ve heard both men and women say they feel more open after being intimate with someone. The more frequently you have sex with your ‘friend’ the more emotionally attached you become. Kind of ironic considering friends with benefits aren’t usually associated with emotional attachment.

Both male and female often convince themselves they’re happy in a casual relationship. That they can control their emotions and feelings, that they won’t get in too deep and can get out when ever they want. I think this is rarely the case. Some people go on to stay in casual relationships for years on end. What they thought they wanted has changed and the intimacy they crave has become a drug. 

I think women tend to get the short straw in these situations, only because we view sex differently to men. Our emotions become involved and we start to make decisions based on feelings. Some most women will entertain the thought of having a relationship with a man after being intimate (men do it too but I don’t think they dwell on it as much). It's usually for the wrong reasons as they’ve shared something special and may have convinced themselves that he could be a good partner. I've stated in past posts that a guy knows from the get go whether he wants a relationship with you or not. Many women stay in the friends with benefits zone hoping the male will eventually come to the realisation that they now want a relationship.

My friend shared his views on casual relationships. He stated that it’s a nice feeling (sex) that this woman gives me. It doesn’t mean I want a relationship with her she just makes me feel good. He stated that it’s easy; no strings attached and can often become addictive. He also mentioned that men like women sometimes confuse their feelings when it comes to sex.

I don’t believe both parties are ever really happy with this set up. It may start off fun but further down the line someone’s going to get hurt. They'll always want more than the other person can give them. Let's not forget that as its casual people are open to sleep with multiple partners. This doesn't tend to go down too well but you both agreed in the beginning stages that this is what you both wanted. Pride comes into play as you don't want to seem like the one that got sucked in and caught feelings. Communication breaks down because you stop being honest about how you really feel.

It must be conflicting for a guy to see the woman he’s having a casual relationship craving more than he can give her. Some would say he’s selfish, he can’t give her what he wants so why is he still sleeping with her. Others would argue if it’s causing that much emotional distress then the woman should put her foot down and break out of this vicious cycle.

I don’t believe friends with benefits ever work. Deep down one person is unsatisfied with the situation. If you can be intimate with someone on that level then surely you can have a relationship with them no?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Do Women Settle More Than Men In Relationships?

I wrote a post a few weeks ago regarding high expectations and how they can lead to the demise of a relationship. The recurring theme was that women tend to be too picky and set their expectations too high. This week I wanted to go the other extreme…settling in relationships. It’s something both sexes do. Whilst men do settle (they just don’t admit it as much) I feel women settle more.  Some would argue it’s a necessity if you hope to settle down and start a family.

I read an interesting piece by Lisa Merlo-Booth that said women that settle end up either over shooting or under shooting. When women overshoot, they yell, control, go on and on incessantly, or make repeated empty threats. All of these are ineffective. When women undershoot, they accommodate, say ‘yes’ when they mean ‘no’, take whatever they’re given, and either shut down, and become resentful, or get depressed.

I’m pretty certain everyone can relate to the above statement at some stage in their life. Unfortunately when we settle in relationships we are never really happy because we’re not getting what we want and some people don’t know how to change that. I used to see a guy who was extremely busy. I would see him maybe once a week if I was lucky. He’d try and squeeze me in between meetings and his busy schedule. Whilst I wanted more and yes he knew this. I continued to settle which led to me being unhappy and frustrated with him and even more so myself.

So why do women settle more than men in relationships?

Fear/ Loneliness are big factors. You’ll be surprised what you’d consider doing when your lonely. The conversations you’ll entertain. The dates you wouldn't normally go on. The people you wouldn’t normally give the time of day too. I know someone who jumps from relationship to relationship. I believe the thought of not having somewhere there petrifies her. Some people fear being alone and the thought of Beyonce’s ‘Me, Myself and I’ would send them into hysteria.

Low self esteem some people don’t feel they can or deserve better. So when someone pays them the slightest bit of attention it may be all or nothing. Everything is riding on this relationship. It simply has to work or what have I got left? If I loose my partner I’ll be incomplete. It’s closely related to lack of confidence within ourselves. A lot of people get used to having someone around even if that person isn’t particularly good for them.

Peer Pressure Maybe because there’s more of a stigma around woman of a certain age that are single. Society dictates that you should be married with a family by a certain age. Men don’t face the same amount of pressure and don’t have to deal with a ticking body clock. I think women are more likely to cave in and settle with someone so that they can start a family.

Women are more emotional and unfortunately those feelings sometimes get in the way and cloud our better judgement. Our feelings may dictate the decisions we make resulting in us tolerating some bad choices and unhealthy relationships. Add intimacy to the equation and you mad find that you’re stuck in a relationship you’re not happy with a lot longer than you intended. We all secretly hope that the situation, relationship or the person your with will get better and patiently bade our time. Unfortunately some situations/ people don’t change and it just wasn’t meant to be.

Or maybe it’s simply because we don’t know what we want. You’d be surprised how many people get stumped when asked this question. I’m not sure if this is through lack of confidence, not knowing ourselves well or not believing we’re worthy of something good. Ask yourself what you want from a male/female and try not to reel off the generic kind, respectful, loyal. We all want that, what do ‘you’ really want from a relationship?

Of course everyone settles at some point in their life. I guess the key is to not compromise to the point of where it’s damaging to you.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Age Ain't Nothing But A Number

Age gaps in relationships have never concerned me. I know several people that are in happy relationships and their partners are significantly older/ younger than them. I guess the issue here isn't really the difference in age but the maturity levels of each party. I read recently that people date people that match their maturity level.

I think the common misconception is that dating someone older means they'll have all their ish together. Yes they will have more experience which can never be a bad thing. However don’t let expectations lead you into a false fantasy. Everyone’s different! Don’t assume that because your partner is older that they’ll necessary want to settle down. Or that they’ll know how to woo you or even want too. Don’t presume they’ll have excellent communication skills and chivalry will be embedded in their brain. I've believed all the above and reality proved that age ‘ain’t nothing but a number’.

I often find myself gearing towards older men and no I’m not looking for that 'father figure' of someone to lean on. Yes their experience, maturity and sensitivity are all strong pulling factors but that’s where it ends. I don’t necessarily need someone to care and guide me. If you opt for younger you may gravitate towards their free spirit, energy and flexibility. Make sure you get into the relationships for the right reasons.

If you do choose to date someone older/ younger be prepared for criticism from society, some family members and friends. They’ll no doubt be horrified and think you’ve lost your mind, or concerned that you’ll get hurt in the long run. If your relationship stands the test of time then those concerns will fade.

You need to be prepared for changes in interests and lifestyles. When lust and romance is gone what do you have left? Things change, your partner may have enjoyed clubbing every night in the beginning but now the novelty’s worn off. They’d rather stay in and catch up on CSI.

If you started dating during your teen years you may outgrow each other. The biggest shift happens in our teens and twenties. What you thought you wanted during your early twenties will change dramatically by the time you hit thirty. You need to constantly communicate your thoughts and feelings.

If the age gap is relatively big you need to consider that illness and death will hit one of you first. Not being morbid just stating the sad truth. You can’t be na├»ve to these things. You have to consider all aspects possible and discuss any impending factors.

I believe if love is real and the relationship is good what has age got to do with it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

4 Things All Men Want In A Relationship

This weeks post is written by Chris Enti author of 'What He Really Thinks' He's offered some nuggets of wisdom for women who want to know what it is that men really want from their partner. Below are 4 important points that can only make your relationships better and help you understand men that little bit better. Read and take note!

1. Friendship Under this banner comes support and respect. More specifically someone men feel at ease enough to share activities with and also be able to genuinely have FUN with. Not the kind of fun which means that you start bantering about football, but definitely a shared interest or sub category of one. The most obvious things would be doing things like bowling, sharing a special interest in cooking/enjoying food from a certain country, dancing, film and music.
Friendship also necessitates having your own life and your own interests because he definitely does and values having some time apart to be with his other friends. This reinforces and reminds him of his ability to feel strong and (positively) feel like a man. 
Friendship also means support and the Christian message of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is very powerful here. It seems so obvious but no man wants to feel condescended, no man wants to feel like they aren't being appreciated or compared to another guy- your ex, your friend’s boyfriend etc. The same level of cherished, attentive and honest support and respect that a woman would afford her best friend is exactly what he's looking for in a partner. If you believe in him (not necessarily in all his dreams) but the fact he has the courage and work ethic to some day make that dream a reality - then that’s what he wants!
2. Blatant communication Men are not mind readers. Aloofness, women who never say exactly what they want, and don't talk openly to a man (not AT him) are like milkshakes. As stomaching too much of it at one time can make you sick and want something else. Active honest listening is very important and basically being sensitive to the difference in how men and women communicate.
For example it’s been scientifically proven that when they get home from work men speak significantly less words when compared to their female partners. The argument that has been forwarded here is that it isn't that men don't want to talk at times; they are programmed to not do so at certain times. Some men (and women) need these "me time" minutes to adjust their thinking in order to break away from the world of work. It seems so obvious but it’s so often forgotten that if we're talking about a proper relationship then both parties have to be mature people who are in a place where they can grow together.
A man whose still a boy and emotionally immature, plus a woman who is carrying negative baggage (often because of an emotionally immature man) equals bad maths! Getting to know each other fully before you become intimate will let you both know where each others minds at.

3. Sex Men want consistent, frequent and engaged woman in the bedroom. This doesn't mean a "freak in the sheets" all the time but someone who is comfortable to initiate and be very confident about what she likes and doesn't like. Happily married women figured out a long time ago that to build mutual happiness doesn’t mean "giving it to him when he wants it" - but letting him know that she wants it too but "mis en scene" I.e. romance, allure, and spontaneity (that doesn't include touching) is what really gets her going!
The emotional intimacy that makes men feel most connected through is sexual. More importantly the act of making love is how a man feels that you want and love him. I'm not sure that with holding sex will make him think that you don't love him, but it will definitely make him think you don't want him- and that's just as destructive to the relationship. It’s been argued that when women make love the act releases oxcytonin which makes them want to connect and emotionally commit. When men make love and release during love making, they are also releasing their ability to feel connected to a woman. If I'm honest the only time I genuinely felt close to my ex was when we were intimate.
Men also like the chase and although this isn't a game, chase is mutually beneficial, as it allows the woman time to get to know a guy properly. This is key to avoid the relationship being a fling or just "seeing each other"- which can only serve to increase the intensity of the passion for both parties when it happens.
4. Confidence is arguably the sexiest personality trait in a woman and guys like this to manifest it-self in all the arrears listed above, but also in how the woman carries herself and their appearance. Men generally have no problem with confidence (at least outwardly they don’t) and a woman who maximises what she has - irrespective of their weight, or body shape will never be short of male suitors. Confidence to let him be a man and take the lead when needed, as well as the self belief to understand that no one except you can "complete" you! Doing the absolute best you can with what you've got is what he's after even though he may not always do similar in your eyes.
The simple truth is when a woman regularly makes an attempt to look good, she feels good and men can identify this very quickly. They are drawn to the outward/inward positive aura that her efforts generate. The brain is the most powerful organ (including sexual) in the body. The confidence to be funny, opinionated and vocal in the bedroom are all very powerful indicators to a guy that a woman is into him and therefore he can trust and be honest about his feelings.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

3 Approaches That Won't Make Him Commit

There are many women desperately wanting their casual relationships to turn into something more serious. At some stage we all want someone who’s committed to being with us on a physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual level. When women find a guy they like and are dating. She will visualize their future, mentally planning a life together. Men don’t do this from the get go unless they know that you’re a keeper. Some men are happy to date for years on end and not commit. If you can have your cake and eat it why would you? Men know from the get go whether they want a committed relationship with you. I guess they’ll feel something on an emotional level that will let them know I want her and only her. You’ll be able to tell as he'll be the one pushing for the long term commitment. 

We as women convince ourselves that if we just bide our time he’ll eventually come round. This can often work and if that fails we resort to one of the 3 approaches below.  I advise you don’t, here’s why…..

You try and convince him. Convincing doesn’t work. It really doesn’t! Yes we all feel we’re the best thing since sliced bread, supportive, have a lot to offer and that we’ll make great partners. However if the person your dating can’t see that for themselves. Convincing them won’t make any difference. It’s too pushy and has the scent of desperation. I’ve done the whole I’m a good catch speech, you’ll realize when I’m gone (I should have got an Oscar). Did it make any difference…no! Trying to convince a man that he wants to be in a relationship with you will actually make him want it less. FACT! 

Withholding your feelings. It can feel emotionally draining to give so much of yourself to someone and not feel you’re getting much in return. You shouldn’t act on the premise that I’m going to start with holding my feelings and thoughts because I’m not getting the connection I want. This not only hinders you from being truthful and gaining what you can from the relationship but it stirs up the feeling of distrust in a man. No one likes game playing. He’s going to feel frustrated and will eventually stop trying to win your inconsistent affections. It is not a trade off. If I share x then he must show y in return. It doesn’t work like that. 

You give him ultimatums. This approach NEVER, EVER works! Not only are you putting unnecessary pressure on the relationship and each other but you could be setting yourself up for a fall. Men can be very stubborn and most time haven’t gone to that place where they have explored their feelings yet. I keep reminding myself that men and women are very different when it comes to relationships. Women analyze most things on an emotional level, men don’t! While ultimatums push for answers it might not be the response you want. Putting people on the spot usually pushes them to act quickly and rush into a decision there not happy with. A man who feels pressured into making a decision will only feel resentful and not vested in the relationship. I for sure definitely want a man who wants to be committed with me because he discovered it for himself. Not because I told him he has a certain amount of time or I’m out the door. 

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