What Makes A Great Partner?

What Makes A Great Partner?
edited by Dating Staff

In one of our weekly love poll we asked, "What makes a great boy/girlfriend?" We then compiled all the responses and created a list of our favorites!

1. Someone who knows what you need before you say it.
2. Someone who knows when to laugh and when to cry.
3. Someone who truly listens when you have something to say.
4. Someone that's there for you during the good and bad times.
5. Someone who is caring .
6. Someone who loves you with all their heart and soul.
7. Someone who is interested in reality and not as a fashion display.
8. Someone who is honest.
9. Someone you can trust them like a sibling, confide in like a friend but most of all, love as the great lover they are.
10. Someone who is open and responsive.
11. Someone who is never critical and ill-tempered in respect to your needs.
12. Someone who knows when things have to be compromised in the relationship.
13. Someone who understands listening is a key, but using what is heard is even more important.
14. Someone who's there for you no matter what.
15. Someone who is trustful.
16. Someone who is a friend.
17. Someone who gives a shoulder to cry on.
18. Someone with a great sense of humor.
19. Someone who has things in common with you.
20. Someone who takes time to listen and enjoy you for who you are and tries not to make you something else.
21. Someone with a constant open ear, open heart, and open mind to accept and love people for who the really are.
22. Someone who will always be there to support your ideas without argument and love you for everything that you are.
23. Someone that can get a point across without yelling.
24. Someone that remembers all the cute stupid stuff you love.
25. Someone that has a personality with qualities you don't have yourself, but admire greatly in them.
26. Someone who realizes you're two separate people, and appreciates the differences.
27. Someone who can sense a mood problem, and not take it personally.
28. Someone who understands the difference between PMS, and a real problem.
29. Someone who can make you happy when your sad.
30. Someone who tells you the truth even if you don't want to hear it.
31. Someone who will not hurt you intentionally.
32. Someone who is a sweet, romantic person who cherishes you no matter what.
33. Someone that you can laugh with.
34. Someone who you can feel comfortable with and that you don't care what kind of weird stuff they see you do because you know they will still love you no matter what.
35. Someone who will love you in spite of your little idiosyncrasies.
36. Someone that would do anything to show how much they care.
37. Someone who is a great pal, a great kisser, and a great lover!
38. Someone who allows you to be yourself around them.
39. Someone who will respect you.
40. Someone who cherishes your hopes and is kind to your dreams.
41. Someone who knows you're not perfect, but treats you as though you are.
42. Someone who listens with their heart and is your source of inspiration.

Source: http://www.lovingyou.com/content/love/dating.php

Ready For A Relationship?

Ready For A Relationship

After any long-term relationship it may be tough to find the inner strength or desire to open your heart to love again. When a love interest comes knocking at your door, how do you know that old battle wounds and scars have been healed enough to let love in? Seeing as each person is completely individual, there really isn't a way to know exactly when the right time to begin a new relationship is. What may work for one person, may not work for another. Fortunately, there are a few key attributes that successful relationships have in common. If you find that you meet these, then it may be time to let love in. When you're ready to analyze your heart's state of affairs, take an honest look at the questions below to determine how ready you really are.

1 - How stable is your life?
How can you possibly hope to keep a relationship together if your life isn't put together properly? I think many of us use relationships as a way to help fix ourselves, when actually; we should be trying to do that before we find someone else. Isn't it true that a good many of our love interests result from someone who was there to give us a stable hand? How do you think your next relationship will benefit if you were already stable?

2 - Have you learned something about yourself from every past relationship?
On our path through life we encounter many different obstacles, people and experiences. This is what makes us unique. Everyone has a different life experience. The people who create happy lives take each experience and make it work for them, especially if it is a negative one. If you haven't learned something about the way you interact with another person from your past relationships, you're living in cycle that won't get broken until you take the time to find out. You can't possibly expect to break negative habits if you're not aware of them.

3 - Have you narrowed down your specific desires as to what type of person you want to meet?
Each relationship offers us an opportunity to review our master list of qualities of our ideal mate. Sometimes, what we thought we wanted didn't even come close to what we really needed. After a long-term relationship it is especially prudent to revise your list of desirable traits. Were there things about your past partner that hindered you from being really you? What traits would help you feel the most comfortable with being yourself?

4 - Are you really over your past?
I know, you're probably thinking it's a misprint? You may be thinking "Don't you mean past love?" Sometimes, I find we identify our past with our past loves. Our life may have included something that was special that we may be feeling is missing now. Somehow that gets wrapped up in our emotions with our past love. So, instead of trying to find new ways to make our life more complete, we think we need to have our past love to feel complete. Make sure you identify your real sources of desire before beginning a new relationship.

5 - Have you talked about your feelings with someone else?
It is often easier to deal with the real issues of the heart privately. However, this isn't always the best option. Talking about what's really going on in your mind and your heart gives you the opportunity to release any painful or negative emotions you didn't know you had bottled up. Trust me, there are almost always bottled up emotions you're unaware of. If you don't have anyone you feel you can trust to talk to, try talking to a group of people online. A great place to start would be our anonymous advice forums. Use them as a sounding board to get inspiration or just to get everything off your chest. Whoever you talk to, you'll be glad you did.

Source: http://www.lovingyou.com/content/love/dating.php

Are You Dateable?

Are You Dateable?
by Jennifer Good

So often when there is something we decide we want, we spend all of our focus and energy on the flow of getting it. Unfortunately, what we don't realize is that with an attentive eye focused on ourselves we will find the answer to our quest. If you've ever wondered why you may be finding it difficult to find your perfect match, it may be time to analyze what it is you are offering. The following questions are aimed at helping you discover your dateability.

Are you happy?
People pick up on unconscious thoughts. If you're not happy, it is pretty safe to say you are permeating the air with your negativity. Find out what would really make you happy, and do it! Positive people are people magnets. Find yourself and you may also find the other half you are looking for.

Do you say "my ex" more than 5 times a day?
What's done is done. If you want a potential partner to remain interested, don't give off signs that you're still emotionally committed. Allow yourself the freedom to be free. Sometimes it is easier to cling to the past than to face what is right in front of you. Don't let thoughts of an ex hold you back from enjoying your future.

Are you financially stable?
While this is not an end-all criterion, it does reflect how independent, stable or ambitious you are. If you're not in a comfortable financial place now, make a change. Do some research on getting out of debt, or ways to increase your monetary flow. You'll feel happier, and be a better catch, even if all you have is a plan of action that you are carrying out.

Do you have future goals, dreams or desires?
A dream is an aspiration for something greater than you have now. It could mean improving yourself, visiting a foreign land, or even owning a rare collector's piece. Whatever your dreams and goals are to you, it is important to have them, and have plans to achieve them. A person who is trying to achieve a goal or dream is showing that they are willing to grow as a person. It can also show your ability to make something happen for yourself and possibly for a potential partner.

What are you doing for you?
If you aren't engaged in any hobbies, self-improvement or other interests you may be giving signals that you will be overly dependent on a potential partner. Furthermore, having independent interests will help you keep your personal identity in a relationship, which at times can feel like a thing of the past.

Do you know what went wrong in your past relationship(s)?
The first step to overcoming a problem is to realize there is one. If you haven't already, take an objective look at your past relationships and find out how you contributed to their demise.

Do you know what you want in a new partner?
If you haven't taken the time to narrow this down, this could very likely be the reason you are without. When creating your list, be sure to include things you do not want as well. Mark off which things are red flags and which things you can live with. If you find an interest entering a red flag zone, do yourself a favor and look for someone else.

More questions to consider...
Do you feel you may be too insecure?
Are you focusing on the past more than you are focusing on the here and now or the future?
Do you feel you may be overly critical or negative towards other people or life?
Would you date you?

Source: http://www.lovingyou.com/content/love/dating.php

Who Is Your Ideal Partner?

Who Is Your Ideal Partner?
by Jennifer Good

Who Is Your Ideal Partner?In the dating world, it seems that everyone expects the love of their life to fall from a tree and knock them dizzy with bliss. The facts of the matter are hardly as hit-and-miss as our secret desires would like them to be. When someone has a spell of good luck, it’s rarely because of some undeserved, haphazard gift bestowed upon them. If you look back to the period prior to any favorable happenings, you’ll discover a lot of hard work and planning were most likely involved. There is truth in the belief that the effort you put into something will be equal to the result you receive. Where people usually go wrong with this formula is extending the wrong type of effort. The same is true for finding a life mate.

If you don’t discern what you want or expect from your life, you’re never going to get it. You wouldn’t expect a business person to start a new business without researching the field and discovering if it’s a suitable fit. Yet, people consistently dive into the dating pool without first making sure of what they want. The fact that someone shows a bit of interest does not mean they are a suitable match for you. In the end, it isn’t just strong affection or love that makes a relationship work. It’s how compatible you are and how you deal with the little day-to-day things that count. The only way to truly discover what you need from a relationship is to actually plan and research exactly what you want.

When you are ready to seriously begin your quest for finding your life mate, use the following steps to help you get started.

Step 1: Do Your Research No great plan or endeavor can really get off the ground without research. Applying this to your love life may seem strange, but it really only takes a new perspective to get things going. First, analyze your past relationships. What traits or qualities did you really like about your previous partners? Write them down. Then take a look at what aspects of their personalities or your relationship that you disliked. Write those down as well.

You’ll probably get a fairly clear idea of your ideal mate at this point. However, don’t just stop with looking into the past. You’ll get an even more complete picture if you take a look at the people around you who have influenced your overall concept of the ideal relationship. Your parents or other family members' relationships will affect your opinions greatly. Do the same comparison of likes and dislikes for them. If there are other friends or role models, be sure to analyze those as well.

Step 2: Understand Your Desires
Truly knowing yourself allows you to understand all of your strengths and weaknesses. Once you’re comfortable with what those are, you can find ways to make them work for you. For instance, if you’d rather eat dirt than clean, you know you’ll always need a housekeeper. You also have some more insight on what traits your perfect partner needs to have, in this case a high tolerance for sloppiness. For some of you, the weakness may be an insecurity issue. In this case, while eventually you may get over it, you probably don’t want to get involved with a social butterfly. You’re going to be a lot happier with someone who is a little more reserved in public. Some traits or qualities wouldn’t be considered deal breakers, while others are must haves. Each person is different, so these qualifiers will be unique to each individual. Your job is to figure out the must-have characteristics of your ideal partner.

First, define what you want and need. You did most of this in step one. Now it’s time to expand on your discoveries and get a complete picture of your ideal relationship. Make sure to include small snippets of things you’ve always envisioned doing. For instance, do you imagine someone who enjoys cuddling on the couch while watching scary movies with the snow falling outside? Whatever it is, make sure to write it down so you can refer back to it and make changes as necessary.

Next, you need to determine what certain terminology actually means to you. You won’t be able to express what you expect from a partner if you don’t even know what it is yourself. Take a while and really figure out what exactly does love mean to you. What is your idea of "romance"? What are your views regarding sex? What does marriage mean to you? What about commitment?

Now it’s time to look at what specific requirements you’d like your potential life partner to have. How important is education? What about their level of independence or financial stability? What stage in their career should they be at? What about religious beliefs? Is having a different romantic style a deal breaker?

By knowing ahead of time exactly what it is you're looking for, you'll be able to tell early in a relationship if the person you are with matches your criteria. This will allow you to end bad relationships before anything progresses too far. In addition, you’ll be able to move ahead with more confidence when you do find that particular someone who meets your expectations.

Step 3: Put Your Discoveries into Practice
So, you now know what you want, but how do you go about actually getting it? Since there are shelves of books dedicated to this pursuit, I’m just going to give you a few pointers to steer you in the right direction.

The first tip should be fairly obvious, but it’s amazing how often it’s over-looked. You’ve just dedicated all this time to figuring out what makes you tick, so it’s time to use it to your advantage. If you’re looking for someone to date, don’t go to a place you’re not likely to meet anyone with those qualifications. Try to find the best possible places where the odds of meeting someone with your particular interests are higher. If you love to cook, join some cooking classes. If you love to read, join a book club. If you love dancing, take some dance lessons. A little research into what your city offers could pay off quite nicely. When you talk with someone you are interested in, try bringing up the hobbies and interests you enjoy. Get a gauge early on as to whether you actually have things in common. This is also a great conversational segue to asking for an actual date.

When you go on your dates, do things that reflect how you want your marriage or long-term relationship to be. For instance, if you enjoy shopping, take your date on a few trips to the mall. If you love the outdoors, let your dates reflect that. Not only will you be finding out if you both enjoy the same things, you’ll also be giving your potential partner a better glimpse at who you really are. Even if things don’t work out romantically, if you discover you share common interests, you’ve at least gained a friendship.

Source: http://www.lovingyou.com/content/love/dating.php

Your perfect man

Your perfect man
by: Aly Walansky

I am a single girl – never married, and thus never divorced, and even still, when I paged through Ginger Emas’s Back on Top: Fearless Dating After Divorce (Globe Pequot Press, May 2009), I couldn’t help but laugh out loud and be inspired all at the same time.

One of the major instructions of this book is creating a “man file”. Even before discovering what one was, I wanted one… and I went right to the source.

“I recommend that every woman – single or divorced – create a man file. A man file has two parts: A list of non-negotiables and a list of must-haves,” Ginger shared.

As our chat went on, I learned that non-negotiables are those things that you absolutely will not put up with in a man, such as violence, cheating, lying, abuse, financial irresponsibility. On the other hand, must-haves are the things a guy must have in order to be in a relationship with you.

Ginger says she interviewed dozens of women and what typically tops the must-have list is sense of humor and intelligence, followed by chemistry (some women put this first!), kindness and a steady income. Your man file can also have “nice-to-haves” – things like enjoys kids, went to college, lives a healthy lifestyle — these may not be must-haves or non-negotiables, they’re more like extra credit.

Obviously, everyone’s man file will be different. While mine may include creative and edgy, yours may include good cook and pet-lover.

Why is something like this so important for all of us single girls out there? Quite simply, a man file is more than what kind of guy you want; it’s about who you are now. It gives you the unique opportunity to take the time to consider the kind of partner you want — not whom your friends or parents or children think you should be with.

“We are different now; we change after we’re married and divorced; we should honor that. For example, the first time around, being with someone who was of the same faith was important to me. Today, that’s not even on my nice-to-have!” Ginger says. “I’m raising my son Jewish regardless of who I’m with; I participate in my spirituality whether I’m alone or dating someone. I totally expanded my horizons and dated a lot of diverse people by considering what was truly important to me – and what no longer mattered.”

Our lists can sometimes be too exclusive – put a line through whatever is “old talk” and open up to the possibilities, as long as you don’t compromise on those things that truly matter to you.

Ginger offers some final words of caution: Be careful what you wish for! “I wrote down that I wanted someone who was self-sufficient – you’d be surprised (or maybe not) by how many women date men who need “saving” – and we choose them over and over again. But when I started dating my current boyfriend, I had no idea how to love someone who was as capable as I am – and sweeter, too! I’m telling you honestly, it took a while for me to figure it out and open up my heart!”

Well said! So, I ask, what would be in YOUR man file?

Source: http://www.lovingyou.com/content/love/dating.php

10 Traits He Wants in a Girlfriend

10 Traits He Wants in a Girlfriend
by Jessica Padykula

According to Gloria MacDonald, founder of Perfect Partners, a personalized matchmaking service, men are subconsciously looking for three things: Beauty, health and youth. Yes, it sounds superficial and, it is. But MacDonald stresses that they just can’t help it. They’re wired this way. “The more you can do to look beautiful, healthy and youthful, the better your chances are,” she says.

So where does that leave us? Well, even if you aren’t giving Angelina or Cameron a run for their money in the perfect ten department, there are ways to boost your dateability and give him what he’s looking for.

1. Dress for your body type
Just because it looks good in the magazine or in the shop window, doesn’t mean it will suit you and your body. Whether you have a tiny waist and large hips, long torso and short legs or tend to be a bit round all over, there are things you should wear – and things you shouldn’t. The trick here is to go shopping with someone objective, someone who will be honest about what looks good on you. If all else fails, invest in a session with a personal shopper. They will save you from many fashion missteps and teach you what works best for your body type.

2. Highlight your best features (and downplay the less favorable ones)
Make-up isn’t for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dabble. There are simple ways to shine the spotlight on your best features and minimize the ones you don’t want him to focus on. Head to your local department store and ask them for a makeover. Yes, they will encourage you to buy things, but at the end of it, you’ll know how to show off your high cheekbones, while making the dark circles under your eyes disappear.

3. Take care of your skin
Many of us are not born with flawless skin. But even if dewy and glowing aren’t what stare back at your in the mirror, do what you can with what you have. Wash the make-up off before you hit the pillow, moisturize, wear sunscreen (always), and splurge on a session with an aesthetician so you can learn what products best suit your skin type.

4. Embrace the gym
Whether you’re trying to lose that last ten pounds or you just like that post-workout glow you get after your kickbox class, exercise is your friend, especially if you want to find – and keep a guy. It will keep you in shape, boost your confidence, tone you up in all the right places and just make you feel good.

5. Think positive
If you have a positive attitude, you have a better chance of attracting a date. “What goes on in your head is one of the most important things that can make you more dateable,” MacDonald says. The more positive you feel, the happier you will be and the more pleasant you’ll be to spend time with.

6. Know how to flirt
Flirting is all about creating a rapport and making a connection with someone, ideally, someone whom you’d like to get to know better. Not comfortable flirting? Practice wherever you go — the more you do it, the easier it will become.

7. Be a good listener
No one wants to date someone who makes them feel boring. You don’t have to jump up and down every time he opens his mouth, but pay attention to when he talks. “Be sincerely and genuinely interested in what the other person is saying,” explains MacDonald.

8. Have a hobby and interests
In order to have something to talk about and an identity outside that of your potential significant other, you need a life of your own. This could be a book club, pottery class or weekend mountain bike races. Regardless of the activity, do something for you, that you enjoy so you aren’t so wrapped up in him that you drive him insane.

9. Be a balanced conversationalist
Some people dominate the conversation, some people stay quiet. Others ask so many questions they make you feel like you’re under investigation by the FBI. Being a good conversationalist means having the right balance of talking, asking and listening.

10. Exude confidence
Obviously, confidence doesn’t grow on trees, and unless you count the liquid variety (i.e. vodka), it doesn’t come in a bottle either. But if you feel good about yourself, you will be more attractive to the opposite sex. The more confident you are, the less desperate you will appear. And we all know that desperation does not usually lead to a full dance card.

Source: http://www.lovingyou.com/content/love/dating.php

Open Your Heart To Love

Open Your Heart To Love
by Jennifer Good

Open Your Heart To LoveHow often have you wished you had the ability to not worry about the result of something? The biggest fear in a relationship can often be the fear of rejection or the fear of a bad experience. Quite often you'll find people, maybe even yourself, who are so afraid of these things that they are not willing to experience the joy of a true relationship. This is quite understandable, especially if you've had a previous bad experience. The real problem comes when it's time for you to start enjoying something, and you're still held back by your fear. What do you do and how can you overcome this?

A good starting point is remembering this motto, "Nothing in life worth having, or keeping, is going to be effortless or painless." If you're going to be involved with someone, this can also include a friendship, you need to make a commitment to them that you're willing to give it your all. Although, the relationship could end in heartbreak, it is far better to know you gave and loved with everything, than to know deep down you held back your emotions.

If you find that opening yourself to love and/or relationships is difficult for you (or possibly a friend), try one of the following ideas and tips.

Don't Think, Just Do
Obviously, this doesn't mean to lose your better judgment... just the opposite. If you're the type of person that over-evaluates everything... stop. Allow yourself to "go with the flow" instead of worrying about what the outcome will be. Remember, there is valuable information in the saying, "Whatever will be, will be."

Allow Experiences
How many times have you declined to do something, or not pursued something (or someone) because you were worried about an unpleasant experience? Take the risk next time and allow yourself to experience things. You may find the risk was worth it!

Be Open And Honest
Many times you'll find someone who is worried about something, but has never even spoken with the other partner about it. It's very difficult to maintain a relationship if you don't let your partner know how you feel about something or any concerns you may have. Sharing your thoughts will not only help alleviate your fears, but it will also begin the start of a solid relationship.

Do Unto Others
If you're insecure about something, there's a high chance that it could quite possibly be caused by something similar you've done in the past. Keep pesky, guilty feelings at bay by following the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Not only will you feel better about yourself, you'll also find it easier to be open when you've got nothing to hide!

Remember, there is a certain amount of risk in everything you do. Allowing yourself the freedom to experience love, with all its uncertainties, is more valuable than any investment or money in the world.

Source: http://www.lovingyou.com/content/love/dating.php

Low Self-Esteem

Low Self-Esteem
Bob Narindra

One of the most problematic areas of a relationship is low self-esteem and its effects can be devastating. This is a problem that affects most people at some stage in their life but if it is not dealt with, it can destroy a relationship or at least make it impossible to get involved in one. The problem with low self-esteem is that it does not just affect the person who is insecure. It also affects anyone they are in contact with, be it family, friends or co-workers. If you or someone you know suffers from low self esteem, this article looks at a few of the possible causes of the problem and gives a few helpful solutions.

Causes of Low Self-Esteem

Past Failures
The effects of failure can be very harsh to deal with, especially when accompanied by "I told you so's." Once you have tried and failed at something, your confidence takes a jolt and you are weary of trying new things in the future.

Wrong Doings
Committing harmful acts against others is a major cause of low self-esteem. How can you feel good about yourself when you continually do things to hurt other people?

Invalidation from other people can be devastating, especially if it comes from an authority figure or someone you look up to. Usually the person makes a few remarks or comments that hurt so much that they cause a change in how you view yourself. This can happen at any time in a person's life and in any area.

Let's say, for example, that you are feeling good about your body and enjoying life until, one day, you overhear someone say that you are gaining weight. From that moment on, you start to think twice before eating something, or drinking something. You wonder if they are right, so you go check yourself in a mirror or on a scale. You start listening to what other people are saying and wonder if they, too, are talking about you. You start trying to control what you eat and then scold yourself when you slip up. You see what has happened? You end up in a dwindling spiral of self-invalidation!

Solutions to Low Self-Esteem

If You Have Low Self-Esteem

1. The first thing to do is to handle your immediate environment.
Usually you will find that you have neglected your friends, your body and your environment. Clean up your apartment, do the laundry, dishes or anything else you have neglected. Get done anything you have been "meaning to do." This also includes making sure you get enough sleep and eat properly etc.

2. Get Re-acquainted
Catch up on some friends that you have neglected and/or re-acquaint yourself with your sweetheart. If you do have a partner, use some of the romantic ideas on this site. This step will really help you to understand that you do have people around you that care about you.

3. Get some exercise
One of the best ways to accomplish this is to make sure you take a walk every day. While walking, try to just look at the environment around you and not worry or think about things.

4. Start writing a journal
Keeping a journal can be invaluable therapy. Everyday sit down in a quiet place and just write whatever comes to mind. It is almost like downloading every thought you have into your journal. Once you have downloaded them, you will find that there is no need to continually think about them and will start to feel better. After a few days you will also start to see some patterns emerging that have affected your life so far.

After a while of doing this, you will feel a lot better about yourself and you should start to realize what caused your feelings of low self-esteem in the first place. Solutions will start to present themselves and your new outlook on life will bring with it new opportunities to further improve your environment.

If Your Partner Has Low Self-Esteem
If your partner is suffering from low self-esteem, then your job is to re-assure them. There is very little that cannot be cured by love, understanding and just being there for them. You should also be careful not to judge them or invalidate them for feeling the way they do. Bring back the romance in your relationship, show them how you feel about them and re-assure them that you love them no matter what. You should also softly encourage them to do the above steps. One of the best ways to do this is to do them for yourself and encourage your partner to help you or do them also.

Source: http://www.lovingyou.com/content/love/dating.php

Love Your Life

Love Your Life
by Jennifer Good

1. Adopt a pet together.

2. Volunteer for a cause you both believe in.

3. Learn a new hobby together.

4. Make a care basket for a friend.

5. Paint something together.

6. Visit old friends together.

7. Make something together like a dollhouse, a garden, a puzzle, a genealogy chart, etc.

8. Write a short romance story together. One person writes a page, then the other person makes changes to it, and then writes the next page and visa versa.

9. Make it a point to listen to your partner for an hour.

10. Go cloud watching together.

11. Surprise your love with a homemade gift.

12. Take a weekend retreat together.

13. Send anonymous flowers to your love.

14. Create a "couples" photo album together.

15. Cuddle on a park bench for an hour.

16. Have a picnic while watching airplanes land.

17. Participate in free local community event.

18. Create "your CD" together.

19. Reward each other with a date to "romance" the other person.

Source: http://www.lovingyou.com/content/love/dating.php

How To Be A Better Partner

How To Be A Better Partner
Bob Narindra

If you have ever been in a relationship that failed, you most likely have sat down afterwards and wondered what went wrong. Sometimes it is easy to spot how much of it was their fault but it is not too easy to look at where you, personally, went wrong. Everybody wants to be the best at what they do, and being the best you can be for your partner is no exception. Listed below are 12 simple lessons that will help you to achieve that goal. Remember, if you want to be good to someone else, you also have to be good to yourself.

1. Be romantic.
Whenever a relationship starts to fail, the lack of romance is one of the first indicators. It is very natural for people to get complacent and forget the fun things they used to do when they first got together. A relationship has to be constantly worked on and being romantic is an absolute must. If you would like some more information on how to bring the romance back in to your relationship, please take a look at some of the articles in the Romance Guide.

2. Never disparage yourself.
Whenever you are disparaging yourself, you are basically saying that you are no good for your partner. If you don't believe that you are good enough for them, then you won't be. It's as simple as that. Don't sit around and beat yourself up over past mistakes, that will only prevent you from trying and succeeding at new things tomorrow.

3. Always be honest.
There is not one single relationship that will succeed in the long run if built on a lie. Even if your partner never finds out the truth, the fact that you know you lied will affect your feelings for yourself and your partner. With that kind of a hindrance, the relationship will never reach it's full potential.

4. Do not do things just to keep your partner happy.
How many times have you done something for or to your partner that you really did not want to do, just to make them happy? How did it make you feel? Every time you compromise yourself in that way, a piece of your love for them dies. It is much better to explain to them that you don't feel good about certain things and work on an alternative together.

5. Do not ask your partner to do things you know they don't want to do.
This is the reverse of the above lesson and fairly self-explanatory. If you know they really don't like doing something, and if that something is for you and of no benefit to them, then why ask them to do it unless you are being selfish or mean?

6. Do not belittle your partner.
Everyone makes mistakes in life and everyone works or catches on at different speeds. If you spend your time nagging at your partner or putting them down about every little thing they do wrong, then how can you expect them to do anything right? Do you want a life-partner or a puppy dog?

7. Do not put off things you have promised to do.
Trust is an important part of any relationship and it needs to be developed. If you say you are going to do something and don't, then how can your partner rely on you in the future?

8. Always be there for your partner.
Nothing is more important in your life than your partner. Friends come and go, as do children, but your partner is with you for the whole journey. If they are in trouble or need you, nothing else matters, other than to be there for them.

9. Communicate.
Things change in a relationship almost on a daily basis. If you don't talk to your partner you could very easily wake up one day and find that you have drifted too far apart to bridge the gap.

10. Do not commit adultery or other harmful acts against your relationship.
This one is really self-explanatory. Nothing destroys a relationship faster than infidelity or wrong doings.

11. Treat your partner with respect.
It is extremely easy to take someone for granted and once you start to cross that line, it is very difficult to go back. Be careful not to treat your partner worse than you would treat your best friend.

12. Be open and receptive to your partner's wants and wishes.
It takes two people to have a relationship and when you shut one of them out because you are not open to their ideas and wishes then you really don't have a relationship at all. Always be open and receptive to what they say. Also, be open to new experiences and ideas, you never know what you might learn.
Source: http://www.lovingyou.com/content/love/dating.php

Is your relationship suffering from a negative influence

Is your relationship suffering from a negative influence...
by Jennifer Good

"Well-intentioned" people; nearly every couple knows at least one. In fact, we could all probably rattle off a few names in a matter of minutes. They are the ones that are constantly advising you about your partner's habits or lifestyle in the most well-meaning of tones; the ones who can't help but comment on some misfortune you've had or who mysteriously appear when they need something from you. And, they are the ones who are slowly, and not so silently, zapping the life and happiness from your relationship. The worst part is that you may not even realize it is happening!

The good news is there is a way to limit their effect on you and your relationship. It just takes a few conscious changes and an agreement as a couple to put those changes into effect.

The first step is to realize there is a problem. So, to start you'll need to understand how they are harmful to your relationship. Before taking any action, decide what it is about that person that is a negative influence. Do they make harmful comments? Do they fail to be supportive? Do they fail to contribute equally to the friendship? Do you find yourselves feeling better or worse after spending time with them? Are they draining you emotionally or financially? Really take a look at the overall effect the person is having on your life. Do they call you constantly to rattle off their problems, but never help you with yours? Have you offered countless solutions to help them out, but they never seem to take any advice? Do they continually visit without notice? If you have children, are they setting the type of example you want your children to view and uphold?

Once you've determined to what extent they are a problem, you'll need to figure out a way to dissolve the effect they are creating. The most effective way is to remove them from your relationship completely. That means no more communication, unless it is completely unavoidable. Unfortunately, you can't go around breaking off ties with every person you or your partner may find disagreeable. This is especially true if the trouble source is a family member, co-worker, long-time family friend or part of some other integral aspect of your life. In such cases, you will need to apply a more realistic approach.

First, you will need to cut off communication for as long as you possibly can. View this period of time as one of getting back to what's important…without the distractions. You need this time alone to remember what it's like without the interrupting influence and, to be honest, to unwind. You may only need a weekend or you may need a few weeks. You'll know when the time is right to make contact again. If you can't remove them, find a way to remove yourself for a short time as this alone time for you as a couple is extremely important.

Secondly, you and your partner should talk about what expectations and feelings you have about this situation. Agree to some common ground rules. These could be anything from agreeing to only seeing the person once a month, or making sure you change the subject anytime they start to talk about something mutually unpleasant.

When you are ready to initiate contact again, find ways to limit their effect on you. For example, make the time you spend together limited, such as going to a movie, dinner or other social function. Meet them at the destination, and make sure they know ahead of time you need to leave when the function is over.

Keep your contact in controlled environments such as the ones mentioned above. Don't invite them to your home unless absolutely necessary. In the event it is necessary, arrange to have another friend or family member there to avoid unwanted communication. I wouldn't recommend telling the other person why they are there. The point is to have a neutral person (or people) there to limit any outbursts or behavior you do not desire.

Come across as a unified front. Make sure the person knows that if they are harassing one of you, they are harassing the both of you. Support each other first, and do not take sides. If you really disagree about something, do it in private where you can both talk about it openly and comfortably.

Lastly, realize that the only way someone can have a real negative effect on you is if you let them. Sometimes just knowing that you don't need to take what they say or do personally is enough to make the time spent with that person more pleasant. Remember to find the strength in each other to combat outside forces. Your relationship and your family unit should always come first.

Please Note: This article does not take into consideration roommates, friends or family members living with you. These topics will be covered in a future feature.

Source: http://www.lovingyou.com/content/love/dating.php

Abusive Relationships

Abusive Relationships
by Bob Narindra

You'd be surprised at how many people suffer through abusive relationships… and not just women. Both emotionally and physically abusive relationships are happening with increased frequency. Abuse can take many different forms. Of course, the most famous type of abuse is physical abuse. Mental abuse, however, can be just as harmful, if not more so. Mental abuse is becoming increasingly prevalent in society. For this reason, in this article I will concentrate on how to detect and handle mental abuse.

Mentally abusive people have one goal - to destroy your self-worth. They do this by a variety of methods including, but not limited to, verbal threats, demoralization, alienation of friends and family, and by putting down any positive impulses you have.

Some examples of mental abuse are:

* Telling you that you are worthless.
* Not allowing you to have any contact with you friends or family unless cleared by them first.
* Threatening to leave if you don't do what they say.
* Making it seem like the whole world is against you with sayings such as "Everybody knows you are a failure." or "They are all talking about how messed up you are."
* Withholding good news from you about your friends, family, neighbors and associates. However, at the same time, making up or embellishing bad news about those same people.
* Putting up roadblocks to any of your own personal goals that do not involve them.
* Telling you how lucky you are to have them because no one else would love you.
* Telling you how messed up you are and how much you need to get help while, at the same time, putting up all kinds of roadblocks on you doing anything to improve yourself.

Those are just a few examples but I am sure you can see the under-lying trend. The basic tool is control. They have to have control over everything you do, who you see and who you talk to. Through this control, they are able to keep your self-worth at a minimum so that you don't leave. They also very often play the pity card:

"I will kill myself if you leave."

"I am so sorry, I love you so much."

Realize that these types of control methods are calculated to keep you around. When they feel that they have gone too far, they will back off on putting you down just long enough to make you have doubts about whether they are that bad. Once they feel more secure, the abuse starts right back up again.

The effects of mental abuse are often more devastating than physical abuse because they are hidden and there are no outward signs, such as bruises etc. that happen with physical abuse. Very often, the abused person is unwilling to tell anyone about this, which makes it even harder to spot. However, depression, anxiety, nervousness and lack of self-confidence are common results of this type of abuse.

Sometimes, however, the partner is just being overly controlling and not actually being intentionally abusive. When you are looking at a situation, make sure you look at the broad picture and not just isolated incidents. Every single person has used one or more of the methods described above at some point in their life, particularly when under stress. It is important when looking at this to look at the real long-term motives of the person in question. Are they actually being abusive, or are they simply being over-protective? If the latter is the case, then that can be handled simply by communication. Take a look at the article on handling conflicts for some ideas on how to deal with this.

If, however, it does turn out to be real abuse, then you owe it to yourself and your children (if applicable) to get out of the relationship. Don't use the kids as an excuse to stay. They are smart and probably already know what is going on. Do you want them to grow up thinking that it is ok to be physically or mentally abused?

So, what do you do if someone you know is in an abusive relationship? Well, the ideal situation would be to get them away from their abusive partner. Get them alone and talk with them about it. Start with a soft, concerned approach and make sure they know that anything they tell you is in strict confidence. Then, work out a plan to get them out of the relationship permanently. If kids are involved, you have to be even more careful as the abusive partner will use them as leverage if they find out what you are doing.

If you are in an abusive relationship talk to someone you can trust, a close personal friend or a family member. Make sure that the person you talk to is trust-worthy and will not betray your confidence. Listed below are some resources and telephone numbers of help-lines to contact. If you feel you are in an abusive relationship, get out and get help!

Source: http://www.lovingyou.com/content/love/dating.php

Loving Yourself

Loving Yourself
You must first love yourself before you can fully love another...
Loving Yourselfby Jennifer Good

In life, we may find it easy to allow ourselves to love and accept multitudes of other people, but when it comes to loving ourselves we're not as forgiving. In fact, we can be quite relentless in our pursuit of perfection. So, how then do you learn to put aside all the shoulds and should nots we face, and really begin a love affair with yourself?

The first step is to realize that you are somebody. You're a friend, someone's daughter or son, possibly a lover, an employee or employer, or maybe even someone's spouse. No matter how your role changes, you're still somebody. Nothing will ever change that.

The next step is to take time out to actually love yourself. In romantic relationships it is often said that true love is shown through actions, not words. Learn to apply this to yourself with the following ideas, and you'll be on the road to a lifetime romance, with yourself!

Dear Me...
Write a love letter to yourself. In the letter describe what you really like about you, and what you'd like to improve about yourself. Keep it in a special place you can refer to when needed.

Scheduling Time
Make appointments with yourself to do artistic or spiritually uplifting activities. For example, you might enjoy going on a picnic at the park, taking a tour through an art museum, or taking a walk in a secluded area.

The Finer Things In Life
Enjoy the finer things in life! Eat on your "good" dishes. Enjoy a candlelit meal. Listen to a favorite CD over champagne. Wear your favorite clothes. Treat yourself to unexpected present.

Enlighten Yourself
Try learning an enlightening hobby such as yoga or meditation.

Freedom Of Yourself
Give yourself freedom to make mistakes. Instead of questioning why you are doing, or may have done, something, just accept that you did it. Know inside that you'll handle it when you're ready to, and that it is okay to do just that.

Forgive yourself for something in your past. Write a letter of apology that includes everything you might have done. Seal it in an envelope, and keep it somewhere private.

Live life day-by-day. Try not to worry about what will, or will not happen in the future. Or, what may, or may not have happened in your past. All things are created in the present. Remember, your future and your past are created by what you are doing right now this very moment.

Source: http://www.lovingyou.com/content/love/dating.php

Finding Your Inner Sensual Goddess

Finding Your Inner Sensual Goddess
by Aly Walansky

You know how life goes… When you’re young and in love, I think that you believe that things will stay romantic and sexy forever. Then, I hear, you get married, and it all ends.

Obviously, I know not what I am talking about – I have never been married, but I recently chatted with Ginger Ema, author of Back on Top: Fearless Dating After Divorce (Globe Pequot Press, May 2009), and it’s shed a whole new light on the concept.

“I don’t think you ever believe you will stop being romantic and sensual with your husband. When I was walking down the aisle, I didn’t even consider the bad stuff. I was thinking: This is the best day of my life, this is the man of my dreams, I’m sure I can change him,” Ginger chuckles.

However, Ginger relates that long before her marriage officially ended, she and her husband were having intimacy issues. “Naturally, after my divorce, I wondered if anyone would find me desirable again!” We women worry about getting naked again; feeling vulnerable and wondering whether or not we are pretty enough, sexy enough, smart enough.

Ginger tried an unusual cure: She went to see a sensual massage therapist, who worked with her for several hours, guiding her through visualization techniques, helping to raise her level of self-awareness and optimism by using the sense of touch.

“It was an astounding experience – I laughed, I cried, and I was eternally grateful that someone did this for a living,” Ginger says, who says that for women like her, it’s an amazing tool to learn to open up again.

It’s for finding this inner sensuality (anew) that Ginger leads Fearless Dating workshops, where she talks about releasing that sensuality. “Little things like putting on sexy under things (and giving up the “granny panties”); trimming and pampering yourself a little; learning to flirt again – try it on waiters and mechanics and maybe your dentist (avoid co-workers and married men, however!).

Nothing helps you feel sexier that moving your body – Ginger says she loves salsa classes, kickboxing and pilates. “You’ll sweat! You’ll laugh! You’ll lose a few pounds! You’ll have a healthy glow and people will wonder what you’ve been up to. Let ‘em wonder!”

Source: http://www.lovingyou.com/content/love/dating.php