Can you predict long-term compatibility? Should you? Random weekend musings

A large part of being in a long-term relationship is growing together as a couple, as well as allowing each individual to grow and evolve separately. Lots of relationships change (or die) when that personal growth takes partners in different directions and they are no longer as compatible as they were when they first fell in love. Is there a way of knowing who’s going to be long-term compatible? After all, we can’t predict the future. But are there factors we can take into account when trying to figure out whether the person we’re in love with today will still be compatible with us in 10 years’ time?

But first, here’s another question: do we even need to see every relationship we enter into as the one and only relationship that will last us a lifetime? We already know this is usually not the case. I think it was Jung who talked about relationships as a tool for growth and about how some relationships are formed to help both partners learn a life lesson or evolve in a certain way and then cease to exist. I’m sure if you stop and think about your relationship history, you’ll be able to pinpoint some of  those in your own past (as long as you’re old enough to have had enough relationships, that is).  But surely, with the right person, growth is an ongoing process and you can help each other learn, achieve life goals and generally evolve as humans.

Speaking of Jung brings me to Myers-Briggs and the various personality types and personality tests. Could knowing more about your own personality type and your partner’s personality type make it easier to evolve as a team, rather than separately? At the very least, could it help you predict long-term compatibility with potential partners?

The above musings have been inspired by a recent article I’ve read. While looking on the Personality Perfect site, I recently found an article about the various personality types and what they each want out of life. Could knowing what you and your partner need to feel truly fulfilled help with long-term compatibility? As people’s personalities can manifest in a whole load of ways, I’m not 100% convinced that knowing your partner’s personality type and how it matches up with yours is enough to know whether you’ll be together forever. If you prescribe to the personality type theory, though, this could be a useful way of better understanding the things that make your loved ones tick.

Of course, knowing what both you and your partner need to feel happy on a daily basis and working towards making sure you both get what you need is definitely going to help any relationship last longer. Different people need different things to feel happy, valued and safe, so understanding where you’re both coming from is going to make it easier for you to provide that for each other. Plus, we all love to get insights about our personalities and how they match up. Right?

Shared life goals, compatible characters and a general interest in making sure your mutual needs are met are generally seen as the cornerstones of a successful long-term relationship. A combination of knowing what makes you and your partner happy and the desire to make that happiness happen is therefore the best thing you can do to keep the relationship alive.

Have you found that knowing your partner’s personality type helps you navigate your relationship better? Do you have any personality-based tips for long-term compatibility? Let me know below!

No tags for this post.

PersonalityMatch – Compatibility Matching App Review

I’ve recently been asked to review a new app called PersonalityMatch, a free app that lets you take a short personality test based on the Myers-Briggs model, discover your personality type and then see how it compares to those of friends and partners. I figured it could potentially be a useful relationship tool for some, or at the very least a fun activity to share with others.

It’s not hard to see the appeal of such an app – could it be like a cheat sheet for learning about someone else’s personality and how compatible you are?

To be perfectly honest, I have a love-hate relationship with these tests. Obviously, I love reading about myself (who doesn’t?) but I often find the choices in these tests quite limiting, as you usually have to choose between two options, whereas my honest answer is more likely to be “depends” or change depending on my mood. I’ve done quite a few Meyers-Briggs style tests before and have come out as both an Extrovert and an Introvert on different occasions, although the rest has mostly been pretty consistent across the lot.  They’re not perfect, but can be quite interesting and useful.

Compatibility matching, on the other hand, is something you usually see on dating sites where the test is generally a serious and often daunting task (hello, eHarmony!) or a neverending one (hi, OKCupid!). I’m sure there are other apps and sites that let you match your personality with your friends, but this is the first one I’ve personally tried that wasn’t part of an actual dating site.

How it works

First, you sign up with either your Facebook account or your email address. Pretty straightforward stuff.

The test itself only takes a few short minutes to complete, unless you’re the sort of person who’s going to deliberate for ages on each answer, which you’re not meant to do for these anyway. It’s definitely shorter than most compatibility based dating sites I’ve seen (apart from the crap ones).

The app gives you two tiers of information – basic (free) and paid. Surprisingly, the basic information seemed fairly insightful and reasonably accurate, especially considering the short time I’d spent actually doing the test. You get the information in the app itself and I also got an email with the results, so I could read them on a bigger screen. Handy.

There is an option to purchase more detailed information (22 page PDF), priced at $19.99 if you want to know even more about yourself.

Once I’d done that, it was time for the more exciting experiment. I wanted to use the app for what it’s actually meant for – seeing how my personality matches app with those of people I know. I found some willing victims and invited them to the app by email (you can use a whole load of other methods to invite people). They each followed the link provided in the stock email generated by the app and were automatically added as my “friends” when they joined. The app then notified me when they had finished filling out their personality tests and we were ready for a match!

This is the most fun part of the app, because your match report compares you to your friend using both a visual representation and a written report. You can click for more information about what the different parts mean or scroll down to read the text. The basic match report does a decent enough job of comparing the two personalities in terms of “energy”, “information”, “decisions” and “lifestyle” but for less than £1 you can get a more detailed report with the “strengths and weaknesses” of your match, tips on getting along and also information about their personality type. You can also pay a little more and unlock unlimited match reports, which could be handy if you want to invite lots of friends to see how you match up.



All in all, I liked this app. I’ve seen some very lengthy, detailed tests on some personality matching dating sites that delivered results that weren’t that much better than this (and sometimes, to be honest, not as good).

The fact that this app is not attached to a dating property actually works in its favour, because it can give you more honest results. Dating sites have a vested interest in sending you potential matches and getting you going on dates. A personality matching app doesn’t.

PersonalityMatch  has also got the winning combination of being fun, quick and easy to use, as well as insightful enough to make the information interesting. It really did make me want to share it with more people so that I can get a sneaky glimpse into their personality, and my own.

Even keeping in mind the limitations of these sort of personality tests, there is enough stuff here to give you insights into a relationship or a friendship or act as an ice breaker with a new partner.  While I wouldn’t advise anyone to base relationship decisions solely on an app, I would definitely recommend this app to anyone interested in learning a bit more about themselves and other people in their lives.

Where to get it

The app is free and you can get it from:

App store:

Play store:

No tags for this post.

Want to be on a Channel 4 TV pilot? Man and woman wanted

I’ve been contacted by a TV casting company working for production company Keshet, who are producing a pilot for channel 4 about relationships and dating. They are looking for a man and a woman to be in the pilot. This will not be broadcast on TV, but could be a fun experience if you’re interested in being in front of a camera. These are their requirements:

I am looking to interview a woman in her 20’s – early 40’s (who went to University) who will only date men of a certain social standing, and has extremely high standards when it comes to choosing who to date. I’m also looking to interview a man in his 20’s – 30’s who is university educated, loves online dating and not wanting to settle down yet as having too much fun dating.
The interview is for a Channel 4 pilot so will not be for broadcast and will take up an hour of their time. Filming will be in London on a convenient date and travel expenses can be arranged etc.
Contact Victoria on: if interested.
No tags for this post.

Looking for love? Owning a pet can help you find it

With summer around the corner (we hope), the thought of sitting in front of a dating app and dating site while the sun is shining might not appeal. But recent research from has shown that owning – and walking – a dog can actually help busy professionals find love.

Puppy Love InfographicIt seems that one out of five full time workers in the UK have actually met their partner while walking their dog, while three out of Five made new friends.

Dogs get you out of the house and they tend to attract both dogs and dog lovers. If you want to get talking to someone, a dog is a great conversation starter. Unlike people, dogs make friends easily with other dogs, and while they play, you have the perfect opportunity to make conversation with their owner.

Dogs are often recommended as the perfect companions to widowers, widows and the elderly and it’s not hard to see why. 45% of widows participating in this research said they’d struck up a positive conversation with a stranger because of their dog.

But owning a pet can also improve your life in general. As a proud owner of two cats, I was not at all surprised to discover that 55% of pet owners questioned said they were extremely happy with their lives. As I’ve often said on this blog, if you are happy and content with your own life, you are in the perfect position for finding a partner.

Of those already in relationships, 55% are also said to be very happy with their love life, while 41% said it brought them closer to their partner.

Owning a pet, especially a dog, is a responsibility. But if you’re up to the challenge, you will appear more caring and responsible to those around you. In fact, the research has shown that women tend to think male pet owners would make good fathers. After all, many couples start off by getting a pet together, before having a baby.

But if you’re one of the 51% of London pet owners who happens to own a cat, rather than a dog, don’t despair!

You might not be able to parade your pet around like a badge of attraction and parental suitability, but you can certainly use information and pictures of you with your cat (or cats) in your online dating profile to attract other cat lovers. Cat ladies in particular are likely to appreciate a man who appreciates cats, so while I don’t advocate making your entire profile about cute cat pictures, I do think that letting people know you have a beloved pet that’s a big part of your life can only be a good thing.

No tags for this post.

Staying friends with your ex doesn’t make you a psycho

The Internet is, as usual, aflutter after some new bit of research is being touted about, claiming (apparently) that staying friends with your ex partner after a breakup is a sign of having “dark personality traits”. Obviously, reading this I immediately imagined some jilted science nerd locked away in the psychology lab bemoaning his (or her) ex partner who stayed behind for a bit of “sex with the ex” and then left again. “I’ll show you! I’ll show all of you!” imaginary science nerd shouts while waving an imaginary fist in between bouts of frantic typing. I mean, the sheer numbers of normal, well-adjusted people who stay friends with their exes would imply that psychosis is not involved.

But when I went to look at the actual website with the actual research abstract, rather than the hundreds of rehashed click and share bait articles, it turns out that you have to really bend over backwards quite a bit to get this headline out of the results.

Turns out most people stay friends with their exes because…well, they like them or they find them reliable and trustworthy. Trustworthy and reliable? Why hey, that’s kinda the way most normal people see their friends. So basically, people who stay in touch with their exes, do it because….well, they see them as friends.

In fact, the scary psycho reasons touted in the clickbait articles (i.e. staying friends because of what you can get out of it) came last in people’s stated reasons for staying friends. The only people who stayed friends with their exes so they could get laid or get some other pragmatic benefits out of it were indeed the people with dark personality traits. But aren’t those the sort of people who’d look at any friendship in such a cynical, pragmatic way?

To  put it in simple terms, all this bit of research has shown is that assholes will be assholes, while the majority of people who stay friends with their exes do it because they like them as people and trust them as friends. But that sounds somewhat less sexy than calling perfectly normal people psychos, eh?

No tags for this post.

Chat up line fail – why being yourself is better than trying to be clever

I was at a summer festival once, hanging out in the back of a marquee by myself, having just watched a band play. I sat down with my programme to look and see where I should go next when a guy approached me. I was single and the guy was fairly attractive. Had he simply sat down next to me and said “Hi” or asked if I was having a good time at the festival (or anything else within the realm of normal conversation) maybe things would have ended up differently. But he didn’t say any such thing. He said “Who are you and what do you stand for?” I looked at him incredulously. I may have even repeated what he said in that “did you really just say that?”  tone I reserve for people who deserve extra contempt. Shortly afterwards I excused myself and left. To this day, I’m kinda sad I didn’t use this opportunity to educate a guy who seemed pretty harmless on the whole and, as I said, not unattractive.

So what was so wrong with what he said? I mean, it wasn’t rude or sleazy in any way, was it? Maybe you’re reading this and thinking “what the hell is this woman on about?” So here’s the thing. Coming up to a woman and pulling out some whacky chat up line / schtick reeks of effort. Surely if this guy had any confidence in himself and his ability to communicate with people, he wouldn’t feel the need to come up with something like that. He’d simply say hello and start a conversation. The fact that he thinks he need some sort of flashy “hook” to get a girl chatting to him says to me he must not think very highly of himself at all. Maybe he thinks so little of himself and his ability to get girls he even went as far as learning some pick up “artist” tricks, thinking that would get him laid. Either way  – eeewww. Plus – what sort of stupid chat up line is that anyway?

Let this be a lesson to you. Looks have very little to do with whether women will like you or not. This guy was blonde, he had a nice face, he was tall and fairly well built. Yet I was instantly put off by his cheesy line and what it implies about his character to the point where I found him completely unattractive. I much prefer men who are confident enough in themselves to…you know, just have a conversation with me like a normal human being.

So remember: the real world is not like online dating where you need some snazzy first message to get someone’s attention enough so they click on your profile. The classics still work – say hello or give a (non-sleazy) compliment to get the conversation going and you stand a far better chance of getting a good response.

Five ways to survive long distance relationships

The Internet is full of fluff pieces nowadays, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at this recent piece in the Metro (looking more and more like Buzzfeed), giving 10 reasons why long distance relationships are “secretly the best”.

Having been in a few long distance relationships, I can vouch for them not being “the best” at all, as I’m sure many would agree. Ultimately, long distance relationships, if they are monogamous, are tough. For most people, there is only so much to be gained by phone calls, letters, chat and Skype. Unless you’re asexual or too busy to have a libido, you’ll be missing the sex. Intimacy, physical contact – even if not sexual but just affectionate – is also something most of us need. Jealousy can arise, which is often the cause of many over the top displays of affection outsiders see as so romantic. At the end of the day, though, most people would prefer the physical presence of another human being. For most people, long stretches of being alone interspersed with short bouts of relationship-lite is something that can only be tolerated short term.

Long distance relationships are also problematic when embarked upon after only a short acquaintance. For example, if you met someone in a foreign country, fell in love and decided to keep the relationship going. This is because the relationship pattern is usually indication to what life together would actually be. When you are together, it’s like a holiday, because your time together is so short, you’re likely to put everything else on hold. You’ll be on your best behaviour, you’ll tolerate changes in your environment, because you know your partner will leave soon and you can get your own space back.

Here are five ways to deal with long distance relationships.

1. Keep it open

This may seem like an abomination to many people, but as open relationships are becoming more popular, it’s worth mentioning this option. You can make a decision to keep your relationship going while still sleeping with other people. It’s up to you and your partner to discuss the rules of how this would work. You could agree to ask permission before getting off with anyone or you could even agree not to discuss it. If your love is really that strong then having the occasional shag should not come between you, as long as you are both clear on the nature of your relationship and its rules.

2. Keep it short

While I wouldn’t advise selling all your stuff and moving away at a moment’s notice to be with someone you just met, I do advise keeping long distance relationships as short as possible. If you’re in an established relationship, being away for too long can hasten the end. If it’s someone you’ve just met, then meet a few times for as long as possible and then start making arrangements as soon as possible. Don’t let the relationship gets stuck in this limbo stage if you’re planning on one day making it into a proper co-habiting one.

3. Try it out first

If you’ve decided you want to take things further, don’t just drop everything and move. Sublet or rent your place (or have your partner rent out theirs) for a few months if possible and try to spend a few months with your partner to see if you can tolerate actually living together. If you like your own space or are more cautious, getting a place in the same town and dating for a bit before moving in together can actually be very helpful and less overwhelming. If you’re moving to your partner’s town, remember they have a life there. Don’t expect to get the same amount of attention you got when you were there for a week or a weekend and don’t get all huffy if they want to hangout with their friends every once in a while. Take steps to make your own friends and get your own life.

4. Make time for each other

Some long distance couples talk every day. Others have busy lives or other circumstances that prevent them from having this much time. But unless you’re away in the jungle on an expedition with no means to contact your partner, having at least one long conversation a week is pretty much a must for keeping your relationship relevant to your life.

For some people, this might also mean phone sex or Skype sex, so that you still have a sex life. If, like me, you find that’s somewhat of a poor, depressing substitute for the real thing, there are other ways you can keep each other involved in your day to day life while you’re apart. This could be anything from talking about your work day to consulting each other about everyday dilemmas. If this begins to feel like a chore – maybe it’s time to consider what that might mean.

5. Know when to move in and when to move on

What I learned about long distance relationships is that with the physical contact element removed, you can really get to know a lot about the person because you’re always talking. I also learned that it can get dull real quick. This can be a good thing in a way, because you can learn about a person’s political views, tastes, etc. quicker when you’re not spending your whole time in bed. If the person is right for you, this will strengthen your bond. If you learn that the person is radically different from your ideal partner, well, it’s easier to break up with someone when they’re far away.

Guest post: 5 Tips for First Date Success

First dates are known for being quite painful at times, but regardless of their uncanny ability to destroy a perfectly good Saturday evening, they are a necessary evil if one wishes to ever get to the loveliness that can be second and third dates. Although dating someone new is always going to be a nervy endeavour, by following these 5 helpful tips you can help ensure a pleasant enough date, without pressure and awkwardness, even if you aren’t spending it with your soul mate.


Always Focus on the Positive


Nobody has a good time if it is filled with whining and complaining. Be sure to only comment on the positives in your life and your company is sure to follow suit. Smiles and positivity not only make a great first impression, but they are also contagious.

Just as important as acting positively, is thinking positively. Leading up to and during the date try and just be excited to meet a new person and not have premade expectations. Having a pessimistic attitude can really make time drag and you are likely to overlook any positive attributes the other person has brought to the table. Even if someone is not what you were expecting, having a positive attitude about the situation can lead to a fantastic time, and you may meet a friend for life.


Properly Prepare Before the Date


It is crucial to prepare yourself before dating someone new. Try and learn some basic information about your companion, maybe from mutual friends or their social media profiles. Knowing a few things about them could help decide what activities to do on the date, or provide conversation opportunities while spending time together. Maybe even consider consulting a psychic for some clarity, and to see if there is any possibility or if they have advice on how to make the most of this particular date. Your psychic should be able to give you some guidance on what type of person you’re likely to end up with, so you should certainly use this when looking for potential partners online to narrow down your search. Whilst they won’t be able to tell you your soul mate’s name, they will be able to give helpful clues as to their personality, and maybe even their job or their interests. It is also important to properly prepare yourself physically. You should try to put your best foot forward, making a solid impression by dressing sharply and being well groomed.


Have Appropriate Expectations


Always remember to keep your expectations in check. People sometimes have illusions of grandeur, and hyping your date up in your mind beforehand will only leave room for disappointment on your end and put unnecessary social pressure on the other party. It’s important to understand that it is only a first date, and this time is for getting to know one another. You should not arrive expecting to be swept off their feet, or assuming their date will be the love of their life.


Go Dutch


By splitting costs on any meal and activities, you keep the tone of the date friendly and easy-going. There are no unspoken assumptions or expectations when each party is paying their own way. It is also a great way to end a date with no expectations if it has not gone well – nobody owes anybody anything.


Pre-plan your Escape Route


Despite our best efforts some dates are just…well, awful. Before venturing off on a first date with someone new be sure to have an emergency escape route already planned. Plan dates early enough in the evening to be able to have plans for later on, and be sure to mention them previous to or at the beginning of the date.This way if you’re having an awful time you have an end point to look forward to, and if a great time is being had you can invite them along.

Consider having a pal call or text you part way through the evening to check in. If the date is particularly painful you can take that opportunity to pull the plug.


Provided by Derek Acorah’s Psychic Ether, providing online psychic reading experiences as personalised as though provided traditionally face to face.

Guest Post: Top 5 Destinations for a Romantic Weekend in the UK

Ben Holbrook from takes us on a journey to the country’s best romantic getaways.


It’s difficult to really get to know someone whilst in your comfort zone, especially if you both live in the same city. And there’s only so much time you have available for your new flame during your normal working week. What you really need is a weekend of fun and intimate quality time, and what better way to do it than to escape to somewhere new, somewhere exciting, neutral. A place where you don’t have to worry about bumping into people you know, a place where you can focus on nothing but each other. That’s right, you need a romantic weekend! Here are a few excellent suggestions.

1. Camping in Cornwall – Sun, Sea and Surf

What could be more romantic and fun than a camping trip in the UK’s southern surf capital. The water is clean and the waves are big. You can rent a surfboard or two and take part in a surf lesson at Fistral beach, before taking a stroll along the golden sands, stopping only for a drink and a bite to eat at one of the famous pubs and cafes. And then, as the sunsets and the temperature drops, you can head back to your cosy little tent, aka “the love nest” and keep each other warm.

2. Hiking in the Scottish Highlands – Cold Kisses and Warm Whisky

There’s something incredibly romantic about Scotland’s blistering winds and misty moors. The burnt orange ferns setting the hills alight, contrasting against the mossy greens and starry skies. Stay in an ancient castle hotel, or rent a ramshackle little cottage and see in the days with hot toddies and log fires. Scotland is a seductive surprise not to be missed.

3. Music Madness in Manchester – Slow Dance Magic

here is no better city on earth to visit if you’re a music fanatic. With a wealth of musical heritage, live venues and clubs, Manchester is the place to go for loud music and quiet kisses. Don’t worry, it’s not all about rock and roll in Manchester, there’s definitely something for all musical tastes.

4. Candyfloss and Fun Fairs in Brighton – Bright Lights and Flying Kites

On a warm summer’s evening, with the neon horizon and soft ocean breeze, Brighton feels more like the Mediterranean Coast than the English Channel. Flocks of loved-up tourists walk the promenades, enjoying vintage sweets and nostalgic fairground games. Hailed as one of the UK’s hippest and most vibrant alternative cities, Brighton is a must for any creative couple looking to indulge in some quality one-on-one time. Pack your skateboard and do as this quirky couple did, if you dare.

Video credit: #Sk8seeing – Brighton on a Skateboard by HotelClub Brighton

5. Good Food & Great Fun in London – Sky High Smiles

There’s always something new to do in London, even if both you and your love interest are London residents. As the saying goes, If you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life. Drop in to one of the famous theatre productions, dine at a restaurant with epic views over the River Thames, or take it easy with the hipsters at an edgy Shoreditch coffee shop. Your options are unlimited, and it won’t take long to work out whether your new relationship is the real deal.

Guest post: How To Get Your Ex Boyfriend Back And Keep Him Forever

Regular guest poster K Thompson is back for another great post on the site, dedicated to those of you looking to get back with your ex.


I know that it sucks your relationship ended, but the fact that your ex-boyfriend left you means that there was something majorly wrong with the relationship you had with him. And even if you do get your ex back, chances are your relationship will end again unless you do something that will make this relationship much better than the last one.
There are a few things you can do to make sure that when you get your ex boyfriend back, you keep them forever.

1. Analyze Your Relationship

What was the reason your ex left? Most of the times, the reason they give while breaking up is not the real reason. Something like “It’s not you, it’s me.” Or “I just don’t love you anymore”. In most cases, the reason they left is because they have lost attraction towards you. Men, usually are not in touch with their feelings and they can’t understand what’s wrong. But when they feel that something’s wrong, they are quick to bail.
In most of the cases, neediness plays an important role in breakups. Men can sense neediness form a mile away and it usually turns them off. Many relationships start with the girl being confident and attractive but ending up being needy over time. When men lose the thrill of chasing and realize they already have you, they start analyzing whether or not you are a good match for being a long term partner. And if you show too much neediness or low self-esteem, they start thinking about leaving.

2. Work on Yourself

Working on yourself, including your confidence, your self-esteem and your self-actualization is going to serve a double purpose. It’s going to help you get your ex back and it’s going to help you keep your ex forever. Here’s why.

– When you work on yourself, you are going to look more confident, independent and attractive. These are the qualities that your ex can’t resist. And when you meet him, he is going to fall head over heels over you. He will be second guessing his decision of leaving you and will start thinking about getting back together. If you play your cards right, there is nothing stopping you two from getting back together.

– When you do get back together, you are going to keep the attraction going because you have worked on your self-esteem before. If you don’t fall back to your old ways and continue working yourself, your ex will do anything to keep you with him forever.

3. Put Yourself before Him

Your boyfriend should not be your priority no. 1 in life. It’s good to have a relationship and he should be important for you, but if you put yourself before him, he is going to walk all over you and then he will leave you, again.

If you make your happiness the no. 1 priority in your life, then you are going to find happiness. However, the problem is that most women think of their ex-boyfriend as the only source for their happiness. If your boyfriend really cared about your happiness, then why are you so miserable without him? If you really made your happiness your no. 1 priority, then you wouldn’t let your source of happiness be someone who left you. You would learn to be happy without your ex boyfriend.

When you learn to be happy without your ex boyfriend, you instantly become more attractive to your ex. And when you do win your ex back, you are no longer needy (because you know you don’t need him for your happiness) and as a consequence a thousand times more attractive.


K Thompson helps people with breakups. He has been writing online and helping broken hearts for the past two years.

Guest post: Why Online Dating Is Your Friend After a Breakup

If you just broke up and are thinking of getting back in the dating game, then online dating might just be the thing for you. There is always a little hesitation after a breakup to meet someone new after coming out a big relationship. With online dating you don’t really have to hesitate because unless you are completely ready, you are not forced to meet anyone. You can just flirt around and have fun before even going on an actual date.

One of the most common pitfall after a breakup is losing hope in yourself and in relationships. You feel like you will never find “the one” and you are doomed to be single for the rest of your life. But just creating a profile on an online dating site will give you a lot of perspective. Its one thing to tell yourself there’s plenty of fish in the sea and another to actually experience it. When you are on a website with millions of other singles searching for a partner, it’s hard to feel like you will never find someone for you. Just surfing an online dating website will help you realize the odds are in your favor.

Of course, you should have the proper mindset before you actually start dating someone. One bad date can make you start craving for your ex and start thinking about getting back with them. The truth is, you are bound to go on a few bad dates. And that’s completely OK. You should not look at dating as something you should do to finally be in a relationship again. Sure, that’s why you are doing it. But if you think of it as an experience, you will have a lot more fun going through the good, bad and ugly of dating.

Another reason why online dating after a breakup can be beneficial is because you are probably a little rusty with your pick up skills after being in a relationship for a long time. With online dating, you increase your chances of meeting people interested in dating and getting someone to actually go out on a date with you. It’s much easier to learn how to make an attractive dating profile than to learn how to approach people at a bar.

Online dating can help you jump head first into the dating game again. You just need to have the right mindset and remember that you should not go into a relationship unless you are completely over your breakup and are ready for one.

Kevin Thompson has helped thousands of people with breakups. He writes about breakups and getting your ex back at

How mature singles are finding love in the UK

If you’re above the age of 60, dating can seem a daunting affair. You might have been out of the dating world for some time, whether you are widowed or alone due to divorce. Dating when you’re older may feel scary, but finding love is just the same at any age. These days, there are plenty of ways to meet your match. Here are some ways you can find your way back onto the dating scene.

Take up a hobby

Join a club or class which focuses on an activity you enjoy. Classes are a really good way to meet people who share your interests. This will put you in great standing for a good relationship. Whether you enjoy sports, reading or the theatre, you’ll be able to find a class which will suit you.

Be spontaneous

If you’ve just come out of a long relationship or a marriage, you may be feeling like you’re in a rut. Long-term couples can become too accustomed to each other to the point where they lose sight of what they want. If you try something you’ve never considered before, you could give yourself a new lease of life.

Use an online dating site

In recent years, dating websites such as eHarmony have shot up in popularity, and new profile matching features make it easier than ever to find a mate.

It is no longer unusual for older people to find new love online – for more information about how to get started, visit this page.

Try a matchmaker

Another way to meet a potential match is to visit a local matchmaking service. Matchmaking services have been around for a long time and provide a personalised way to meet your perfect mate. Potential matches are hand-picked by staff and dates set up according to your personal preferences.

Take a trip

Holidays for singles are offered by many cruise lines with group activities and flexible trip plans for any individual. Groups can be organised by age, giving you the best chance to meet singles in a similar position to yourself. The best part is that you may get to visit a place you’ve never been to before while searching for love.

Be patient

The world of dating may have changed somewhat since you’ve been married or in a long-term relationship. There are many different ways to meet people, particularly with online dating services. Ask advice from those around you and pay attention to your wants and needs. Though times have changed, you’re still just as likely to find happiness.

The fidelity hormone found? Some thoughts about the future of relationships

The big news this week is that oxytocin, the bonding/attachment hormone can make men more faithful to their partners. A while back, some researchers put some of this hormone into a spray and tested it on couples in committed relationships to see how it affected the quality of their communications. They found that couples dosed with the hormone were able to discuss difficult topics to do with their relationship with more ease and mutual trust. It basically took out that whole mutual mistrust and accusatory tone issue that taints most difficult emotional discussions, as the couples were flying high on the love hormone, thus acting from a place of love. I mused then about the possible commercial implications of something like that. Some people might see it as the fast, cost effective alternative to relationship counselling and who doesn’t like a quick fix you can just spray up your nose, right? I see the need for some sort of marketing campaign to convince people to have awkward relationship conversations (with or without the magic spray). After all, a less wholesome “love drug”, MDMA, was supposedly originally touted by dealers under the cuddly name “Empathy”, but it didn’t become a hit with the clubbers till it rebranded as “Ecstasy”. So if someone were to market oxytocin spray based on that particular research, they’d probably get better results by talking about the effects of oxytocin on mutual orgasms, or something. But now, this new research has gone and told everyone that a dose of oxytocin can actually make men in committed relationships stay faithful in the face of sexy women. I doubt there is any interest at the moment at marketing oxytocin spray to the masses, but can you imagine? It would be to bad relationships what Ritalin is to boring tasks. And it wouldn’t surprise me if at some point in the future people just didn’t care. After all, if a man (and probably a woman, too. After all, this research hasn’t been conducted on women yet) is feeling the urge to stay and the prospect of relationship problem-solving or a break up seems daunting or impossible, what could be easier than just spraying something up your nose a few times a day to keep things together? Gone would be the days where people stopped to think about the reasons behind their dissatisfaction, of wondering whether there is a reason why they keep feeling the need to move on. Just like the case of Ritalin, there are undoubtedly people out there who are prone to straying even when they’re in a happy relationship with a person they truly love. But I can very much see a future where a one size fits all solution would mean people stop trusting themselves and thinking about their own motives and needs and just spray themselves into fidelity. Can’t you?

Why men (and women) stay in controlling and abusive relationships

I’d only just finished writing a post for the Parship Blog in response to an article about why men “secretly love bossy women”, when this article came up on the Daily Mail site, asking why women stay in relationships with controlling men. I thought it was going to be the perfect balancing answer to the other article, but, being the mail, it’s more about celebrity gossip and personal story telling, without actually getting into the real reasons as to why women are attracted to bossy men. All it tells you is that women who are in such relationships blame themselves for their partner’s behaviour and let them get away with it. Why do these often intelligent, attractive women go for such men? Short of saying “low self esteem and boredom”, the article leaves you in the dark.

Now, this article talks about the extreme cases – stalkers, utter control freaks, people who could even end up being violent. There are obviously controlling relationships that aren’t so extreme. So the question you need to ask is what do the women engaged in such relationships gain from them in order to keep them there? Is it a validation of their home lives as children? A validation of the guy’s passion and interest in them or, as in the men in the relationships I discussed in my Parship article, the freedom to not worry about the hard decisions one generally has to make in life. You can talk about these things for days, but ultimately, if you’re one of these women, then the only reasons you should be looking at are your own. Once you realise you’re in a controlling or abusive relationship (and for that, as much as I hate to say it, articles like this one are actually quite useful, as they lay down the symptoms and name the disease) then you should do your own soul searching, possibly with professional help, to see what it is that attracts you to a man that holds you back so much.

What a chore – sharing the housework, divorce and dodgy research

After the flurry of surveys and studies proving that splitting the housework evenly does wonders for your long term relationships and marriage (from making men feeling happier, to making your sex life better and more), now comes a Norwegian study which, if you believe the snazzy headlines from papers like The Telegraph, shows that sharing the housework actually leads to higher divorce rates. Of course, looking at the study itself and taking into account comments by the guy in charge, it’s clear to see that this is not at all the case, but I’m sure pubs everywhere will be full of guys telling each other things like “and then I told her, if you want me to do the dishes, fine, but be warned that it could lead to divorce!”. Laughs all round. So what’s the deal? Well, it seems that sharing the chores is part of being a part of a “modern” couple with “modern” values, i.e. the woman is most likely educated, middle class and financially independent. Marriage is not the end all and be all to such women, plus people with modern values tend to want more out of their relationships and, for better or worse, are more likely to bolt if things are looking hopeless. People with traditional family values tend to also believe marriage is for life. That’s pretty much it. Sharing the housework is a symptom of being in a particular type of couple, a couple more likely to split up if things aren’t going well. So all you guys thinking of an easy way out can put your apron back on. You’re not getting off that easily!

Are sex tips ruining sex or is it bad sex that’s ruining sex?

I spend a lot of time actively looking for relationship and dating articles online, but sometimes these things just turn up. I found this article while following a link to an article totally unrelated to dating. It’s a bit long, so I’ll sum it up for you, though it’s worth reading. Basically, it says that the abundance of sex tips in women’s magazines is ruining sex for people, because it makes it sound as if sex needs to be this ultra-complicated pursuit you see people do in porn. In fact, the article goes as far as saying that many of these tips originate in porn and that they are mostly aimed at pleasing men. Ultimately, says the author, people end up feeling that “just a bit of oral followed by the missionary position” is not good enough and feel that they have to turn the sexual act into some sort of hard labour. Well…

I’ll start by saying that it’s been a while since I’ve read any of those things, so my memory might be a bit out on what sort of stuff they suggest. I know myself that when your job involves writing a lot about the same subject, you end up struggling to find ideas. I’m sure a lot of the people who write these sex tips do actually get their ideas from porn, probably because their own sex lives are not that exciting and they need to come up with a bunch of new stuff to please their editor, rather than necessarily please the man or woman reading the article if they end up trying it in bed. I’m also sure they get briefs requiring them to include whatever fad that’s popular at the time. So if some celebrity was caught doing something in a sex tape, you can be sure that’ll be all over the mags faster than you can pull out a tissue. So yeah, some of that stuff can be pretty ridicilous and won’t have been tried by the people who wrote it.

On the other hand, sex within the context of a long term relationship can get pretty boring if all you ever do is the one position.

When your guy has that new boyfriend smell and you’re still getting to know each other sexually, you get excited about every bit of physical contact. If you swap partners often, then the fact that you’re with a different person is exciting enough, even if you stick to your usual positions and moves. But when you’re having sex hundreds of times with the same person over time, things are different. You’re basically going to have lots of different types of sex, according to your mood, your physical state, your circumstances, etc.. So there does need to be room for lazy sex, quick sex and even not very good sex (you can’t expect every single time to be perfect when you’re having lots of sex), but you also can’t go around limiting your sexual vocabulary to the basics without expecting things to eventually go very stale. I feel a bit mean saying it, but an article that jokes about oral sex “usually causing jaw ache rather than cataclysmic mutual orgasms” kinda screams “you’re doing it wrong” at me. I can’t help being reminded of the argument between British and French scientists about whether or not the female G-spot exists. Talk about living the “no sex please, we’re British” stereotype. Also, I think there maybe some flawed logic at work here. While women’s mags are definitely guilty of putting women in an obsessive state of mind about pretty much everything (“15 diet tips that work”, “how to keep your man from leaving you”, “is your vagina too ugly?”, etc.), the fact that they advise women on how to spice up their sex lives by pleasing the man doesn’t mean it’s unrealistic for women to want to stretch the limits of their own sex lives, nor does it mean that women don’t have fantasies that extend beyond the obvious.

So yes, there’s nothing wrong with any sexual position or move on its own, but if you’re a guy and your whole repertoire consists of the missionary position and you’re looking for a long term relationship, you’d better find yourself a woman who’s not really that much into sex, otherwise she’s gonna get real bored real quick. Spending hours setting up the bedroom with all kinds of silly stuff just so you can have a bit of a fondle can certainly be a chore, but so can having exactly the same shag every single time. While the sex tips offered by the freshly post virginal 20 year olds and frustrated demi-spinsters who write for women’s mags may be a bit far fetched and stupid, there’s no shortage of good stuff out there written by people whose sex lives are actually a tad more adventurous for real. The Internet is your friend and there are also books and videos out there that do a better job. So remember, kids consenting adults, experimentation is not a dirty word.

Stressed men are easy, say scientists

Sometimes you have to wonder about research people come up with and the logic behind actually funding it. This is one of those times. New research is linking men’s stress levels to their preference in female body types. The smashing, tabloid-like BBC headline tells me men are drawn to heavier women when they’re stressed, but when you read the actual article, you realise stressed men simply preferred a larger range of female body types. Basically, stressed men are easy. Put a man under pressure and he’ll be more open to sleeping with women he might not otherwise be attracted to.

Interesting, if perhaps obvious information. I leave it up to you to decide what to do with this valuable information.

Women’s sex lives affected by…cycling?

OK, this made me laugh, mostly because I actually hate low handlebars on bicycles. Apparently, apart from making me feel dangerously unbalanced, bikes with low handlebars can actually affect women’s genitals, making some bits numb enough to actually make for less sexual enjoyment. We’ve heard it all before about serious guy cyclists and their genitals (lower sperm count, I believe?) but now it seems women can suffer as well. It’s all down to angles, saddle pressure and things like that.

The full article is here. It’s enough to make me really glad I never left my trusty old mountain bike!

Makes you wonder how many women have had sexual issues as a result of this and put it down to something completely different (psychological issues, lack of compatibility with partner, depression, stress, etc.). Sometimes problems can be the result of a completely unrelated, seemingly random factor you wouldn’t normally even consider relevant…

Our idea of evolutionary psychology is based on what now?

OK, so if, like me, you’ve heard all about how men are programmed to “cheat” by nature and women are the homemakers who are programmed to stay at home with one man and the kids, then you may be interested in this little bit of information, which I’d like to file deeply in the WTF pile. Apparently our understanding (as a species) of the genetic programming supposedly found in nature that inclines men towards cheating and women towards remaining faithful originated in a 1948 study conducted on…wait for it….fruit flies!

Yup, that’s right, the underlying assumption that has coloured countless studies since the day it was published was based on research into an insect. They didn’t even electrocute a monkey or anything before coming out with their far fetched conclusions, which seem to not really take into account that there is a teeny tiny difference between a human and a fly. More importantly, no one ever came back to the original study to try and recreate it to see if it really works as described. Until now, that is, when a new team of researchers have disproved it. As always, as humanity (in part, at least) moves gradually away from oldschool values, science eventually catches up with some proof or other to validate something people with common sense already know to be true.

So there you have it. Apparently women are just as programmed to have multiple partners as men (and fruit flies). Science approves this message, just like it recently acknowledged the fact that bisexuals exist. It’s a good thing we have female (and gay/bisexual) scientists nowadays or we’d forever be stuck in the past.

Single woman in your late 30s / early 40s? You most likely can’t have it all.

It’s funny how your opinion about stuff changes as you get older, isn’t it? Here’s another article I saw about a woman in her late 30s trying to find the husband she’s always dreamed of and, so far, failing. This particular woman explains how she found a man who was “perfect on paper” but left him because there was no real passion there and has gone back to the drawing board, looking for a man to tick every possible box.

Now, when I was in my 20s, I’d be completely understanding of this and tell this lady to ignore everything her family and friends are saying and carry on with the search. Nowadays…Well…Now I think women should think carefully about what’s really important to them in life. I look around me and I see a lot of women in their late 30s or early 40s who are so determined to have it all that they can very easily end up with nothing, at least for a while. Now, to be clear, I’m not actually the sort of person who thinks a woman is defined by having children and that starting a family is the right choice for every woman. I’ve seen many woman discover the hard way that the romantic notion of family life is not exactly what they expected and my own personal views about bringing children into this overpopulated, violent world are somewhat less determined by my hormones or my desire to clone my own genetic make up.

Everyone has a vision of the perfect relationship, the perfect family, the perfect happily ever after. It’s never quite like that, whether you have children or not. So for me, it’s a perfectly valid choice to say to yourself that you’d rather not have a family than have it with the wrong person and you’d rather keep searching for the perfect guy than to settle for someone who’s not your perfect soulmate. It’s also perfectly fine to say you don’t want to have children at all, but would like the focus of your relationship to be the feelings you and your partner have for each other.

Also, let’s keep in mind that now that the world (parts of it, anyway) is moving away from puritan religious values, we’re beginning to understand that the Catholic-style version of perfect love is, frankly, not realistic for most people. The majority of people in the west engage in “serial monogamy”, which comes far more naturally to most than the vision of eternal coupling. In fact, most people in the world engage in some form of polygamy (whether it’s cheating, open relationships or “emotional cheating” – the annoying term for what is basically having normal human urges and not acting on them). It makes you wonder whether there is such a thing as a lifelong soulmate at all. The answer to this, I believe, is a positive one. Some people do find a partner they’d like to be with for life. On the other hand, cases of genuine, lifelong “soulmatism” are actually relatively rare. It’s a lot more common for people to stay together because they believe they have to or ought to.

So, unlike what I thought in my 20s, nowadays I look at such articles as the one above and women who write or identify with it and I say – grow up, ladies, it’s crunch time.
Your deadline approaches and, like it or not, as women we do have a deadline beyond which we are no longer fertile. I look around me and I see children whose parents are going to most likely die when said children are still way too young (because if you have a child in your 40s, you’re going to be in your 70s by the time he’s 30), the result of people holding off having kids while they have their career and choose the perfect partner. Not the end of the world, but not ideal either. Still better, in my honest opinion, than deciding to have and raise a child on your own (i.e. sperm bank rather than say, adopt one) “because you want one of your own”. And no, I don’t have anything against single mothers at all and most single mothers don’t start off intending on raising a child on their own. They end up in that situation and do the best they can for their children. On the other hand, I think that it’s not the ideal situation for a child, so knowingly choosing to place a child in a non-ideal situation before it’s even conceived because you want to experience motherhood is, to me, a very selfish decision.

If having a child is the most important thing to you to you and you’re getting to the point where you may not be able to have one, then yes, you may have to bloody settle. Sure, as I’ve said before, don’t go for someone who repulses you or bores you to tears, but do accept that you may not find prince charming in time for your perfect baby shower. Also, keep in mind that even prince charming may lose much of his charm after your baby comes out anyway. The way I see it, if you can’t stop thinking about your own needs and desires and keep wanting to have it all instead then either you don’t want children as much as you thought you did (which is absolutely fine, but you should come to term with this) or you’re just not ready to have them. Let’s be honest, chances are, you and most people around you will not have the happily ever after relationship you’ve envisioned. Hell, most women in their 20s won’t have it all either. They just have a few years before they have to face that realisation. People change, life changes and relationships change. You may as well decide what’s important to you and get ready to compromise and take risks. Be it risking not having a family (or adopting one later on) for the sake of finding someone truly compatible for life or settling for a relationship that’s likely to not last forever for the sake of having a child. You could also seek out alternative parenting arrangements with gay couples or men who want a child but not a relationship. Not ideal, but then again, what is? You most likely can’t have it all, but it’s OK. You just need to come to terms with it.

Some ideas for spring dates in London

It’s spring! The sun is shining and if you’re suddenly feeling more in the mood for love, then you’re definitely not alone. You can totally cash in on the nice weather by getting out in the sun with your date and doing springy things.

Personally, I love a picnic in the park and considering the whole financial crisis thing, it’s also the perfect way to save some cash. You could stock up on sparkling wine, cheese, nice bread and even posh dips for a lot less than you’d pay for a meal at a nice restaurant and have a truly relaxed time outside.

You can turn your park experience into something more active (or comical) by doing all kinds of random things like boating (which is random enough to be ironically cool), rollerblading (endless potential for hilarity) and, my personal favourite – feeding the ducks with endless slices of stale bread, which requires no special skill but shows that you care.

But before you head off into the great unknown with the great unknown you’ve picked up on a dating site, you might also want to check out these lists of great al fresco dining options in London and the UK plus London’s and the UK’s best pub gardens.

If you’re looking for something a bit more informative, then you can opt for something inoffensive like a short walking tour (in London, there are loads of new ones gearing up for the Olympics), or, if you and your date are into fitness, why not try this crazy thing?

Relationship and dating insights from Glamour Magazine

Glamour recently published a couple of interesting surveys. First, there’s the UK Guy Survey which asked men about their dating, relationship and sexual habits (including the opening question which is the charming “which of these places have you masturbated in?”). Frankly, there was little in it that is groundbreaking or comes as news to anyone who’s either a man or has dated a man, though I did like the fact that most men (85%) find women who reply to texts quickly to be efficient, rather than desperate.

Meanwhile, in the US, Boston women have been found to be the unhappiest of US daters in a Glamour survey, sponsored by Boston was also found to be the US city with the highest percentage of men who expect to get laid on the first date, although the percentage was still not particularly high – just 14%. Boston is a student town, so you have to wonder, really. Is this an indication that more guys in Boston are after casual sex? Sleeping with someone on a first date shouldn’t really indicate that you’re not looking for anything serious, but many people have this stupid idea that women who’d sleep with you on a first date are not marriage material. Ho hum. I guess until we know where Boston women stand on the sleeping with someone on a first date issue, we won’t have an answer, plus, as I said, 14% is not really such a high percentage, when you think about it.

A great and inspiring article about women and sex over 50

I have to share this interview on Huffington Post giving insight into what the sex life of a successful, confident 50something woman is. It’s an interview with Cindy Gallop, who shares information about her love life and views on female sexuality over 50.

With all the crap out there making women feel like they’re increasingly old and past it with every day that goes by, it’s so wonderful to read about an actual, working alternative to both ageing related self-hatred and traditional dating and relationship models. Also, I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that even though the article talks about an older woman having sexual relationships with significantly younger men, the word “cougar” wasn’t mentioned. I cannot hate that word enough. Seriously.

I both love and hate that in this world, sometimes just being yourself and living out the life that’s right for you can be a radical act of rebellion against society (or, if you want to be softer about it, an act of active re-education). I wish society was more accepting of just letting people be. Maybe if more women follow in Gallop’s footsteps and be true to themselves as they go through life, things will slowly get better.

No tags for this post.

Should women settle “before it’s too late?”

Found this article on the Jezebel site, talking about whether it’s good advice to tell women to “settle for a man who loves you more than you love him, even if he bores you”. It was a really good read (go, read it!) and the conclusion seems to be that no, it’s not good advice at all, for a variety of reasons.

I tend to agree (and have written about this issue in the blog before), though I would say, it very much depends on what the woman wants out of life at that point in time. For some women, making a home, having children and being a part of a relationship are more important than finding the perfect relationship. If a woman is in in her late 30s with seemingly no better prospects than a man who’s “good enough” who can give her most of what she want (i.e. a caring relationship, children, etc.) and make her happy enough in an every day sense, then I wouldn’t tell her to ignore him in favour of someone else she may or may not meet. Yes, if you stop looking you’re (probably) less likely to find the perfect man and I do resent the advice mentioned in the article that makes women doubt their own feelings, but a woman’s freedom to choose also sometimes involves realising that what’s in front of you can be better than what you could potentially have by virtue of being available. Also, some women get to the stage in their lives where they feel having and raising a baby is what they need to be happy, rather than a man who excites them every day of the week. You may disagree with it, it may not be the right choice for you, but the truth is, for many women, it is. The truth is, there is risk in giving up what you have (or what you can easily get a hold of) for something you may or may not one day get. And while I would encourage any woman who feels in her heart that she shouldn’t settle to follow her heart and go looking, I would also say that you shouldn’t feel that you are failing yourself and your dreams if you choose to settle for someone with whom you can have a comfortable life, raise children and generally be content. Dreams change. Priorities change. It’s OK to be happy with what you have without constantly striving for something better because pop culture and TV adverts tell you there’s more that can be had out of life.

What I do resent in this sort of “settle for less” advice is the dogmatic approach that assumes all women would prefer being with someone who bores them to being alone and trying to find someone more interesting. That and the incredibly derogatory underlying assumption that all women have to offer suitors are their looks so you should “act now, before it’s too late”.

No tags for this post.

Valentine’s Day 2012 events in London and beyond

There are some fun things happening in London and around the country this Valentine’s Day. If you’re single and looking for stuff to do, while not join in and have a laugh? I know it’s a day where a lot of singles enjoy wallowing in self pity or doing the whole bah humbug thing, but there is another way!

First up, I’ve noticed this event on the 12th, that’s run by It’s basically a food walking tour where you can take in some sights and get some info about the Brick Lane area, have some great food and meet some of the cool people from MSF.

The bonus? If you scroll down the page, you’ll see a few more interesting Valentine’s Day London events you could sign up to. Somewhat different than your average speed dating event!

And if you’re in the general Brick Lane / Shoreditch / Bethnal Green area, you may also be interested in the Valentine’s Love A-fair at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club from 12:00 – 18:00. It’s the perfect place to get cards and retro gifts, as well as get done up retro style for your big date night.

Here’s the Facebook event page.

For official singles’ parties and speed dating events in London and the rest of the country, try the big companies.

Speed Dater have two London singles’ parties on. One massive one for people up to 40 years of age and a smaller one for people up to 55.
They also have events all over the country – Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Guildford, etc. on V-day itself and around. Some have sold out of women’s places, but all have spaces for men.

Also try SlowDating and SingleSolution for more events on and around Valentine’s Day all over the country.

No tags for this post.

Are you and your date compatible? Here’s a fun test to try

I first found a version of this so-called psychological test online about 6 years ago. I think it was supposed to be some Jungian thing, but I actually have no clue who came up with it. I’ve been reminded of it recently and of the fact that it can be quite a fun way to get to know new people. I reckon it would be a great thing to use on a first date to see if you and your date are on the same page. The answers to these questions tend to change many times throughout life, depending on where you are, your mood and one’s changing outlook on things, so they are never set in stone, but they can certainly be quite telling. I wouldn’t go basing whole relationships on this test, but you’ll be surprised at how accurate it can be. Try it on yourself first, before scrolling down to read the answers. Obviously, there are no right or wrong answers, although there may well be answers someone could give that would make you think you’re not entirely compatible.

Ask your new friend the following questions:

1. What is your favourite wild animal and why?

2. What is your favourite domestic animal and why?

3. What is your favourite body of water and why? (things like the ocean, rivers, ponds, springs, lakes, etc.).

4. What is your favourite food and why?

5. What is your favourite flower and why?

6. What is your favourite tree and why?




Answers and meanings

The wild animal is how the person sees themselves and the why is the qualities they value most in themselves.

Domestic animal is what they look for in friends.

Body of water is their attitude towards love and sensuality

Food is their attitude towards sex.

Flower is the way they see spirituality

Tree is their attitude towards life.

No tags for this post.

Blah blah evolutionary psychology blah blah (or: another book defending non-monogamy in men)

Vicki Larson, writing in the Huffington Post interviewed Dr. Eric Anderson, author of a new and “controversial” book that talks about how monogamy is wrong for men, who need to be having sex with different people to be happy. The non-monogamy thing becomes a hot debate every once in a while and while I’m all for opening it up again and again, I’m kinda fed up of the whole evolutionary psychology bull that comes with it and seems to put men in the centre of the need to have different partners, while women are assumed to be more into picking a partner that would care for the children. Then again, I’m also fed up of hearing about how men cheat because their brains are programmed to make them spread their seed and women cheat because they want to breed with alpha males but have the betas look after their young. I’m not saying this book says this last bit, by the way. I’ve not read it so I couldn’t tell you for sure. It’s just that whenever the non-monogamy debate is raised it’s all men men men and, frankly, we’ve already had the school of man-only polygamy being the norm (and in some countries it still is) and focusing on it from a pseudo-scientific angle seems dangerously close to the school of thought that claimed the female orgasm doesn’t exist – it completely ignores the fact that many women experience the same urges and have the same psychological needs as men when it comes to relationships.

In the conservative society we live in (and conservative it is, even though it pretends to be liberal) saying that men need to stray to be happy may be controversial, but it’s certainly not groundbreaking or new. It would be nice, just for a change, to have a broader debate about the whether monogamy is suitable for either men or women. I suspect, though, the answer to that is a little bit more down to the individual, which would paint a much more complex picture than going on about how men need to get off with other women all the time to be happy.

No tags for this post.

What do men’s mags and rapists have in common?

A new UK study has found that the language used in men’s mags is surprisingly and frightfully similar to the language used by rapists to talk about their victims. Obviously women have been complaining about this sort of thing for years (and often branded “feminazis” for saying it), but you’d think men themselves would be able to easily tell the difference, showing the feminists they’re totally overreacting to the whole issue. After all, rapists are evil, whereas men’s mags are harmless fun, right?

Well well well…

It seems men themselves can’t tell the difference between a rapist and an article in FHM. So now a Middlesex Uni study showed some men quotes from FHM, mixed up with quotes from something called “The Rapist Files”, a collection of transcripts from interviews with convicted rapists. All the men had to do was say which quote came from where. They failed miserably. You can actually test yourself with a few quotes here, to see how you’d do.

Then there was a follow up study, where men had to grade each quote according to how derogatory it was to women. FHM quotes actually came out as worse than the stuff rapists say.

Now, people who know me know that I have absolutely no problem with non-PC and even offensive humour, but when you’re a magazine publisher and the stuff you publish is actually seen as worse than the stuff a convicted rapist would say to justify sexually assaulting a woman, then you have a serious serious problem.

No tags for this post.

Bad first date. Worst post-date communication

This post first-date email is doing the rounds on the net right now and is possibly the perfect example of what NOT to do after a first date with a woman. Nobody quite knows whether or not it’s real (though it at least appears to be real on the surface), but speaking both as a dating professional and a woman, I can tell you such men really do exist. Basically, this investment manager guy went out on a date with a woman. The date, according to the woman, was absolutely horrible. Then the guy texts and leaves messages for the woman, which she never replies to. The man then goes and sends here a terribly long, freaky email which you can read here.

Note to guys who think that’s acceptable behaviour – if the woman didn’t reply to your texts, she’s sure as hell not going to reply to your strange and detailed rant. She’s just going to run away and, if you’re unlucky, she’s going to put it up on the Internet like this woman did. But, what struck me most about the email “Mike” sent “Lauren” is that “Mike” has obviously spent some time reading about body language and subconscious, non-verbal signals to the point where he considers himself an expert on the matter. The fact that he accuses the woman of leading him on using what are generally accepted to be subconscious signals is pretty precious too, but this should be a lesson for anyone who spends too much time hunting for signals and not enough time paying attention to how the date is obviously going badly. Nobody owes anyone anything after the one date so just accept things and move on. Save the 1000 word rants for your breakup with the woman who actually dates you more than once.

No tags for this post.

Trouble ahead for same sex marriage in Scotland

I thought Christianity was meant to be a religion of tolerance. Words can’t describe how annoyed I get when I read stuff like this. Seriously, people, if you don’t want to marry someone of the same sex then don’t, nobody’s forcing you to do it. But to fight for the denial of rights to people who are in love and want to make a commitment to each other in this day and age is seriously unnecessary. I just hope the Scottish parliament goes ahead with the plan anyway.

No tags for this post.

UK speed dating and singles’ events in December 2011

Here’s a quick run down of speed dating and singles’ events companies that are holding events across the UK in December. See my post about singles events and speed dating in London for info about London events in December.

December actually starts tomorrow and these parties seem to be selling out fast, so if you’re keen to go speed dating this December or to attend a bowling night, lock & key party, a Christmas party or any other specialist singles’ event, I suggest you get your tickets early before other hungry singles get there first.

Speed Dater are the UK’s biggest organisers of speed dating events, lock and key parties and singles’ parties. They have events all over the UK, generally in trendy / semi-upmarket bars and venues with a few events at more upmarket places, as well as special events like bowling nights, cocktail parties, etc.. They have plenty of parties all over the place in December, including big Christmas parties and a massive NYE party in London. They cater for quite a few age ranges, as well as having events for professionals, international professionals, Asian singles, Muslim or Christian singles, etc.

Here’s what they are offering in December:

Speed dating in Aberdeen, Bristol, Cambridge (4 different events), Newcastle, Reading and St Albans.
Speed dating, singles parties, lock & key events and a big NYE party in London

There are even more cities covered in January, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester.

SlowDating have similarly good coverage, similar (or lower) ticket prices and also use trendy bars and venues. They only run speed dating events as far as I can tell. They are running a lot of parties in December, but they are selling out fast.

Cities where speed dating events are happening include:

London, Edinburgh, Leeds, Norwich, Brighton, Oxford, Sheffield, Liverpool, Nottingham, Reading, Swindon, Exeter, Glasgow, Southampton, Bath, Birmingham, Bournemouth and Plymouth.

UrbanSocial specialise in speed dating events, singles’ parties and wine tasting parties for singles (also the occasional beet tasting singles’ events and singles’ cocktail parties).
The speed dating and singles’ parties event are similarly priced to the other companies, but the wine tasting events are slightly more expensive. Over the month of December they have events in London, Brighton, Norwich, Scotland (Edinburgh, Glasgow), Wales (Cardiff), Northampton, Leeds and Milton Keynes.

SingleSolution cater particularly to “well educated professionals” and offer speed dating and singles’ parties all over the country. In December you can attend in London, Aberdeen, Brighton, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Guildford, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Norwich, Reading, Oxford, St. Albans and Windsor.

No tags for this post.

What are the top dating and relationship deal breakers for men and women?

Ever wondered what the top dating and relationship deal breakers are for men or women? eHarmony actually asks its users exactly that question as part of its personality matching process and they’ve released the data. I came across a post on the Detroit Free Press site listing the top 10 of each. Handy if you want to know what to avoid if you’re looking for a long term relationship or marriage.

It seems both men and women (on eHarmony at least) see lying, cheating and rudeness as the top three deal breakers, in that order. Infidelity follows at number 4 for women and is, interestingly, number 6 for men, preceded by poor hygiene and mean-spiritedness. I am at a loss as to how infidelity and cheating differ on this particular scale. Could it be that cheating at cards or cheating people out of money is further up the list than cheating on your partner? Ho hum. Men will surely be encouraged by the fact that poor hygiene is only number 7 on the list of women’s turn offs and being overweight isn’t even in the top 10. Women, on the other hand should note that excessive weight is the number 9 male turn off.

See the full list here.

No tags for this post.

London speed dating and singles’ events December 2011

London is one of the best places in the UK to go speed dating or enjoy singles’ parties, lock and key parties or even bowling or wine tasting events for singles. Seeing as December is usually big on parties anyway, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise to you that the last month of 2011 is jam packed of opportunities to hook up with eligible Londoners. I figured I may as well write about some of these parties here, as I keep getting asked about party options.

Below are some dates to keep in mind, including classic speed dating, more standard parties and some more creative options. You can find out more about the companies that organise these in my post about UK singles’ events companies.

December 1

Speed dating event for graduate professionals at Firefly for singles aged 24-38, £23.95 (organised by Speed Dater)

December 2

Speed dating event at Firefly for singles aged 21-31, £21.95. (organised by Speed Dater)

Wine tasting event at the Flame Bar for singles aged 24-38, £35 (organised by UrbanSocial)

December 3

Speed dating event for graduate professionals at The Warwick for singles aged 24-38, £23.95 (organised by Speed Dater)

Bowling night for singles aged 24-40 in Bloomsbury. £25.95 (organised by Speed Dater)

December 6

Speed dating event at the Carbon Bar for singles 25-37, £22 (organised by SlowDating)

Speed dating event at Anexo for singles aged 25-35, £21.95, (organised by Speed Dater)

December 7

Mixology / cocktail party at Revolution for singles aged 24-38, £29.99 (organised by Speed Dater)

December 9

Christmas Cocktail Party at Alibi for singles aged 24-38. £39 (organised by UrbanSocial)

December 10

Singles’ party at The Union for singles aged 41-62. £16.99 – £19.99 (organised by SingleSolution)

Merry Kissmas singles’ party – lock & key, speed dating and photo wall at the Abbey Bar for singles aged 24-40. £13.95 (organised by Speed Dater)

December 16

Speed dating event for graduate professionals at the Bond Club for singles aged 24-38, £23.95 (organised by Speed Dater)

December 17

Speed dating event for international professionals at The Warwick for singles aged 24-38, £21.95 (organised by Speed Dater)

Christmas party at the Punch Tavern for singles of the 36+ age range, £19.95 (organised by Speed Dater)

Singles’ party at the Abbey for singles aged 25-47. £19.99 (organised by SingleSolution)

Speed dating event at Kanaloa for singles aged 21-31, £21.95 (organised by Speed Dater)

December 20

Speed dating event at Anexo for Graduate professional singles aged 24-36, £23.95, (organised by Speed Dater)

December 22

Free Christmas / cocktail party at the Patch Bar for members and their single friends. I’m not sure if you have to be registered as a Lovestruck member to attend.

December 28

Speed dating event at the Dover St. restaurant and bar for singles aged 32-42, £21.95 (organised by Speed Dater)

December 29

Speed dating event at the Dover St. restaurant and bar for singles aged 38-50, £21.95 (organised by Speed Dater)

New Year’s Eve Singles events

See my post about 2012 NYE singles’ parties and speed dating events in London for more information.

No tags for this post.

Did threesomes really destroy Demi Moore & Ashton Kutcher’s marriage?

Maybe it shouldn’t surprise me to find an overly-generalised, simplistic and nosy article on a site called “Hollywood Life”, but when I was surfing the web for dating-related articles, I couldn’t help but read the “experts views” about whether having threesomes destroyed Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher’s marriage. The answer, apparently, is yes and there follows a bunch of conjecture about said relationships which is somewhat derogatory to say the least.
Apparently, “cougars” (oh how I hate that term) like Demi will often turn to having threesomes to make their men happy (cause after all, what sort of man would be happy with an older woman, right?) but find that those will lead to “twosomes” not involving them, resulting in the end of the marriage. So we’re back to the age thing, it seems.

But are threesomes really that bad? I was getting pissed off at the article’s stance, but the end of the post does include a quote from one expert who admits to knowing people for whom threesomes work as a regular thing and I personally know plenty of people in open relationships for whom there are clear and comfortable rules and no jealousy, so I’ll let that one slide, but seeing as the norm is still monogamous relationships, maybe we should talk instead about the reason why normally monogamous people would want to invite someone else into their bed.

Feeling insecure or bored is not just for older women, you know. When people have been together for a while, they may sometimes want to experiment and that experiment may lead them to realise the relationship is over. Threesomes, therefore, are more likely a symptom, rather than a cause, so sweeping that desire under the carpet to “save the marriage” may result in exactly the same unhappy ending. Relationships where threesomes work are always ones where the partners are honest with themselves and each other about their needs and willing to cater to their partner’s needs when expressed. At other times, threesomes are indeed a stepping stone on the way to breaking up, as people try to hide their dissatisfaction or insecurity from their partner or themselves.

Moore and Kutcher were together for six years, so maybe their love had simply run its course. Who knows what would have happened if the age gap was smaller, but do we really need to go over every minute detail of their relationship and make sweeping generalisations about “cougars”? Apparently so.

You can read the Hollywood Life piece here.

No tags for this post.

Should you state your political views in your online dating profile?

Politics are a sensitive issue, obviously. So when you’re trying to land yourself a date, a marriage or a relationship, should you talk about yours openly in your personal description or dating profile? Dating sites vary in their offerings when it comes to giving you the choice of listing your political leanings alongside things such as favourite music or whether or not you smoke or drink. It would seem that this is because the vast majority of people choose not to disclose their political views when dating online. In fact, recent research quoted in The Big Think has found that only 14% of online daters disclose their political views in their profiles. But considering the fact that most married couples share political views, you have to wonder why more people don’t put this in their profile. Even people who don’t see politics as an important activity (i.e. don’t particularly like debating politics with their partner) prefer to be with someone who shares their overall political views, so why don’t more people state theirs? The answer seems to lie in the fact that people are keen (desperate?) to find a partner and want to attract as big an audience as possible to their dating profile without forcing any difficult issues. Apparently, the less desperate you are to find someone, the more likely you are to express your political views. Older people are also more likely to express these views openly.

The Big Think article compares this to the fact that most people won’t state in their profile that they want to meet someone of their own race, but end up with people of their own race anyway. No one wants to come across like a racist, which is why people leave this information out of their profiles, while secretly only messaging people who fit the bill.

While mentioning your politics is not likely to make you come across as a bigot (unless your political leanings include bigotry), it would make you come across as actively political, which may well not be the case. Most people are not activists, though most do harbour opinions about the world. If you take the time to write about your views in your personal description (as opposed to or alongside things like hobbies, likes and dislikes) it sends a clear message of the role of politics in your life.

On the other hand, if your dating site allows you tick boxes, pull down menus or compatibility tests where you can quietly state your beliefs without making too much of a big deal out of it (such as on eHarmony), then I suggest you make use of it, unless you’re looking for a casual relationship or sex, or unless, of course, you genuinely don’t mind what your long-term partner’s political leanings might be.

No tags for this post.

Behold, the female orgasm!

This is so awesome – the female orgasm captured with brain imaging technology. It clearly shows how practically all parts of the brain are activated during orgasm. Apparently only an epileptic seizure activates more of your brain. Scientists hope to use the information gained by this brain scan to help the 25% (!) of women who rarely or never orgasm.

Check out the full article and video here.

No tags for this post.

Are you marriage material? Should you care?

For the purpose of full disclosure, I must start this post by saying that I personally really don’t understand the obsession some people have with the actual act of marriage Vs long term commitment. My own personal view of it is that the obsession with the wedding ceremony and what it represents is mostly to do with religion / tradition, sometimes disguised as something else because of family or society pressure.

So when I read articles like the one I recently found on IOL Lifestyle, talking about why men marry some women and not others, it actually takes me some time to adjust to the mindset, which, of course, I have to, as the marriage question is a big deal for most people.

Big enough, apparently, for men to be sharing their lives with women for years without seeing the woman as “marriage material” and for women to be sharing their lives with said men while secretly feeling dissatisfied for the lack of the ultimate declaration of love and commitment.

The article I read references John Molloy, author of Why Men Marry Some Women And Not Others. I’ve not read the book, so I can’t comment as to whether the book itself is as simplistic and as shallow as the article would make me believe, but essentially, what we’re looking at here is yet another one of those guides to women written by men, feeding on women’s fears of being “left on the shelf” and teaching them how to become the “wife material” of their dreams.

The news is, of course, that there’s no news. Men, apparently, prefer women who are presentable, well groomed and can be “taken anywhere” (hence, perhaps, the fact that so many men say in their online dating personal description that they would like to meet women who are “as comfortable in jeans as they are in a little black dress”). And although the article doesn’t say it in so many words, it seems men still don’t like “sluts” – women who are too sexy and flirty or wear clothes that are too revealing. Instead, they prefer women who are “discreet”, “loyal” and “kind”. While the book, or at least the article, didn’t go into factors such as the woman’s level of education compared to the man’s, it did offer the curious revelation that men (Western, I assume) don’t actually like women who cook and clean for them all the time, but prefer those who are “aware of their own worth”. It also suggests that women looking for a husband should start hunting around the age of 28.

So basically, while cooking and cleaning as a full time job may be a thing of the past, the so called big news is that women should be pretty to look at, demure and not too overtly sexually liberated. There you go ladies, your carriage awaits! Do your nails, button up that cleavage and off you go. What a depressing society we live in when there’s a market for a book such as this (and let’s not fool ourselves that there isn’t – chauvinism is as popular among the ladies as it is among the men).

But wait, women can do more to assure a happy marriage – not be too fussy! If you turn down a reasonable man now, you may find yourself single in your 40s and who’d have you then?

Oh, and do push the marriage issue, because apparently a high percentage of women who are married made it clear they expected a marriage proposal.

This last point is interesting, as the article opens with a story of a woman who was co-habiting with a man for years, didn’t push the point and ended up with the man leaving her and marrying another. One wonders whether pushing the issue would have resulted in A. a marriage (as opposed to a quick break up) and B. a happy marriage. As Molloy’s book treats marriage as the point of happily ever after, the form a marriage takes when you’ve molded yourself into the shape of the perfect trophy wife is irrelevant to our current fairytale, but I do agree that women who view marriage as such an important thing should ensure their man knows this at some point.

On the other hand, it also makes me wonder whether all these women who hang on to these men without making any demands aren’t secretly aware of the fact that the man himself is not “marriage material” and are letting things carry on regardless because it secretly suits them.

But that is perhaps a story for another post, because for this book / article, we’re apparently limiting ourselves as women to simply wanting to “land the husband of our dreams”.

No tags for this post.

An interesting article about lesbians in India

Having recently been in India, I’m still quite interested in how relationships and dating work there. It’d been 15 years since I was last there and I remember reading in my guidebook then about the fledgling gay scene (lesbianism was never discussed then) and how, even though physical contact between men is far more accepted in India, once it it seen to go beyond friendship, things are not tolerated. So I was quite interested when I saw this article about lesbians in India. It seems things have somewhat moved on a bit since the 90s, though there is still a long way to go. In a country with arranged marriages, people living with their parents till a very old age and heavy expectations on producing heirs, I’m frankly amazed and impressed some people dare to be openly gay. Here’s hoping things will keep getting better for the Indian LGBT community.

Read more about this fascinating scene here.

No tags for this post.

Arranged marriages Vs free choice – a brief note from India

It’s funny how your work follows you wherever you go. I used to watch detective shows on TV and joke about how convenient it was that the detective would always get caught up in some sort of mystery, even while on holiday, visiting family or friends or just going about their daily business. Since I got into the dating industry, though, I’ve found that it’s pretty much impossible not to end up talking about dating and relationships sooner or later. At the moment I am actually in India and it only took 2 days before I found myself having a conversation about love and marriage with my Indian tour guide in Delhi. He’s in his early 30s, married for 4 years, one son (2) and expecting another baby. His marriage was arranged by his parents. I asked him if he loves his wife and he said he didn’t know. I asked him if he was happy with her, he said he said so so. He did, however, say that when he saw her he immediately agreed to marry her. I told him the whole concept seemed incomprehensible to me, which it is, but I must say I’ve heard all kinds of stories about arranged marriages in my time and they weren’t all bad. If anything, people I’ve spoken to and others stories that have been related to me show that many young people in India and elsewhere are actually quite happy with the concept of arranged marriages. I’ve also been told of a more modern compromise that’s been doing the rounds here, where single women are introduced to several men by their parents and can then choose between them. Many people here say that you can actually learn to love a partner you’ve been married to by your family. On the other hand, I also gather that divorce is on the rise in India and that there are all kinds of sad stories of people in love with one person who are practically forced to marry another.
At the end of the day, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this concept, but the picture I get from speaking to people here is that the arranged marriage love life is no more or less diverse and complex than the Western one.

No tags for this post.

Scottish men least sexually satisfied in the UK, says survey

I may be a bit of a cynic, but I always snigger slightly when I see a survey that has a whiff of something cooked up in the PR lab. First, there was the recent one conducted on behalf of Pfizer (who just happen to be the people responsible for viagra), which found that European women were most turned off by bad breath, followed by erectile dysfunction and flatulence. Now, there’s a new survey that’s come up on behalf of Bayer Health, who also make a pill aimed at curing erectile dysfunction. This survey takes things a step further and suggests that while Scottish men are the least sexually satisfied, they’re also least likely to go and talk to a doctor about it.

The solution is, of course, to go to your doctor, which is fair enough. Getting treatment can really help and people would do well to get over the embarrassment involved. For all I know, Scottish men really are the worst out of British men for hiding their sexual problems and it’s important for men to know they’re not alone.

On the other hand, these surveys are funded by big pharma who want to sell more pills but are prevented from advertising their wares in the usual way (in the USA they can just have TV ads). I just hope GPs are smart enough to not just dish out tablets. Underlying conditions are a serious factor and are mentioned on the NHS site, but so are psychological conditions, which are often ignored.

Barring serious underlying physical conditions (which are pretty common and require separate treatment), I can imagine a quick fix tablet is far more appealing than costly, lengthy treatments involving, for example, going to a psychologist and talking about your childhood issues (after all, the attitude towards mental health in the UK is embarrassingly poor compared to other Western countries). Even lifestyle changes can seem too much when you can just pop a pill. There’s no denying that these pills do work and do help many men all over the world, but as tempting as that can be, I’d like to suggest that if you are in that situation (or a woman who’s sleeping with a man in that situation), you should get over the urge to keep taking pills to fix the symptoms and make a serious attempt at looking at the underlying causes. Being dependent on big pharma for sexual satisfaction should be a last resort, not your first choice.

No tags for this post.

The old monogamy debate rages on

There’s an interesting article in the Telegraph about controversial columnist Dan Savage and his suggestion that monogamy may be one of humanity’s greatest problems. Savage, who’s gay, suggests that heterosexual couple should follow the model common among same sex couples and in particular gay male couples where successful long term relationships are maintained without sexual monogamy. The idea that serious, loving relationships can thrive without the imposed sexual exclusivity of monogamy is still groundbreakingly radical and / or intolerably controversial for many people. Savage created quite a stir after making his suggestions in his blog, which ought to be quite surprising in this day and age.

There is no question about the fact that monogamy is not right for many people. The fact that marital infidelity is relatively common can certainly serve as proof. Even those who are faithful to their partners throughout life are not always free of the desire to stray. While it’s true some people remain true because being in a monogamous relationship with the person they love is enough for them, I would hazard a guess that many others are held back not by love but by fear of doing something that is understood to be morally wrong or of hurting their partner – much in the same way some gay men and women in conservative societies choose to deny their true feelings and live “normal” heterosexual lives.

It’s interesting to think about why gay men are more likely to have open relationships, male libido aside. After all, straight men can be just as sex obsessed as gay men and there is no huge campaign for making heterosexual non-monogamous relationships the norm. I often wonder if the fact that gay relationships were traditionally placed outside of “normal” society and the fact that any post-coming out gay man (or woman) have had to go through some sort of personal awakening means people are more aware of their needs and able to live the lives they want to live without having to make allowances for any more pressure from society. But considering the fact that monogamous relationships are a growing trend among same sex couples as well, could it be that gradual acceptance into “normal” society is making gay couples accept or feel obliged to follow in heterosexuality’s footsteps? If so, it is certainly a shame. A certain crossover of relationship values resulting in more personal freedom would be far preferable.

You can read more about Dan Savage’s original claims here.

No tags for this post.

It’s official: marriage is bad for you!

OK, joke headline aside, apparently while research has now shown that married / cohabiting couples often live longer and tend to give up bad habits such as smoking, now there’s another bit of research that says that apparently some people actually pick up bad habits from their long term partners. In straight relationships, it is apparently the men who are seen as the bad influence. Gay couples just tend to blame each other for promoting unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking, eating junk food, etc.

How does this fit in with previous studies showing the opposite? Well, you know, I guess some people go one way and others the opposite way – same as with anything else in life. We all know some people bring out the worst in us and some bring out the best in us.

So if you’re looking to get healthy together with someone who shares your vices, you’d better make sure your potential partner is also keen, or you may find yourself slipping back into your old habits. Of course, if the longevity studies are correct, you may still add a few years to your life just by being married.

You can read more about this new research here.

No tags for this post.

Dating: to compromise or not to compromise?

Here’s a dating thought for the day. There’s often talk of how fairytale romance (think Disney) has made us have unreasonable standards when it comes to love. Little girls are taught to wait around for Prince Charming and many of us grow up feeling like we’re missing out on something amazing, always looking for the perfect man or woman and feeling vaguely disappointed by the reality of our relationships.

So the answer to that? We’re told compromise is a must, that nobody’s perfect (including, of course, us) and that we need to accept the fact that there is no Prince Charming. All good, important stuff, but here’s the thing. Take this backlash to the extreme and what do you get? Another fairytale! In this fairytale, the beautiful prince is trapped in a frog’s body. You kiss the frog (i.e. compromise) and it turned into your wonderful Prince Charming, giving you the ultimate happiness you desire.

Now, I’m not disputing the fact that relationships often involve compromises, especially the ones you want to last. I’m also not disputing the fact that a significant number of happy couples would never have gotten together had they not compromised on things they once thought mattered.

What I’m saying is that it’s important to know when to compromise your standards and when to hold out. The mere act of compromising won’t be your magic key to unlock the door to ultimate happiness.

In matters of love, you should lead with your heart and your body and not with your head. That is, unless all you want is a child and you’re willing to make your love life nothing more than a business transaction to attain said child.

If you don’t fancy someone and there is no chemistry between you, don’t force it. My experience of talking to couples who got together even though they didn’t fit each other’s “type” has taught me that there was always some sort of spark there that made whoever it was who was uncertain at first give their partner a chance anyway.
If you feel that you have to ignore your heart or your body because you feel that you ought to be in a relationship for some reason or other, then you’re onto a loser. All you’ll get at the end is the same frog you started off with.

As much as some online dating sites would like you to think that your intuition and instincts fail when it comes to forming happy, long-term relationships, let’s not forget that people have been loving each other for thousands of years.

No tags for this post.

A new survey from shows how some things in dating never change in the USA just released their latest survey results about the current so called rules of dating in the USA. It’s an interesting look into how online dating has changed American dating habits and, more interestingly, how it hasn’t.

It seems most women would still expect men to pay on the first date and while 41% of them would offer to pay, the majority of the men asked (37%) felt that they should pay.

Fast paced modern life aside, it seems the vast majority of people (80%) disapprove of sex on the first date and prefer post date phone calls to texts and email (80% again).

Men are still expected to make the first follow up call and the majority of them will wait at least a day before calling.

You can read the full article here. It has some other interesting facts.

I quite like surveys like these because they remind me how, with all the technology advances and social networks and all these new and exciting ways of meeting each other, we are still just people and doing things in quite traditional ways.

Some might say we need time for our brains to catch up with what technology allows us to do. Maybe our children would have a totally different outlook as to what makes proper dating etiquette and behaviour. On the other hand, I for one hope we never evolve past the need to hear a friendly human voice, although women going halves on the restaurant bill is bound to make quite a few men happy. 🙂

No tags for this post.

5 things you shouldn’t do on a first date

First dates can be stressful, but they really needn’t be. When meeting someone off a dating site for the first time, most people nowadays opt for a casual meeting, rather than a full blown, romantic restaurant date. But no matter whether you’re going for a meal or for a coffee or a beer, there are still things you need to watch for that could easily make the other person not want to see you again.

I’ll ignore things to do with physical appearance as I’ve already written about those in this blog, but let’s talk about behaviour today!

  1. Don’t be late
  2. To be clear, every rule has exceptions, especially when it comes to love. This one in particular can be forgotten in cases when you’re off to meet someone in another city and get terribly lost. For more normal dates in your own city, though, there is no excuse. Being late to a first date can make your date think you don’t care about meeting him or her. While being 5 minutes early or right on the dot can seem a bit nerdy, being more than a few minutes late is going to set you off to a really bad start. That feeling of “oh my god! Have I been stood up?” is not going to put your date in the mood for love, that’s for sure. If you find that you might be late, text or call the person to say so at least 5 minutes before the time you’ve arranged, so that they know you didn’t ditch them.

  3. Don’t split hairs over the bill
  4. This is especially for the guys, as there’s always that discussion about whether guys should pay and some guys get twitchy about it. For the record, I personally think on a first date people should split the bill, but even then you could still screw things up by going over every little thing your date had ordered and pointing it out to her. If you want the woman to think you’re super nice, offer to pay for the whole meal (and follow through if she doesn’t insist on paying). If you’re sharing, just go halves or, if you had more expensive stuff, offer to pay more. No one like’s a cheapskate.

  5. Don’t make or take overly long phone calls
  6. If your date is boring you, make your excuses and leave, but never just “hint” at it by having your whole social life on the phone while on your date. I know some people will do it even if they’re not bored on the date, but then it’s even worse! Being accessible by phone while on a first date is important, especially for women who may need it for security, but give your date the benefit of your time and attention, rather than make them feel second best.

  7. Don’t be rude or dismissive to service staff, homeless guys, etc.
  8. Even on a casual date, you’re still being somewhat assessed. If you act like a jerk to people around you who may seem less important to you, your date will know you’re a jerk. Annoying waiter? Laugh it off. Presistent homeless guy? Be assertive but polite. Even if you shower your date with attention and niceness on the date, he or she will view your rudeness to others as a really bad sign.

  9. Don’t forget about the safety rules
  10. If you’re a saavy urbanite, you could easily make the mistake of thinking the safety rules are not really for you. But while I don’t suggest you bring a bodyguard with you to your date, the basics should really be on your mind. Always. So meet in an easily accessible public place and make sure you have your own transport to and from the date. Let a friend know you’re going on a date and that they should maybe check up on you later. How much of a checking up is up to you. Some people are happy for a text, some prefer the friend to call half way (to quickly say if they need a rescue from boredom or worse) and some even go as far as to have their wingman sit somewhere nearby just in case or openly bring a friend as a chaperone.

    Either way, it’s better to be oversafe than sorry.

No tags for this post.

Is workplace romance dead and buried?

A new survey conducted among American singles seems to imply that falling in love on the job may be a thing of the past. Apparently 5200 singles were questioned and only a third said they would be willing to date someone they were working with. Now, this survey was actually funded by, and conducted by a team headed by their resident advisor Dr. Helen Fisher. while I would never imply that the results were doctored in any way (Dr. Fisher is highly regarded), I seem to recall a different survey that seems to imply otherwise and another from 2009. Here’s a report echoing the generally agreed upon fact (though I can’t find the original source) that 80% of businesses serve as a setting for some sort of office romance. Another survey, conducted amongst HR managers, found that a significant amount of these office romances end in marriage. In fact, it seems that the bigger the company is, the more likely it is that an office romance will end in marriage. A staggering 68% of office relationship result in marriage in companies with over 300 employees. Granted, the last survey was from over 10 years ago, but have things really moved on that much? Are we all working from old data when the world has already moved on?

Dating sites tend to publish the results of surveys that will make online dating seem more attractive and popular. I’m all in favour of pushing online dating as a viable dating option, but not to the exclusion of all others. Singles should be open to anything if they want to find someone. While the workplace may not be the ideal place (complications, sexual harrassment laws, possibility that the crush is short-lived and not based on real compatibility) the fact is that it can be as good a place as any to meet likeminded singles. While I’m not going to advocate dressing up in sexy clothes and throwing oneself at one’s boss, I’m also not going to belittle the amount of relationships that have sprung in offices.

I’ve not seen the raw data of this new Match survey and I don’t even know where the people surveyed came from, but it would be an interesting read. For example, if those surveyed answered an ad placed on an online dating site, it could explain why they have less of an interest in finding love through work (or have given up on finding someone through their job). I guess with all these surveys it depends on who’s conducting them and who’s filling them out, but my own very personal and unsupported anecdotal view is that office romance is far from dead. As long as people continue to spend a lot of time in an office together, some sort of romance will ensue. We may think it’s a dumb idea, but these things happen all the time.

Either way, I dare you to find me a single office where no office romance ever occured. Answers on the back of a postcard, please…

No tags for this post.

A questionnaire for catcallers

In the world of the dating and male / female interaction no nos, the catcaller deserves a special mention. I never get men who think it’s OK to catcall and whistle at women. Does this sort of thing ever work outside of, you know, the jungle? I bet even chimp ladies would turn their noses at catcalling male chimps.

I’m never really sure why guys do it. It’s disrespectful and annoying and not likely to get anyone any action, apart from maybe a slap.

The Riot came out with a hilarious questionnaire that you can print out and hand out to unsuspecting men who harrass you on the street. Might be more amusing than just turning around and shouting at them, which is what I usually tend to do.

The questionnaire resides here. It’s very explicit, so reader beware if these sort of things bother you. It would probably go over the heads of most of the guys in question, but I’m sure it would feel good anyway. Beats looking them straight in the eye and handing them a Christian conversion tract. Or does it? Hmmm.

I’d be interested to hear guys’ opinions about the reasons behind catcalls. All the guys I’ve come across in my professional and personal life wouldn’t dream of doing this sort of thing, so I am at a loss as to who does. It’s obviously a cross-cultural thing and some sort of macho group behaviour thing, but you’d have thought it would mostly die out by now, at least in countries where women are allowed to go about their business without covering up to the point where not even their eyes are showing.

No tags for this post.

Michelle Obama’s Valentine’s tips

Happy Valentine’s Day! Valentine’s Day is when everyone has something to say about love and relationships and there are tie ins everywhere you look. I saw plenty of stuff about romance on the lead up to today, but so far I like this one best. It’s Michelle Obama’s tip for a happy, long lasting marriage – laughing with your partner.
She adds that it helps that President Obama is romantic and always remembers important dates and birthdays (makes you wonder whether he employs a secretary to remind him). So there you have it – sharing a laugh with your partner and remembering significant dates in their lives (and doing things to show that you care, one assumes) can oil the wheels of a happy, 19 year relationship that’s very squarely in the spotlight.

That’s certainly encouraging for the rest of us, I’d say and a good reminder of what’s already been said a thousand times – you don’t need to wait for Valentine’s Day to show your partner how much you care.

You can read the full article here.

No tags for this post.