Choose Her Every Day (Or Leave Her) by Bryan Reeves

I spent 5 years hurting a good woman by staying with her but never fully choosing her.

I did want to be with this one. I really wanted to choose her. She was an exquisite woman, brilliant and funny and sexy and sensual. She could make my whole body laugh with her quick, dark wit and short-circuit my brain with her exotic beauty. Waking up every morning with her snuggled in my arms was my happy place. I loved her wildly.

Unfortunately, as happens with many young couples, our ignorance of how to do love well quickly created stressful challenges in our relationship. Before long, once my early morning blissful reverie gave way to the strained, immature ways of our everyday life together, I would often wonder if there was another woman out there who was easier to love, and who could love me better.

Continue reading here: bryanreeves.com/choose-her-everyday-or-leave-her

 

Fairytale Love is Just That - a Fairytale

True love exist only in the spiritual world.

If you think that finding the love of fairytales will make you happy, think again. The love of fairytales isn't really love, but the use of others for self satisfaction.

What we normally call love is the egoistic satisfaction of one person by another, whether it's sexual satisfaction or any other kind of fulfillment we receive from another person. And clearly, this isn't love.

Then what is love? Love is when you don't pay any attention to yourself, but you take the desires of another person and try to fulfill them in exactly the way they would like. In other words, you turn yourself into a vessel of fulfillment for the other person. This is real love, and it exists only in the spiritual world. And there is no difference if it is a man or a woman - what's important are the desires, the soul.

In contrast, when we talk about love in this world, we are really talking about attraction and pleasure that are brought about by hormones. If we were to disconnect a person from his hormonal system, he wouldn't be able to feel "love." This again shows that what we usually think of as love is just an egoistic desire to enjoy. Sometimes this desire can even be cruel, desiring to receive fulfillment at the expense of another person.

Hence, the love we read about in fairytales is really an illusion, and does not exist in reality. It's because all of our desires are based only on the desire to fulfill ourselves. Even when we give something to others, we do so only because it gives us pleasure. Our action of giving is meaningless because what really matters to us while performing that action is what we feel.  

Source: Kabbalah International. Read more here. 

Quote on Vulnerability

A share from one of our network members...

''I think midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear: I’m not screwing around. It’s time. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go.
Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy of love and belonging, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever.

Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.'' ~ Brené Brown

THIS Is The Secret To A Long-Lasting Relationship (Hint: Not Love!) by Terry Gaspard

It's the most important ingredient of a trusting, intimate relationship.

While self-sufficiency and autonomy can help us weather the storms of life, they can also rob us of true intimacy. For a relationship to be balanced, partners must be able to depend on one another and feel that they are needed and appreciated for the support they give.

If we have been let down in the past, the prospect of needing someone can be frightening. Opening up to our partner can make us feel vulnerable and exposed, but it is the most important ingredient of a trusting, intimate relationship.

Vulnerability is often seen as a weakness, but it's actually a strength. Dr. Brené Brown, a renowned expert on vulnerability, explains that it's really about "sinking into" the joyful moments in life — daring to show up and let ourselves be seen.

Continue reading here: YourTango.com

The Gamification of Dating

This Gaming TED Talk is Mind Expanding!
Based on psychology of gaming research, Jane McGonigal shares that when we play a game we tackle tough challenges better. We're more creative, more determined, more optimistic, and we're more likely to reach out to others for help. 

Can this strategy apply to your dating life?
Can  friends be your date-gaming allies?

WE ACCEPT THE COLLABORATOR AVATAR!

Bringing a willing group of forty participants together - all interesting, visually-appealing, available, good hearted and between the ages of 25-45 is no easy task... but the work is so fulfilling!! 

Love stories get us high!

Whether you recruit us for your team or not, do play the game!
And do help your friends play too!!

(Playing games is different. We're adults. We respect.) 

Learn and Prepare for Love

A Curation of Knowledge by Arielle Ford

Dr. John Gray, Deepak Chopra, Amir Levine, Marianne Williamson, and Elizabeth Gilbert

FREE ONLINE SEMINAR SERIES KICKS OFF TODAY!!

Arielle Ford, author of the international bestseller The Soulmate Secret, and Claire Zammit, founder of the Feminine Power programs, are hosting a free 10-day online event for successful & single women, called Attract Your Soulmate: The 5 Keys Conscious Women Need to Know to Meet the Right Partner and Create Lifelong Love.

Beginning Tuesday, April 26th, over 25 of the world’s most respected love and relationship experts will be sharing their cutting-edge insights and techniques - at no charge - to help you master the 5 Key Areas you need to manifest love. The series also features never-before-heard “Success Story” interviews with leading women in the personal growth field who created loving partnerships. Many of the sessions apply to men too!

Sign Up for The Series at Absolutely No Charge Right Here

101 Dating + Love Lessons

My heart was filled with hope and love in 2015. Every Underground Unattached questionnaire response received informed me of another human's desire for romantic partnership. The words read sent me on a quest to learn more about them, their feelings and their desires. I researched relationships, human connection, and love. I often sent inquiries to Dr. Sara Nasserzadeh and spoke to spiritual advisors to ask how we program our experiences to take everyone's unique personality into consideration. Our intention is to seed lasting relationships.  

But the truth is: love and relationships are complicated. Formal matchmaking is difficult. We're all complex-beings. We have stories. We've felt heart break. Yet, we yearn for partnership and connection. 

Recently I was inspired to take note of my lessons; to distill them to share with you. Accessing my resources, I reached out to trusted psychologists, dating coaches and matchmakers to include the wisdom they felt most called to share too. The list includes quotes, stats, theories and more. Please add any other concepts or ideas that you think are worth sharing in the comments below. Enjoy!

x, Christina

 

  1. "We live in a time where everyone expects instant results. If people would give themselves more permission for patience we would have a better relationship with each other. Let it develop in your mind." ~ Ilona Royce Smithkin

  2. Dating is a part of the human mating process whereby two people meet socially for companionship, beyond the level of friendship, or with the aim of each assessing the other's suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or marriage. ~ Wikipedia

  3. "Would the person you are looking for choose you? If no, why not? Within the no is a reality check; rethinking and self growth that needs to happen. If yes, then what are the chances the two of you will meet? Are you in circles that your potential partner is? Have a strategy to increase your chances to see/be seen by your potential partner. I am surprised how many people neglect this important logistical piece!"  ~ Dr. Sara Nasserzadeh

  4. 71% of people believe in love at first sight. ~ Statistic Brain

  5. Building intimacy in a relationship involves emotional vulnerability.  There’s just no way to get around it. The two go hand in hand. You can allow yourself to be vulnerable once you believe at your core that you are strong enough to handle any outcomes. ~ Jasbina Ahluwalia, Matchmaker and Dating Coach

Continue read here: P.S. I Love You

Three Fundamental Concepts to Give Light

We are in the final days of 2015. Many of us use this opportunity to reflect on our work, life and relationships in the year that has passed and try to imagine and plan for the year to come. In doing so, I would like to share three fundamental concepts with you that affect every relationship and major decisions that we make in our lives. In other words, I haven't worked with any client (individuals, couples or organizations) across the globe that did not have these elements in the core of their issues. In no particular order, they are:

- Courage (to think, to do, to say, to be)
- Self-Respect (to believe in one's true value)
- Ability to Empathize (with self, partner or others)

I would like to invite you to think about where you are in terms of these three elements and how you practice them in your day to day interactions be it in personal, intimate or professional relationships. By becoming more mindful of where we are in terms of these three attributes and strengthening them day by day, a more fulfilling life is going to emerge. Mark my words for it!

 
With Warm Wishes,
Dr. Sara

-

Suggestions for Holiday Reading:

  1. So Far from Home: Lost and Found in Our Brave New World, by Margaret Wheatley
  2. Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership, By Joseph Jaworski
  3. Stories from Iran: An Anthology of Persian Short Fiction From 1921-1991, by Heshmat Moayyad

Relationship Accountability and the Rise of Ghosting by Esther Perel

“I’ve been dating a woman for three weeks, but after we had sex for the first time, she’s stopped texting me back. WTF?” – Edward, 36

Rejection has always been a part of the relationship landscape. But are the new trends of ghosting, icing and simmering increasing our acceptance of ambiguous ends?

Last month, I spoke about modern love at a conference with 2,500 millennials. There, I was introduced to these new norms of intimate relationships and the corresponding vocabulary (we made you a chart, with the help of my friend Adam Devine).

These tactics of maintaining unclear relationships and prolonging break-ups all produce what I call stable ambiguity; too afraid to be alone, but unwilling to fully engage in intimacy building — a holding pattern that affirms the undefined nature of the relationship, which has a mix of comforting consistency AND the freedom of blurred lines.

We want to have our cake and eat it too. We want to have someone available to cozy-up with when it’s snowing, but if something better comes along, we want the freedom to explore.

In this relationship culture, expectations and trust are in constant question. The state of stable ambiguity inevitably creates an atmosphere where at least one person feels lingering uncertainty, and neither person feels truly appreciated or nurtured. We do this at the expense of our emotional health, and the emotional health of others.

It’s time to bring back relationship accountability.

In situations like Edward’s, the ghostee hopes the ghosted will just “get the hint,” as opposed to having to communicate that he/she is no longer interested. However, inaction has causality. At first, Edward runs the gamut of reasons he hasn’t heard back: She must have a really busy work week. She lost her phone. She doesn’t want to seem too eager. At first, relaxed and patient, Edward tries to be understanding, but his attempts at insight soon morph into uncertainty and self-doubt. Am I bad in bed? Did I say something to offend her? Am I unlovable? In the absence of information, he will fill the gaps, and what he imagines is most likely worse than reality.  

Ghosting, icing, and simmering are manifestations of the decline of empathy in our society — the promoting of one’s selfishness, without regard for the consequences of others. There is a person on the other end of our text messages (or lack thereof), and the ability to communicate virtually doesn’t give us the right to treat others poorly.

I encourage you to end relationships respectfully and conclusively, however brief they may be. Act with kindness and integrity. This allows both people to enter into his/her next relationship with more experience and a clear head, rather than filled with disappointment and insecurity.

Ideas to incorporate into a final conversation:

  • Thank you for what I’ve experienced with you.
  • This is what I take with me, from you.
  • This is what I want you to take with you, from me.
  • This is what I wish for you, hence forward.

Of course, duos dancing in the stable ambiguity zone don’t always end in breakup. Sometimes this state is the training wheels period needed for one or both parties to realize he/she wants something more. This is normal for a brief, beginning phase, but not as the defining mode of a relationship.

Have you been ghosted? How did it feel? Do you wish you could redo a break-up? Share with Esther Perel at: estherperel.com/2015/12/relationship-accountability

4 Singles Who are Always Single By Rachel Russo

It’s not uncommon knowledge that there are a lot of single people in the world. 

In fact, singles actually outnumber the married folk in this day and age. Let’s face it: People are living longer, and forever is a very long time!

Still, there are tons of singles out there who would love nothing more than to be stuck with someone (special) for the rest of their lives. So what gives? Why are they still single?

In my ten years of experience in the love industry, I’ve come to believe that people are single for a reason. And some people are always single. Many of them fall into one or more of the following four categories:

The single who is stuck on an ex
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: You can’t move forward if you are looking backward. To put it simply, when it comes to your ex, you need to just…..Fogetaboutit! You can choose to get over your ex Italian American Style or any other way you see fit; the important thing is that you mend your broken heart and move on!  Your status will only change from “single” to “in a relationship” when you are truly mentally and emotionally ready to let a new love into your life.

The single who is closed off to new experiences
You might think that you are open, but be honest with yourself. How many social invitations do you turn down? Do you roll your eyes at the idea of speed dating, cringe at online dating, and think that you aren’t desperate enough to go to a matchmaking service? You have to be open to new experiences—no matter how out of the box they may seem. One thing I’d recommend to NYC singles is a curated experience like that at Underground Unattached. I recently went to one of these private events and can tell you firsthand what an incredible and unique opportunity it is for making romantic connections—as well as business and platonic connections too.  You can truly never know how you will meet the love of your life!

The single who is obsessed with finding the perfect match
If you always have to have a date for Sunday-Funday- just to make sure the guy/girl isn’t better than your Saturday Night date-this is you!  If you go on more dates in one week than any of your friends do in months, there is a good chance you are chasing something that doesn’t exist. There is no perfect person out there. There is only someone who could be perfect for you if you stop swiping right and just be happy to get to know the person right in front of you. More dates isn’t always the answer! There is something to be said for deleting all your mobile dating apps, ending the vicious serial dating cycle, and committing to a relationship with someone perfectly imperfect.

The single who is obsessed with being the perfect match
Are you noticing a common theme here? That’s right, no one is perfect! Surely, I agree with matchmaking experts like Patti Stanger, who I had the pleasure of meeting and learning from in LA last week, that believe singles need to improve themselves before they find love. However, I think singles need to realize that they are actually worthy of love just as they are. Right. Now. Not when they lose ten pounds, write their first novel, or have ten thousand more dollars in the bank. Love does not happen on a timeline. You can meet your perfect match anytime.

Read more from Rachel at: rachelrusso.com/blog

Recognize yourself or someone you care about in these descriptions? Send Rachel an email at Rachel@RachelRusso.com. She'll help you change your single status once and for all. 

 

The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know 
if you will risk 
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are 
squaring your moon...
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you 
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know 
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone 
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming,
from the book The Invitation
published by HarperONE, San Francisco,
1999 All rights reserved

The 36 Questions

From the New York Times and in Mandy Len Catron’s Modern Love essay, “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,” she refers to a study by the psychologist Arthur Aron (and others) that explores whether intimacy between two strangers can be accelerated by having them ask each other a specific series of personal questions. The 36 questions in the study are broken up into three sets, with each set intended to be more probing than the previous one.

The idea is that mutual vulnerability fosters closeness. When we step outside of our comfort zone magic happens and this is the foundation of the structure for Underground Unattached. We want you to leave learning not only something about the people you share space with, but also yourself. 

Although Underground Unattached focuses on creating group dating experiences, from time to time we privately match individuals who've participated in our regular programing. When doing so, we like to ask that pairs use the 36 questions to guide their first date. This ensures that introductory meetings will be unique like Underground Unattached.

After the 36 questions are complete, we ask that the pair stare into each other's eyes without talking for five minutes. Sounds intimidating, right? But if you're with someone that's worthy of more of your time, it will feel right. Through this exercise you'll learn if a second date awaits and a future together seems possible. We want to break down your barriers! 

Note: This activity may be played whether it is a first date or you've been together for years. Take the questions as a gift! We have. 

---

Set I
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?


Set II
13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
16. What do you value most in a friendship?
17. What is your most treasured memory?
18. What is your most terrible memory?
19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
20. What does friendship mean to you?
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?


Set III
25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling ... “
26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share ... “
27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

 

Source: nytimes.com/2015/01/11/fashion/no-37-big-wedding-or-small.html

Five Tips for a Great Introvert-Extrovert Relationship by Jeannie Assimos

Today’s guest blogger is Susan Cain, author of QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, available today!  

Are you an introvert dating or married to an extrovert? Or an extrovert in love with an introvert? If so, you’re in good company.

Many successful couples are introvert-extrovert pairs. The two types are often drawn to each other out of a sense of mutual delight. One extrovert I interviewed for my book, “QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” described her introverted husband as “the anchor of her world.”  Extroverts report that introverts give them permission to explore their serious, introspective sides. Introverts, on the other hand, often feel grateful that their extroverted partners make the atmosphere light-hearted and casual – and that they do so much of the talking.

But these mixed-type couples can run into a predictable set of misunderstandings. Here they are – and how to handle them:

1. How much to socialize: What do you do when one person wants to go out and the other to stay home? This was the number one complaint I heard from the dozens of introvert-extrovert couples I interviewed for my book.  It seems like an intractable problem, but it’s often possible to find a middle ground.  Negotiate in advance the amount of socializing you’ll do as a couple on any given weekend, month, or year. Then stick to your plan. That way, you don’t have to argue about it night after night. In my book, I tell the story of a husband who wanted to host a dinner party every Friday night, and a wife who hated giving parties. They agreed to have two dinner parties a month, with the husband doing most of the prep work. They also decided to go with buffet-style dinners rather than seating guests at a single table. This enabled the wife to have more one-on-one conversations, instead of feeling compelled to “perform” in front of a larger group.

2. How much to talk after a long day of work: At the end of the day, extroverts often come home longing for conversation, while introverts need to recharge alone. These differences can leave extroverts feeling abandoned, and introverts feeling pressured. A first step toward achieving compromise is for each partner to grant that the other’s needs are legitimate—to recognize that this is not a case of stubbornness but rather of genuinely different temperaments. Then the challenge is to accommodate each other’s needs. One idea is for the extrovert to grant the introvert an hour of private time at the end of the day. Having replenished himself, he may feel better able to energetically engage with his partner. 

3. How to handle conflicts: Extroverts tend to be “confrontive” copers, while introverts are more likely to withdraw at the first sign of conflict. This can leave introverts feeling harassed, and extroverts feeling stonewalled. The solution? Each partner needs to take a page from the other’s playbook. Extroverts should count to ten before raising issues calmly and respectfully –and consider letting some grievances go unaired. A raised voice will likely make it harder for an introvert to listen to what you are saying; her fight-or-flight instincts will be aroused. Introverts need to understand that locking horns can be a sign of respect, and even love. Your partner wants to resolve your differences instead of leaving them to fester. By engaging, you can show that you share that commitment to resolving differences.

Continue reading HERE!

Six Elements of Thriving Relationships by Esther Perel

  We are wired to connect. So, how can we create the best possible connections (romantic and otherwise)? I believe that great relationships are often made up of these basic elements:  1. A FEELING THAT WE MATTER We want to feel that we are valued, recognized, seen and cared about. We are creatures of meaning and we need to know that we matter.  2. ADMIRATION Respect is important, but admiration even more so. Admiring someone implies an acknowledgement of the "other" and recognizes what is unique and specific about another person.  3. CONNECTION We carry others inside of us and they carry us inside of them. This is the most powerful antidote to our existential aloneness. It also allows us to feel free and respect the freedom of others.  4. MUTUALITY There is a sense that we are both looking after one another. You are there for me and I am here for you.  5. RECIPROCITY You will be kind to me and I will do something for you, just because I thought of you am happy to have you in my life - not because of what you do or how well you performed. 6. TRUST You can't play when you don't trust. Hide and seek is the oldest universal game. The thrill of hiding while knowing the others are looking for me. The more we trust, the farther we are able to venture.  WATCH VIDEO: a 2-minute Business Insider video about the 6 elements. 

 

We are wired to connect. So, how can we create the best possible connections (romantic and otherwise)? I believe that great relationships are often made up of these basic elements: 

1. A FEELING THAT WE MATTER
We want to feel that we are valued, recognized, seen and cared about. We are creatures of meaning and we need to know that we matter. 

2. ADMIRATION
Respect is important, but admiration even more so. Admiring someone implies an acknowledgement of the "other" and recognizes what is unique and specific about another person. 

3. CONNECTION
We carry others inside of us and they carry us inside of them. This is the most powerful antidote to our existential aloneness. It also allows us to feel free and respect the freedom of others. 

4. MUTUALITY
There is a sense that we are both looking after one another. You are there for me and I am here for you. 

5. RECIPROCITY
You will be kind to me and I will do something for you, just because I thought of you am happy to have you in my life - not because of what you do or how well you performed.

6. TRUST
You can't play when you don't trust. Hide and seek is the oldest universal game. The thrill of hiding while knowing the others are looking for me. The more we trust, the farther we are able to venture. 

WATCH VIDEO: a 2-minute Business Insider video about the 6 elements. 

Follow Esther Perel on Facebook and visit her website. She's a pearl of wisdom!