Locating a No Strings Attached Partner

NSA

Locating a No Strings Attached Partner

So you’ve decided that a no strings attached relationship is what you need right now. Whether you just got out of an exhausting divorce, a painful long term relationship, you’re swamped and don’t have time to date or you just want to sample from the glorious pool of dating prospects without getting tied down. Whatever your reason, you have your approach down. You’re feeling good and ready to get this thing going. The only thing you need is a worthy partner who will fulfil your every desire. Locating a no strings attached partner can be easy or difficult depending upon your social circle. Also, many people in the dating pool are looking for different things, from NSA to marriage and so many options in-between.

So how do you find someone who might fit the bill? First, think about some friends of friends that you find attractive. When you are in the same room together, why not try and flirt with them? Almost everyone likes to be flirted with. See if you can get their number. Find some time to hang out and you may be well on your way. If you have a confidant on your side, work with them and try to brainstorm. Think about acquaintances you often run into, too and flirt with them.

Is there someone you’ve had your eye on? Why not try to bump into them? Or better yet see if you can get someone to introduce the two of you. Start flirting and move on to texting. Take things slow and easy. Work into it. If you move too fast you may creep the other person out. Have you ever had a one-night stand or a hookup? Chances are that person would be interested in doing it again. Why not get in touch with them and see what they are up to. If you are like the rest of us, you may have had your fair share of jobs over the last five years. Did you run into anyone you thought was cute, hot or drop dead sexy? See if you can get in touch with them again. Call the office asking for someone. Make up a reason or an excuse and get to chatting with them on the phone. Flirt with them. Call back again but this time get their number. If they give it to you, you are well on your way to Hookupville, provided they are interested in this type of arrangement.

Are you in touch with some old friends from college or even high school? Chances are there is someone from the old days that makes you squirm in your seat. Do some sleuthing and see if they are single. Facebook and other social media sites are great places to connect with old friends who may be interested in a hookup. For more advice read, The Friends with Benefits Rulebook by Stacy Freedman.

Being Fully Present in Your Relationship

MINDFULNESS-RELATIONSHIPS

Being Fully Present in Your Relationship

When we get used to being with our partner we can sometimes take them for granted. We assume they’ll always be there. So we move on to our worries and stresses. We become so preoccupied with the kids or the challenges in our career that when we are eating dinner and trying to take part in meaningful dialogue, we aren’t even there. Then there is the constant distraction of our electronic devices that although convenient also become an obstacle to chitchat, discussion and intimate conversation. After a while without meaningful interaction we start to feel like roommates with our partner or spouse rather than lovers. The day-in, day-out decisions of running the household, parenting and paying the bills become the focus, and otherwise each person lives in their own separate bubble. When it comes time to interact, give your partner your undivided attention. When we aren’t fully present we aren’t showing them the love and respect they deserve. Instead, we are neglectful, albeit not on purpose. But the message we are inadvertently sending is that what is on my mind is more important than you. Misunderstandings arise when we don’t listen fully to our partner. This can lead to problems or even terrible fights. So how can we be more present with our partner?

First, make a conscious effort to focus on them and what they are saying. If there is something particularly important on your mind and you are distracted, tell them about it. Let them know how you feel and schedule another time to talk. Try and give them your undivided attention and expect the same in return. Make positive eye contact. Repeat back what they’ve said in your own words to show that you understand. When your partner or spouse seems distracted, don’t tell them or remind them of something. Wait until you have their full attention. If you are distracted and they told you something, don’t assume that they will remind you. It’s best to check with your partner in a positive manner whenever you are unsure. Regular running of the household exchanges are of course important. But they don’t help build intimacy. You two have to make time to talk on a deeper level. At the end of the day, we may be so exhausted that we just want to watch a couple of TV shows or surf the net, check our social media pages and go to bed. But that doesn’t bring you closer. Instead, clear out a little time each day to spend talking on a deeper level.  Not just, “How was your day?” But what really happened to you today? What were you thinking about? How did it make you feel?

Sometimes you have to leave the dishes in the sink or put off laundry and spend a little couple time together. Some experts say having more sex is the answer. But a recent study found that building intimacy is far more important. When miscommunication, unfulfilled expectations and misunderstandings occur they get in the way of real intimacy, and so not only block your connection but your ability to get physical. Hurt feelings get in the way. When we are fully present with our partner, the chances of miscommunication and misunderstandings are lower. Knowing what they expect will help meet or exceed expectations and vice-versa. Mindfulness is a touchstone nowadays. This is an ancient Buddhist practice that has become trendy lately in the West. This is the art of being fully present in the here and now and appreciating each moment in all its richness. If we could practice mindfulness in our relationships they would be so much more intimate. Couples would have a deeper sense of intimacy, better sex and superior communication too. To learn more pick up a copy of, The Mindful Couple: How Acceptance and Mindfulness Can Lead You to the Love You Want by Robyn D. Walser, Ph.D. and Darrah Westrup, Ph.D.

Making Time for Love as a Single Parent

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Making Time for Love as a Single Parent

Single parents are pressed for time no question. After homework, colds, soccer practice, career, and taking care of the household, who has time for dating? But don’t despair. Your love life doesn’t have to be consigned to the junk bins of time. In fact, there are plenty of single parents who squeeze in time for a vibrant love life. Want to know how they do it? Follow these steps to find out how others like yourself are making time for love as a single parent.

If you can’t get a sitter or find some time to go out and meet people, use your computer. Sign up for an online dating site, or even a few dating sites. Make some time to go through them each day. Respond to something, chat, flirt, or even send someone a message. Do it at night instead of falling asleep in front of the TV or in the morning before everyone else gets up. Reach out to your social network. Invite friends and family to set you up. Send an email and ask them to ask friends of friends who is single and who they can set you up with. It isn’t desperate, it’s inventive. You may soon have more dates than you can shake a pogo stick at. When it’s time to go out on a date, get one of your single friends to watch the kids. You can watch their kids when it’s time for them to go out. Pick lunch dates or meet for coffee if that’s more convenient. Find the times when you aren’t playing parent and make those date times.

If your kids are old enough to be home alone, let them. But keep them busy. Get DVDs, crafts, and other things to keep them occupied while you’re out of the house. When you go to functions, talk to other people, mingle. See if there are other single parents. You should have plenty to talk about, whether it’s a child’s soccer game or the science fair. Why not chat people up and if they are interested and you are too, see if you can meet sometime later. Actually, see if there are events in your town or city for single parents to meet. It’s much easier to date a single parent, there are plenty in every area including yours, and you will have a common subject to talk about and break the ice over.

Try seeing if there are any Meetup or Eventbrite groups or events in your area. Check with the local singles bar, singles event planning companies, the civic center in your town or city, or your house of worship if you are religious. Sometimes certain radio or entertainment venues have singles events, perhaps check into these as well. Check out Parents without Partners and see if they have a chapter or organize events near you. Their website is parentswithoutpartners.org. They have guest speakers, workshops, study groups and social activities. Just because you are a single parent doesn’t mean you can’t find love. It just means you have to be flexible and use your time wisely. For more advice read, Dating and the Single Parent by Ron L. Deal.

How Available Should You Make Yourself for Someone You Like?

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How Available Should You Make Yourself for Someone You Like?

In comedian Aziz Ansari’s Live at Madison Square Garden standup special on Netflix, he talks about a common problem many of us who are single often run into, scheduling inconsistencies and how to bridge them. Oftentimes, we start texting with someone. There is a mutual interest. But since many don’t date one-on-one anymore, but meet in groups of friends instead, scheduling a meetup becomes nearly impossible. By the time one group arrives at said bar or club, the other has already moved on. Each side is too afraid to show any real interest. They are each apprehensive of making themselves too available and so lowering their market value. But without accommodating one another or by making the social paradigm so intricate, it becomes almost impossible for the two to get together. Some decry this new paradigm. Others say that when things are right, they will just fall together. But is that true?

Certainly those social butterflies who come complete with an entourage will want to dovetail their newfound love into the fold. But what happens when two people have an entourage? Perhaps you can combine them into a might army. Otherwise, this social paradigm is prohibitive. Rather than a way to take the pressure off, show a person’s social standing and benefiting from that, they are shutting the other out before seeing whether they have something together, before anything can even begin. So what’s the alternative? Certainly you shouldn’t make yourself too available. But others get caught up in the winds of their own social microcosm and miss what could be a terrific romantic opportunity. Consider keeping your options open for one or two nights per week. A little flexibility is required. But if you are bending over backwards without reciprocity, move on. Also think about seeing this person without your other friends, or if that makes you cringe even a smaller subset than the normal group. It’s okay to go on an old-fashioned date now and then too. You don’t have to look like a movie star with a huge following. But alone, if things go awry your friends aren’t there to see it, which is a huge plus.

You could bring up something you both are interested in. Say you are both movie fans and looking forward to the premiere of a certain independent film. You can just invite them because you share a common interest. It’s somewhere you would have been anyway. You can play a little hard to get. But don’t be unavailable or unapproachable either. You may look intimidating, even arrogant. It’s hard to strike a balance. There’s a feel to it. You want to telegraph interest without being too interested. The problem today is people try so hard not to look needy that they end up looking completely uninterested. For ladies, though we live in a more enlightened time, it’s often the case that a man likes to chase you. So play a little hard to get, but give a clear opening to allow him a place to move forward. Also, evaluate how shy he is or how perceptive. Sometimes guys miss what to women seems obvious. You might think you gave him a chance when he didn’t even recognize it. Experimentation is the only way to figure it out, trial and error. For guys, watch her carefully, get to know her and woo her. When things are right, they usually fall into place. But sometimes you have to goose things along a little bit. If you’re doing all the goosing though without anything from the other end, go out with your friends instead. This person is not worth your time. For more on the state of love today read, Modern Dating: A Field Guide by Chiara Atik.

Can Marriage and Lust Coexist?

Happy couple in bed --- Image by   Darren Kemper/Corbis

Can Marriage and Lust Coexist?

It is a common misconception that people who have been together a long time inevitably see their passion fade. So can marriage and lust coexist?  In fact, research has shown that married people are having more sex than their single counterparts. For instance, a 2010 Kinsey Institute survey found that three out of five single people went without sex last year, as opposed to one out of five married people. In another study conducted by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth which studies families, married 25 to 59 year olds were more likely to have sex two to three times per week than their single counterparts. Usually couples have sex often in the early phase of the relationship but frequency slows down as time goes on. What often happens is people get caught up in the demands of a career and raising a family and so have sex less often. But studies have shown that married people enjoy it more. Laura Carpenter, a sex researcher from Vanderbilt University says, “While people get older and busier, as a relationship proceeds they also get more skillful—in and out of the bedroom.” Still, couples often blame dry spells on their marriage. It’s usually certain aspects of the marriage such as an all too familiar partner, arguing or household chores and the politics that can come with them.

Science can’t help us here. There are few studies that have looked into what a normal sex life looks like in mid-life. There is no recipe therefore on what can keep sex hot and lust going in a marriage. Still there are indicators. The eminent John Gottman, a pioneer in the field of couple’s research and head of Seattle’s Gottman Institute says that when men and women share their lives, they are more likely to engage in sex. Men who share in the household chores and childcare had sex more often than those that didn’t, Gottman’s research found. Other researchers have also found that the more a couple shared, the more sex they had. Other research has shown that it doesn’t matter who is the breadwinner. No matter the financial situation, long-term couples had the same frequency. On another front, it’s important to see a certain psychological paradigm that exists and how to overcome it, or balance it out. Our sexual feelings are filtered through our culture. Rules and norms on desire, fantasies and arousal lock us in to what researchers call “sexual scripts.” These are the roles, desires and fantasies we allow ourselves to take part in. University of Washington Sociologist Julie Brines thinks the trouble is we are still stuck in traditional sexual scripts. Even more problems occur when we are between scripts.  “I don’t think we have newer alternatives to traditional sexual scripts in marriage,” she said. Since couples relate differently in and out of the bedroom perhaps our sexual scripts should reflect this new dynamic. But one has yet to settle in.

Psychotherapist Esther Perel says the issue of losing passion in a marriage comes when we are too focused on our need for security. It comes to dominate our competing need for novelty. Perel says that, “couples who describe themselves as loving, trusting, and caring complain that their sex lives have become dull and devoid of eroticism.” What Perel does then is show couples how to, “reconcile our fundamental need for safety and security with our equally strong need for adventure and novelty.” It’s worth noting that her 2013 TED Talk has five million views on YouTube. Some suggest using one’s sexual imagination to explore what is interesting and novel to the couple themselves. Gottman found that desire was present most in couples who responded to each other’s feelings. Those that were adversarial shut down desire. These were the sexless marriages. Gottman also found that sex didn’t take a back seat to other things on the couple’s agenda.  “Couples who are going to have a lot of sex end up somehow being able to communicate to one another that it’s a priority,” the researcher said. “It is not going to be the last item on the infinite to-do list.” When one person wasn’t in the mood in these marriages Gottman said one would give the other person an alternative to intercourse. This is done so as to show love and concern for the spouse and their needs. Lastly, to keep the spark alive, Gottman said that sexual imagination needs one very important thing, a free and comfortable atmosphere conducive to play. For more on keeping the novelty in your marriage read, Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence by Esther Perel.