Whether you are dating again after a divorce, staving off marriage, are too busy for a serious relationship or believe monogamy is antiquated system with no place in the modern world, you are immersed in the exciting albeit confusing, hookup culture. And anyone who has spent any amount of time in it comes to a point where they have to break up with someone that they aren’t actually dating. The whole experience can feel like a double edged sword. You didn’t get the benefits of a relationship exactly but you still have to go through the worst part. Some people try to hint around as if they are all-of-a-sudden completely unavailable. But lots of people, of both genders, fail to take the hint. Of course, you may ask what the best way to breakup with a hookup is, but it all comes down to who you both are and how you relate. Do you do normal couple things but are still in the incubator stage of your relationship? Or is this a drunk dial booty call on a Friday night? Just as the punishment should fit the crime, the type of non-relationship you share with this person should determine the way you break up with them.
If you shared meals, hung out in bars or spent a significant amount of time together, this person is owed a face-to-face breakup. Just be honest with them. Sit them down and let them know that you want a plutonic relationship and still want to remain friends. If you aren’t feeling it anymore, say so. When you act like a couple the lines between hookup and relationship tend to blur. You’ll want to clear things up in a way that leaves no room for confusion. If this is the drunk hookup, let them know that it’s been fun but you just want to be friends from here on out. If you really aren’t attached a phone call might suffice, if it’s just a case of text and grind. Then there are those times where you just went out on one date and you are 100% sure the chemistry isn’t there and never will be. Just tell them so. Here perhaps over the phone might be alright as well. If you two have been hanging out a long time, or worse yet were at one time thick as thieves, this is the serious, sit-down breakup. Perhaps they said or did something that soured you. Maybe you met someone else who flips your switch and lights you up like Las Vegas, or things just coasted into boringsville fast. Whatever the case, you have to sit this person down in a quiet, comfortable setting and explain why. Don’t let it feel like you are stomping on their heart. But they do deserve the truth. If you think they’ll make a scene, do it in a public place like a restaurant or coffee house.
Do go out of your way to let them down gently. Don’t gossip with your friends. Word does get around and then how will you look when it reaches your former hookup? If you are dropping this person, drop them. If you drunk dial them a week later and get it on, you’ll be in the same situation all over again. Erase them from your phone and email. Maybe keep them on your social media pages or else your actions may seem hurtful. Resist the urge of calling them and starting the cycle all over again, or don’t break up with them at all. Don’t dwell on the situation. Learn from this experience and integrate it into your future pursuits. Certainly even the most short-lived relationships can leave you with a good memory. Sometimes it helps to close with that memory and how you’ll cherish it. It leaves both of you feeling good. For more on traversing the harrowing landscape of love read,Sex at First Sight: Understanding the Modern Hookupby Richard E. Simmons III.
So you’ve found someone you’re really into, and they seem really into you, and the chemistry is incredible. But how do you know if you may walk down the aisle with this one? There are signs that you may have found the one. One of the first areas to check are your likes and dislikes. Do you two like the same type of movies, music, books, and hobbies and so on? The more alike your tastes the better a match you are. It can be a surprise when you belt out a few notes to a song and your sweetie picks up where you left off. But it can also be a sign that you two are a really great match. How do you both act when talk of the future comes up in conversation? When you bring up taking a vacation in the summer when it’s winter, does your sweetie flinch, or are they excited? If talk of the future doesn’t scare either of you but in fact excites you or makes you both feel good, it’s a good sign that this relationship is ready to move on to the next level. If you aren’t sure, bring up something you’d like to do with them a little in advance, say a few months or so and see how they respond. But don’t make it a big deal like spending New Year’s in Paris if you two aren’t in that place in your relationship yet, or else you have a good chance of scaring him or her off.
Lots of people believe that introducing your love interest to your parents is the big one. But the real test is your friends. Your family’s opinion is important. But you can’t choose your family. Your friends however are another matter. Your friends are actually a reflection of who you are inside. So if they don’t fit in with your clique how can they fit in in your life? If you’ve ever had something serious happen when you were dating, if you found that you could depend on him or her to get your back, help you out and be there for you, then this is a great sign that you could have found your perfect match. Do you two think in terms of me or in terms of we? If every time a social commitment comes up you say you have to check with your lover’s schedule, and they do the same to you, then congratulations you are already thinking as a unit, and there’s a good chance you’re ready to bring your relationship to a higher plane. Do you accommodate each other? If your sweetie is lactose intolerant and you found yourself only buying that kind of milk for your kitchen, you definitely want to stay together long term. Do you text or email throughout the day with little things you want to share? If so, you guys are in tune with each other. If you go places by yourself and you and they are reminded of the other throughout the day, then you are in love and they are always with you, because they’re on your mind. For more on this topic, read Are You the One for Me?: Knowing Who’s Right and Avoiding Who’s Wrong by Barbara De Angelis, Ph.D.
You certainly can’t depend on social security as a means for sustaining you throughout your golden years. One of the most important things you can do in your life is saving for retirement. Financial experts state that the best time to start is as early as possible, generally when people start working full time in their twenties. Even if you are farther along, saving for retirement should start right away. One of the biggest issues couples fight about is money, that’s no surprise. So it’s important for you to sit down with your spouse and decide how you will plan for retirement. If you and your spouse have different visions of what retirement is going to look like, how to save for it and how much to put away per paycheck you could have a problem. Having a sit down meeting or more than one with your partner about saving for retirement and forming a plan as a couple is probably one of the most important things you can do to secure your future. What are your plans? Do you want to live a simple life? Take part in some of your hobbies? Travel or indulge is some dream you’ve always wanted to accomplish but never had time for? Write it down and then share it with your partner. Ask what they envision. Do your visions fit? If not, how can they both be accommodated?
Then there are some more practical questions such as when is it best to retire, how much will you need to live comfortably and what compromises will you both need to make to make your retirement dreams come true? Once you have a figure in mind it’s time to get busy figuring out how you are going to reach that goal. What is your income status? Are both of you working? How much will you put away from the paycheck or paychecks each week, two weeks or month depending upon how often you are paid? If one of you isn’t working or you have children certainly those things need to be taken into consideration. Next look at the retirement options available to you such as an IRA, you or your partner’s company’s 401K plan and others and see which one best fits your needs. Commit to a certain amount that is put away and don’t veer off. Have a system put in place that you both like that will help you retire. Keep in mind any financial situations such as if you are planning to have a baby, start a business, put a second mortgage on the house and so on and take that into consideration when doing your calculations. Revisit the issue every five years and see if your plan is on track or if you need to adjust or even revisit it. Saving for retirement, having a plan and putting it into place will ensure that the golden years are the happiest of your life. For more advice on this topic, read The Big Payoff by Sharon Epperson.
After a certain amount of time passes, whether dating or just hanging out, one or both members wants to know what the relationship status is and where it’s going. But this talk is certainly not without its problems, particularly for the commitment phobic. Certainly, if someone isn’t ready it’s likely to scare them away. But if they are, it will bring you closer together. Of course, if they aren’t ready but you want a relationship than this person may not be right for you. First, gauge what the situation is. Are you spending two days a week together, every other day or every day? If you are frequently hanging out, this person is way into you. If they mention that they’d like to spend even more time with you, it’s probable that they’d be into a relationship. Do they ever mention other men or women who were hitting on them? Do they watch carefully to test your reaction? They are way into you. You should definitely broach the subject. Also consider how long you’ve been together. Around three months is a good time to bring it up. Don’t just assume you are in a relationship. It must be spoken aloud before it is so. If others are asking or hinting around, chances are it’s a good time to bring it up.
Be honest. Don’t beat around the bush. Some people shy away from this talk and get ever increasingly frustrated when their partner doesn’t intuitively know what is wanted and bring it up themselves. If you really want to be a relationship with this person you have to tell them. If you don’t see the relationship moving to the next level you should tell your partner. But also explain why to them. What is it about them that makes them less than relationship material? Is it something they can change? Are they likely or unlikely to change it? Sometimes the thought of losing someone is enough of a wakeup call to make him or her recognize what needs to be done to sustain the relationship and make moves to do so. Don’t let things go if the conversation grows uncomfortable. Make sure to address it. Either you both want to be an exclusive couple, or one of you does not. And what are the reasons why not? Can they be addressed or are things over? Lastly, make sure this person isn’t just stringing you along. Do you see any evidence that suggests so? Are you dating a player? Are they secretive about their phone? Do they make excuses, shift plans around, or often call you to hang out at the last minute? If so, perhaps it’s best to find someone new. If you are looking for a long-term relationship with your partner, read the advice of John Alanis in his book, The Commitment Guide: The Seven Secret Steps To Get Him To Commit To The Relationship You Want.
Some people seemingly pull out all the stops on Valentine’s Day but seem to ignore their love the rest of the year. Careers are important but relationships are too. And no amount of wining, dining, gifts and luxury can make up for a year’s worth of neglect. Forget Valentine’s Day; make every day full of love (drmeredithhansen.com). Here are some ideas on how to keep your relationship strong all year long:
First, practice communicating and describing your emotions. How you are feeling is just as important as what you are thinking. But if you don’t get in the habit of communicating your feelings they may build up inside. You could have repressed anger, resentment at perceived slights and a host of other problems. Oftentimes the arguments that arise between couples are simply a case of misunderstanding of one the words or actions of another. Ask for clarification. Be vulnerable and tell them exactly why. You don’t have to divulge everything in a giant confession. Just let your secrets unfold naturally, more dark and deeper as the relationship moves along. Make a safe, supportive, and caring atmosphere envelope your relationship, free of shame, blame or judgment. Encourage your partner to share their secrets in this warm and cozy environment too.
If you decide to be open and nonjudgmental, you have to commit to it. Sometimes the emotional scars our partners carry makes them take things totally different from how you meant them. And if you look really hard you might find that you do the same thing. Be aware of one another’s situations and how it plays on your patterns. Counteract destructive patterns or back away from them when they occur. Encourage your partner to follow this as well. Everyone has a busy schedule. But certain things in that schedule have to be non-negotiable. One of those items should be a little time each week to spend with your partner. Set aside a little time for romance and reconnecting. Have your own date night. Meet for lunch or have Sunday brunch. Make it at least once per week. Remember to dream together, build a life together and work toward goals. Don’t get frustrated with the very things you fell in love with the person for, their sense of humor, playfulness or conscientiousness. Celebrate these things in your lover. Rediscover who you are and who they are. Cherish your relationship. It’s one of life’s greatest gifts.