TIME Magazine App Predicts when you should get married

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TIME Magazine App Predicts when you should get married

Do you know when the perfect date for your wedding is? If not a new app can tell you. Brought to you by TIME Magazine, this new app predicts when you should get married. It works by first analyzing your Facebook friends’ relationship statuses and ages. Then it determines the median age of your friends’ marriages and proposes that you marry about the same age as they were.

In terms of their calculation procedure, the app only uses friends who have selected to include their date of birth in their Facebook profile, up to and including the year. Researchers for TIME believe that only a quarter of Facebook users include this information on their profile. The statuses the software recognizes are “engaged,” “married,” “in a civil union” or a “domestic partnership.” This is a small number of the average Facebook profile’s friends. One reporter using the app said that it only selected 10 out of her 900 Facebook friends as these were the only ones who chose to report their relationship status. Many others keeping their status private were then not counted in the app’s calculations.

Though it’s interesting it doesn’t seem as though anyone is planning their marriage or dating life around this app, nor should they. It makes one wonder what the point of this app is in general. Is it merely to elicit interest in TIME? There certainly isn’t a perfect date or age to get married. And with the inflated divorce rate, though it has dropped a bit for some groups, having artificial pressures or anxieties tossed atop an already large pile from one’s family and society seems ludicrous and outlandish. Certainly people today know that marriage isn’t something to be taken lightly. Though it has a fun aspect it can make someone who is single feel bad about their situation, as if there aren’t enough things that do that already.

Why not forgo this app and turn to a dating one instead? There are lots of them. Some select singles in your area and make it easy for you to chat with them. Online dating is a great way to do it too. Remember to give the person you meet a chance. Serial dating can be fun in the beginning but can wear you out in the end. If you are dating someone do not use this app to pressure them into marriage. Nor should you show the selected date to your significant other as anything other than a joke. It could backfire on you. Then you’ll be contacting TIME and all over the news for reporting that their marriage app broke up your relationship. Bet that isn’t something they saw coming. Who could have predicted it? If you’re thinking of taking it to the next level in your relationship read, Before You Say “I Do”: A Marriage Preparation Manual for Couples by H. Norman Wright & Wes Roberts.

Being Fully Present in Your Relationship

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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.

What’s the Best Way to Breakup with a Hookup?

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What’s the Best Way to Breakup with a Hookup?

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 Hookup by Richard E. Simmons III.

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.

Why do we Fall in Love?

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Why do we Fall in Love?

Have you ever wondered how much of love is biology and how much is psychology? If you’ve ever wondered if chemistry just happens or can be created, if love at first sight is real and all other things about love, you are living in a wondrous time. Why do we fall in love? Science has some answers. There are three different systems in the brain, that when brought together spell the emotional and biological phenomenon we call love. First is the sex drive created to ensure the perpetuation of our species. The feeling of romantic love helps you focus on one person making sure you don’t waste any time or energy. The last part is the comfort and security you feel when with a long term partner, giving you time to raise children together.

Love feels fantastic because the pleasure centers of the brain are activated when we fall for someone. Dopamine, the chemical that makes you feel euphoric, enthralled, and sleepless mirrors other experiences, such as being high on cocaine. Love at first sight does occur, though more to men than to women. Men are visual creatures. Whereas women fall in love in terms of who a person is, their charm, status or power rather than their physicality. Love at first sight may be an evolutionary advantage, producing offspring in a short amount of time rather than the long, drawn out process we go through today with society as our backdrop.

Timing of course is just as important in falling in love as it is with everything else in life. If you’re too busy with work or focusing on your responsibilities you may not notice the perfect person for you, when they’re just inches away. But with a little free time and the right mindset, a sort of openness, not necessarily looking for it, love can hit you like a lightning bolt. If you want someone to fall in love with you, do exciting things together with them. This releases dopamine and norepinephrine into the brain, mimicking romantic love. There is a difference between love and lust. You can feel love for one person. But lust dissipates after sex. And you can feel attracted to someone without being compatible, or jealous if they are into someone else.

How do you keep the spark alive? By trying new and exciting things together, and doing the things you did when you were first dating. Perhaps someday all of our questions on love will be explained. Will that kill the romance? Or will it give us a finer appreciation of the nuances of love? Only time and intrepid scientists will give us the answers. For more on this topic read, Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love by Helen Fisher.