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10 DATE IDEAS THAT DON’T INVOLVE DRINKING

Abstaining from alcohol has become the new normal for many millennials and Gen Zers, with health and hangover-related issues key factors in cutting down. But with “going for a few drinks” a go-to first date choice, is it possible to enjoy playing the field if you’ve chosen a more teetotal lifestyle?

Whether you’re cutting down on your cocktail intake, playing designated driver, or simply keeping dry-January going for a few months longer than planned, there’s no reason that your dating life should suffer. Try out a few of these date ideas for inspiration the next time that you and your Hinge match decide to go alcohol-free.

1. Go out for dessert
Going out for dinner on a first date can be slightly intense—if you don’t like your date, then there can be a lot of courses to get through. Instead, suggest grabbing dessert together for a low-pressure and no-alcohol chance to get to know your date better. After all, their choice between vanilla and mint chocolate chip might be a deal-breaker.
2. Take a walk
If you don’t feel like sitting across from someone for hours without a glass of wine to break the tension, then try a daytime date instead. A walk or hike is a good opportunity to chat with someone and to find out if they’re the active and outdoorsy type. If there’s ever an awkward silence then your surroundings should offer a good distraction, and there will be plenty of isolated spots for a quick smooch should the mood take you!


3. Check out a comedy show
I always balk at the idea of going to a movie theater or a show as an early date—after all, sitting in the dark in silence is hardly a great way of getting to know someone. As an alternative, a comedy show is a more interactive way of enjoying entertainment with your date, sharing interests, and having a fun evening together. There are usually plenty of breaks between performers to chat about your favorite jokes, and you could grab a (non-alcoholic) drink afterwards to get to know each other better.
4. Meet for a coffee
OK, this one might be standard dating fare, but I’ve always been a big fan of a classic coffee date. It’s easy to fit into your day if you’re busy, low-pressure, and (most importantly) a chance to load up on caffeine. If you’re unsure about a suitor that you’ve swiped right on, then a quick coffee hour is an easy way to figure out any initial interest, and you can easily extend the date into something more substantial if you find yourself feeling loved-up over your latte.

5. Find a local food festival
Whether you’re a foodie or otherwise, then checking out a food festival offers up a fantastic variety of things to do and see, alongside plenty of opportunities to sit and chat. If you live in a city or large town, then look out for local events and choose your favorite (I’m a big fan of anything cheese-related). Share dishes with your date for an ultimate romantic experience and a chance to sample even more culinary delights.
6. Visit a museum
Museums and art galleries are perfect for sparking interesting conversation, ideal for ensuring that you and your date have plenty to talk about. Better still, museums are an affordable first-date choice, with many encouraging donations rather than having a set entry fee, showing that original date ideas don’t always have to be costly. Take your date to see your favorite local artwork or explore a shared interest that you have to build a strong foundation for getting to know one another and finding common ground.
7. Go for a dog walk
If you and your date are both animal lovers, then bringing your pets along for a first date can be a perfect way to share your passion and see how your puppies interact. If you don’t have a dog yourself but would like a chance to help out pet-owners, then consider signing up for a dog-walking app. Dating aside, this can be a great solo hobby, and could be a fun thing to do in future with a dog-loving date.

8. Share your favorite hobby
Are you an avid rock-climber? An aspiring yogi? Someone who hits the driving range every weekend? Sharing one of your hobbies with a date is a perfect way to showcase your personality doing something that you love. Keep it fun and relaxed, and offer to let your date show you their favorite thing to do on a second date in exchange.
9. Play mini-golf
Bring out your competitive side by challenging your date to a few rounds of putt-putt. There are plenty of often extravagantly themed indoor venues popping up across the country, and although many serve alcohol, abstaining will mean that you can keep score and show off your swing.
10. Go to an alcohol-free bar
If you really do love going to a bar on a first date, then the good news is that the nightlife scene is catching up with the trend for going alcohol-free. Venues such as Sans Bar in Austin and Listen Bar in NYC serve up zero-proof offerings crafted by mixologists so that you can enjoy a cocktail whilst remaining booze-free. With new options opening regularly, it’s worth searching what’s on offer in your local area.

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6 QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU ACTUALLY GET TO KNOW SOMEONE ON A FIRST DATE

Whether you can’t find the perfect outfit for a date or are looking for the nearest exit when you’re actually on it (guilty!), first dates are an inevitable step in the process of dating someone new. Aside from the fact that you might already know your date’s job description from stalking their LinkedIn or how they celebrated their grandma’s 85th birthday from their Instagram stories, it’s not easy to create meaningful conversation in person when our lives are highlighted online. While you shouldn’t ask all of these questions at once (because this is a date and not an interview), here are six first date questions that will help you get to know your date better and hopefully form a connection (filters and hashtags not necessary).

1. “How would you describe your family and friends?”
Let’s be honest: You are who you surround yourself with. How your date describes those closest to them will give you insight on what they deem important and who they are when they’re not on their best behavior. If their friends are outgoing, they probably are as well, or if they’re close to their sibling, they most likely see family as a top priority. Also, the way your date talks about their loved ones is a great indication of the type of person they’re looking to love in the future.

2. “What’s your dream vacation?”
While you might base the quality of a trip on the view of the city skyline from your 5-star hotel room (you deserve nothing less, obviously), your date could be living for the crackling of a campfire in the middle of the woods. By identifying your partner’s ultimate adventure, you’ll have a better idea of how open they are to exploring the world and how compatible they are to being a part of yours. Of course, your definitions of “dream vacations” might not (and probably won’t) be the exact same, but their answer will give you some insight into how they enjoy life or prefer to spend their free time.



3. “Do you like your job?”
Not to be confused with the classic “what do you do for work?” question, this approach offers you the chance to learn how your date feels about what they do for 40+ hours per week, not just about what they do. How they feel about it will tell you everything. Do they love their job because they get to help people? Are they focused on a side hustle because they want to be an entrepreneur? Are they passionate about what they do, or are they more passionate about a hobby? With this simple question that calls for a detailed answer, you’ll not only gain knowledge on your date’s drive and passion but also on what their career goals are.

4. “What do you like to read?”
No matter how many times your date compliments your dog (because who wouldn’t?) or laughs at your sarcastic jokes (duh, you’re hilarious!), you can’t always be sure what they truly like and don’t like (except that you know they’re a dog person, so they get extra points for that). Asking what they like to read is another way to find out if they’re interesting to you or if the two of you are compatible. Maybe they read every article based on their zodiac sign, or maybe they’re into sci-fi novels. Maybe they prefer non-fiction self-help books or are a huge Harry Potter nerd like you. Through hearing what your date does (or doesn’t) read, you’ll have a greater scope of their interests, hobbies, and values and how they all compare to your own.

5. “What do you need most out of your relationships

So there are those common first date questions like “what happened with your last relationship?” or “what are you looking for in a partner?,” but don’t we all have rehearsed answers to those questions after all this time? Knowing their relationship style and needs is crucial to learning more about your compatibility together, so tapping into what relationships are like for them will give you more than the rehearsed past-breakup story or the “someone who is funny, nice, smart” answer we typically get when asking what others are looking for.

As we’ve learned from the love languages, awareness of how your partner wants to be loved is just as crucial as knowing how you want to be loved. While you might feel loved through physical touch, your date may feel most secure with a lot of quality time. Many couples have different love languages, but if your date isn’t interested in PDA (even not in public) and you travel or are busy with work and friends for most of your time, you might be able to predict what some issues would be if you were in a relationship.

6. “What makes you happy?”
Insider tip: The responses to these questions are obviously crucial, but their reaction and enthusiasm while discussing their relationships, interests, and life are also key. You can and probably will be different from every relationship you enter. You’ll probably have different interests, like different kinds of music, or argue over which type of food to order for Friday night takeout. The one similarity that is most important though? Outlook on life.

If you’re passionate about your job or feel your happiest around your family and they light up when talking about their parents or are excited to tell you about a side hustle they’re starting, you’re probably similar in some of the ways that matter. Asking them what makes them happy might feel like a loaded question, but their answer will tell you a lot about what your relationship might be like, whether their idea of happiness is hanging out at home with their family, having the freedom to sleep in, or tuning into their adventurous side and trying new things.

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10 WAYS To UP YOUR DATING GAME IN 2022

Dating is always tough to navigate: What do you text back, who pays the check, and why is it so hard to meet normal people? But dating in 2022 brings a whole new set of difficulties: The old rules of dating no longer apply, most exchanges happen over an app, and we forgot how to do our makeup while staying at home since 2020 (nope, just me?). But difficult or not, you deserve a fulfilling life, fun ways to meet new people, and to actually enjoy dating (because no one should have Charlotte’s dating exhaustion).







We all say it every year, but 2022 can truly be the year you reach all of your goals (#newyearnewme, am I right?). This year can be your golden opportunity if you’re looking for love (or, you know, just looking to go on dates that don’t suck). Below are 10 pieces of dating advice to up your game, achieve a fulfilling love life, and find a happy relationship (no matter how serious you’re looking for). Read on for romantic success by 2023.





1. Appreciate how dating is different now
As soon as the stay-at-home order hit, the dating game changed. Maybe you got Zoom-date fatigue or maybe you’re now determining who to date based on vaccination status. However, what’s going on in the world doesn’t have to harm your love life. In fact, it could even be beneficial. For example, dating during a pandemic meant focusing on an emotional connection first, since the physical connection and new-relationship excitement isn’t possible. You got to know who someone was without spending time and energy doing the actual dating. You learned to build slower connections (plus, it’s more foreplay, you know?) and staying at home became an opportunity to get to know other people with fewer distractions. The past two years have changed us in many ways, and the way you date (and prioritize what you want) can be one of them. Reevaluate what you’re looking for and how you want to date based on the lessons you’ve learned.



2. Keep all options open
Many of us have this idea that we need a movie-worthy meet-cute when finding a soulmate. But closing yourself off to any meeting that isn’t locking eyes across a crowded bar or running into a long-forgotten high school sweetheart from back home (Hallmark Channel style) limits your chances. Despite what Hollywood has us believe, we can meet worthwhile people anywhere. You could meet your ideal partner during a meeting, at a book club, in an elevator, while out walking your dog, or yes, on a dating app. The more options you keep open, the higher your chances of meeting people that you’ll enjoy being around. Instead of waiting for a “meet-cute,” try to remain open to any possibility that feels right for you.

3. Forget prerequisites
Many of us have extensive prerequisite checklists before even considering going on a first date. Maybe you want someone who is exactly like you, whether it’s interests, religion, or background. Maybe you’re not looking twice at people who have a certain dating history, are over a certain age, or own a cat (because you’re way more of a dog person). While shared values are crucial and compatibility is often determined by similarities, try getting to know someone before making assumptions based on your prerequisites. The only “prerequisites” you need are your non-negotiable values, like kindness, integrity, and humor. Otherwise, base opinions on how you feel, not off of a checklist. Pay attention to the person in front of you and try not to project a narrative or assign meaning to traits before you even know the person. Ask questions and genuinely care about why someone is the way they are before determining whether or not they are for you.

4. Cut it off with the “maybes,” already!
Do you have an ex who has been hanging around for years or a f*ckboy that’s been messing with your head? What about those people you text when you’re feeling lonely or bored or who you think you might be interested in someday? I call these people the “maybes:” the exes, previous dates, and “it’s complicated” relationships that didn’t work out the first time around, but you keep their number in your phone “just in case” or are hoping something will change.



There are a lot of reasons we stick around with people we know are not good for us. Maybe they’re a security blanket, maybe we’re lonely, or maybe we’re seeking external approval. But no matter the reason the wrong person is in your life, as soon as you realize they’re not the one for you, that should be the end of it, not the beginning of the end. Now, if you have a friend with benefits (you don’t have feelings for) or love flirty-texting that hot coworker, you do you, girl. But those people you go to out of loneliness, comfortability, or insecurity? They’re just holding you back. Know what you deserve, be honest with yourself, and don’t settle. Bonus tip: Unfollow on social media. Just do it!



5. Visualize your best self
Dating highlights our biggest insecurities: We overanalyze what we say over text or Tinder, try on 15 different outfits before a date, and maybe even expect the worst and prepare to be ghosted or for the date to go badly. Sound familiar? To cure pre-date anxieties, try visualizing the best version of yourself. Are you confident, comfortable, or friendly? How would the most confident you act on this date? What would you wear? Would you even care about what you wear? Remind yourself that you are the catch that your date is trying to impress, not the other way around. Even if you don’t feel confident or calm, the simple act of visualizing your best self can help you relax and enjoy the date instead of getting in your head.

6. Remember that “no” is not a dirty word
In fact, it’s one of the most important words in your dating vocabulary. Especially as women, we’re taught to be likable and easygoing on dates, and we focus more on how to be liked than whether or not we actually like them (but more on that below). You know what we should vow to end in 2022? Going on dates we’re not excited about, texting back people we don’t like, or not vocalizing what we want and need in our relationships to protect other people’s egos. Overall, let’s work on saying “no” when we want to say no. Compromise and empathy are crucial in relationships, but so is respect for each other’s wants and needs. Communicating what you don’t want should be just as easy as what you do. If it’s not, this person doesn’t respect you or care about you as much as they say they do. Thank you, next.





7. Use alone time to your advantage
FYI: Being alone is a good thing. A single relationship status or even just time spent on our own allows us to turn inward, explore our truest desires, and get to know ourselves better. When we know ourselves and what we want, our dating lives become more fulfilling, successful, and fun. Any amount of time alone can be invested to understand what we want out of a partner, but more importantly, it can make us feel so whole we don’t need a partner.



8. Ditch outdated rules
Let me go on a quick tangent about a few outdated dating rules that we really should ditch, like, yesterday. To start, my least favorites of all dating rules are “Don’t kiss on the first date” and the “Three-date rule.” Let’s just throw out any rules that imply that what you want to do with your body and when you want to do it are not up to you. Make your own rules based on comfortability and what you’re feeling.



Next up: Playing hard to get or waiting for the other person to make the first move. Besides outdated gender roles, these “rules” come from the idea that whoever cares less in the relationship is the one who has the most power. But should love be about power? It’s OK to care; we’re supposed to care about each other. So what does it matter if you “come on too strong” or “care more?” Be true to your feelings and what you want. Oh, and making the first move can save us a lot of time wondering if they like us back.

9. Focus on finding out what you want
Dating is supposed to be about finding what you want, not becoming what someone else wants. Some people will like you and some people won’t. Whether or not someone wants to pursue a relationship or a second date with you has nothing to do with how likable you are, but it does have to do with compatibility. And I think we can all agree there are many people we wouldn’t mind being incompatible with. Prioritize what you want in a partner by making a list of non-negotiable qualities or values you want, and stop yourself from getting caught up in what a relationship or person could be. Instead, ask yourself if you genuinely enjoy each person you’re talking to and whether or not they deserve you.





10. Know that dating is supposed to be enjoyable (and stop if it isn’t)
Repeat after me: Dating should be fun. It should not feel forced, boring, painful, or sad. If it’s not enjoyable, you’re either putting too much pressure on each date, feeling self-conscious about dating, or focusing on the wrong things. Remember that dating is not intended to have only one outcome. Every experience—whether it’s a date, Tinder conversation, or a few months of dating—brings you closer to clarity.

The purpose of going on dates, talking to new people, and opening yourself up to meet someone new is not to feed your ego, affirm insecurities, or to find a soulmate ASAP. The purpose is to collect information that will bring you closer to a happy, fulfilling life and to have a good time along the way. Bottom line: It should be fun meeting new people, whether or not a second date follows. If it’s not, take a break from dating to reflect on what you’re really looking for in your dating life.

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IF YOU ARE IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE WHO CANNOT LOVE YOU BACK, THIS IS YOUR REMINDER

Listen — if you are in love with someone who cannot love you back at the moment, please understand that this is not a reflection of your goodness, this is not a reflection of your worth. Sometimes life weathers people in different ways. We are all on this Earth just trying to figure ourselves out, just trying to mend the breaks in our souls, just trying to deal with what is heavy within us. Sometimes we’re ready and another person is not. Sometimes we try and another person does not. Sometimes we pour ourselves into another human being and they cannot contain all that we are. Sometimes we fight and another person surrenders. Sometimes we choose to make things work, and another person decides that they cannot choose that same reality. And that is okay. I need you to understand that is okay.



Because at the end of the day, if someone does not meet you where you are, you cannot keep asking them to do so. If someone cannot reciprocate your love, if someone cannot give you what you truly deserve, you have to understand that aching for them to do so before they are ready is a form of self-destruction. Your heart is a vast and tender thing; you cannot keep trying to shrink it into what someone else needs. You cannot keep pouring your love into a vessel that cannot contain it. You cannot keep pouring your love into a soul that has not opened their eyes to all that they are receiving. You cannot keep pouring your love into a heart that is closed off to it. It will only leave you empty. You have to walk away. You have to let this person grow on their own terms, because you can’t love someone into their potential. You can’t love someone into being ready. They have to do that on their own. And I know how hard it is to walk away from someone you deeply care for. I know how hard it is to lay all of that love down, to close your heart off to all that it sees in another human being. But in walking away you will learn how to pour all of the love that you were giving to the wrong person back into yourself. And you will learn how to pour it into all that you desire in life, you will learn how to pour it into your growth, into your art, into your hope. You will learn how to stand up for your feeling, how to stand up for its value. And when you teach yourself that you deserve to be loved, without having to beg for that love, without having to chase that love down, you open yourself to the kind of beauty that chooses you just as freely as you choose it. You open yourself to the kind of people who see you and immediately know that you are a rare and beautiful thing. You open yourself to new beginnings, to a future that unfolds in ways that don’t hurt or break you down, but rather build you up and show you just how worthy you are of having your heart held.

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THE UNAIRED REALITY DATING SHOW IN WHICH A LITERAL MURDERER GOT THIRD PLACE

It’s hard to imagine now, but during the late 2000s, VH1 was the epicenter of the reality television world. The Bachelor was airing but it hadn’t yet hit its stride. In 2009 the Jason Mesnick and Melissa Rycroft season ran (on After the Final Rose Mesnick dumped Rycroft for another woman, Molly Malaney) and things finally started getting good for the show in the 2010s. VH1 had more exciting shows like Rock of Love and Flavor of Love where tattooed women competed for the attention of aging men. Those shows produced a legion of bingeable spin-offs: Daisy of Love, Rock of Love: Charm School and I Love Money.

Unless you were a hardcore fan of the VH1 reality TV universe, you might not remember that another spin-off, Megan Wants a Millionaire was planned, filmed, and edited. It began airing on TV in August of 2009 but after three episodes it was pulled from the schedule and the rest of the show never saw the light of day. VH1 issued the following statement for why the show was suddenly on indefinite hiatus and all information about the show was deleted from their website: If you weren’t already in the loop through the internet, VH1’s statement sent every fan running to Google to figure out wtf happened — and the answer was shocking. Ryan Alexander Jenkins, a 32-year-old contestant on the show, was the main suspect in his wife’s murder. Her body was found in a suitcase and had to be identified by the serial number on her breast implants.

The victim was 28-year-old model Jasmine Fiore who had met Jenkins after he completed filming of Megan Wants a Millionaire and the two married in March 2009 at The Little White Wedding Chapel on the Las Vegas Strip after knowing each other for just two days. In June of 2009 police were called and Jenkins was arrested and charged with “battery constituting domestic violence”, Fiore had a visible injury to her arm. On August 15, 2009 Jasmine’s body was found the morning of August 15, 2009 inside a dumpster in Buena Vista, California. It was later discovered that Jenkins had beat Fiore to death, removed her teeth and fingers, and put her body in a suitcase which he then put in the dumpster. Jenkins picked up his speedboat and fled. It is believed he entered Canada by water and his half-sister, Alena Jenkins, helped him check into a motel. He was discovered to have died by suicide on August 20, 2009 at the Thunderbird Motel in Hope, British Columbia, Canada.

This isn’t even the only reality dating show where we know for a fact one of the contestants was a murderer. Serial killer Rodney James Alcala is sometimes called “The Dating Game Killer” because he appeared on an episode of The Dating Game in 1978 while he was actively murdering people. Alcala won his episode but the date never happened because the woman ended up finding him too creepy.

Prior to becoming a contestant on Megan Wants a Millionaire, Jenkins had been charged with assaulting a woman in Canada. 51 Minds, the production company who created Megan Wants a Millionaire, did not screen candidates well enough to discover that at least one had been charged with a violent crime, but said if they had known, they would not have cast Jenkins. VH1 had also performed its own background checks and hired a Canadian company to do a background check on Jenkins (a Canadian citizen). Those checks also failed to turn up the charge.


To be clear, Megan Wants a Millionaire was explicitly a dating show, so not doing the proper background check to see if one of the suitors has been violent to women in the past is a big deal on its own. The titular Megan was Megan Hauserman, an alumna of four reality TV shows: Beauty and the Geek, Rock of Love, Rock of Love: Charm School and I Love Money. Megan Wants a Millionaire was a show built around Hauserman’s “bimbo villain” persona with the premise that a sea of wealthy men would compete to be her boyfriend to help her achieve her dream of becoming a trophy wife.

While VH1 never un-scrubbed the existence of Megan Wants a Millionaire from its site and the rest of the show never aired, another contestant later revealed that Ryan Jenkins placed third in the competition. This tracks as on the episodes that did air, he was a front runner who Megan Hauserman said she had a connection with. It’s purported that Hauserman wanted to choose Jenkins as the winner but a producer asked her not to as he was not “charming” enough. Jenkins instead placed third and TJ Diab was the winner.



Jenkins subsequently competed in another unaired VH1 reality show, the third season of I Love Money which filmed between June and August 2009. Jenkins won that show, earning a cash prize of $250,000. The show never aired anywhere. A last will and testament was discovered on Jenkins computer after his death but his estate information is not publicly available.

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LOVE AND THE THEORY OF MULTIPLE UNIVERSES

Exactly three years and eight days ago to the date, Gaby Dunn wrote an excellent essay called, “Maybe In Another Universe, I Deserve You.” Through it, I got to know of William James, an American physician, philosopher, and psychologist who came up with the term, “multiverse” to characterize the hypothesis that there exists multiple universes. And in this multiverse, every outcome is possible across the finite or infinite number of universes that exist entirely. The so-called “alternative” universes or “parallel” universes we often refer to in our colloquial conversations.

While the idea of a multiverse has been considered in many disciplines, from astronomy to theology, the physics community of which many deem is most knowledgeable on such matters, disputes whether this idea is even worthy of scientific discussion. I love science. But I am not a physicist. And today, I take off my academic hat. Today, I am only a writer. And that means, imagination at times, at many times, must supersede the physical reality of the observable world. Indeed, as Francis Bacon writes, “The job of the artist is to always deepen the mystery.”


Today, I invite you to imagine that multiple universes are real.

beetlejuice
If multiple universes are real, what would love look like? Would every person who loves us be able to be with us the way they wanted, at least in one universe? Would we finally see them clearly, the way they wanted to be seen? Would we finally experience their longing for us in a way that we don’t currently, in this space and time?

And of course, what about our unrequited loves? Would we finally know what it is to wholly and thoroughly possess the love that we so ardently desire, from those who can’t or who won’t love us back? Those whose hearts keep us up at night, wondering, wishing, waiting; hoping against hope. Certainly in this universe, the two sets of people are often disappointed; often left with unfulfilled dreams and broken hearts.

Or perhaps in another universe, you never meet this person at all. You know, the one you’re thinking about right now, as you read this. The one who makes your heart beat so rapidly, you feel like it might fall out of your chest at any moment; the one who makes your heart beat so slowly, you’re certain you will become unconscious if you think of them for a second longer. The one who literally takes your breath away. But also the one you can’t be with for whatever reason. What if, in another universe, you didn’t meet them? You don’t know them and they don’t know you. You are alone or you are with someone else, and you are content. They do not exist to you. But neither does the pain in your chest.


Which universe would you choose? Love, we like to say, is always worth it. Worth the aches and pains, even to the point where you are so heartbroken that you feel dead in a body that is scientifically speaking, still alive. And we say this, because we experience the incomparable beauty of falling into perfect rhythm with a stranger’s heart. Even when we all don’t fall, we all want to believe that love – if and when it does happen – that it will be worth it. But I think, whether you love for a time or for a lifetime, from everything from your love not being reciprocated, to it being treated unkindly, recklessly, to death; means that all love, in the end, is tragedy. At least in this universe.

The other universe, the one where you don’t meet the person, doesn’t actually seem so awful. It doesn’t seem a bad thing to not go to bed at night in tears because someone won’t be with you, the way you want; the way you need. It doesn’t seem a waste of a life to avoid the feelings you’re feeling now. Maybe in that other universe, you even fall in love with someone else. Someone who desires to be with you as much as you desire them.

It seems an easy choice of course to want the first universe – where you fall in love with the person you want the most. And they fall in love with you, painlessly. That is the perfect outcome, isn’t it? And the next best choice, rationally, is if we can’t be in that first universe, then maybe the second one where you don’t meet at all, would be better for the sake of your weary heart. The tragedy is best avoided entirely, isn’t it?


beetlejuice
Yet I wouldn’t choose either universe. There is too much perfection in the first one, and there is not enough pain in the second. Perfection leaves no room for appreciation. And where there is no pain, there is often not much joy either. Of course in the endless multiverse, anything is possible. But in the comparisons I put forth, something must be sacrificed. My imagination, my rules.

Yes, love is tragic in this universe. It is tragic to not be with the one person you really want. The one you wish could see you how you really want them to; the one you want to need, and you want to need you. But that love, that heartbreaking love, I think, is what makes this universe so devastatingly beautiful: That I can love you and I can continue to love you even if you don’t love me back. That my heart will break into a thousand pieces every day, and every night I will put it back together, and love you again. That this love may stay with me for a time or for a lifetime. Yet what is most important is that I dared to love at all. That I dared to love you at all. Maybe in another universe, you and I can be with this person that we love, and everything is straightforward and simple. And maybe in another universe, we don’t have to love them at all because it just never happened. But I still choose this universe. Because this universe is the one where we get to love the person the way we do now – imperfectly, beautifully, terrifyingly, heartbreakingly, tragically. But always and only a one-of-a-kind, once in a lifetime, unparalleled love.

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LOVE AND THE THEORY OF MULTIPLE UNIVERSES

Exactly three years and eight days ago to the date, Gaby Dunn wrote an excellent essay called, “Maybe In Another Universe, I Deserve You.” Through it, I got to know of William James, an American physician, philosopher, and psychologist who came up with the term, “multiverse” to characterize the hypothesis that there exists multiple universes. And in this multiverse, every outcome is possible across the finite or infinite number of universes that exist entirely. The so-called “alternative” universes or “parallel” universes we often refer to in our colloquial conversations.

While the idea of a multiverse has been considered in many disciplines, from astronomy to theology, the physics community of which many deem is most knowledgeable on such matters, disputes whether this idea is even worthy of scientific discussion. I love science. But I am not a physicist. And today, I take off my academic hat. Today, I am only a writer. And that means, imagination at times, at many times, must supersede the physical reality of the observable world. Indeed, as Francis Bacon writes, “The job of the artist is to always deepen the mystery.”


Today, I invite you to imagine that multiple universes are real.

beetlejuice
If multiple universes are real, what would love look like? Would every person who loves us be able to be with us the way they wanted, at least in one universe? Would we finally see them clearly, the way they wanted to be seen? Would we finally experience their longing for us in a way that we don’t currently, in this space and time?

And of course, what about our unrequited loves? Would we finally know what it is to wholly and thoroughly possess the love that we so ardently desire, from those who can’t or who won’t love us back? Those whose hearts keep us up at night, wondering, wishing, waiting; hoping against hope. Certainly in this universe, the two sets of people are often disappointed; often left with unfulfilled dreams and broken hearts.

Or perhaps in another universe, you never meet this person at all. You know, the one you’re thinking about right now, as you read this. The one who makes your heart beat so rapidly, you feel like it might fall out of your chest at any moment; the one who makes your heart beat so slowly, you’re certain you will become unconscious if you think of them for a second longer. The one who literally takes your breath away. But also the one you can’t be with for whatever reason. What if, in another universe, you didn’t meet them? You don’t know them and they don’t know you. You are alone or you are with someone else, and you are content. They do not exist to you. But neither does the pain in your chest.


Which universe would you choose? Love, we like to say, is always worth it. Worth the aches and pains, even to the point where you are so heartbroken that you feel dead in a body that is scientifically speaking, still alive. And we say this, because we experience the incomparable beauty of falling into perfect rhythm with a stranger’s heart. Even when we all don’t fall, we all want to believe that love – if and when it does happen – that it will be worth it. But I think, whether you love for a time or for a lifetime, from everything from your love not being reciprocated, to it being treated unkindly, recklessly, to death; means that all love, in the end, is tragedy. At least in this universe.

The other universe, the one where you don’t meet the person, doesn’t actually seem so awful. It doesn’t seem a bad thing to not go to bed at night in tears because someone won’t be with you, the way you want; the way you need. It doesn’t seem a waste of a life to avoid the feelings you’re feeling now. Maybe in that other universe, you even fall in love with someone else. Someone who desires to be with you as much as you desire them.

It seems an easy choice of course to want the first universe – where you fall in love with the person you want the most. And they fall in love with you, painlessly. That is the perfect outcome, isn’t it? And the next best choice, rationally, is if we can’t be in that first universe, then maybe the second one where you don’t meet at all, would be better for the sake of your weary heart. The tragedy is best avoided entirely, isn’t it?


beetlejuice
Yet I wouldn’t choose either universe. There is too much perfection in the first one, and there is not enough pain in the second. Perfection leaves no room for appreciation. And where there is no pain, there is often not much joy either. Of course in the endless multiverse, anything is possible. But in the comparisons I put forth, something must be sacrificed. My imagination, my rules.

Yes, love is tragic in this universe. It is tragic to not be with the one person you really want. The one you wish could see you how you really want them to; the one you want to need, and you want to need you. But that love, that heartbreaking love, I think, is what makes this universe so devastatingly beautiful: That I can love you and I can continue to love you even if you don’t love me back. That my heart will break into a thousand pieces every day, and every night I will put it back together, and love you again. That this love may stay with me for a time or for a lifetime. Yet what is most important is that I dared to love at all. That I dared to love you at all. Maybe in another universe, you and I can be with this person that we love, and everything is straightforward and simple. And maybe in another universe, we don’t have to love them at all because it just never happened. But I still choose this universe. Because this universe is the one where we get to love the person the way we do now – imperfectly, beautifully, terrifyingly, heartbreakingly, tragically. But always and only a one-of-a-kind, once in a lifetime, unparalleled love.

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RELATIONSHIP EXPERTS PREDICT THE TOP 7 DATING TRENDS FOR 2022

Ever wish the love of your life would simply knock on your door and sweep you off your feet?

Yeah, us too. But instead, we have to contend with a plethora of apps jostling for attention on our smartphones and digest an entire dictionary worth of dating lingo so we can recognise if we’ve sleepwalked into a “situationship” or if our prospective partner is “cookie jarring” us.

All this dating jargon is making our heads spin. Maybe we should try “hardballing” our next matches…

To get ahead of the game in 2022, Lovehoney has partnered with relationship experts Ness Cooper and Callisto Adams to reveal what singletons can expect when venturing into the big bad world of dating in 2022:

1. You’re a match – but are your beliefs?
Shared beliefs have always been important, but individuals exploring dating in 2022 are more likely to focus on forming relationships that match their beliefs more than ever before.

On top of this, there will be a rise in individuals trying to date those with similar political opinions and goals

2. Vaccine statuses
Dating apps now allow you to indicate if you’ve been vaccinated, and this is important as boosters and vaccine passports become part of daily life.

Not only is it important as it can protect you from the virus, but not being vaccinated could affect your access to venues and events. After several lockdowns, we’re all ready to socialise and go out again, so it’s no surprise that people will want to share this with someone they may become romantically involved with.

3. The long-long early stage of dating
We’re more likely to take it a little slower in 2022, according to the experts. We’ll be taking our time to get to know the other person as we’re all increasingly aware of the importance of emotional fulfilment in relationships.

4. Romantic connections with bots
Uh oh. Have we stepped into the film Her?

The experts say falling in love or catching feelings for chatbots is becoming increasingly normalised. Left to our own devices during the lockdowns, many people felt alone and desperate for a connection. Several apps have become popular in recent years and for some, their AI partners have become important parts of their lives, as outlined in a 2020 Metro article.

5. Setting boundaries, and spotting red flags
Red flags and boundaries are correlated, according to the experts. Everyone has their own dealbreakers, and singletons will increasingly be on the lookout for red flags that could push their boundaries.

But it’s not all bad, we’ll also be looking out for green flags, too.

6. Taking our time (for real this time)
We’ve become more aware of self-care, self-appreciation, and self-improvement. Going into 2022, another trend we could see is that of taking our time and giving ourselves the space we need to turn into the best version of ourselves.


7. Prioritizing safety over sex cravings
The pandemic has shown us how capable we are of patience as we had to seek out other ways of enjoying a connection outside of the bedroom.

Although it doesn’t look like we’ll be maskless any time soon, hopefully, social distancing will be a thing of the past in the near future.

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7 SIGNS YOUR EX IS PRETENDING TO BE OVER YOU

The aftermath of a relationship that ends can bring up a lot of complex emotions. Heartbreak is a grieving process that everyone handles differently. And while there’s no one-size-fits-all timeline for it, if your ex is still angry or acting super weird months after your breakup, those might be signs they’re pretending to be over you or that they’re struggling to move on. Let me explain.

First and foremost, remember that you’re under no obligation to keep tabs on your ex post-breakup. Your priority is you, period. But if you’re on good terms or trying to stay friends, it makes sense that you’d be observing or questioning their behavior. It’s also important to remember that not everything is what it seems, and what you perceive as them being “over you” might be completely different from what they’re actually feeling.

“Somebody might not even realize that they’re pretending to be over their ex. They might actually believe, ‘Hey, I’m over them!’ because they’re just not super aware of their internal feelings or don’t want to go there, so they kind of put blinders up,” says Emily Simonian, a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in couples and relationship issues, and head of learning at Thriveworks.
While it’s not okay to assume your ex hasn’t moved on based on just ~vibes~, I spoke to three dating and relationships experts about some common signs that might mean they’re not as over you as they seem. Here’s what they had to say.

1. They seem almost too fine.
Especially if it was a long-term relationship, seeing your ex move on right away and be “totally fine” could be a sign they’re anything but. “They want to seem like they’ve got everything handled and don’t want to appear vulnerable to basically keep the door open for getting back together,” explains Simonian. “They’re basically saying, ‘I’m okay. This didn’t affect me, and I’m hoping that you see that and want me back.’”

2. They’re outwardly angry with you.
“Anger is a telltale sign there might be hurt feelings, and that you still have an affect on your ex,” explains Simonian. After a breakup, it’s normal for either or both sides to feel angry or resentful, especially if it wasn’t an amicable split. Nevertheless, if your ex is picking petty fights or bringing up unresolved conflicts, it’s possible they haven’t moved on. Being overly critical or belittling of you and ridiculing your new love interests are some other antagonistic behaviors you can expect from a bitter ex, says Shadeen Francis, LMFT and certified sex therapist.

3. They deny the breakup.
Denial is another telltale sign that an ex isn’t over you. Your ex might hit you up to hang out like nothing happened, or try to make future plans with you despite you no longer being in a relationship in hopes of rekindling a romantic connection, says Francis.

4. They’re overly involved in your love life.
If your ex seems just a little too interested in who you’re dating or whether or not you’re on dating apps, that probably means (you guessed it) they haven’t moved on. Similarly, if they give you unnecessary information about their love life that you didn’t ask for, that could be a front to try to prove they’re okay and have moved on, says Francis.

5. You’re a regular subject of conversation or focus, even when you’re not in the room.
Bringing you up in conversations that seemingly have nothing to do with you or talking about you with mutual friends is another sign they’re having a hard time getting over you. If they’re really hung up on you, they might even keep posting about you on social media, in which case it’s probably time to have a different conversation about boundaries, says Francis.


6. They’re trying too hard to be friends.
If you can’t be with someone romantically, a friendship might seem like a good close second, but that’s way easier said than done. “Maintaining a friendship can sometimes feel like a good placeholder for somebody who just doesn’t want to let you go,” says Simonian. But friendship just isn’t a realistic option for many exes, and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean you can never talk again, but it might be time to talk about putting more space between you. “If you’re broken up and it’s really over, you just don’t keep the door open, because it makes [moving on] harder,” says individuals, couples, and sex therapist, Caitlin Cantor.


7. They ask for less meaningful things back.
Sure, your ex might actually be really attached to that gray sweatshirt they loaned you one time, but if they’re asking for things you know they don’t really need (like letters they wrote you or old photos), they might just be trying to find an excuse to see you. If your ex genuinely didn’t want to see you, they wouldn’t reach out to try to get back items they no longer have an attachment to, says Cantor.

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RELATIONSHIP,CULTURE AND CIVILIZATION: FUNCTIONAL AND METHODOLOGICAL ASPECTS

The subject of the authors”™ study is a relationship between culture and civilization and functions of civilization. The relevance of the article is determined by the peculiarities of contemporary civilization and by transformation of moral values and attitudes. Meanwhile, the concepts of “civilization” and “culture” are the most complicated and controversial concepts in contemporary humanities. Methodological distinction of these concepts can help in revealing of many social and cultural phenomena and processes. The paper”™s authors use historical and comparative research methods, which, in the opinion of the authors, help to get the most adequate results. The authors give views of famous philosophers and highlight five key differences between the concepts of “civilization” and “culture”. Culture and civilization are not opposite towards each other, but they are different in their nature. Culture is a creation, it”™s basically individual; civilization is a transition from the creation (culture) to the acquisition and conservation of cultural results for everybody. There is no civilization without culture. Civilization is its natural and necessary extension; it allows to replicate cultural patterns and to create conditions for further creation in the form of stabilization of social relations for future generations. So, civilization as a sustainable socio-cultural formation realizes various functions. The authors define some functions of civilization. There are adaptive, regulating, unifying, repressive functions. If we compare functional features of civilization, peculiarities of culture and civilization we can come to the conclusion that civilization influences on the person externally. In civilization a person is an object, an individual, one among many people. Culture influences on a person also, but a person here is not only an object in it, it”™s a subject who creates by means of his internal potential and contrary to existing civilizational norms. A struggle between external influence on a person expressed in various regulations and his internal potential promotes the development of a man. In the context of functional characteristic features of civilization, the authors come to the conclusion that civilization is a necessary condition for development of culture and human development.