The worst relationship I ever had was also the most important one of my young life, in that I learned more about myself from that year-long ordeal than from any other. I was 18, and as often happens with first love, was completely blind to the fact that I was being manipulated and taken advantage of. My mother knew, of course, and while she could see the eventual train wreck at the end of that relationship, she let it happen because she knew I had to feel that hurt, face his betrayal and manipulation, and stand up for myself in the aftermath of that injury to my heart and ego. I’m sure she warned me in many small ways, but she never stood in the way of what must have been, from her perspective, an excruciating progression from infatuation to heartbreak. When I’d finally had enough, and I ended the relationship once and for all, she sat on the floor of my room as I tearfully exorcised my pain by cleaning out my closet. Again, I don’t remember what she did say to me that day, but I treasure what she did not say, something I don’t know that I would have been able to keep to myself. She sat there as I cried and helped me put clothing in bags for donation, and never, not once, did she say”I told you so.
"The thought of being vulnerable is a scary proposition for most people," admits Ray. She says that it's how you show your true self, at the risk of being hurt. When you date someone new, showing this side can deepen your connection and build trust. "Vulnerability can be a gift to the person who's wanting to know you on a deeper level," she explains.
Regarding power, take steps to ensure you have your own life in motion and your own goals and desires that you are actively working towards that light you up. Love should be a by-product of your own worth and self esteem. You can never borrow anyone else’s power (not for long anyway.) Your power is bigger than you — it’s your connection to why you are on this planet to begin with. I connect to my power by meditating, journaling, taking walks, and listening to my gut instincts.
"For long-lasting love, the more similarity (e.g., age, education, values, personality, hobbies), the better. Partners should be especially sure that their values match before getting into marriage. Although other differences can be accommodated and tolerated, a difference in values is particularly problematic if the goal is long-lasting love. Another secret for a long marriage: Both partners need to commit to making it work, no matter what. The only thing that can break up a relationship are the partners themselves."
Finding a spouse using pornography is a top reason couples seek counsel, but it shouldn't be overreacted to or pathologized, Dr. Kort says. First of all, sex addicts only represent 3-6% of the population, so it's unlikely your man is one. Plus, because childhood experiences influence sexuality as an adult, people are very idiosyncratic about what turns them on, Dr. Kort says. "So no woman can, nor should be, everything to a man."

A tough truth about relationships is that love alone is not enough. In the throes of the fiery passion of infatuation, couples feel like they can overcome anything together. But as your relationship settles into the monotony of everyday life, days become weeks which become years, and the greatest challenge you may have is actually each other. The prickly parts of each other’s personality can rub up against each other in just the wrong way. But learning to look at your relationship with a positive bias and apply a select toolkit of values and perceptions means that you can have not only the love, but also the wisdom to build a solid relationship that can weather the storms, continue to grow and be the source of your greatest joy. 

Be optimistic; I'm a firm believer that there is someone out there for everyone. Don't subscribe to the belief that you're going to spend forever alone or that true love doesn't exist — it does, it just takes work, which brings me to my last point: Be willing to put in the work. Successful relationships require both partners to put in a lot of effort; if you really love one another, it doesn't feel like work.


I think one of the most powerful things about women is our intuition. I can't remember a time that I've had a true gut check (as I call it) lead me the wrong way. I think we are taught to brush intuition off as being overly sensitive but I say trust it. I trust my gut to guide my professional choices, to know when something works or just doesn't, and I use my gut in my personal life to be the same sort of emotional barometer.

I have been wracking my brain about this idea of “Mr. Right.” Love is a tricky area. One thing that has been on my mind lately is the way media, television and film portray women. The values that have been promoted since the advent of the moving picture have sent a message to women. In commercials, women are most often in a kitchen. Men are most often at an office or on a couch. What these messages deliver are pretty obvious. In television and film, the primary conversations that woman have revolve around men, dating men or how to better date men. Male characters’ conversations are often about catching bad guys. Again, these messages are pretty transparent. Advertising is purposeful and manipulative. Millions to billions of dollars are spent on how to sell a costumer something they don’t need to buy, or portray an image they don’t necessarily want to subscribe to. When I was a young person and having a hard time dating, my mother would say, “You have to kiss a lot of frogs in order to find your Prince.” I have come to a point in my life where I realize that she was right, but, as corny as it may sound, the Prince is me.


Don’t fall in love with your man for his potential.  You want to bond with someone as they are now.  Sure, all signs point to him becoming successful and hard-working, but what if something occurs, like illness or disability, that would prevent that from happening?  Would you still love him?  Your man is not your project, so make sure you pick someone who you love just the way he is.

Everyone I seem to talk to has the same feeling: Dating has become so hard. It seems like nobody wants to commit anymore, and it seems to be a challenge every single step of the way. You can blame the dating apps. You can blame Tinder, and Bumble, and Hinge, and all the choices that people have. Because for the very, very first time in history, men and women have a ridiculous amount of choices available to them. Read more →

When you do talk, Mintz suggests using the sandwich technique: Give him a compliment, tell him your problem, then follow it up with another compliment. Example: "I really love having sex with you, and after we have sex I feel really close and connected. I know you really want to shower, but I really want to cuddle. Is there a compromise that will work for both of us?"
The elders say that women should make sure — before committing — that their partner’s goals for a good life together align with theirs. Unfortunately, such discussions are sometimes not explicit and detailed. They suggest serious discussions about one another’s goals and aspirations for work and career, for how expensive a lifestyle you wish to live, and particularly important — children. Nadine, 65, pointed out that women may assume their partner wants kids. "In fact, a couple may disagree substantially on this issue,'' she said. "In my job, I sometimes counsel young people and a lot of times they say: 'Oh well, we’ll just bracket that question for now.' 
Whether it is an impulsive move, a perceived last-chance leap or a slide into the inevitable, their advice is to stop, look, and listen — to yourself and others. Question the decision, then question it again. Some strong testimony for the need to wait and choose carefully came from women who experienced failed marriages (sometimes getting it right in a second union). They typically attributed the failure to entering marriage on impulse and not gaining a deep knowledge of their partner before marrying. As 81-year-old Marie said bluntly, “it is better to not marry than to marry the wrong person. Both my husband and I were married once before, and it took that experience to learn this lesson."

Looking back over their long experience, they believe some women are not careful enough. In their view, they tend to do one of three risky and possibly disastrous things:First, they can fall passionately in love and commit immediately, Romeo and Juliet style; second, they can, especially as they reach their 30s, commit out of desperation, for fear that no one better will come along; third, they can drift or fall into marriage without the choice or its reasons ever becoming clear to themselves or others. 


Of course, it's also possible that there’s anger, resentment, or deeper issues going on. If that's the case, Mintz says you shouldn't be using sex as a weapon — that's only going to cause more harm in the relationship — and should instead be honest about how you're feeling. If you're not comfortable bringing it up on your own (or discussing it when your partner does), she suggests seeing a therapist, who can help the two of you navigate the issue in a healthy way.


It can be difficult to live with another person – turn your eyes to the good as a practice. If you focus on the times they forgot to take the rubbish out or buy the milk, you will be frustrated. If you focus on the times they held you when you were sick or sent you an afternoon text, you both will be a lot happier. Choose to focus on the positive as your standard modus operandi. The more you practice, the better you will get.
"The biggest mistake is being too quick to enter a marriage," she said. "Get to know that person very, very well in all circumstances, the happiness part and the stressful parts. So both people have to be very willing and very open, and often times make concessions, as they get to know each other. So please, take a very serious look. You cannot mold your spouse into something that you want.''
Falling in love is relatively simple. It's staying in love that's the tricky part. Mr. Chapman has identified what he calls the five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. Knowing how different people show and express their love is a good first step toward understanding them--and appreciating their loving behaviors.

This particular relationship advice is for women exclusively. Big mistake women make is thinking that their man can read their thoughts and should “just know” when they are angry, hungry, tired or upset about something that happened at work.  Even the most intuitive man cannot know what’s inside your head.  Use your communication skills to express your feelings.  It will make everything easier and you won’t end up harboring resentment because your man had no idea you wanted him to pick up pasta for dinner instead of pizza.  
“This is a little awkward, but I value our working relationship and I’d like to share something with you. I have noticed that you are routinely late for meetings. This interrupts my schedule, and it also leads me to believe you do not value our time together. Can we make an agreement that you will be on time for all meetings or that our meeting is canceled if you are more than eight to 10 minutes late?”
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