Finding the Right Kind of Love Can Be Life-Changing

Finding love isn’t terribly difficult, but finding the right kind of love can be life-changing. We’ve all been in one of those relationships where things look so great on paper, and yeah, you get along, but there’s still something missing. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but deep down in your soul, you know it’s not enough…

This type of love ends up being the worst because you’re constantly trying to avoid that nagging feeling that something’s missing, which causes one to make excuses for negative feelings or bad treatment. At this point you might wonder if this is what true love is actually like? It’s definitely not.

When you finally find the right kind of love, you’ll know it. I used to laugh when my happily-coupled friends would give me the “when you know, you know” speech. I seriously thought it was a joke—until I knew. Being in love isn’t always enough, but being in the right kind of love is key.

So, what makes love right? This is something that varies from person-to-person, but I do believe that there are some general themes we, as a species, need to feel safe and happy.

What makes love the right kind of love?

When love is easy

Loving your partner is easy. You literally love every single thing about him, and you would never want him to change. Perfectly flowing and vibing with another person is unbelievably rare, and it is a definite sign of being in the right kind of love.

Feeling fulfilled

You wake up every morning not wanting anything more in life. Having this person by your side is all that you need. Nothing is missing. Nothing is lacking. Your heart is full.

Feeling safe

Sharing your life with someone you respect, value, and trust, allows you to feel safe. You know that you are there for one another, to care for and support each other. You feel a sense of stability that allows you the comfort to go out into the world and live your own life, but know you have a happy, positive life waiting for you at home too.

Reliability

Knowing that you can count on your other half is vital to the success of any relationship. If your partner is there when things go downhill, he’s a keeper.

Support 

No matter what happens, good or bad, your partner is by your side. This needs to be a two-way street, of course, but knowing that this person will be by your side through thick and thin, is incredible.

Openness

When you and your partner are able to speak freely about anything, all while knowing that the other will listen with open ears and an open-heart, is the epitome of healthy communication. She will hear you, and you two will engage in a discussion rather than a fight. This is gold.

You can be yourself

The beat part of being in a relationship is having those inside jokes. You can be super goofy and weird together, and it’s totally okay. You guys always have fun, even when you’re doing nothing. You want to do everything with her because things are more fun when she’s around. It really doesn’t get any better than that.

Teamwork

Not only is your partner your best friend, but you guys also make a great team. You two are a force to reckon with. No matter what life throws your way, you work together to move past it. Not only that, but you overcome barriers in a way that is supportive of one another, and has the others’ best interest at heart. Nothing can break the two of you…

Loyalty and honesty

You know that your partner will never do anything to break the trust and bond that you share. It’s deep-rooted in your soul, and there is no doubt in your mind that your partner will always be truthful and loyal. Having that peace of mind is priceless.

Loving selflessly

Last but not least, the love that you have for this person is different than any other love you’ve experienced. It’s selfless, it’s wholehearted, and it has no bounds, and it’s mutual. When you find someone who can love you just as much as you love them, if not more, it’s the ultimate blessing.

A love like this is meant to be cherished and nurtured. It is beautiful. It is patient. It is kind. It is life-changing. Treat it as best as you can. Love it like Kanye loves Kanye. And once you find it, don’t let it go…

love | life changing | relationships | support | trust

Still not sure you’ve got the right kind of love? Check out how travelling with your partner before tying the knot can help!

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xx,

Paula

Relationships: How to Know if it’s Real Love

Relationships are particularly tricky, especially when trying to figure out whether it’s real love or not. When we are in a new relationship, it’s as if the world is now made of chocolate chip coated cotton candy clouds. Everything is pleasant, and peaceful, and your heart is so filled with joy that it’s left your body and made its way up to heaven without you.

This initial stage of love, also known as the honeymoon phase, is so much fun. But once your cotton candy bubble pops, your love can look significantly different. The question is, however, is it the love that’s different? Or is it you that’s feeling different?

Being in love can lead to a skewed perception of reality. Feeling all the love can cause one to ignore possible red flags, potentially turn a blind eye to dishonesty, and even accept behaviors that aren’t okay. Once you’re able to make your way back down to planet earth from those cotton candy clouds, you may, or may not, like what you’re seeing.

There can be a wide-array of barriers when it comes to actually understanding whether the relationship you’re in is right for you. Is it healthy? Is it making you happy? Are you at ease? Every single person has a unique set of needs when it comes to finding the right partner, as well as the right kind of love. There are many things to consider, so what do you need to look for to discover if it’s real love?

How to know if love is real… 

Self-love

When you find the right kind of love, it becomes a lot easier to discover just how much you love yourself. I truly believe that self-love is part of the foundation of any successful relationship. Alongside trust, communication, and respect, the way in which you love yourself is also how you will accept love. When you love yourself, you have the insight and ability to know whether or not you’re not being treated appropriately, and you can better understand if this love makes you feel good about life and yourself. When it’s real love, you’ll feel it in your bones…

Boundaries

Being able to set boundaries with your partner, and make him or her aware of your needs is crucial to the success of your relationship. Anyone can set boundaries, however, it’s whether or not your partner respects those boundaries. If your needs aren’t being met, it possible that you won’t continue to be cuddled up in your cotton candy clouds.

Things are easy

Yes, all couples have problems and conflict can sometimes arise. But if at the end of the day things flow pretty nicely, and being together is easy and fun, you’re definitely on the path to a healthy relationship.

Relationships are not meant to be hard, they’re meant to be fulfilling and joyful…

Lifestyle and compatibility 

Do you two like the same things, and want to live life the same way? Are you able to complete your partners sentences? Do you know exactly what your partner is thinking when he sees the dog with the rainbow mohawk walking down the street? That’s great. You’re compatible, you want the same things in life, and you understand one another. Being able to engage in fun activities together allows your love to blossom and build a strong bond.

Compromise

When you and your partner are able to make decisions based on both of your needs without becoming resentful, you’re solid. Engaging in a discussion about potential life altering changes, and figuring out how to make those changes, all while respecting one another, has a lot to do with love. If someone doesn’t love you, they wouldn’t be willing to switch things up and make improvements.

Guilt be gone 

Guilt is something you don’t want in a relationship. Being able to put yourself first, whether it be for your career, schooling, or for the sake of balance, without your partner making you feel guilty, is pretty spectacular. Knowing that you are free to do whatever you need without worrying that you’ll come home to an angry partner is truly a gift.

If your partner understands you and provides you the space that you need to care for yourself, that is a selfless act. It’s kind, and it conveys a great deal of love…

Acceptance

Accepting one another, as you are, and not wanting to change a thing is a very loving gesture. It is hard to enjoy every single thing about a person, but if you are capable of doing that with your partner, it’s real love.

Love is all around you. How you choose receive and extend love is up to you…

real love | relationships | love | lifestyle

~Photo by Christian Gertenbach on Unsplash~

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Paula

10 Emotional Consequences of a Dysfunctional Relationship

If you’ve ever been in a dysfunctional relationship, please raise your hand. Yup—my arm is definitely in the air…

The battle with dysfunctional relationships is that they may not seem so bad at first. The red flags are usually there, but they’re not severe enough to cause alarm until you’re in pretty deep. Or it’s possible that it was a choice to overlook those concerning behaviors all along. Regardless, they’re very misleading…

I decided to address this topic today because a reader recently reached out to me and shared her story. I think it takes a lot of courage to become aware of how dangerous some of these red flags are, and most importantly, being able to acknowledge that you deserve better. I personally went through something very similar, and experienced many of the emotional obstacles discussed in this article.

While undergoing the internal struggle between the madness of things eventually getting better, or you needing to make a run for it, it’s possible to suffer a great deal of psychological and emotional harm in the interim. With this, you begin to question everything and start to feel that you don’t deserve better. But guess what? You do!

That’s what a dysfunctional relationship does—it causes you to feel as though you are not worthy of love, and care, and happiness, and stability, and all other things that allow one to feel secure and safe. But you are worthy.

Dysfunctional relationships can cause a lot of damage, and whether you’re in a place where you’re contemplating a break-up, or have already walked away, there is a great deal to overcome once it’s over…

10 emotional consequences of a dysfunctional relationship:

1. Decreased self-esteem

It’s difficult to feel good about yourself when the person who is supposed to bring out the best in you makes you feel small.  Actions such as pushing you away, making you feel unwanted or unimportant, constantly placing blame, or only pointing out your faults, can absolutely cause a significant drop in your self-worth.

In situations like this, remember that you’re not the problem. This type of treatment is unacceptable. Be sure to stand up for yourself (if safe), and engage in activities that will your self-love on a daily basis. Constantly use this as a reminder of just how great you are…

2. Feeling at fault

Remember that the way in which your partner acts or treats you is not your fault. Each person is responsible for their own actions, and should be able to address matters in a respectful and kind way. If your partner makes you feel as though they need to treat you poorly, that is not on you. And you shouldn’t tolerate that type of treatment either…

3. Somatic symptoms

Sometimes our feelings can be so severe that they physically manifest themselves. Going through an emotional rollercoaster can literally make you feel sick to your stomach. If you start to experience physical symptoms that are out of the ordinary, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

At this point, it is important to consider the way in which your relationship is effecting your health. Your wellness should always be your top priority.

4. Lack of motivation

It’s really difficult to achieve your goals and focus on the things that matter when you’re distracted by your relationship. Not to mention, negative feelings and decreased self-esteem can strongly interfere in your successes.

5. All the negativity

Experiencing a plethora of negative thoughts and feelings over an extended period of time can be very unhealthy. Between the anger, resentment, sadness, self-doubt, and disappointment, it can feel nearly impossible to find some joy.

Try to keep your head above water by surrounding yourself with people you love—people that are supportive. Engaging in activities that make you feel good is also a healthy way to combat some of the negativity…

6. Inapt priorities

Our priorities shift due to life circumstances. When in a dysfunctional relationship, priorities become blurred, and what’s important can sometimes be placed on the backburner. Be sure to always put yourself first and maintain sight of your needs.

7. Isolation

Depending on the direction in which your relationship is going, it’s possible that you may become isolated. Whether you’ve become disinterested in socializing, or spend all of your free time with your partner and his circle or friends, this can be very serious. Try to remain in contact with your friends and family, and make time to see them.

Also, feeling isolated and unsupported can absolutely hinder you from walking away from a dysfunctional relationship, if you decide to. Your social network is a resource—keep the lines of communication open.

8. Learning to tolerate abuse

Abuse comes in many shapes and forms, including emotional, verbal, and physical. Being mistreated so often eventually starts to feel normal. This is extremely problematic, and being abused is never okay. If you need help, reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

9. Tolerating dishonesty

Whether lying, cheating, or stealing, dishonest behavior should not be tolerated. Trust is an important part of any relationship, and you deserve better.

10. Losing yourself

Whether losing sight of who you are, or losing your voice and ability to stand up for yourself, this is the most difficult emotional outcome to recover from. Not being heard when trying to speak your mind is destructive and hurtful. Being with a person who is not interested in hearing your thoughts or feelings is a person that is not worthy of you

Dysfunctional relationships are exactly that, dysfunctional. Don’t allow yourself to feel that you are to blame for all of the misfortunes of your relationship. You’re not, and you deserve more

relationships | love | dysfunctional relationship | emotions

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Paula

10 Ways to Love Your Partner Wholeheartedly

Love is selfless, love is kind, love is a gift.

Love is one of those things that we can feel, see in the eyes of another, and verbally express. However, it’s not something we can measure. One can say they will love their partner to the moon and back, or more than unicorns love cotton candy, but actions speak much louder than words.

In my current relationship, I have been able to recognize real love. The difference is that rather than hearing simply hearing “I love you,” I can feel it in my bones. I can see it in how he treats me. I can experience it in how we communicate. I know we are right for each other because he loves me the way I need to be loved.

Love languages are real. The way each person expresses and interprets love is unique—if someone can love you the way that you need to be loved and vice versa, you’re definitely ahead of the game.

Above all, choosing to love someone is much stronger than the love itself.

You can love a flower, but if you neglect to nurture and water it, it will die. Relationships are similar—to maintain a strong and healthy relationship, you must invest an appropriate amount of time and effort into nurturing that connection and meeting the needs of your partner.

Please don’t confuse meeting the needs of your partner with neglecting yourself. You can engage in a great deal of giving in a relationship, all while not losing sight of your own needs and boundaries. Remember that compromise is vital in the success of a relationship, and it’s important to maintain a balance.

Balance is key.

Love is different for each person, but the foundation of a relationship comes down to a few things…

What is love?

1. It’s a choice

You and your partner must choose to be with one another—to be present, to be invested, and to be engaged. If one person is not as interested in the relationship as the other, problems will arise. Don’t stay in a relationship if it’s for the wrong reasons, as it is emotional torture for both parties.

2. It’s a priority

You can include someone in your life, but not prioritize him or her. Create a life together, and include that person in your decision process. Whether deciding if you’ll relocate for a job, or what to order for dinner, include your partner in making a decision. This person is your other half, and should be allowed an opinion and choice.

3. It’s compromise

Put your partner first. Sometimes it’s the little things, and sometimes it’s the big things. As long as you know what your limits are, it is okay to put your partner’s needs before your own sometimes. Sacrifice is a huge part of relationships, and it will show your partner just how committed and invested you are. However, it’s important to remember that this is a two-way street.

4. It’s being dependable

Be there. No matter what it is, be there for your partner. If you two cannot be there to care for and support one another, who will be? Again, prioritize your partner and relationship over other things.

5. It’s being present

Be there—emotionally and mentally. This is crucial to the success of any relationship. Presence isn’t necessarily a physical concept, and we are able to see that in long-distance relationships that are healthy. Connection isn’t about where you are, but rather, at what capacity you’re present. Be involved.

6. It’s putting up a fight

Fight for the person you care for, no matter what the situation is. If you want person this person to be a part of your life, fight. 

7. It’s picking your battles

Some things are worth fighting for, and others just aren’t. Decide when you’re willing to compromise, and talk to your partner when you’re not. As long as you communicate, things will be okay. 

8. It’s getting physical

Physical attraction and love are a huge part of relationships. Be intimate and love your partner. I’m not just talking about sex, but rather, connecting with your partner. Whether it’s cuddling, holding hands, or engaging in a mere kiss, it’s the simple things that can feel the most intimate…

9. It’s not taking your partner for granted

Love your partner and treat them with kindness and respect on the regular. If you knew today was the last day you would see your partner, what would you say? What would you do? Yeah—that’s how you should treat your partner every single day. You never know when the last time is the last time…

10. It’s a package

Respect, commitment, trust, compromise, fun, laughter, etc. Love is a package. How you choose to seal, wrap, and deliver that package is what makes each relationship unique. The basic foundation of each relationship comes down to a few vital and necessary qualities; this allows for a healthy relationship to continually thrive and develop.

Choose commitment. Choose happiness. Love wholeheartedly

Love | wholehearted | compromise | relationship | commitment

Wanting to reignite the spark in your relationship? Check out our ten tips on how to keep the novelty alive!

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Paula

Why Millennials Are Choosing to Postpone Marriage

The concept of marriage is drastically shifting, and societal norms have a lot to do with the way in which Millennials choose to live their lives. Not only that, but there are also family expectations, cultural values to follow, and personal hopes and desires to consider. So how does one find a balance? It can be difficult, but possible to make it work.

I grew up in a family that was pretty set in their ways. I was the youngest, and the only one of my sisters to move away for college. And even though very out of the ordinary for my parents, they were able to see the value in my decision to relocate and step out of my comfort zone. Soon after, things began to slowly progress and they chilled out a bit.

Now that I’m thirty, the “when are you getting married?” question keeps making its way into every single one of our conversations. My parents absolutely adore my boyfriend, so they’re hoping the answer will be “tomorrow.”

Following the question of when, comes “why wait?” I always want to respond with the many reasons as to why my boyfriend and I are waiting, but I don’t think they’ll quite understand due to the generational gap.

I believe that, just like myself and those in my network, many millennials are choosing to hold off on marriage. This may not be because they haven’t met the right person, but rather, because life has so much to offer.

Couples can absolutely embark on a million adventures together, and many may prefer it that way, but I’ll be the first to admit that our generation is selfish. We like what we like, we want what we want, and we want it done in the best possible way.

Best looks differently for each person, so flying solo can ultimately be necessary. Doing things exactly as you want them can be difficult when there is an entirely separate set of needs and ideas to consider when making decisions.

So, millennials are marrying later in life. Clearly the definition and face of marriage has changed overtime. With this transition, people are marrying later for many reasons. Most of these reasons are different than why people married in, let’s say, 1950. Let’s talk about some of the changes:

1. The need for accomplishment

There’s really no need to rush into a marriage. As individuals, millennials have plenty of things to accomplish. It is a time to focus on establishing a career, and also embark on adventure after adventure. There is an abundance of opportunities to explore, and these are the life-changing experiences that can shape a person.

2. Self-actualization

There is now more of an emphasis on knowing who you are than ever before. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs includes self-actualization as one of the five human needs. Although it is the most difficult to achieve, it is one that involves development and growth, and allows one the space to truly become the best version of themselves.

Engaging in creative outlets and projects, and exposing hearts and minds to the world is such a beautiful thing. This is also something that other generations may not have had the opportunity to do. Living in a time such as this one is truly a privilege.

3. Shift in gender roles

Women and men are no longer confined to specific gender roles; these roles have become fluid. Women are no longer needing to marry for financial support, and men no longer need to marry in order to procreate and have a wifey to care for the family.

Women now have educations, careers, and are really living it up in what used to be a “man’s world.” Men are learning to cook and do laundry, and some are even stay-at-home dads. Bottom line, both men and women are independent and able to care for, and provide for themselves.

4. Procreation and the concept of family

Having children was relationship goals for centuries. Now, however, it seems as though less and less people are having children. According to the NIH, “the replacement fertility rate is roughly 2.1 live births per woman for most industrialized countries.” This quite low compared to the average of 3.67 in the United States between 1955 and 1960.

A recent study did find that more highly educated women in the US are bearing more children than in previous years, however, they are doing so later in life. According to the Washington Post, “the share of mothers with at least a master’s degree who have just one child fell from 28 percent to 23 percent [;] while those having three or more children rose from 22 percent to 27 percent.”

5. Taking time to find the right one

It’s now possible to link to literally the entire world. Millennials are able to interact with anyone and everyone, via a plethora of platforms, so why settle for a relationship that’s mediocre when one can potentially have an incredible love? Why settle for what’s right here when you might find exactly what you’re looking for out there? There’s really no rush, and settling shouldn’t be an option.

6. Cohabitation plus some

Due to this major shift in cultural and societal norms, couples are now able to live like married couples without actually being married. More and more couples cohabitate and have families without tying the knot. Society has allowed for a type of leeway that wasn’t available before, and millennials are taking advantage of it.

7. Freedom to love as one chooses

Millennials have the freedom to choose. Millennials choose who to be with, when to be together, at what capacity, and if marriage is the right thing for them. Love comes in a million shapes and sizes, and is no longer as simple as going steady, putting a ring on it, then getting married. Love is so much more than that. And I truly believe that millennials have been able to experience love at its’ best because of the freedom to do so.

marriage | millennials | relationships | love | dating

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Paula

Intimacy is About More Than Sex

Intimacy is something all human beings desire, and it is part of each person’s psychosocial development. Intimacy vs. isolation is a concept based on Erik Erikson’s psychoanalytical theory. This is an important stage because it is the time in which adults meet someone they can connect with and commit to. With this, one is able to set themselves up for meaning in life, which is pertinent to success in the following stages.

The meaning of “intimacy” has shifted overtime, as many psychosocial ideologies do. Intimacy, specifically for millennials, seems to now have a varied significance. Sex appears to be a primary marker of intimacy, whether or not an emotional attachment is incorporated.

So can sex be intimate? Yes. But is it the only form of intimacy? No. Can we be taught how to be intimate, just like we’re taught about sex? Think about it—from the time that teens hit puberty, education on safe sex, how not to get pregnant, and how to avoid contracting an STI are part of the curriculum. What about learning how to be intimate? Or learning what intimacy is? There is such an emphasis on sex, and I find that society, and especially media, have displayed sex as the prime form of intimacy.

Is it possible that sex is a way for two people to convey their level of intimacy? Absolutely. Sex is simply a physical act, and anyone can engage. However, intimacy is something very special, and it takes a lot of time and effort to develop such a deep connection with another individual.

Let’s talk about some other forms of intimacy…

7 ways to be intimate:

1. Trust

I cannot express how important trust is in a relationship. The first step to building a strong bond is to trust and feel safe with your partner. Without trust, there is no intimacy.

2. Love

Just like trust, love and care are vital components of intimacy. To see the best in a person, and choose to share your life with them says a lot. Building upon your relationship day by day allows for the constant strengthening of that connection.

3. Communication

Sharing pieces of yourself that are either meaningful or difficult to talk about allows both of you to become more intimate. Learning about one another, especially when discussing hopes, dreams, desires, or traumatic experiences, will further expand on your relationship. Trust is crucial in instances such as these.

4. Physical touch

Sometimes the more basic aspects of physical touch, such as cuddling, holding hands, or hugging, allow two people to feel closer to one another. It contributes to intimacy, supports your relationship, and keeps the novelty alive.

5. Spending alone time

Spending alone time together as a couple, whether engaging in an activity, or just hanging out, also provides an opportunity to increase intimacy. Something as simple as lying on a blanket in the park while holding hands and watching the leaves blow in the wind is romantic and warrants a deeper connection.

6. Peacefully sharing space

Many couples cohabitate, and this too can increase intimacy. Peacefully sharing space and a life with someone else exhibits a great deal of trust and love. This allows for a deeper level of understanding about your partner and their needs, as well as your own. Compromise and respect will most likely play a significant role here. Learning about one another in a brand new setting will surely improve your relationship.

7. Being yourself

Being your true self with another individual is the highest level of intimacy. Letting your guard down, opening up, trusting someone, and sharing some of the most private parts of yourself takes a great deal of courage. If you and your partner have a connection that allows you to be fully unfiltered versions of yourselves, know that you have reached an incredible place in your relationship, and an extraordinary degree of intimacy.

There are many layers of intimacy, and yes, sex is a part of that, but don’t sell yourself short and miss out on the incredible, loving, and trusting bond you and your partner can have together…

intimacy | relationships | bond | connection | love | trust

Not sure if you’re able to connect with your partner and feeling unhappy? Click here to see if you’re in an unhealthy relationship.

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xx,

Paula

How to Keep the Novelty Alive in Your Relationship

The Novelty can wear in any long-term relationship. That doesn’t mean that your love is fading, but rather, that the honeymoon phase is long gone. You two have fallen into a routine, and even though you still enjoy each other’s company, that spark seems like a distant memory. That flame doesn’t burn as bright. And the romance is beginning to dwindle.

Relationships, no matter how long, can always maintain a sense of novelty. That sense of newness and intense desire doesn’t ever need to fade. The secret to keeping the novelty alive is being present.

Be involved in your relationship. Be open, be interactive, and keep the flame burning bright. If you and your partner don’t create a nurturing environment for your relationship, it will wither.

As in all aspects of a healthy relationship, communication is also important. Tell each other what you need, find new ways to expand your love for one another, and make plans to keep your relationship alive.

The earlier you start this process, the better. If you build this concept into the foundation of your relationship, you will thank yourselves later. My boyfriend and I plan something special for each monthaversary because it gives us a reason to celebrate our love, be romantic, and spend quality time with one another. We also take a few minutes to chat before bed every night. This really helps us stay connected to one another…

What will you and your partner do to maintain the glimmer in your spark??

10 ways to keep the novelty alive in your relationship:  

Say I love you everyday

This is a super basic concept, but it makes a huge difference. Remind your partner that you love him or her each and every day. It will allow you to keep the lines of communication open, and it is also a way to nurture your relationship and let your partner know that they’re an important part of your life.

Schedule date night

Life gets busy and time escapes us, so make sure to regularly plan date nights. Whether it’s going out to dinner, having a Saturday picnic at the park, or staying home and playing board games, you and your partner will get to spend some quality time together.

Laugh together

Engage in activities that allow for a lot of laughter and fun. This is also a way to provide your relationship with a re-boot, especially if things have been a bit rough. With this, you and your partner will be reminded of why you love one another so much, and it can also provide you with a fresh perspective on your bond.

Engage in new experiences

Try new things together. Whether it’s bungee jumping, traveling to a new country, or taking a cooking class, this too will help keep your relationship alive. Engaging in new experiences will allow both you and your partner to learn new things about yourselves and each other. It also provides a lot of room for excitement, and to support and care for one another if needed.

Get physical

Hug and kiss each other every day, even if you’re mad. Physical touch is a way for couples to connect and be intimate. Also, who doesn’t love to be cuddled? I sure as hell do…

Say thank you

Day to day life becomes so normal and tedious that we forget to say thank you. Your partner makes breakfast every morning, which even though may be an obligation, is also very kind. Saying thank you can truly make all the difference.

Give positive feedback

Similar to saying thank you, tell your partner when they’re doing something you like, or something that makes you happy. Positive feedback will reinforce this behavior. Also, it will help your partner see that you’re aware of, and recognizing his or her efforts. That’s really important.

Communicate

Talk to each other. About what? Anything. Pass time chatting—it’s such a great way to connect. Regardless of your conversation being that of a serious nature, or making silly jokes, just talk to one another. Feeling comfortable sharing things with your partner will absolutely help strengthen your bond. With this, you and your partner will be able to jointly embrace the joys of life, and also lean on one another in times of hardship.

Just the two of you

Whether you have kids to care for, or it’s just the two of you, make sure that there is something that is just yours. As a couple, have a special TV show you watch before bed, or have a quick phone chat each day at lunch, or a coffee date before work every morning. Whatever the situation, this mini-date every day will provide you with an extra opportunity to connect and know that you’re thinking of each other.

Be present

Being present is vital to keeping the love alive. Be there. When you’re together, be involved, be aware, be part of the conversation. If you’re engaging your phone instead of your partner, you’re sending a very clear message that he or she is not important. When spending time together, be conscious of where your mind is. When not present, there is a clear distance that will begin to tear apart your relationship.

Be kind, be loving, and be supportive. Love is a such a beautiful thing, and we need to care for it as best as possible…Keep the love alive!

novelty | keep the love alive | love | relationships | hope

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xx,

Paula

How to Say Goodbye to an Unhealthy Relationship

Being in an unhealthy relationship can break your spirit, but so can saying goodbye…

You’ve found yourself in a relationship that makes you unhappy. In a relationship that is no longer fulfilling. In a relationship that is unhealthy for you. Are you ready to abandon ship?

Sure, but how?

Living through the cycles of an unhealthy relationship is very familiar to me. Deciding to quit the person you love, or think you love, is a struggle that I wish on no one.  Not only are you internally battling yourself, but making your way out will most likely cause a scuffle.

The decision to leave the relationship, in and of itself, is tough. You start to look back at all the great times you’ve had together and wonder how you’ll survive without your beau by your side. You count all the months and years you’ve spent building a life together, and don’t want it all to go to waste. You reflect on all of the adventures you’ve had together, and just can’t imagine exploring the world with anyone else.

I know, I’ve been there. It’s hard to believe that you can wake up and not see your partners face. To hear a funny joke and realize that they’re not by your side giggling too. How can you live a day without the love of your life?

Guess what? Life goes on, and so will you.

Fear is not a valid reason to stay in an unhealthy relationship that makes you miserable and causes distress. Yes, you invested a lot of time. Yes, it will be hard to let go. Yes, you will heal and eventually find that life is better without this person.

You will be doing yourself a colossal disservice by staying in a relationship that is making you unhappy because you’re scared of the unknown. You deserve the best that life has to offer, and it’s up to you to advocate for your happiness and wellness…

10 Ways to Prep Yourself for Saying Goodbye to an Unhealthy Relationship:

1. Weigh the pros and cons

Make a list of all the good and bad things about your relationship. What aspects of your relationship are positive and give you happy feels? What aspects make you feel angry, sad, resentful, etc.? Are there things about your partner that drive you absolutely crazy? Or things that make you smile so hard your face feels like it’s going to fall off? If the bad things outweigh the good, you’ll need to reconsider where you stand…

2. Consider how often you’re happy

Once upon a time I thought that it was acceptable to be in a relationship where happiness was a distant concept. Now that I’m in a relationship where I feel happy at least 90% of the time, I know that happiness really isn’t an inaccessible notion. If you’re with the right person, in the right kind of relationship, you should be happy more often than not.

So, think about it: how often are you happy in your relationship?

3. Make final attempts

Know that you did everything you could to make it work. Improving communication, making changes and compromises, taking a break, going to counseling, etc. If after you’ve done literally everything to make it work, and it’s not—then it’s just not working. No regrets.

4. Don’t blame yourself

Relationships are a two-way street, and even though you may have done everything in your power, there’s a chance it still won’t work out. If someone really wants to be in a relationship, they will also do whatever it takes—you are not the only one to blame for the failure of your relationship. Remember—It takes two to tango.

5. Create a plan

Whether it’s looking for a new place to live, figuring out who gets custody of the dog, or deciding how to call it quits—have a plan.  Make sure that all of your bases are covered, especially if you two have any financial/legal ties.

6. Reach out to your support network

When in certain relationships, we become isolated or spend less time with friends and family. Reach out to the people you love. Rekindle those friendships and get together. If you feel comfortable doing so, let them know what you’ve been going through.

Break-ups are never easy, and you will need a tremendous amount of support during this transition. Know who to call, and who to count on. Be sure that you are well supported, because you’re going to need all the TLC you can get…

7. Know that you deserve better

Again, I know making a move as significant as this one is terrifying. You’re so doubtful, and fearful, and unsure of what the future will offer, but know that you deserve better than what you’re going through right now. Love is supposed to be a beautiful thing—and not just temporarily. Remind yourself that you deserve to be happy, even if that means finding happiness on your own first.

8. Take a trip to Muscle Beach

Always remember how strong and resilient you are. Regardless of the circumstances, you’ve made it this far. You’ve made it through a tremendous amount of hardship and struggle in life. You have what it takes to get through this—don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.

9. You will survive

Initially, things are going to suck. But know that you will be okay. You will survive this, and it will only make you stronger—so cliché, I know. Most importantly, don’t believe your partner when they say you’re nothing without them. You are everything you’ll ever need, plus some.

10. Embrace life & love yourself

Along with knowing that you deserve better, give yourself permission to experience joy again. Do the things that you once loved, and find new things that bring you pleasure. Be free of criticism and hurt, and live life in a way that is fulfilling. Love yourself.

If you don’t love yourself, no one else will be able to love you the way you deserve to be love.

unhealthy | relationships | saying goodbye | break-ups

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xx,

Paula

7 Reasons to Be Fearless When Dating

Dating and fear—I can’t even begin to imagine how many times fear has held me back in life.

What is fear? I mean, let’s really break it down.

Fear is having concern about actions that will cause a negative consequence or emotion. Whether it be shame, rejection, failure, or loss—the bottom line is that fear is keeping us from living life to its full potential.

Fear, as an emotion, or as a possible consequence, is also keeping us from taking risks and experiencing some of the most beautiful things life has to offer.

Fear can also keep us entrapped in places we don’t want to be—whether it’s in an unhealthy relationship, a lame job, or an negative living situation. Unfortunately, these issues are all too familiar among us millennials…

I’ve had my fair share of dreadful relationships. Ending things was always difficult, regardless of understanding why I absolutely needed to. Why, you might ask? Because I was scared. I was scared of being alone. I was scared of “never” meeting anyone else. I was scared of really getting to know myself outside of that relationship.

Walking away was always such a challenging and frightening action to take. But I overcame the fear, and I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. I was blessed with freedom, a clear path to walk, and the time to grow as an individual. Not to mention, I also had the opportunity to discover exactly what I was looking for in a partner.

Putting myself out there was terrifying. Letting my guard down, and allowing someone in was intimidating. Even though dating wasn’t always as pleasant as rainbow cupcakes, I learned something new on each and every date.

Before I knew it, I wasn’t scared anymore. I knew who I was, what I was looking for, and I became fearless. Once this happened, I found exactly who I was looking for.

There is nothing to be afraid of, and here’s why…

7 reasons to be fearless when dating:

1. There are no right or wrong answers

When dating someone new, there’s always the fear of texting too often or too soon, hanging out too often, or the concern with being rejected. But why keep the distance? If you know you’re into this person, why hesitate? There really are no right or wrong answers, just do what feels right…

2. Seriously, do what feels right

You always know what you should do, or what you want to do…you just choose not to because the fear is consuming you. If you want to text, or want to call, or want to hang out, make it happen. The only thing holding you back is you.

3. Put yourself out there

You are absolutely incredible. I know we all worry about what other people think, but at the end of the day, it’s all about how you feel about your decisions. Will you feel like you missed out on an awesome opportunity? Or will you feel so unbelievable proud of yourself for taking a risk and having the time of your life? It’s your call…

4. Be true to yourself

You should always be the priority. Do what’s going to make you happy. Your values are important, so honor them when making choices. Remember, it’s not about anyone else–it’s about you.

5. Have no regrets

Regret will forever burn a hole in your soul. You’ll never know if you don’t try, so give it a shot. There’s nothing worse than wondering “what if.”

6. Know when to call it quits

If you’re making an effort and taking mad risks, but that same effort is not being reciprocated, you may need to reconsider your dating choices. Relationships, as well as the initial stages of dating, are about give-and-take. Make sure to set limits and know when enough is enough.

7. Be confident

Be you and feel good about it—express your thoughts, opinions, and feelings openly and honestly. You shouldn’t fear being judged, and if you are, maybe it’s not the best fit. If this person is worth your time, he or she will not judge your actions and/or words, but rather, will find them valuable. Be comfortable, be confident, be honest, be you.

Nothing is sexier than confidence…

Let go of the fear and take risks. Allow your mind to be blown by the surprising, amazing, beautiful, exciting, and unexpected experiences life hands you…

Feel like you’re wasting time dating the wrong people? Consider these 10 tips while on your next date…

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xx,

Paula

Why to Appreciate the Lessons Failed Relationships Teach Us

What do you appreciate? It can be difficult to find value in the knowledge that lies before us…

A lot of people in my life continue to tell me that I’ve “never looked happier,” and it’s true. Happiness isn’t something that is just handed to us, but rather, something that we learn to recognize.

Why bad things happen usually makes zero sense—at the time. It can cause one to question life—to question why awful things happen to good people. Luckily, it is possible to find clarification overtime. Hindsight truly is 20/20.

My horrific story is one of love. Love is just one of those things that is so abstract, and each and every person has a different definition of love. The meaning can vary, and each individual receives love, gives love, and shares love in their own way. Sometimes the way we love isn’t compatible with who we think we love…

The vast majority of my love stories have been terrible ones. Stories of sorrow, and pain, and regret. From the cheaters, to the liars, and the controllers, it really couldn’t have been any worse. I always knew what I wanted in a partner, but I continuously found myself in relationships with the wrong men. Was I focusing on the wrong qualities? Was I doing something to attract these guys? I couldn’t quite understand how these men kept making their way into my life.

Although awful, if I hadn’t gone to hell and back, I don’t think I would appreciate my current relationship as much as I do.

My current relationship has been oh so sweet. Our love is one I never imagined could exist. I think I have been happier in the last year than in the last decade.

My current love interest and the men I dated in the past are different on so many levels, it’s insane. Don’t get me wrong—this is in no way a comparison, because there is no comparison. However, when I look back at past experiences, I cannot begin to believe that was the life I lived. How in hell did I put up with all of that bullshit for so long? Why did I do it? What was I thinking? I should have known better…what was wrong with me?

Now that I’ve had the opportunity to see how green the grass is on the other side, I have also learned to appreciate my past relationships. The hardship, believe it or not, was actually worth it. What I learned from those relationships, although temporarily painful, provided me with the permanent lessons that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

I find myself being more understanding, more giving, and sillier than ever before. The freedom that my beau and I have created in our relationship allows a level of comfort and joy that I have never experienced before. These joyful experiences make the horrible ones worth it. The terrible experiences I spent months recovering from, wishing them away each and every day, have forever changed my perspective on life and love.

Love isn’t about being with a person who seems to be a good fit, but rather, choosing someone who actually is a good fit. Choosing someone who fits you like a glove—finding your other half. Someone who can make you laugh uncontrollably. Someone who will push you on the swings at the beach. Someone who will rub your back when you’re not feeling well. Someone who knows what you’re going to say before you even say it.

Bad relationships absolutely have valuable lessons, and no matter how bad the pain, you will always learn something…

I had an unfortunate few years, and I initially wasn’t able to forgive myself for sticking around for so long. Now, however, I am able to appreciate my struggle and focus on the silver lining. Yes, it was a heartbreaking time in my life, but now I have the knowledge to avoid making those same mistakes again.

At the end of the day nothing is lost, but only gained. It is possible that sometimes the worst things aren’t the worst things after all. It’s possible to find beauty in our unfortunate and agonizing experiences…

appreciation | lessons learned | love | relationships

Going through a break-up? Check out our tips on how to best cope here

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xx,

Paula