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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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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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

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Paula

10 Signs You’re in an Unhealthy Relationship

Making a relationship work takes a lot of effort, especially an unhealthy relationship.

When you first start dating someone, the sky is bluer than ever, and there isn’t a thing in the world that can bring down your feelings of pure euphoria. The world if perfect, life is beautiful, and all of the birds are chirping a song of love specifically written for you.

Being with the right person is meant to be an exciting adventure full of joy and laughter. It’s meant to make you feel so full and happy that your heart feels like it’s going to burst. It’s a love that is only read about in fairytales and seen in films at the theatre.

New love makes you feel so warm and fuzzy inside—kind of like you’re living in an ice cream castle with rainbow unicorns frolicking through a field of sprinkles. Knowing that this person decided to love you makes you feel an over-the-moon type of joy.

REALITY CHECK: In an unhealthy relationship, things may only seem this way at first…

Yeah, even with all the cotton candy and fields of flowers you notice several things that rub you the wrong way, but you choose to ignore them. Why? Because he’s too perfect to be bothered by things that initially seem so insignificant.

Over time, things change. The warm and fuzzies slowly fade, and the “amazing” person you committed to doesn’t treat you so well anymore. It’s killer—it literally destroys your heart and soul. 

So you start to realize that love isn’t enough.

I was once in a relationship that took a similar course—a seriously downhill course. And let me tell you, it got worse than I could have ever imagined…

As many millennial women are today, I am educated, outspoken, and opinionated, however, my voice was stifled and what I had to say “didn’t matter.” Nonetheless, I continually fought for what I felt was right. After a long and hard internal (and external) battle, I finally decided to end things.

I had a hard time believing, like many other people in my life, that the man I thought was so right couldn’t have been more wrong

10 signs that you’re in an unhealthy relationship:

The power struggle

No matter what the situation, there’s always a battle for control. Decisions are not made jointly, but rather, solely by one person—typically your partner. When you decide to stand your ground, you find yourself in massive, destructive arguments. Nothing is solved, and you most likely feel hurt, frustrated, and unheard. 

The insecure partner

This can have a very serious effect on the relationship. Being with someone who is not comfortable in his or her own skin, or even worse, intimidated by your success, can be detrimental to both individuals and the relationship.

To feel better, your partner might say or do hurtful things that will imply that you are small or insignificant. Not only does this destroy the trust in your relationship, but it can also cause feelings of shame, resentment, and decreased self-esteem. Healthy? Don’t think so…

Not being the priority

Always being last in line on the list of important people is hurtful. When it comes to your partner’s life, it’s possible that everyone and everything is put before you and your relationship. Relationships should be built collectively, with you and your partner walking through life side-by-side. You are not meant to be an added character in your love story—you should be one of the leads. 

Constant arguing

You’re constantly bickering over little insignificant things, and discussions aren’t even an option because things escalate so quickly. Constantly communicating in a manner such as this one is not healthy, by any means.

One-sided compromising

In order to make your partner happy, you compromise. You begin to give up too much, and before you know it, you realize that you’re the only person making sacrifices. You wake up one day and you’ve lost sight of what you want and need.

If your partner loved you and respected your individuality, this wouldn’t happen. It takes two to tango, and it’s always a two-way street.

Losing yourself

Think of the Venn diagram—you give so much of yourself because you think it will benefit your relationship, but rather, you’re only chipping away at the parts that make you who you are—your interests, your goals, your happiness.

Couples are meant to grow with one another. In order to build a strong bond, relationships aren’t meant to crush existing aspects of each individual’s life. It is important to always maintain parts of your own identity. Refrain from adopting your partner’s identity and way of life, although they might desire it. Be sure to find a balance. 

Lack of communication

You express yourself, but it feels like you never actually said anything. It’s as though your voice, opinions, and needs don’t matter. This is absolutely unacceptable. It’s possible that your partner may not care enough to listen, or that he or she is simply unwilling to consider your needs.

Your voice is who you are—if your partner doesn’t take the time to hear you, they don’t deserve you.

Walking on eggshells

You find yourself constantly walking on eggshells. You will literally do anything to keep the boat steady and avoid an argument. Love is about being open, honest, and feeling comfortable and trusting enough to rock the boat. Thoughts and feelings are meant to be heard, respected, and nurtured, not suppressed.

Questioning yourself

Everything you say is either ignored or questioned, so you begin to think twice about your choices. Whether needing to second-guess your words or actions, or wondering if you should even speak at all, you consider the possible negative effects and if an issue might arise.  

Resentment

Ah, resentment—the game-changer. Before you know it, you’re in a love-hate relationship—the kind that makes you feel stuck. Is it the love or hate that’s sticking? Which is it?

The take away here is that love isn’t enough. Know when to cut your losses and save yourself. If someone isn’t willing to make you a priority, hear you, and love you, it’s time to take care of yourself…

**Abuse or mistreatment of any form is not okay. If you ever need help or have concerns about a loved one, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline

Decided to walk away and end your relationship? Let’s talk about how to best cope with a break-up

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Paula

Don’t Waste Time: 10 Things to Consider When Dating

Dating can take up a significant amount of time.

Time is of the essence. Even though I’m not dating anymore, I remember what it was like to sift through online profile after online profile, and chat it up with all the fellas that approached me. I literally went on what felt like a million first dates. Needless to say, I met the love of my life when I least expected it, and he was totally worth the wait.

Even though I’m no longer on the market, I continue to support my friends that are in the dating game. When we talk about what they’re looking for, what questions to ask, and what they should consider when dating someone new, I always share my dating tips with them. What tips you might ask? The ten golden rules that will keep you sane and on track.

Time is valuable, and it is not to be wasted. So what is it that you need to ask yourself when dating someone new?

To avoid wasting time when dating, consider these 10 things:

1.Are they into you?

First off, you’ll know when someone is into you. If for some reason you’re not sure, ask. If you two are not on the same page, that’s okay—word on the street is that we only get one soulmate, and this person just isn’t it.

2. Go after the one who wants you

I cannot emphasize how important it is to spend time with someone who feels the same way that you do. The chasing game is not pleasant, so please don’t put yourself in that position. Spend time with someone who shows a mutual interest, and is willing to invest time and effort. Trust me, it makes dating so much easier and significantly more fun.

3. Communication

Communication can be super tricky at the start of something new. Unfortunately, there is such a negative connotation associated with being “needy” or “clingy.” Doing what feels right for you, regardless of it potentially coming off as “clingy” or not, is the way to navigate the waters here.

Reciprocate communication if it’s mutual, and remain responsive. However, if the other person isn’t making an active effort of contact, it’s probably time to move on. You definitely don’t want to end up have conversations with yourself via text…

4. Go with the flow

Sometimes you may not hear from someone you’re newly dating for a few days, and that’s okay. Being open-minded and going with the flow is the best way to handle a situation such as this. I’m not saying that ghosting is okay by any means, but sometimes things come up. Just continue to live your life as is, and if this person wants to be a part of it, they will find a way to make that happen. If not, nothing is lost.

5. Wondering if you’re good enough

Don’t ever question your self-worth. No one has the right to make you feel like less of a person, or make you doubt how awesome you are. If this person is going to make you feel bad about yourself, in any way, it’s probably best to say goodbye…

6. Be real

Always be yourself.  Open and direct communication when starting a new relationship is of the utmost importance. Honesty is the best policy, and this will allow you and your date the chance to see if you are compatible. Not to mention, you’ll be able to figure out if you two want the same things. Be the real you, and see how things flow naturally.

7. Time is of the essence

If you feel that there’s a special connection, take the time to get to know your date. But if after a few meetings you two are not seeing eye-to-eye on topics or values that are very important to you (i.e. human rights, politics, family, religious beliefs, etc.), don’t waste your time.

8. Is it a deal breaker?

Okay, so you like this person, and there’s an obvious connection. However, you notice some red flags. The question is if you can actually live with these differences. Compromise is crucial and necessary in any relationship, but some compromises, or “sacrifices,” are just too big. You’ll need to consider if it’s something you’re willing to deal with on an ongoing basis.

Remember, people don’t change. If you can’t accept a person and their flaws as is, things may not work out in the long-run… 

9. Calculate the risk

Dating can help you make an educated and calculated decision. Are you willing to invest in this relationship? Is it a safe bet? Or is it an investment that you expect to crash and burn? Sometimes things like needing to “chase” someone, or having different values, is an explicit sign that it’s going to crash and burn. 

10. Listen to your body

Listen to your gut—what’s it telling you? Are the butterflies due to excitement or anxiety? Is something off? Or is it just that you’re really looking forward to your date? Basically, do you want this person in your space? If you answered yes, that’s great. If you’re not looking forward to this person being around during the honeymoon phase, you probably won’t want them around 2, 3, or 10 months from now…

No matter what, have fun and don’t give up!

dating | time | don't waste time | love | relationships

Is dating burning you out? Check out these tips on how to give your body some TLC.

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xx,

Paula

Nine Ways to Quit Negative Thinking

We all do it. It’s ok. I’m guilty of it too. Negative thinking is one of those things that happens, sometimes more often than not. It can be because you’re hard on yourself, because others are hard on you, or because life has previously handed you some super sour lemons. Regardless of the reason, negative thoughts can be all consuming

Again, having some negative thoughts is normal; you’re only human. Nothing is perfect all the time. However, this negativity can quickly become a habit, and change the way in which you perceive the world around you. How can you appreciate anything if everything around you is so terrible?

Negative thinking can cause a great deal of dissatisfaction, even if things are going pretty well, generally speaking. Nothing is good enough. You’re not good enough. Everything is shit. Life is shit. Everyone is horrible. Why is this happening?

Well, it’s happening because once you go down that road of negativity, you find yourself in a downward spiral. It’s moving quickly, and you’re not quite sure when it started, how it started, or how to get out of it. You are angry, and your outlook on life is one that is, for lack of a better word, unhealthy. It’s time to make a change…

Here’s your step-by-step guide to working through negative thinking:

1. Stop and breathe

When you find a negative thought coming on, stop, take a deep breath, and try to breakdown what makes this a bad thing. Once you’re able to identify what’s causing the thought, it will allow you to understand why you feel the way you do.

2. Challenge the negativity

Challenge that negative thought with a positive one. Once you’ve mastered step one listed above, you can take that negative thought and replace it with a positive one—if this is difficult at first, try replacing it with a neutral thought.

3. Look around

There are so many wonderful things in your life, and it’s important to identify a few positive things each day. Whether it’s how cute your dog is, to how amazing your SO is, or as simple as the plant on your kitchen counter that continues to bloom, take in the things that make life beautiful.

4. Know that you are enough

Positive affirmations are really important. Once you feel good about yourself, everything else will start to feel good too. As you’re getting ready for your day, say three positive things about yourself in the mirror. Do this each day for a few weeks, and you should begin to notice a change.

5. Do what you love

Bring joy into your life. The happier you are, the better life will feel. Do more of the things you love, with the people you love. Enjoy yourself.

6. Smile and welcome the unknown

Put your beautiful smile on, and be confident in the amazing things you bring to the world. Walk around with an open heart, and welcome what the world is offering you. Sometimes it’s the unexpected events that truly impact our lives for the better.

7. Acceptance

Accepting the things we cannot control, although easier said than done, will allow room for personal growth and the ability to appreciate things for what they are. Try to find the silver lining in every situation. It’s true that every bad comes with good, and vice versa.

8. Get your cleanse on

Misery loves company. If you want to make a positive change in your life, sometimes that means cleansing your life of all negative things…including people. Surround yourself with those who are positive, those who bring good to your life, and those who bring out the best in you…

9. Appreciate more

Appreciate the things life has provided you. Once you learn to let go of the negative thinking and focus on the positive things in your life, you will feel more fulfilled. With so much good, you will be less likely to focus on the negative things.

Focus on the good, challenge the negative, and remember all of the things you have been blessed with. Life is beautiful…

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xx,

Paula

Don’t Settle: Why You Should Wait for The One

I know. It’s literally the most cliché thing ever, but seriously, don’t settle. Wait for “the one” because it’s so worth it

As we get older and into our twenties and thirties, society tells us that it’s time to settle down. This message is clearly conveyed to us by the abundance of invitations in our iCalendar for weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, and well, whatever other cheesy crap goes on.

You get dressed, put a smile on, walk in without a date, because you’d much rather fly solo than walk in on the arm of the douche of the week…

I literally did this for two years. TWO YEARS. It did feel much longer than that, however, due to my ex basically being non-existent emotionally. He was just a warm body and not much else. Zero fun.

Anyway, I went on date after date with plenty of handsome, intelligent, successful men, all while trying to ignore the thought that my clock was ticking. Literally all of my friends were getting married—I guess that meant I should also be aiming for that? Everyone in my life was asking if I had met someone wasn’t helping either. Even with all of the pressure, I refused to settle.  

None of these lovely dudes were the right dude. And even though we had fun, and laughed, and these fellas had plenty to offer, it still wasn’t enough—something was missing.

Remember that puzzle I talked about last week? And how when you find your missing piece, everything kind of comes together? Yeah, that happened after two years of dating. From the moment we sat down with that first bottle of Cabernet we shared, I knew there was something about him. Something special. There was a spark.

Regardless of my excellent ability to self-sabotage, I managed to stick it out. With this, I was lucky enough to find my one. Again, I really believe that life provides you with exactly what you need at exactly the right time. If I would have settled at some point in my dating adventure, there’s a chance he and I would have missed our opportunity.

Here’s what it feels like when you find the one:

You feel it in your gut

Things just feel right. I can’t quite explain it, but every part of you is drawn to this person. It’s kind of magnetic…

Things are easy

No fighting, no games, things just flow. Every couple has their issues, but it goes back to that 90/10 rule I wrote about a while ago. You should be happy wayyy more often than not.

Your lives mesh well

You like to do the same things, your social circles click, your families are basically in love, it just works.

The attraction is real 

I’m not just talking about a physical attraction, but your energies really connect. Energies find similar energies. Again, you just vibe.

Support

You will find yourself in a supportive environment. It’s most likely working because you guys value the same things. With this, your partner will be your biggest fan—the one who supports you the most. What’s the point of being in a relationship if the person by your side isn’t willing to stand by you?

Your love language

You will most likely have the same love languages. If you don’t know what your languages are, you can take the test for free here. Trust me, it’s worth the time!

You can’t imagine life without them

Even after a short period of time, you can’t imagine what life was like before sharing your experiences with this person. How was it possible to live, or exist, without them? It just seems insane…

Everything is better with them

Literally, everything. They improve your life just by being in it. You can’t wait to share news with them, and all you can think about when leaving the office is getting home to them. The level in which this person enhances your life is substantial, and being able to have this for possibly ever because you chose not to settle is just beyond comprehension.

You’ll know when you’ve found the one…don’t settle, and don’t lose hope. It’s all about timing…

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xx,

Paula

Love is Not Created Equal

Love is one of those things that comes in all different shapes and sizes, and it’s never the same. Each piece is different, and definitely not created equal.

Have you ever been in love? Or thought you were? Where you feel like your heart is going to burst because you love the person standing by your side so much? Yeah, I’ve been there. Been there, and done that. Twice. The difference, however, is why one relationship lasted and the other didn’t. One was corrupt, and the other wasn’t.

Love can be an evil-eyed monster sometimes. It can be so intense that it literally feels like you’re dying inside. It’s the kind that makes you sacrifice your needs, your happiness, and your wellness just to make the other person happy. A love that is miserable and viciously demanding—it’s simply the worst.

That was the first kind of relationship I had. Where I loved so much that it turned to hate—eventually some of that was me hating myself.

I took so much away from who I was and what I wanted. What I thought was me “loving” someone else was actually slowly chipping away at me.

Now, I’ve been lucky enough to find a love that is the complete opposite. A love that I gladly give, unconditionally, because I know I will receive the same. A love that makes me smile, and feel full, and laugh uncontrollably all the time. One that is so selfless and passionate, that my heart feels like it’s going to burst.

A love that provided me with the support and care I needed to be a better human being. A love that gave me the hope and courage to pursue my dreams. One so strong that it would stand by me no matter what.

This is my definition of love. This is what I expect and need to have a successful relationship. How I was lucky enough to find it? I have no idea.

So take time to think about what you need in a relationship. Is it the type that will make your heart feel so full that it’s going to explode from all the joy? It could be the type where you and your partner just can’t bear to be apart? Or the type that will allow you a great deal of space and the ability to be as selfish as you need? Each person requires something different, and as long as you and your partner are on the same page, it will fit.

Love is like a puzzle. Once you find your missing piece, it literally feels like your whole life has come together.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d always felt very fulfilled: I have great friends, a wonderful career, and an abundance of adventures to look back on. But still…something was missing.

I came to find that my missing piece was sharing my life with someone who wanted the type of loving feels I was able to give, and vice versa. A person who has the same values and goals. A person who enjoys the same lifestyle.

Basically, it’s all about that puzzle—when it fits, it fits. When you know, you know.

Don’t settle for anything less…

xx

-Paula

To learn more about how I found my love, click here!