Relationships Are Hard, But Why?

Couple in the Park

It’s been a very busy few months for all of us at Ladies Again. I joined a salsa dance team (to learn how to be more feminine, of course) and African Femininity started a fabulous new job. We’re also in the process of bringing on new writers to Ladies Again, so that is exciting!

Sometime in the last month, through the rush of all of the things going on in my life, I set aside some time to watch a short TED Talk called “Relationships Are Hard, But Why?” While watching the video, I had an epiphany: So much about what we’ve written on Ladies Again has been about attracting the right person and learning to be more feminine for that person, that it never occurred to me that it was possible that we could be the cause for our own negative relationship issues. I never realized that early childhood attachment issues could re-emerge during adulthood. According to Dr. Stan Tatkin, the TED Talk speaker, attachment issues have the power to negatively influence our ability to maintain healthy functioning relationships.

Dr. Tatkin defines people as anchors, waves and islands. Those individuals who are waves and islands experienced insecure attachment relationships during their formative first years. He defines the three groups in the following ways (summarized by Clinton Power):

Characteristics of Islands

People who are islands tend to:

  • like to be alone, enjoy their own space
  • have been raised to be self-sufficient and tend to avoid people
  • learn early on not to depend on people
  • often feel crowded in intimate relationships
  • be in a world of their own
  • self-soothe and self-stimulate
  • not turn to others for soothing or stimulation
  • find it hard to shift from being alone to interacting
  • under express their thoughts and feelings
  • process a lot internally

Characteristics of Waves

People who are waves tend to:

  • feel a great deal with their emotions
  • have strong attachments in childhood, but they were inconsistent
  • have helped soothe a parent or both parents who were overwhelmed
  • have felt rejected or turned away by one or both parents
  • focus on external regulation: asking others to help them soothe them
  • find it hard to shift from interacting to being alone
  • over-express and like to talk about all the details
  • stay in close physical contact to others
  • often think they are too much and nobody can tolerate them

Characteristics of Anchors

People who are anchors tend to:

  • come from a family where there was an emphasis on relationships
  • have experienced justice, fairness and sensitivity in their family
  • love to collaborate and work with others
  • read faces, voices and deal with difficult people well

Do any of these descriptions sound familiar? Read more in Tatkin’s illuminating book “Wired for Dating.”

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Is He the Right Guy to Date? Skip the Men Who Party Too Much

The Adicts at SO36. Kreuzberg-Berlin

What’s one of the best ways to figure out if a man is ready for marriage? Ask him how much he enjoys drinking and going out to bars. In one of the greatest books ever written on dating, researcher John T. Molloy argues in “Why men Marry Some Women and Not Others” that the best-suited men for relationships and marriage are those who have already grown tired of the singles scene in bars and nightclubs.

In the book, Molloy and a team of researchers interview men and women just leaving marriage license bureaus to learn more about the similarities between marriage-minded people. Their findings are startling and eye-opening. One of the findings from the research shows that marriage-minded men are those who have grown out of the singles scene.

Man binge drinking.
This guy probably isn’t thinking about marriage and kids.

“Many men reluctantly admitted that for more than a year, they had felt uncomfortable in the singles world where they had been hanging out for the past five years,” Molloy said. “It is not how old they are that makes men uncomfortable, it is how old they feel, or how old others make them feel. Once a man decides he’s too old for the singles scene, that part of his life is over, and he is more likely to marry.”

So, it’s in your best interest to avoid dating men who love to party because those men are probably not ready to settle down. I’ve experienced this personally. I dated an older man who had absolutely no interest in giving up the bar and partying scene. Going out partying with his boys week after week was just as much a priority to him as spending time with me or with his family. I now know to look specifically for men who are getting bored by the club and bar scene.

The book also provided tips on other ways to find marriage-minded men, including:

There is a specific age range when a man is ready to get married

  • A man whose education ended at the high school level is looking to get married at ages 23 or 24. Similarly, a man whose education ended at the college level is looking to get married at age 26. When men earn graduate degrees, expect that they will want to get married in their late 20s or early 30s.
  • “Ninety percent of men who have graduated from college are ready for the next step between ages twenty-six and thirty-three…But this window of opportunity stays open only for four to five years, and then the changes a man will marry start to decline.” (3)
  • Aim for men who are between ages 28-33.

There are “Stringer” Men Who Have no Intention of Marrying Anyone

  • Have you ever met a man who told you that he’s had several long-term relationships? That man is likely a “Stringer,” a man who enjoys the companionship of women, but has no interest in committing long-term to one specific person.
  • “A stringer is a man who strings women along….He often tells women, up front, he never intends to marry, so if and when he decides he wants to cut out, she has no reason to complain.”(11)
  • Make a deadline for the stringer to commit: “If he doesn’t commit to you within six months, get rid of him….He may tell you that you’re coming on too strong. He may complain that the two of you haven’t been going together long enough, that he doesn’t know, that he hasn’t made up his mind. In fact, he is likely to tell you anything that will get you to stick around without his needing to make a commitment. Don’t fall for it. The chances a stringer will marry are very slim; he is simply not the marrying kind.”

Some Men are Bachelor’s for Life

  • If you are dating a man in his late forties, it is likely that he will never get married. It is a much better idea to date a man in that age range who has been widowed or divorced, than to marry an older man who has never gotten married.
  • “Once men reach age forty-seven to fifty without marrying, the chances they will marry do not disappear but they drop dramatically.” (10)

Many Men Hate Women

  • Finally, there is a special group of men to avoid—those that think that the majority of women are gold-digging whores. These men distrust women, and think that there are no benefits to getting married (never mind that marriage is the best way to provide a stable home for children or that very few cohabiting relationships tend to last more than a few years).
  • Many men look at women and marriage as poor financial investments. “The irony is that many of the men who spoke this way really didn’t have all that much anyway…If a man talks of marriage as a financial game in which women are out to make their fortunes, don’t just walk away—run! Such men are hardly ever going to be the marrying kind.”

Other Points to Remember

  • Think long and hard about dating someone whose parents had a tumultuous marriage or divorce. Not everyone who has experienced family issues at home are damaged goods obviously, but you should pay attention to how he feels about marriage and divorce.
  • See if he has friends who have are married. If all of his friends are living the single life, he probably will not want to get married yet.
  • Check to see if you have the same values. “Men often marry women whose backgrounds—religion, politics, values, socioeconomic status—match theirs. “Are you both from the same socioeconomic class? Do you belong to the same religion?
  • See if he lives alone because men who live as independent adults are more likely to marry.

Have you ever wasted time on the wrong guy? Talk about it below!

 

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The Only Effective Way to Lose Weight

Photo by Torbak Hopper via flickr

The U.S. weight-loss industry earned $20 billion in 2012, which included diet books, diet drugs and weight-loss surgeries. And yet, the number of obese Americans officially outnumbers the number of overweight Americans. We are at epidemic levels of obesity: 68 percent of all Americans are obese or overweight. What is causing this disconnect? It could be that Americans are looking for weight loss answers in all of the wrong places. As a college nutritional science student, I talk about weight-loss strategies and treatments nearly everyday, and I know that there are several indisputable factors that contribute to obesity. Let’s ignore all of the trendy fad diets and weight loss products dominating the weight loss conversation today and talk about weight loss strategies that actually work.

Weight loss is a subject that we at Ladies Again are interested in because health status greatly impacts an individual’s value in the dating and marriage market. It is simple: Healthy, successful men want to date, marry and reproduce with healthy women who can produce and raise healthy offspring. In general, people are looking for partners who will live long and healthy lives, not shortened lives muddled by the consequences of obesity, such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and liver and kidney diseases (obesity may shorten life expectancy up to 14 years). Not to mention that obesity adds up to expensive medical bills (someone has to pay for the doctor’s appointments and medications for diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol). In sum, losing weight is very challenging, but doing so significantly boosts your overall health and value in the dating market. Weight loss is hard, but always worth the effort.

So what causes obesity? Obesity is caused when the amount of energy inputted into the body exceeds the energy released by the body. It is that simple. When excess fat is consumed and not used, the body stores the fat in fat cells of the adipose tissues. As the fat cells accumulate they expand in size. When the excess fat exceeds the fat cells, it is distributed and deposited in vital organs, such as the heart and the liver, which leads to heart failure and fatty liver. The wonderful thing about the body is that is highly adaptable, so when excess fat is consumed, the fat cells increase in number and expand to accommodate. Unfortunately, this also means that when we lose weight, the fat cells only shrink in size, but never in number. This is why people with excess fat tend to regain lost weight rapidly because their fat cells readily fill. This means that we must work very hard to make sure that excess fat cells do not develop.

Aside from genetic variants, there are two major factors for obesity: high overall caloric intake (high proportion sizes) and physical inactivity. Humans have developed to hunt for our meat or walk long distances for fruits and vegetables. Now, it takes no effort to order a Big Mac or a pizza―you don’t even have to leave your house anymore to order food (we really should say “food” in quotation marks since we’re talking about foods filled with trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup and white flours). Unfortunately, high-caloric food is always within close range, and Americans eat this food in abundance. Second, Americans rarely exercise―we drive to our homes, where we eat pizza on the couch while watching television. There is a misconception that humans need to only exercise 30 minutes per day to stay healthy. “People must be physically active if they are to eat enough food to deliver all the nutrients they need without unhealthy weight gain,” wrote Whitney and Rolfers in Understanding Nutrition. To prevent weight gain, the Dietary Reference Intakes recommends 60 minutes of moderately intense (get that heart rate beating) exercise each day. Per day. More exercise is recommended if losing weight is the goal.

There’s a lot of incorrect weight loss advice floating around. The problem with fad diets is that they are difficult to sustain long-term and often promote inadequate diets (our bodies need a certain amount of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats per day to function). Lose weight too quickly, and you risk losing muscle tissue instead of fat, which is dangerous and defeats the point of dieting to maintain optimal health.

So how do you lose weight the safe way? Try these effective nutritional and physical activity strategies:

Nutrition

Set Reasonable Goals
Understand and accept that losing weight is a challenge, and it is dangerous to lose weight too quickly. The safe rate for weight loss is 0.5 to 2 lbs (or 0.2 or 0.9 kg) per week; or 10 percent of body weight every six months.

Reduce Energy Intake
Obesity is caused by an energy imbalance, where more energy is being consumed than expended. So to lose weight safely, a person must increase activity and reduce food intake by creating a deficit of 300 to 500 calories per day (for people with a BMI of 27 to 35). This will produce a weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week, which will make sure that you lose fat but also retain your lean muscle tissue.

Retail Shelf Photo
Shop on the outskirts of the grocery store to avoid junk food.

Emphasize Nutritional Adequacy
Each day, healthy humans need to eat a certain amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats to maintain bodily functioning. Out of all of the calories we consume, 45-65 percent should be carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, whole grains), 20-35 percent should be fats and 10-35 should be protein. You need a balance of all three nutrients.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABCDEFGH[/youtube]Fad diets that tell dieters to reduce carbohydrates never work because we need good carbs to function properly. Too little carbohydrates isn’t good because the body takes proteins and turns them into glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis. Your brain and muscles need glucose from carbs to function! Also, the body cannot process too much protein, so our bodies excrete the amino acids through our urea (this puts stress on our kidneys).

Try to eat a diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and lean protein, such as turkey or seafood. So to lose weight, simply consume less of all of the food you eat, but continue to eat a balanced diet. Do not reduce your proportion of carbohydrates, proteins or fat―only reduce your total caloric intake.

Shop Differently
Bigbox grocery stores tend to put packaged foods in the center of the store. Excluding whole grain pastas and jarred vegetables, most of the valuable nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, lean meats and dairy products are located on the outskirts of the grocery store aisles; the junk foods are all in the center. Try shopping by avoiding the center aisles of your grocery stores. Or simply try shopping at farmer’s markets. Finally, get in the habit of reading nutritional labels. Check for processed sugars, “natural flavors” (which are actually just fragrances) and artery-clogging trans fats.

Minor Tips

A few other nutritional changes you can make:

  • Eat slower: Allow your body to tell your brain that you have reached satiety and are full. Fast eating correlates with higher weights.
  • Drink water: Try to go one week by just drinking water to quench your thirst and nothing else. Why? Because sugar-sweetened beverages have been closely linked to obesity. Also, water, increases fullness and reduces hunger, and consequently reduces energy intake.
  • Don’t eat 3 hours before bed: Your body needs time to process your meal, so don’t eat too late at night.

Finally, think of your body as a temple. Dismiss and ignore empty caloric drinks and snacks. You have too many life goals and things to offer than to put a 700-calorie burger in your body. Your body is too precious to treat it like a garbage can. Remember that the next time you pass by a cupcake shop.

Read Next: Why You Are Failing At Work-Life Balance

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How You Can Avoid Dating Fatigue and Find Quality Men

couple-love-water-summer. Pexels image
couple-love-water-summer. Pexels image
Photo by Pexels.

Earlier, in a previous article, I celebrated the fact that San Francisco is overflowing with single, educated and wealthy eligible bachelors. I may have spoken too soon. Since I moved to the Bay Area a few months ago, I have met more flaky, unreliable and beta men than I can count. Sure, there is a large quantity of single men in California, but there seems to also be a shortage of masculine and relationship-minded men in the area. It’s a little too easy to find drunk tech bros who are looking for easy sex. So how is a single, traditional woman going to find a stable traditional man in the land of work-obsessed passive men?

To get help in the dating arena, I reached out to a dating and relationship expert at PracticalHappiness.com. In the interview below, one dating coach teaches women how to find quality men, increase their femininity and find success with online dating:

How did you become a dating coach?

I was inspired by dealing with my own challenges. I was a virgin until 21 and had to overcome just about every insecurity and dating issue―from bad acne and a fear of approaching girls to being controlling, jealous and possessive. I was eager to share my discoveries of what I found to be effective vs. useless as far as dating advice goes after reading so many books, attending so many seminars, watching and listening to so many programs and also reflecting on my own experiences. I offer free articles, videos, small fee-audio programs and books, dating coaching by phone and in person, dating profile review and editing, as well as my favorite―being (undercover) present during first dates and critiquing them later.

Today’s dating marketplace can be frustrating for traditionally-minded women, i.e. those women who prefer to be in long-term loving relationships as opposed to hooking up with strangers and prefer to date masculine stable men, as opposed to feminine ones. What can traditional women do to attract men who share their traditional values?

I think the most important thing women can do to attract traditional men is to develop and showcase their traditional qualities and behavior―not to be too aggressive or too “independent.” Confidence is good, but too much confidence can be off-putting and much worse than any insecurity. A woman who sounds like a CNN anchor is hardly a turn-on to a traditional guy. In addition, knowing how to cook, and not talking about work and career all the time can be quite helpful too.

Where should women go to meet those men? What kind of qualities should women look for in potential suitors?

I believe that these type of men are more likely to be found in churches/synagogues, as well as personal growth seminars and lectures, and graduate classes. Live theater is also great. Some women assume that only ultra-religious guys go to churches, but that’s not the case. I have gone a few times out of curiosity and was really surprised by the very friendly and open vibe that many such events have. These types of places not only attract more of the “right” men but they also likely to not attract the less serious kind who usually lean more toward happy hour drinking, baseball watching, etc…

Most women today limit their social outings to overpriced restaurants, and as we all know, nothing really happens there besides a few careful glances here and there. There is no opportunity or a meaningful reason for interaction, let alone connection.

What can women do to better showcase their femininity while dating? How can they increase their level of femininity on a daily basis?

On a daily basis women should avoid bragging or sounding too full of themselves. They should avoid being overdressed or using too much make up, and they should also avoid the other extreme―tattoos, piercings, sloppy hair. You don’t need to look like a runway model, but you also don’t need to look like a Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. Softening a voice is very helpful too. Working out is great, but looking over-the-top athletic like GI Jane is also not feminine. Most of us guys do not like to see triceps and six- packs on a woman.

When dating, women should show they guy that they like when he is taking charge and making the small decisions for them (where to go out, what to order, etc…). Little things like fixing a guy’s collar, asking him what he would like to eat, and showing him that you enjoy pleasing him is very effective.

A lot of women are participating in online dating to meet men. How can women date effectively online? How can women enhance their online profiles?

Women should do two things when it comes to online dating:

(1) Make your profile stand out by removing all the clichés statements such as: “I like to play hard and work hard,” lose any type bragging about how accomplished and successful you are, and not sound too over-the-top happy and positive to the point of being unrealistic and non-genuine. When it comes to photos, lose all the skydiving, rock-climbing, snowboarding and yoga pose photos. There are just too many of them. A boring office photo in a flattering, fitting business outfit might just be refreshing considering what all the other women post. Remember, you want the attention to be on you; not on the Grand Canyon or Eiffel Tower behind you.

(2) Talk with a guy on the phone first before you meet to avoid meeting countless strangers after just a few texts or e-mails. This is something huge that I believe people are missing out on today. You want to look forward to the guy you are meeting after you talk on the phone with him. And if you don’t feel that way after a phone conversation, you shouldn’t be meeting him at all. Of course, a phone conversation is not a guarantee that you will like each other in person, but it’s a very good start.

Is it possible for traditionally-minded women to make it clear in their online dating profile that they are looking only for long-term relationships? What is the best way to tell a man that you do not want to have sex early?

I don’t think stating in the profile what you are looking for and what you are looking to avoid is very effective. Players cast their net wide so it won’t make much of a difference. One thing that can be done is not posting photos that are too provocative should be somewhat helpful in at least not attracting too many of those guys who are going through profiles super quickly and just looking for women who have the sexiest pictures.

What is dating fatigue and how can it be avoided?

Dating fatigue is a state where you become unexcited about dating because of a large number of dates in a short period of time that didn’t go anywhere. Once going on dates feels more like work than fun, then you know you have a dating fatigue. It can be avoided by not going on this many dates this often and by being pickier―i.e. by only going out with those guys who you established some kind of connection with on the phone first.

What are your thoughts on the phenomenon called “ghosting”, when men (and women) would rather disappear than have to tell someone that they are no longer interested in dating them? What is the best way for a person to tell someone that they are dating that they are no longer interested?

Ghosting is the easiest way out, so it’s not surprising that it’s so popular. I think a simple text “I don’t think we are a good match, best of luck to you” is much better, and it will save the other person days or weeks of wondering what’s going on and whether you will contact them again, and it only requires a minimal amount of work and courage.

What are the top dating mistakes that people make?

Looking unapproachable in casual situations when there should be a good opportunity to meet someone in real life, talking about work on dates too much, being afraid to be sarcastic or negative on dates every now and then when appropriate, which makes them come across as less real, bragging, talking too much, talking about themselves too much, and trying to figure out whether there is chemistry in 30 minutes without giving an interaction a more meaningful chance.

Any other dating pointers?

Yes, don’t try to act too busy or too unavailable. It doesn’t flatter you or makes you more attractive, but only creates additional obstacles. Forget about being a challenge. It might have worked a decade ago, but not anymore. Today, we like those more who like us. Not being flaky and being punctual will set you apart from others in this progressively more flaky world. Don’t be afraid to have real conversations and skipping the boring small talk. Don’t hurry with the “what do you do” types of conversations. Don’t discuss your online dating stories―that’s what friends do; not potential partners.

Need personalized dating coaching? Email PracticalHappiness at admin[at]practicalhappiness[dot]com or complete a contact form at PracticalHappiness.com.

Read more: Are You Living in the City of Love?

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Ladies Shut Their Mouths

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I like to talk, like a lot. Especially if I’m dating a guy that I connect with. One of the best parts of being in a relationship is being able to have honest and intimate conversations with a person who knows you better than you even know yourself. But I, like a lot of young women, had to learn the hard way that everything should not be shared with a man, your coworkers or your relatives. There is such thing as polite conversation.

In her book “Commonsense Etiquette,” Marjabelle Young Stewart argues that unpleasant conversation causes undue stress to others. She writes:

I find that the best table conversations, whether for a family dinner or a formal one, are those that are of interest to most or all the people at the table and that have elements of humor or surprise. I try to avoid subjects that are unpleasant and likely to cause distress or argument. Detailed recountings of the mundane events of the day probably won’t add much to a meal, but amusing stories and bits of news will.

Etiquette bookIn other words, be pleasant. At all times. Otherwise, you close doors to potential opportunities at work and with potential suitors. Since we are concerned with relationships at Ladies Again, here are a few things you should never discuss with a man you are interested in, as long as you live:

Bodily fluids. Why do so many women want to talk to men about their periods? I do not understand the logic of being gross with your man. No one wants to date a woman who talks freely about farting, burping or vomiting after a hard night of drinking with the girls. Polite conversation is for the man’s benefit, not yours, because you do not want to make him feel uncomfortable. I know that as a woman you probably feel comfortable enough with your spouse to discuss everything about your life, but trust me, he does not ever want to hear it. Save the conversations about bodily fluids with your mom, friends or gynecologist.

Your sexual history. In When Harry Met Sally, the two main characters casually joke over lunch about their previous sexual experiences. It was a cute moment in the film, but a scene like that never happens in reality. A man never wants to hear details about your previous sexual experiences. Remember, you are lady and you need to act accordingly. It is unacceptable for you to brag about the number of men you have slept with or discuss your reckless sexually fluid past. It is disgusting to do so because you are not, and will never be, one of the guys. For many men, it is just as grotesque for a woman to discuss her sexual escapades as it is for a woman to discuss her menstrual cycle.

Always keep your number of sexual partners close to your heart. Let’s remember that ladies keep their number of sexual partners low because they do not want to get emotionally attached or impregnated by the wrong man. Therefore, you should only be thinking about having sex with men who are in committed relationships with you. Second, you should avoid any conversation about past sexual partners. In general, if your number of sexual partners is already high, you will have to lie if the conversation comes up. Remember to play coy in bed; you have never tried crazy sex positions before and you have no idea how oral sex works.

Your past relationships. It is just in bad form to discuss past relationships as it is to discuss your sexual escapades. You do not want to make your current beau feel jealous or inadequate by blabbering about your exes. Or make him feel like he is dating used goods or community property. As far as you know, your ex-boyfriend is dead to you. Also, never discuss any crazy dates you have been on. From henceforth, all ex-boyfriends are now referred to “friends.” You did not go to that wedding with your ex-fiance, you went with a friend from college. All photos and videos of you with your ex-boyfriend must be destroyed.

Did I miss any other impolite conversation topics? Let me know in the comments below.

Read more: Go Ahead. Mail That Thank You Card

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7 Signs You’ve Already Lost the Guy

Woman with smartphone.

I’m on a strict dating regime where I am looking specifically for a man who would like to be married sometime in the near future. I have never slept around frivolously, but I have certainly wasted my time dating and hanging out with men who were not serious about long-term relationships (see the alpha male I dated here). I have been on maybe 15 dates in the last month, some good, some bad. Along the way, I have learned a few lessons from men circulating in the dating world.

Above all, I have learned that a man will show you immediately if he is interested in dating you for the long-term. Likewise, a person (even a friend!) will also show you very quickly if their intentions do not match with yours. You just have to pay attention to the following signs that they are not excited about the prospect of forming a relationship with you:

If he invites you back to his place multiple times, you have already lost the potential for a relationship. A man will make up any excuse to get a woman he is interested in to his bedroom. It is a telling sign if all of his date ideas involve doing something at his house. Let’s watch a movie at my place. I have to return my motorcycle helmet. I left my wallet upstairs. There is weed at my house. I need to check on my cat. (Note: Is it bad that I once fell for that last one? I really wanted to see the cat!). A lady would have communicated at some point on the first date that you want to take things slowly. Ladies say confidently “I don’t do casual” and respectable men listen and take heed. If a man pushes your boundaries and tries multiple times to get you back to his place, then you already know that he is only after the sex. If he brings up sex at all on the first date, it is already over.

If he is annoyed by your high standards for commitment, then he is not the guy for you. This is a good thing―now you know the kind of man that you are dating up front, within the first few weeks of dating. Better to know now than to sleep with him and get emotionally and physically invested in the relationship. True ladies have sex with men who are emotionally invested in them.

If he does not make plans to see you again, he does not care if he sees you again. You met a great man and you cannot wait to see him again. But how does he feel about you really? Pay close attention to how he asks you out on a second date. A man that is really interested in you will make plans for a second date during the first date. He will already have ideas about seeing you again. A guy who feels only so-so about you will get around to following up with you when he feels like it.

If he does not call you or return phone calls promptly, he is not excited to talk to you. A man that is truly interested in you will go out of his way to call you and hear your voice. If he does not care what you are doing on the weekend, he does not actually care about you on a relationship level. An interested man wants to know what you are doing during the week; a less-interested man may only call to find out when you are going to come over to his place to have sex. A less-interested man is only calling you for his own selfish reasons because he wants to know when you are coming over to please him. Additionally, a man that is not really into you will text you rather than call you. He will text once or twice a week, if that.

If he wants to split the check every time, he is not interested in acting as a provider. If he wants to split the check with you every time, you are just someone that he is hanging out with, not someone that he wants to provide for. Worse, if he insists that you pay your fair share every time, he might be a secret white knight Feminazi in disguise.

If he disappears for days at a time, he does not care about keeping you informed about his life. You do not have to talk to your date every day, but if you do not hear from him for days at a time, then he is not really interested in you. I once dated a guy who went missing for ten days without warning. His cell phone was off and he did not return my phone calls or text messages (allegedly, he was on a business trip; the relationship ended immediately after that experience). Pay particular attention to men who pull disappearing acts because you do not want to end up, for instance, pregnant and tied to an absentee father.

If he introduces you as a friend, he is not totally committed to the idea of dating you. Relationship titles matters because it helps both parties in a relationship understand how they are connected to one another. Additionally, men tend to be protective, so a man who is interested in you wants to know that you are loyal and committed to him. If he does not want to put a label on the relationship after weeks or months of dating, then he is not completely interested in you.

If he does not want to talk about the future, then he does not care about having a future with you. Men who are interested in marriage and kids will not panic when you bring up those subjects.

When men show any of these signs, the potential for a relationship is already gone. It is then time for you to move on and begin to date someone new. So really, it is not that you’ve lost the guy, but that he has already lost you.

Read more: All You Need to Know About Fine Dining

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Why Do Women Think There Are No Good Men?

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It’s early in the morning, and the nation’s worker bees have started their daily treks to their desks and cubicles. Somewhere deep in the depths of an underground tunnel in one of America’s urban cores, a well-manicured young woman is shuffling through a subway system. Another day, another long journey to the office. She makes eye contact with a suited young male commuter across the aisle. She awakens a little. Wow, a handsome man on the train! She wonders if he is single and holds her gaze. He doesn’t return the glance and looks down to read his newspaper. She thinks to herself, Why don’t I have a boyfriend? What am I doing wrong? Where are all of the good men?

Group of women in photo
They can’t wait to talk about the ways that men suck.

She isn’t alone in wondering where all of the “good men have gone.” You do not have to look hard to find women at brunches, bars, parks, concerts and boutique shops griping about their perpetual state of singledom. From Los Angeles to D.C. to Miami, packs of lonely women are constantly talking about the dismal mating options available in today’s dating market. The complaints are usually the same: If a man is hard-working, tall and attractive, then he is a player who only wants sex; if he is kind and loving, he is tragically underemployed.

For the nation’s burgeoning power women, good men are hard to find, while Peter Pans are ubiquitous. (And to be fair, men are complaining about the dating market too, just in different ways. While women complain about opportunities to meet and date quality guys, men complain about the lack femininity and shallowness of the women that they do meet (see exhibits MGTOW and Red Pill)).

Let’s examine this dating phenomenon. Why does it seem as though good men are hard to find? It can’t be that there is a national shortage of men. In 2013, there are 105 million unmarried people in America who are 18 and older, and 47 percent of those U.S. residents were men (53 percent were women). So, single men are out there, though not all of them prefer to date women. Still, single men are not as rare as many female urbanites tend to believe. There are even a few major cities where single men outnumber women. So what gives? Why are women so frustrated with the dating market?

The short answer: Tremendous changes in family and work environments have created a world where marriage is delayed for years, avoided altogether, or sometimes replaced by cheaper substitutes, such as cohabitation. That’s the argument that writer Barbara Dafoe Whitehead makes in her illuminating book “Why There Are No Good Men Left: The Romantic Plight of the New Single Woman.” In her book, Dafoe writes:

Finding lasting love is never easy, but it seems to be especially hard for women today. Evidence of their romantic frustration is everywhere: in popular television shows like Will & Grace and Sex and the City; in the gargantuan appetite for self-help dating and relationships books; in the endless talkfests about men’s frailties and failings; in the hit movies and bestselling novels about 30-something single women’s search for Mr. Right; in a crop of articles and books on how to get over being dumped; in the explosion of Internet sites devoted to the search for love. Youth used to be the season of romantic love. Seemingly, it is now becoming the season of romantic discontent.

She argues that there are few public spots that women can go to meet men (when they are ready to do so). For previous generations, finding a suitable spouse was as simple as going to church, community functions or college. Families once entertained guests at private house parties. Now, thanks to busy work schedules, home entertaining is all but gone. Public bars have become de facto hook up spots. As a result, men and women are finding it difficult to meet quality partners.

Additionally, Dafoe argues that the dating and mating timetable for women has changed drastically in the last few decades thanks in part to the women’s movement. As women dedicate several of their early childrearing years to pursuing their education and careers, the time window for the pursuit of love has shrunken in size.

“For today’s young college-educated women, however, the sequence has been reversed: first comes satisfying work and then the search for a suitable life partner,” writes Dafoe.

Dafoe reminds readers that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for single women. She encourages women to remember three points while navigating the dating market:

  1. Try to find a mate through online dating. Contrary to the notions glamourized in romantic movies, the odds are that you are not going to run into your future life partner in a cafe or bookstore. And definitely not at a bar. In fact, very few people meet their spouses in random public places. In the past, you would have met a spouse at a respectable house party or social gathering. Since private social events are rare these days, it is a good strategy to meet other singles online. Search for men who indicate that they are looking for a spouse in their profile. Avoid hookup sites and apps, such as Tinder and OK Cupid, and instead try eHarmony, Match, and POF.
  2. Stop living with a spouse before marriage―it is wasted time and energy. Cohabitation is a much bigger time commitment than many people realize, especially if the relationship goes sour. There are better ways to get to know your spouse than to dedicate years of your life to a partner you are not fully committed to. We have explored the topic of cohabitation on multiple occasions, so read refreshers here and here.
  3. Try speed dating. Speed dating is a formalized matchmaking process of dating system whose purpose is to encourage people to meet a large number of new people. Get out there and head to as many single events as you can.

Read more: The Perfect Weight for Marriage

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Cosmo Magazine: Feminine or Not?

Kim Kardashian cropped.
Nicki Minaj covers Cosmopolitan magazine.
Sex is mentioned on nearly every issue of Cosmo.

Cosmopolitan magazine is not, in fact, a feminine magazine. The sad thing about this magazine is that it is so far from what its title describes, that it is disgusting. Many of the young, impressionable readers of this magazine are unaware of the actual definition of the word “cosmopolitan,” which is actually synonymous with words like “cultured,” “sophisticated,” “suave,” “urbane” and “glamorous.”

However, today’s question is not about whether or not Cosmo magazine is falsely advertising itself, but whether or not it is a feminine magazine.

Why are we asking this question?

Well, Ladies Again, is a place where we discuss femininity as it relates to women’s issues of the day. Unfortunately, many women today who are looking for womanly advice, turn to things like Cosmo to give them guidance about their issues. In fact, statista.com reveals that Cosmo magazine recently ranked as the number two top selling women’s lifestyle magazine in the UK (second only to Glamour), beating out magazines such as Women & Home and Good Housekeeping.

graphic display of top selling women's magazine shows Cosmopolitan as number two
top selling women’s magazines by statical rank from statista.com

Cosmo‘s own press kit reveals that it’s largest demographic is young women aged 18-24. It is number one among college women, distributed in over 100 countries and most of it’s readers are single, employed, college graduates.

image of graphical representation of cosmopolitan magazine demographic data
Cosmo’s press kit reveals it’s ability to influence young minds

If where we spend our money is truly an indication of our priorities, I believe the state of modern womanhood is in grave danger as a result of the relentless propaganda of filth being promoted as advice to modern women. On its website, Cosmo’s tag line states that it is: “The Women’s Magazine for Fashion, Sex Advice, Dating Tips and Celebrity News.”

This tells us two things worth mentioning here.

#1. It is marketed to women as  a women’s magazine, and

#2. It offers sex tips and dating advice as an authority to women.

There is even a Cosmo Girl magazine which is marketed towards teenage girls. Which gives Cosmo a firmer hold on the female education market, grooming women from a young age to enjoy reading what I generously refer to as smut.

Now, even though the magazine does not make any upfront claims that the advice it gives will get you married or engender you as a feminine creature in anyone’s eyes, but it does seem to be promoted as some form of authority on sex and dating. With this combination of it’s popularity and platform to condition women from a young age, we must ask ourselves, is what it is teaching us really worthy of our devotion?

Is Cosmo’s Sex and Dating Advice Feminine?

First of all, let me start by defining what I mean by feminine.

The dictionary defines feminine as delicate, pretty, ladylike. I, personally, believe these are subjective terms and do not really tell very much to a person interested in understanding femininity. So, I referred to Wikipedia and came up with words like gentleness, empathy and sensitivity. I agree more with those terms. I think that gentleness, empathy and sensitivity comes from the female biological quality of giving birth. We produce children whom we become bonded to emotionally. Our instinct to seek the well-being of others is probably why we are okay with selflessly allowing another human being to share our body with us for nine months. I believe when women lose these qualities, there is a relational imbalance on some level in their lives that is observable to others, even if they do not know her well.

I believe a lot of women these days are very confused as to what feminine actually is, because of media sources like Cosmo magazine. They see pictures of women smiling in articles about having one night stands and forget that the feminine instinct is not to bind oneself meaninglessly to another human being and then discard them. Women become indoctrinated into the Sex and the City mentality these magazine purport and lose sight of the long term emotional and physical consequences of being frivolous with one’s body, mind and soul.

But what am I really talking about? Well, let me give you a few examples.

The following are actual articles from Cosmo‘s website:

  • “Why more couples are having kids before they get married”: This article was actually encouraging women to try to put the baby before the ring. Unfortunately, it’s logic was full of holes and unrealistic; but most of all it definitely goes against the feminine instinct to nurture. What sense does it make for women to aspire to bring children into an unstable environment? Furthermore, is it just me, or would being a single mother make dating that much harder?!
  • “A complete beginners guide to the messy blow job”: This article gives seven tips for women to give something called the “messy blow job.” I don’t need to tell you that this is an unladylike article, in fact, I’ll just let Tip #2. do the talking for me:  “Spit as much as you can and drink a bunch of water if you need to.” Uh…no!
  • How about these two articles: “10 Reasons why your one-night stand was actually a good thing” and “Casual sex can be good for you.” And before you go running to check out the articles, let me just give you two of their reasons why one-night stands can have a positive impact on your life. #1. “You go laaaaaid…” I kid you not. That is an actual reason given by an authority on dating for women as to why a woman should comfortably resort to promiscuity. Then there is #2. “You don’t have to wonder what you two are to each other.” Are these supposed to be perks for women, or sociopaths?!

So, at the end of the day, I don’t think I need to, but still I will reiterate that my assessment is that Cosmo magazine is in fact NOT FEMININE!

It reads like a pervy frat bro magazine written with the male pronouns swapped out for female pronouns.  I am convinced that any woman who still reads that magazine for relationship advice needs a wise older woman who has been happily married for 20 years or more…to slap her upside her head and knock some sense into her!

Do you read Cosmopolitan Magazine? Why or why not?

Read Next: Real Men Reveal What Makes Them Commit

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The Best Way to Test Your Relationship Isn’t Living Together

Photo by Adam Tinworth via Flickr

Did you know that couples who live together before marrying are less satisfied with their marriages and more likely to divorce than couples who do not live together? And yet, nearly half of twenty-somethings surveyed say (pdf) that they would only marry someone if he or she agreed to live together first, so that they could find out whether they really got along. And two-thirds of twentsomethings believe that cohabitating before marriage is a good way to avoid divorce, Meg Jay writes in her book “The Defining Decade: Why your twenties matter—and how to make the most of them now.”

Living together before marriage, or at least the promise to commit to marriage, is a terrible idea. It’s such as bad idea that sociologists have a name for this broken phenomenon: it’s called the “cohabitation effect.” First, couples who cohabitate are usually moving in for conflicting reasons—women think of moving in together as a step up in their relationships, while men think of moving in together as a way to get easy access to sex. Oh, and yes, let’s state the obvious: cohabitation is also cheaper and convenient….because that’s what solid relationships should be based on, am I right?

Yes, living together is cheaper…at first. Cohabitation actually becomes expensive when you want to get out of it. “Cohabitation is loaded with setup and switching costs,” Jay writes in the New York Times. “Living together can be fun and economical, and the setup costs are subtly woven in. After years of living among roommates’ junky old stuff, couples happily split the rent on a nice one-bedroom apartment. They share wireless and pets and enjoy shopping for new furniture together. Later, these setup and switching costs have an impact on how likely they are to leave.”

Moving in with someone without first being engaged is a deal-breaker for women who are serious about getting married. Jay explores the long-term effects of this phenomenon in her book, writing:

“It is the couples who live together before an engagement who are more likely to experience poorer communication, lower levels of commitment to the relationship, and greater marital instability down the road. Multiple studies have shown that those who live with their partners before an engagement are less dedicated before, and even after, marriage. A life built on top of a “Maybe We Will” simply may not feel as consciously committed as a life build on top of the ‘I Do’ of marriage or the ‘We Are’ of engagement.”

If you really want to test your spouse’s personality and see if you two would be a good fit for one another, there is a much better way to get the job done. I recommend that you travel abroad (preferably, to a developing country) with your spouse to see how you both respond to unpredictable situations. When you are overseas together as a couple, you will have wonderful new experiences together for sure, but you may also lose your credit card, get robbed, have trouble speaking fluently to the locals or experience less-than-stellar hotels. Those experiences will help you see your spouse at their best and worst moments.

Photo by Ernie & Katy Newton Lawley via Flickr
Photo by Ernie & Katy Newton Lawley via Flickr

Jay agrees with this idea in her book. “Traveling in a third-world country is the closest thing there is to being married and raising kids. You have glorious hikes and perfect days on the beach. You go on adventures you would never try, or enjoy, alone. But you also can’t get away from each other. Everything is unfamiliar. Money is tight or you get robbed. Someone gets sick or sunburned. You get bored. It is harder than you expected, but you are glad you didn’t just sit at home.”

So plan to have an experience with your significant other, and make it a long vacation—the trip should last 20 days at a minimum. Pay attention to how your partner handles budgeting/spending, cleanliness, conflict and sudden changes.

Read next: 3 reasons why salsa dancing is the most feminine thing you can do

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How to Find a Husband Who Really Gets You

Photo by -=shutterbug=- via Flickr

I’m in love with all of the knowledge and insights packed in psychologist Meg Jay’s book “The Defining Decade: Why your twenties matter—and how to make the most of them now.” It is for this reason that I decided to break down her guidebook into parts, dissecting each chapter into tidbits that will help us on our quest to pursue femininity. As a psychologist who has all too often listened to confused and underemployed thirtysomethings who wasted their early years, Jay offers helpful advice for young men and women swimming in the sea of youth. The book encourages young adults to remember that their twenties do indeed matter and have an effect on the rest of their lives.

I found some of the best takeaways from her book in her chapters in love, marriage and relationships. She encourages young men and women to take their dating lives seriously while they are in their twenties, rather than play the field and engage in casual sex. Jay argues that romantic relationships are important because they offer people the opportunities to pick and create their own families.

“There is something scary about picking your family,” Jay writes. “It’s not romantic. It means you aren’t just waiting for your soulmate to arrive. It means you know you are making decision that will affect the rest of your life…Twentysomethings who aren’t at least a little scared about their relationships are often the ones who are being the least thoughtful.”

Jay implores her readers to be thoughtful in several relationship arenas: Selecting a mate carefully, refusing to move in together (unless you are already engaged), choosing to marry young and deciding to have children early. As a single young woman is who currently dating, I was particularly interested in her advice on mate selection. She encourages young singles to think less about their deal breakers and more about selecting a spouse based on personality traits. Eliminate potential suitors only on extreme differences in values, goals or personality.

“One match maker to consider is personality,” she writes. “Some research tells us that, especially in young couples, the more similar two people’s personalities are, the more likely they are to be satisfied with their relationship. Yet personality is how dating, and even married, couples tend to be least alike.”

You don’t need to take an official test to determine your personality traits. Instead, decide where your personality falls on the Big Five personality test, which identifies five factors that describe how people interact with the world. Neuroticism, which is the tendency to be anxious, critical and moody, is “more predictive of relationship unhappiness and dissolution than is personality dissimilarity.”

Big Five Personality Test

In the book, Jay provides an example of a patient named Eli, a young man who is high on Openness and Extraversion, and low on Conscientiousness and Neuroticism. Eli is a poor match for his girlfriend, a withdrawn and responsible person who is low on Openness and Extraversion, but high on Conscientiousness and Neuroticism. This couple needs to break up because their personalities are too different for the relationship to work.

So what if the guy you like isn’t very romantic or likes watching listening to sports talk instead of NPR? Forget the trivial details and choose a spouse with a personality that is similar to yours. Here’s solid advice from Jay: “The more similar people are, the more they are able to understand each other…Two people who are similar are going to have the same reactions to a rainy day, a new car, a long vacation, an anniversary, a Sunday morning, and a big party.”

Read next: More Texts from the Nice Guy

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