Should I date someone I met online?

Online dating has always gotten a bad rep because there are a lot of people out there who ruin it for us. What with reports regarding date rape and the spread of HIV, who wouldn’t be scared of dating someone you meet online? Especially if you’re a woman on the prowl.

But here’s what they don’t tell you.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter.

There will always be bad people walking this planet. Your job is to look out for yourself and detect when something isn’t quite right.

On the flip side of things, there are far more good people in this world than there are bad. What if it works out? What if this person is the one you’re looking for? Then you would definitely regret not having given him/her a chance to get to know you. Whether or not the relationship built transcends into something romantic, at least you have gained a new friend, or a new member of your network.

I know of several people who have successful relationships borne from the internet. There are those who live continents apart and managed to make it work. There are even those that never blossomed into romance, but they ended up being good friends or even business partners. Technology should be used to communicate and forge relationships that would never have happened.

But how do you go on a date with someone you met online without being paranoid? Here are a couple of tips.

  • Find a common friend. I generally would trust someone I met online if we had at least ONE common friend who could vouch for him. Before a date, I would probably milk said common friend of any information I could get so I would know what to expect.
  • But what if you don’t have a common friend? Establish a relationship with him online for a little longer. It’s important that you get to know more personal details about your date for security and safety purposes. In the event you do decide to go out with him, you should leave any information that you can with a trusted friend. This way, if anything bad comes up, they would know where to find you.
  • Take a photo of your date and send it to your friend. Again, for emergency purposes.
  • Don’t try to over impress him. If you’re interested, it’s best to show him the real you instead of putting up a front. When you’re yourself, you enjoy the experience so much more. Remember: at the end of the day, your goal is to gain a new friend, and not necessarily a new boyfriend just yet.
  • Wear something comfortable. There’s nothing more annoying than having to pull down your skirt when it climbs up your butt, or having to constantly cover your cleavage. Trust me, your dating experience will fare much better when you dress more comfortably and decently rather than slutty. This way, you also won’t be bothered by your date constantly checking out your chest.
  • Have fun. This is a choice. It’s your choice to make the most of any experience and online dating turned real life is no different. Stop overanalyzing every single move he makes and just take it for what it is. If you’re worried about the kind of impression you’re making, he probably is too. Relax and enjoy. Treat him like you would a friend and everything will be easier.

xoxo,

Cristine

 

Things that POWER COUPLES do

You probably know a couple that you look up to. You know, you see them and wonder how they can keep their relationship afloat. Not only do they look good together and are successful, they also have a genuinely strong bond. They may not be perfect, but somehow, they manage to make it work. Think Jay-z and Beyonce. The following are the best practices that would make any couple great. Follow these to a T and you’re well on your way to taking over the world with your partner.

 

  1. They APPRECIATE each other. Now, you might think this is pretty obvious because hey, you’re WITH this person right? Of course you appreciate him/her! But not all people let their appreciation be felt. In fact, some of them don’t even know they need to show it, let alone act appreciatively. Most relationship problems actually often begin this way- when someone doesn’t appreciate the other. This could lead to unhappiness and an overall lack of drive to be productive. But showing appreciation makes a world of a difference in making your significant other have a healthy perception of himself/herself. We all have self-doubts but when your partner shows you or tells you that you matter, it suddenly gives you a little something more to live for. It makes getting up in the morning easier to do too- knowing that you matter to someone. It boosts their overall self-esteem and shows that you’re not taking them for granted.

  1. They give CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISMS. First of all, be KIND. You are with this person not to be mean to him/her. A relationship is supposed to improve your life and not destroy it. You’re supposed to feel good about yourself and not the other way round. But there are indeed instances when someone will mess up driving you into a rage where you start calling each other names. Not only is this unhealthy, exhibiting reactive behavior leads to words said that you may not intend. So before you start picking on your partner for a mistake made or a behavior that you simply did not like, assess first the consequences of opening your mouth and bite your tongue for 5 seconds. If you must, then be conscious of what you say. Instead of picking on him/her as a person, point out the ACT which pissed you off. He isn’t stupid, but the thing he did was stupid. Always remember that behavior does not necessarily equate to the individual as a person. Mistakes happen. Bad things happen. But deal with them kindly, calmly and as rationally as you can.

  1. They make GOAL SETTING a habit. My partner and I have this regular goal setting date where we sit down to give updates about our individual lives and what we want for the future. We even make lists of the type of businesses we would want to own and the countries that we want to visit. We have actually made some of those dreams come true! This works because you’re more encouraged to reach for your goals when you are with someone going through the same struggle. You are with someone who will also be affected by a failure. This gives you a bigger sense of responsibility as a couple because it’s not just about you alone anymore. It’s about both of you.

  1. They SUPPORT each other. This is one of the obvious factors, but not something that ALL couples realize. By simply telling your partner that you believe in him/her works wonders in boosting their self-confidence. By supporting one another, you are giving off the message that you will help your partner achieve his/her dreams, no matter how big and seemingly unrealistic they may be. Your presence and support means the difference when winning something as simple as a basketball game to building a company from the ground up. Behind every person we consider successful is a group of people who served as an inspiration. Be that inspiration.

  1. They are QUICK TO APOLOGIZE. You know what one of the most unproductive things a lot of couples do? They prolong fights. They don’t stop arguing in circles and usually about arguments that cannot be resolved. Chalk it up to human nature where we’re wired to want to always be right. While arguments are inevitable, wasting time is a choice. Instead of arguing about the petty stuff, why not put your energy into something mmore productive? Keep in mind that a relationship is not a video game where someone has to be the winner. The sooner that you can swallow your pride and apologize (assuming you’re in the wrong), the sooner can you spend more time building your empire.

  1. They continue to FLIRT with each other. Once you get comfortable in a relationship, you may tend to feel lazy, always trusting that your partner knows everything there is to know, so there is no need for surprise. But the lack of passion and romance proves to be an effective buzzkill that destroys the spark that was once there. Even when busy, never stop thinking, doing, saying what your partner fell in love with you in the first place. Show your adoration as much as you can. It never gets old.

  1. They have INDIVIDUAL LIVES. It’s easy to fall in the trap of only hanging out with your significant other and forgetting that there are other people in the universe. But this isn’t healthy. We all need to interact with different types of people. We need to have an extra activity that we can do outside of work that our partner may not be interested in. If he likes to play golf with his buddies, let him. If you want to go shopping with the ladies, he should also let you. A perfect relationship is one where you’re still yourself but with someone who complements who you already are.

 

xoxo,

Cristine.

 

WHO PAYS ON DATES?

I understand why money is such a huge deal in relationships. It doesn’t have to be but it is. Society normally dictates that the man should pay for everything. But this isn’t always feasible because well…. life happens. There’s the mortgage, the groceries, the pet food for your chihuahua, and the cost of getting your roof repaired, among so many other things!

Sometime into the dating relationship when the rose tinted glasses start to clear up, both parties are stuck with the reality that the guy’s salary is pretty much average, and using this salary to also maintain dating expenses is unrealistic. Women who have grown accustomed to the man always paying for everything should give themselves a slap on the face! Because that financial fairytale isn’t the real world. Unless your guy is Donald Trump or is Mark Zuckerberg, there shouldn’t be reason for you to always expect him to cough up cash on every date. Can you imagine just how much he’ll be able to save for the future if he keeps spending for every dinner/ movie/ holiday that you guys have? Nothing. The steak dinners, anniversary and monthsary gifts add up to so much in a year. How much more if you’ve been together for awhile?

So what do you do then?

You CONTRIBUTE. 

That’s right. A relationship is a partnership after all and not a dictatorship. But how do you get over the awkwardness of it all? You know that moment when the bill comes and you’re trying to decide whether to suggest going Dutch or just paying it yourself?

Here are a couple of my suggestions to make it less awkward for couples:

  1. PULL OUT YOUR WALLET WHEN THE BILL COMES. And lay down the value of your meal’s worth. This will prompt him to also pay for his share. It isn’t too complicated and it’s fair. Just don’t make a fuss about it.
  2. WHEN THE GUY PAYS FASTER THAN YOU CAN SAY “I’LL GET IT!.” Then offer to pay for the next activity. Like a movie. This eases up the guy’s wallet and saves him a trip to the nearest ATM. If he pays for the movie, get the popcorn and drinks.
  3. WHEN YOU’RE BOTH BROKE BUT WANT TO BUY PRESENTS FOR EACH OTHER. Do the $10 challenge! When at a mall, agree to buy each other a gift worth $10 and come back after an hour to exchange. This is a fun way to flex your creativity and think about what your significant other will appreciate.
  4. HAVE A COMMON DATE FUND. Some couples have a piggy bank or a bank account where they put their extra cash and this is what they spend for their dates. Raising money for this fund (which can also extend to a travel fund) may encourage the couple to work together to increase the amount in their joint wallet.
  5. GO ON INEXPENSIVE DATES. Netflix and chilling is so underrated. Order in or cook together and STAY AT HOME. Save the adventurous and expensive activities on days when you have a surplus of cash.

 

Hope this helps!

 

xoxo,

Cristine

STASHING is this new millenial dating trend

 

Since social media is a HUGE part of our lives these days, it comes as no surprise that when you’re not Facebook official, there is no way that you can consider yourself as a girlfriend. What does this mean for you then? You’re being STASHED girl! 

Yup. It’s this new millenial term for hiding you away from the Internet, and basically all others who matter to him.

You know you’re being stashed when three months have gone by and you have never met ANY of his friends or family members. You have tons of photos of you two in his phone, but he has never posted a single one. But he posts photos of his dog, his cat, and a selfie with his female colleague on a daily basis. You have gone out several times, have kissed, had sex and basically done anything couples would do but nobody from his circle has ever heard of you.

Here’s why this sucks.

You’re so invested in him and his life and are literally itching to tag him in that photo you took together. You want to drop by his house and bring him his favorite sandwich. You want to get to know his friends and attend parties with him. You want to drop by his work place and give him the suit that he left at your apartment while greeting his office mates.

But you can’t. 

You can’t because he’s stashing you. You can’t because you don’t want to scare him away and make him think that you’re excited at the idea of a relationship.

But the truth is, you like him (or you love him) and you ARE EXCITED. You want to be with him and get involved in his life and everyone in it.

But why is he stashing you in the first place? Because he wants to justify going out with other women while not under your watch and anyone else’s. Plain and simple. So if you think you’re the only one, unless he’s assured you that you are, and you believe him, then he’s probably out there chilling with someone else while you’re at home Netflixing by yourself.

So how do you get promoted to being the woman he can brag about?

YOU. ASK. HIM. 

After a couple of months in and you’re still pining over what your relationship status might be, you ask him straight to the point. It can be as casual and cool as “Listen, whatever this is, if you’re not planning to be with me for the long haul, then I have to bounce.”

If he responds positively and says that he wants you in his life, then CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR NEW PROMOTION!!!

But what if he says, “No. I’m not that guy.”

Then you only have one other option really.

LEAVE.

Leave because you’ve known him long enough for him to make up his mind. Leave because he’s definitely taking you and your time for granted. Leave because life is too short for you to spend time evaluating your self-worth. Leave because there are tons of guys out there who have no concept of stashing and are willing to jump at the chance to brag about you to the world. Go for a man like this. You’re lovely, smart, and worth being shown the world as someone’s partner. Don’t settle for anything less.

xoxo,

Cristine.

 

Goal Setting in Relationships

Setting goals with your partner can be a double-edged sword. On one end, when you achieve them you feel joy and exhilaration for having realized a dream or aspiration. On the other hand, when you fail to meet them, you may face disappointment as you are forced to reevaluate your ambitions. When it comes to your relationship, setting achievable goals with a tone of collaboration can help enrich each other’s lives and support the bond between you and your partner.

The Anatomy of Relationships

No relationship is the same, and just like people change over time, so does a relationship. According to Donald Peterson, contributing author of “Goal Concepts in Personality and Social Psychology,” there are five general stages that can be distinguished in the development of close relationships: acquaintance, buildup, continuation, deterioration and ending. Obviously not all relationships go through all stages, but the changes in goals from one stage to another are critical in determining the course a relationship will follow.

Stephen John Read and Lynn Carol Miller, also contributing authors of “Goal Concepts in Personality and Social Psychology,” recount how individuals may base their projections of what a relationship might be like with someone in part on how each other’s life goals will mesh with one other. The idea that “opposites attract” has been debunked by research showing how “most married couples tend to be more alike than different in regards to life goals, interests, values and personality dispositions, as well as education, economic status, and other sociological variables.” In other words, when evaluating a prospective partner, people look at how they can accomplish goals in common, for example having intellectually stimulating conversations, having children, etc.

 

Goal-Setting Strategies

Relationship goals can cover the gamut, including areas such as problem solving, emotional support, financial goals, creating a family, etc. One way to set goals in your relationship is by having a weekly meeting with your significant other to go over the upcoming week and set a ‘to-do’ list of items for each other. Then, review those same items from the past week and move forward anything still needing to be completed. As part of this process, share three positive things big or small that your partner did that you liked in the past week, and one negative thing you would like them to consider working on. In time, you will have created a habit of openly talking about where things are with your relationship, and where you want them to be.

Another way to set goals with your significant other is by applying some of the guidelines set forth in “Goal Setting: How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Goals.” Authors Susan B. Wilson and Michael S. Dobson recommend writing them down in specific measurable terms, so that you can visualize and achieve them with realistic deadlines. As part of defining these goals, make sure to keep them manageable and actionable, as well as include a regular review of their progress. Reward desired behavior, reinforce successes however big or small and provide feedback when correction is needed. When correcting, do so in private and be specific, focusing on the error and not the person to avoid grudges and keep a healthy outlook. Develop objectives for both the short and long term.

 

From Extrinsic to Intrinsic Motivation

In a study published in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,” researchers examined the connection between relationship satisfaction and self-regulation. “Individuals experiencing higher levels of satisfaction in their relationship exhibit higher levels of perceived control, goal focus, perceived partner support, and positive affect during goal pursuit.” This results in higher rates of daily progress on personal goals. In other words, as your relationship satisfaction increases, so does your motivation to effectively self-regulate your actions and progress toward achieving your goals.

According to Peterson, goals between partners tend to converge to the extent that transformations occur mutually. For example, “a person who initially stopped smoking to please a partner may genuinely come to find smoking abhorrent.” Changes in personal dispositions of this kind are independent of the relationship, and when they occur they can reduce the demands for accommodation by shifting the motivation from an extrinsic to an intrinsic place. Keep in mind that any union is limited by the biological needs and personal goals of the individuals in the relationship, so revisiting them on a regular basis can keep interests and values aligned in the long term.

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From: Live Strong by Raquel Villareal

When Your Spouse Doesn’t Like Your BFFs…

Remember those days when you first met your spouse and everything felt like springtime? Those initial months were full of all the best firsts—first dates, first smooches, first adventures, and of course, the first time you introduced him or her to the other “loves of your life”—your besties. In an ideal world, your pals like your partner just as much as you do, and vice versa. But when they don’t? It can wreak havoc not on the friendships, but rather, on your marriage, according to a new study.

For the study, researchers followed 355 heterosexual couples to determine the impact of friendships on marriage after 16 years. None of the couples was interracial, to rule out race as a potential source of tension). What the researchers found was fascinating: In white couples where the husbands liked their wife’s friends, 70 percent of couples were still together by the end of the study. However, in white couples where the husbands didn’t like their partner’s pals, only 50 percent remained together. For black couples, liking the friends didn’t seem to impact the relationship.

What do psychologists think of this theory? Sex and relationships therapist Courtney Geter, LMFT, CST says that connecting friend groups is an important aspect of a relationship, and not getting along with one another’s tribe can lead to arguments. “It is typical for spouses to bring up friends in conversations. If your husband makes a negative comment about your friends, you may feel unsupported or torn between two aspects of your life,” she explains. “If you don’t address your feelings and resolve the conflict, it could impact other areas of the relationship, such as enjoyment spent with your husband or even areas such as sex.”

The disapproval of your friend group is worse when it’s coming from your partner, whose opinion usually means more than anyone else’s. “This is the person that we love and trust the most, so their assessment of others around us matters to us,” says psychologist Nikki Martinez, PsyD, LCPC.” We want to know that they agree that someone is a good person, that they are likable, and that they enjoy being around them,” she says.

One possible reason we may be bumping into this problem more and more in recent years is that dating patterns have shifted from in-person to online. So whereas we used to meet people at parties or through friends, where there was already a built-in connection and like-mindedness, increasingly we’re meeting people on dating sites and apps, where there’s no such framework.

This Internet lens can be tricky to navigate, as your partner gets to know your friends not at a bar or a BBQ but via their profiles and posts, which can be heavily curated. “Social media does not provide a realistic view of another person’s life, as they are posting the best-looking or most exciting pictures and status updates about their lives,” Geter says. “Since there is a screen between you and the rest of the world, humans are more likely to make comments they typically wouldn’t make in person or they can avoid conflict resolution with one click of a button or closing a window.”

So is your marriage doomed if your husband isn’t a fan of your BFFs? Definitely not, according to Geter and Martinez, but you might have to manage expectations on both sides. One key way to approach it is to have couple friends and individual friends, neither of which have to mingle.

In fact, it’s a good idea to have your own set of pals for support. “I encourage women to have friends outside of the couple relationship as well as hobbies outside of her husband’s interest. Not only does this allow distance for you to miss your husband, but it also provides opportunities for sharing when you are together,” Geter says. “Since you have your own personal friend group outside of the couple friend group, this may limit how often your husband is around those friends.”

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From: Reader’s Digest by Lindsay Tigar

When your partner is also your best friend

It goes without saying, you don’t have to be “best friends” to have a great relationship (some people even gag at that idea). But while others might think of you as insular or clingy, you know better.

1. You started out as friends. 

Great things take time. Baked potatoes, fully mature redwood trees, and friendships that turn into relationships. First dates feel different than first hangouts. You really get to know each other’s personality when you’re not as worried about trying to impress the other person.

2. He makes you laugh all the time and you make him crack up. 

It’s not just about how he makes you feel, or how great the sex is, or how well you work together. When you hang out, you wind up cracking each other up so much you can’t breathe. Some of your favorite memories are the two of you doing the dumbest stuff and laughing about it nonstop.

3. He always wants you around. 

It doesn’t matter if it’s a “guys’ night” or a five-hour road trip; he wants to hang out with you. And it feels natural too. When he’s out with friends, you never get the vibe of “oh, he brought his girlfriend along.” You’re his friend, so you’re everyone else’s friend. Basically, all his guys just sees you as “that one friend he also has sex with”… which is a compliment, really.

4. You always know what he’s thinking. 

It’s not quite like you can read each other’s minds, but you’re so comfortable with each other that it really feels like that sometimes.

5. He’s seen you through your worst moments. 

He’s gotten you through some of your darkest moments, however you define them. Even when other friends drop off or stop calling, he’s there for you, and you’re always there for him.

6. You can spend a day just hanging out. 

It’s not that you both love being couch sloths all day, but you could be and still have a good time. You don’t need to be making Instagrammable moments constantly to feel like you’re having a good time. All you really need is each other.

7. Other couples hate you just a little. 

They might not say it to your face, but you can tell they’re insanely jealous of the chemistry you share. You can tell. Basically, you make other couples look boring and they can’t stand it.

8 You don’t feel like you need time apart from each other. 

You know how to prioritize “you” time when there’s something you want to get done just for yourself, but everything you do just feels somehow better when you’re with them.

9. He trusts you deeply. 

Not just in the basic ways, like trusting you not to cheat on him when you go out. That barely even counts; that’s just assuming you’re not going to be a garbage person. He also trusts you with things he’s never told anyone, like his embarrassing secrets.

10. It still feels like you just started dating. 

You still have this energy that’s stuck around even though you’ve been dating for years. That “honeymoon phase” never really ended for you.

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From: Cosmopolitan by Frank Kobola