Let’s Talk About The Fact That Single Women Are Still Seen As Entertainment

There’s nothing quite as demeaning as sitting with a couple who eagerly ask if they can please “just have a go!” at swiping through your online dating app of choice.

How To Make A Long-Distance Relationship Work Sexually

It’s actually not as hard to make a long-distance relationship work sexually as you may have thought. 

9 Adult Board Games That Will Bring You Close Again

Adult board games: tackling sexual stigma with the roll of a dice. 

17 Gifts To Give The Partner Who Already Has Everything In 2018

Your SO might have everything, but we’re willing to bet they don’t have these…

7 Love Hacks That Could Save Your Broken Marriage

No time or money for counseling or couples’ retreats? Try these shortcuts to a happier union.

Getting Divorced In My 20s Was The Best Thing To Happen To Me

You shouldn’t make big decisions in your twenties that affect the rest of your life; you don’t know yourself well enough.

14 Reasons To Break Off Your Dead-End Relationship

If ‘the one’ is out there somewhere, don’t you want to find him?

Here’s What Really Happens In Sex Therapy

Because things aren’t always what they seem.

Ways To Nurture Your Long-Term Relationship

Anyone who has ever been in a long-term relationship will tell you that they often lose their spark. Couples find themselves doing the same things over and over again. They eat the same foods, visit the same places, make love in the same old positions and over time they put less effort into their relationship than they do into raising the kids, working and just about everything else.

RELATED: 10 Ways To Reignite That Honeymoon Spark

It’s totally understandable – life is damn hectic! Finding time for each other can be really tricky. But couples need to think of their relationship as if it were living, breathing, growing, evolving organism. Just like a plant. Without any attention they won’t survive. They’ll simply wither and die.

Obviously, no-one wants that to happen. Break-ups are difficult, painful experiences. Instead, couples want a thriving, passionate, loving partnership. So it’s just a matter of giving it the attention it needs to make that happen. Here’s a few suggestions to give you an idea of where to start:

Find time to talk and listen to each other. Not about the kids, finances or mundane day-to-day living – that stuff saps us of our life force and our libidos. Instead, talk about things that you’re passionate about, things that worry you, and the type of things that you talk to yourself about. Share all these thoughts with your partner. This will bring you much closer if they know what you’re thinking and vice-versa.

Say “I love you” every-single-day. Verbalise how important your partner is to you. Sometimes we assume they know, but in reality, they need to hear it.

Plan to have dirty weekends away. OFTEN! If you can’t afford to go away, then organise some dirty weekends at home. Switch off the technology, get the kids taken care of, walk around the house naked, and make some time just for the two of you.

Get a bucket list together of things you’d both like to see and do. Research things together and most importantly, devise a plan to make it happen!

Go out on dates with other couples. Particularly on that you find interesting and fun. It’s incredible how much you’ll discover about your partner when your’re in good company.

Include laughter into your life on a daily basis. Watch comedies, go to see live stand up and play practical jokes on each other.

Share the load. Prepare meals together, share house-hold chores and make each others life easier.

Surprise your partner. It could be with small tokens of affection or doing something special for them like organising a night out. We all know how nice it is to receive flowers or gifts for no reason.

Join a community group. Do this together to fill your lives with purpose. It could be a sport, hobby, or interest group.

Encourage each other to have a rich and fulfilling life as an individual. If your partner is a happy and satisfied person, this will lead to less relationship problems in the long run.

Do as much as you can together. And enjoy each others company. Why? The more time you spend together, the harder it will be to live without each other. This is so important during times when you argue and when you might feel as if you need some time apart. However, missing each others company and presence will ultimately reunite you.

Never lose sight of love. Never forget why you fell in love with your partner in the first place.

Image noviazgounabuenadesicion.blogspot.com

Toeing The Line: Why Foot Fetishism Is So Popular

If you’re old enough to remember a topless Fergie’s 1992 toe-sucking Texan scandal in St-Tropez – while the Duchess of York was still married to Prince Andrew – you’ll recall the somewhat cringe-worthy tabloid photos of said hot foot lovin’.

RELATED: High Heel Abuse: How To Have Happy Feet 

The photos, which showed American financial manager John Bryan with a mouth full of one of Fergster’s feet while they holidays and canoodled by the pool in full view of the world (and Fergie and Andrew’s toddler daughters) in southern France, were first splashed across British tabloids.

And the Queen was not amused – the Duchess is said to have been at Balmoral with the rest of the royal family when the story broke, with Her Majesty effectively banishing Fergie from the royal household henceforth.

Whether this was due to the Duchess’ refusal to toe the line (pardon the pun) or the royals’ horror at the said foot fetishism, I guess we’ll never know, but public toe-sucking has arguably suffered a tarnished public image ever since.

RELATED: The Foot-Play Guide For Sizzling Hot Lovers

sexual fetishes, foot fetish, sexual obsessions

However, fast forward some 20 plus years and foot fetishism (er, arguably best celebrated in the privacy of your own home) is seemingly now so popular, it’s virtually cool. However, it does seem to be more popular among men.

Famous foot fetishists who’ve gone on the record of late include perennial-cool singer/songwriter Pharrell Williams, actor Jack Black, singer Ricky Martin and director Quentin Tarantino.

What’s more, Elvis himself is arguably one of the best known foot fetishists, with a well-documented obsession, allegedly as a result of having to massage his mother’s feet as a child – shudder. There’s some serious Oedipus complex going on there! And The King’s handlers are even said to have screened the rock’n’roll icon’s female love interests on the basis of their feet attractiveness, er as you do.

While foot fetishism is nothing new – indeed, it’s the most common form of sexual fetish related to the body – it’s certainly not something I’d personally encountered prior to the advent of social media. You see, I recently joined Instagram and wow, what an eye-opener it was for me when I recently innocently posted several random pictures of my feet post-pedicure, one of my favourite beauty indulgences.

A recent such pic I posted got a lot of attention from said foot fetishists in Insta-land: countless pervy comments and requests this time to both share and repost said pic to others in the foot-worshipping community. In addition, it gained me no less than nine new foot fetishist followers?! What rock had I been living under? Was foot fetishism really that much of a thing? Apparently so!

sexual fetishes, foot fetish, sexual obsessions

Foot worship, or podophilia, is a pronounced sexual interest in feet. For a foot fetishist, attractive traits include the shape and size of the foot and toes; foot jewellery, such as toe rings and ankle bracelets; treatments, such as pedicures or massaging; state of dress, such as barefoot and/or thongs; odour, and/or sensory interaction such as smelling, licking, kissing, tickling and biting the foot.

As we all know, it takes a lot of different types to make the world go ‘round and if feet (mine included) blow your hair back, I say go for it, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone.

The hilarious part for me though, and I mean no disrespect to said foot fetishists, is that my feet are my least favourite body part; indeed my right foot has been damaged beyond repair by years of high-heel abuse. I’ve even got a small bunion, for God’s sake! Are bunions hot?!

sexual fetishes, foot fetish, sexual obsessions

Sydney sexologist, Dr Michelle Mars (pictured), who specialises in the sociology of sex gender and sexual well-being, says foot fetishism is so popular, in part, because feet are fairly non-offensive.

“One reason we hear about foot fetishes so much is that as far as fetishes go they are quite vanilla; it’s okay to admit you have a foot fetish in comparison to BDSM [bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism and masochism] or being into golden showers, for example,” Dr Mars says.

“It can be a submissive act for men and they can enact that without going too far down the submissive path and compromising their masculinity.

“Feet are accessible. There are lots of options, toes, shoes, stockings… And the options are often elegant.

“In addition, feet are an area of the body with lots of nerve endings!”

And while feet aren’t my thing, shoes are another story altogether…

What do you think? Have you ever encountered foot fetishism in a partner?

Images, in order, via www.popsugar.com; theurbanrooms.co.uk; topnailideas.com and supplied.

6 Things That Change After You Get Married

Marriage may only be a piece of paper, but significant nonetheless. Some people say nothing changes when you get married, while some people say everything changes. To clear up the confusion, we’re here to outline the 6 things that change after you get married.

RELATED: 10 Ways To Reignite That Honeymoon Spark

You unwittingly become an adult

That big rock on your finger starts to command a certain level of respect, but with respect comes responsibility. Marriage is all about moving forward in life and is an important marker for adulthood. Generally speaking you’ll move in together, buy a house and start thinking about the future. Marriage can easily change your whole perspective on life and unwittingly makes you put someone else first, eliminating selfishness.

People start expecting you to have kids

“So, when are you two going to have kids?” – marriage means being prepared to hear this question, constantly! Even if kids are nowhere on the horizon people become obsessed with babies and a lot of people can get very pushy.

Money becomes fight worthy

Bills, mortgages and potential holidays are just the beginning. Everything you spend money on affects your husband. If you have an abundance of money, it probably won’t be a problem. If you’re lacking money, however, it will become a common argument trigger. But it doesn’t have to be. Budgeting and careful planning can help ensure you steer clear of uncomfortable money related fights.

Decisions become a joint venture

Everything from what you eat for dinner to what colour you’re going to paint the house becomes a joint decision. Some people look at this as a lack of independence, when really it’s all about compromise. It’s important to remember that every decision affects the both of you and as such, you should each be happy with what you choose.

You would rather spend a night in, over a night out

What’s the point in going clubbing to pick up men when you already have one at home? Getting married helps you become more settled and satisfied with spending time with the one person.

You become a married woman

This one may sound obvious, but a lot changes when people start identifying you as a married woman. You’re no longer single and ready to mingle; instead you’re married and ready to go home to your husband every night. Taking pleasure in this will help to keep your honeymoon period alive indefinitely because it’s a constant reminder of how lucky you are.

Image via www.lifehack.org

Is This The Secret To A Successful Long-Term Relationship?

They say that women marry men like their fathers, but a new study suggests that we actually end up marrying people more like ourselves. Sounds like a no-brainer in hindsight, but according to researchers, how much of yourself you see in your partner can predict how long your relationship will last.

RELATED: When Does Flirting Become Emotional Cheating?

It’s called the self-other overlap and psychologists now believe it’s what can make or break a union. The reason being comes down to the negative implications of comparing our relationships to others – which let’s face it, we’ve all done at some stage. Apparently, whether or not you view your partner in a bad light as a result of this is due to how much of yourself you have invested in them.

“People who are high on self-other overlap will attempt to protect their partner and minimise the threat by rating the trait or skill that they compared their partner on as less important,” said University of Toronto psychology PhD candidate Sabrina Thai.

“Furthermore, these people are able to maintain positive views of their partner in spite of unfavourable comparisons. They still see their partner as being close to their ideal partner, which has positive implications on their relationship.”

Thai’s findings, which were published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, claims to provide “the first evidence that people do compare their partner to others with significant consequences for the relationship.”

So in simpler terms, as noted in an example by the researchers, when Julie compares her husband George to her friend’s hubby, Sam, she notices that he’s better at helping out the kids with homework. But because she and George operate as a unit, Julie recognises that she actually enjoys doing the homework with the kids and it’s not that important that George does it. Therefore, the comparison has little to no effect on their relationship.

“People who are low in self-partner overlap have difficulty maintaining positive partner perceptions following threatening comparisons of their partner to others,” explained Thai. “This may be a key source of stress and conflict in people’s relationships.

“Moreover, by highlighting the benefits of high self-partner overlap, this research may identify a possible future intervention technique. Perhaps temporarily boosting someone’s perceptions of self-partner overlap may help them cope with and overcome the negative outcomes of comparing their partner,” she concluded.

Image via thetherapycentre.ca

Has Over-Functioning Turned Your Partner Into A Slacker?

Are you an over-functioning person? The type who can leap tall buildings in a single bound? Do you have a to-do list the size of your arm and appear to effortlessly complete the lot? And finally, are you tired of nagging to get things done only to end up doing it all yourself?

RELATED Why Women In Their 40s Are Choosing To Be Single

If any of this sounds familiar then you need to be aware that you aren’t in an equal partnership. Essentially, you’ve become the ‘parent’ or ‘caretaker’ and your significant other has become the ‘child’. It’s not exactly a turn on and it’s probably not what you want, either. Somewhere along your journey together, however, these are the roles you’ve created.

Unfortunately, many over-functioning individuals try tirelessly to even out this irritating equation. They have conversation after conversation about getting more help around the house and getting their slacker off their butt and into action – and I’d bet good money that things generally pick up for a while but soon slide back to a regular routine. The over-functioning partner will continue their behvaiour and as a result the slacker will ultimately continue theirs. It’s a vicious cycle.

What’s happening is that the over-functioning partner wants the other persons behaviour to change. That’s understandable, but what they don’t realise is that their partner’s behaviour is a response to their own. Regardless of the endless nagging, yelling, screaming, arguing or even threatening to leave, no-one can change what another person does, or in this case doesn’t do.

There is, however, one way things can change to even the equation and it’s easier than many over-functioning people think. There’s no nagging involved, no fighting, no nothing. In fact, all that needs to happen is the over-functioning partner needs to look objectively at what they have done to create their scenario.

For example, were they happy doing everything for their partner when the relationship began? Did they slide into this role as a response to some event? Did they get tired of waiting for their partner to do things and just decided it was easier to do it themselves? Or perhaps they like to have things done their own way and this is why the other person let them take over.

Whatever the situation, at some point these roles became established. Therefore, understanding how things developed into a routine is essential in changing the scenario. Now, this can work with any type of situation where changes need to occur. It’s incredible how people want change but they don’t change their behaviour. They just keep plodding along day after day and the change never happens. It’s often spoken of and argued about, but nothing can occur until there’s some type of behaviour shift.

So in this case where you have one partner over-functioning and the other under-functioning, someone needs to make it happen. If the over-functioning partner seriously wants more equality, they need to change their own actions and behaviours in a way that is more conducive to what they want. This may mean leaving jobs unfinished for the other to do, or creating a roster and only doing what’s on their own list.

In actual fact, this will be more difficult for the over-functioning person. While they have been busy doing everything, they’ve also had total control. They just might discover that control will be revoked and this is where the problem has been all along. However, if they want to get the equal partnership that many desire, then it really is the only way it can happen.

Image via familia.com.br

How Men Pay Their Partners For Sex

I used to run a play group and it was incredible the conversations I overheard while the children played and their mums sipped coffee. One thing I vividly remember being mentioned was that many of these women would withhold sex as payment to their partners for good behaviour – this included chores and even material things that they wanted.

RELATED The Truth About Why Married Men Visit Prostitutes

I suspect a lot of women with long-term partners would be uncomfortable admitting this. However, it was quite astounding what these women would divulge to each other. Being home alone most of the day with their toddlers and children (all under the age of ten) it was clear that they didn’t get a lot of outside contact; so when they did get together, nothing was off limits!

Very interestingly, a decade later, I discovered the women who didn’t use sex to their advantage actually ended up getting divorced or separated. While their relationships had dissolved, the ladies who had used sex as a reward or tool had somehow managed to remain with their partners.

Being one of the divorced I was amazed at how this behaviour was the one which seemed to stand out as a determining factor in the longevity of long-term relationships. I assumed it would have been the other way around. Clearly, my mind boggled and I was a bit confused. Did the men realise what their partners were doing?

One thing I remember thinking at the time when overhearing these conversations was: “Isn’t this just a form of prostitution? Why would a women want to get paid for sex if she wasn’t in that industry?” I’m certain these women would have looked down on other women who were paid for sex, yet they happily went about their everyday lives in a similar fashion!

An Expert Opinion

Where did my Libido Go, written by Australian sex therapist Dr Rosie King, explains that women’s sexual desire is dependent upon dopamine and adrenalin, while men are reliant on Testosterone. In women, sexual desire can fizzle out anywhere between six to eighteen months into a new relationship, whereas men’s sexual desire remains more consistent.

The good doctor went on to recommend that women with a low libido should find some way to increase their willingness to have sex with long-term partners. This includes financial gain and getting other needs met. I’m sure Dr Rosie would have applauded these women who I overheard having sex to get lawns mowed, gutters cleaned, houses vacuumed, kids looked after and even home renovations completed!

Dr Rosie believes this is far more effective in maintaining a long-term relationship than having “mercy sex” – this is when women put out to shut their partners up and keep them from having sex elsewhere.  She went on to say that this doesn’t give anything back to the women who would rather not have sex. It’s simply another chore to put on their “to-do” list, along with the shopping, cooking, working and caring for kids.

I’m not sure I agree with Dr Rosie or the women at the playgroup. What the hell’s happened to having sex with your long-term partner because you love them and want to have sex with them? I understand that low libido in women is a massive problem, but surely there are better incentives than searching for alternative motives such as household chores?

If women need to fantasise about their new kitchen or freshly mowed lawns while being intimate with their partner, clearly there are some sex lives that could do with a bit of a shake up! Plus, it makes me wonder what message this is sending – women want to be known as sexual beings, don’t they? Yet if there are so many women out there in long-term relationships having sex for payment, it doesn’t really do much for the overall cause. Instead, it screams women don’t want sex so you’ll have to pay us to do it; particularly those in long-term relationships who want it to survive.

No wonder men continue to say they can’t figure women out! So many women look down on others who get paid cash for sex, yet if it’s just one man whose paying and the women’s in a long-term relationship it’s okay. We live in such a confusing world, don’t we?

Image via honnest.jp

Romantic Nights At Home For Couples With Kids

Most of us are in desperate need of some romance, but what do you do when you can’t get rid of the kids? It’s actually easier than you think. It’s as simple as having a family night in, including the kids and getting to the intimate romance once they’ve had their fun and gone to sleep. Sound too easy to be believed? Well it is…

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How it’s Done

Putting a bit of romance back into your life is as simple as getting back to basics. Most of us don’t have time to breathe anymore because everything is moving way too fast. Parents are usually so busy rushing from morning ’til night that they rarely spend time on their relationship or make time for each other. Please STOP before you burn out and start prioritising romance – it’s essential for looking after the longevity of your family.

Start by putting technology in it’s place and turn it off for a night or two each month. This includes TV’s, DVD’s, tablets, computers and yes, even your mobile or cell phone which is glued to most of us 24/7. We survived long before this invention and we can all use a couple of nights of technology shut down.

Next, plan a night of family in-house, tech free entertainment. Not sure what to do? Luckily I’ve got some family friendly ideas which can easily be turned into a romantic night at home when the kids fall asleep.


When was the last time you sat around a small fire in the backyard and roasted some marshmallows? You don’t have to go camping to do this. If you don’t have room for a fire or if you live in an apartment, have a think about how you can improvise. Open the combustion heater, light a bunch of candles, or do whatever you can to get some real flames happening (without burning the house down, of course). There is something very soothing about fire and the kids will love it. Plus, after dark fire is particularly romantic. Grab a nice glass of wine, talk and spend some quality time with your lover.

Star Gazing

Most of us in big cities don’t really see the stars on a regular basis. We live indoors and by night time we are tucked up inside. Even if it’s cold out, pick a night that’s not too cloudy and head outside. Pop on some warm clothes, throw something on the ground and as a family check out what stars you can see. The kids will love it and later when they’ve had enough, go back out there with your lover to a secluded spot and get naked under them!

The best part about getting busy is you generate a lot of body heat, so there’s no need to worry about it being cold! Just a word of warning: make it somewhere discrete. No-one really wants to catch their neighbors in the act.

Build a Fort

Kids love building and playing in forts, so why not make it dual purpose? Set up a nice family sized fort in the lounge room and have some down time with the kids. Grab a board game or make up your own and they will be sure to go to bed happy. If you have trouble putting them to sleep afterwards, however, read a bedtime story or two – this normally works a treat. Later, turn the fort into mum and dad’s secret love nest and bring out the adult games when the kids are out of the way.

These ideas are as simple as it gets, but seriously, when was the last time you switched off the box and varied the routine? Not only will the kids love it, but having fun as adults is important. It’s also essential for stress relief and helps keep your family strong.

If you have some family date night ideas of your own, we’d love to hear them in the comments below!

Image via tipjunkie.com

How To Get Men To Open Up And Talk

Getting men to talk about how they feel, relationships, or what’s weighing heavily on their minds, is a mystery to many women. Instinctively, most women know something is going on with their partner, son, or perhaps their dad, but getting them to open up about it is another thing. This is where female intuition fails and the difference between male and female communication is startlingly obvious.

RELATED 5 Ways To Get Dads Involved In Parenting

A key thing to remember is that women and men work through problems differently. Women process problems verbally. As they share their woes their brain is processing solutions, therefore, during a crisis women tend to talk about it. Most males won’t do that, however.

What many males hear from females during these times is that there is a problem. In his head he’s usually thinking that if she didn’t need him to fix it, why would she talk about it? Men on the other hand work through problems internally and on a very private level. They often don’t want to discuss their issues and can become defensive if women pester them to verbalise what they are thinking.

This is often why men are quieter when there is a problem. Many women tend to misinterpret this as a sign that the man doesn’t care, or isn’t concerned about the issue at hand, and unfortunately, arguments begin or separation and divorce can result.

The first step in getting a man to talk is to understand this fact. The second thing women need to know is that men think on their feet – literally. Sitting down and talking isn’t their first option. If there’s something wrong most men prefer to hibernate with their thoughts for a time, come up with a solution, and put it into action. They want to fix the problem, but they’d prefer not to talk about fixing the problem.

So, what’s the trick to get males to open up? One word ladies… Timing. Females often speak to males with urgency and neglect to wait for the right moment. It’s like a child wanting mum’s attention when she’s busy cooking dinner and alike. Luckily, most of us learn about timing as a teen when we work out exactly when to ask our parents for something you know they might not agree to. Most of us have timed things to work in our favour and it’s the same concept.

In this particular case, it means looking for cues to open a conversation. For example, when men are tired you won’t get much out of them. Also, if they are preoccupied with something unrelated, don’t bother asking how they feel or talking about that certain issue that’s been lurking around. No joy there, either!

Each male and female relationship is different, so women need to look back on the patterns of when the male in their life has opened up in the past. Using my sons as an example, I know for a fact I can’t get much out of them when they are engaged in a computer game or out with their friends. I do know, however, that I can get them to openly discuss stuff that’s on their mind when they are in the car and we are driving somewhere.

Life is filled with these types of patterns and behavioural cues. Once you recognise them, regardless of the situation, you can easily use them to your advantage. As communicating is such an integral part of a relationship, recognising a male’s conversation patterns is vital for females to understand. Only then can they get the males in their life to be more open and learn to share their thoughts more freely.

Image via focus.de

Jodhi Meares’ Alleged Assault Not “Minor”

A small phrase which caught my eye in yesterday’s reporting of Jodhi Meares’ alleged assault by her fiancée Jon Stevens made my blood boil.

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The fashion designer and former swimsuit model was granted an interim apprehended violence order (AVO) against the former Noiseworks frontman after Rose Bay police were called to Meares’ Point Piper luxury home at 2am on Monday following reports of a domestic argument.

Stevens, 52, who was charged with assault and released on bail, cited medical reasons for failing to appear in court yesterday over the allegations. The AVO will stand until he is due to reappear in court on May 18.

The incident comes only a week after Meares, 42, the ex-wife of billionaire casino magnate James Packer, and Stevens posed for photos together at the VIP Sydney David Jones Autumn/Winter Collection Launch.

Jon Stevens and Jodhi Meares

The offending phrase, which I’ve seen reported a few times now was “the former swimsuit model… suffered a minor wrist injury during the dispute”. Oh and these ones too: Meares has “minor bruising” and “Meares, it is claimed, has some bruising on her wrists”.

I strongly object to the use of the word “minor”. What’s minor about police being called to a couple’s home, where a man is then charged with a woman’s assault? Why is the incident being downplayed?

There’s nothing small or insignificant about it; indeed it’s an increasingly ugly occurrence in our society. The matter is currently under police investigation.

Meares, the founder/fashion designer of luxury active wear label The Upside, which made its catwalk debut at last week’s DJs show, was last year also embroiled in another very public scandal.

She attracted public scorn and criticism after rolling her luxury Range Rover in a Bellevue Hill street and later recording a high range blood alcohol reading of 0.181 last June.

Jodhi Meares

Meares was charged and received a one-year licence suspension and a $1100 fine last August after confessing to consuming five glasses of organic wine at a Bondi restaurant.

Images via ninemsn.com.au; veooz.com and 2gb.com

Valentine’s Day: Should Romance Be Expected?

Valentine’s Day is supposed to be all about love and romance right? So what if your partner chooses to ignore the intention of the day? Is it something to get upset or angry about? Or should couples automatically expect some token of romance from their partner on Valentine’s Day?

Now to answer these questions I suppose I should really take a look at what Valentine’s Day means to different people. For some people it is all about love, romance and passion. They expect to be wined, dinned and lavished in tokens of love.

RELATED: 10 ways to reignite that honeymoon spark

For others, it’s a day to appreciate their partner and say thank you for everything they mean to each other all year. They may exchange cards or a small token but the thoughts about the day are more important than cards and gifts.

To others Valentine’s Day is a religious celebration. They honour St Valentine and appreciate the love of God. To understand this you need to know a little bit about the history of Valentine’s Day which is one of the oldest religious traditions.

It was initially linked back to an ancient pagan fertility festival. These celebrations occurred before the rise of the ancient Romans and the rise of Christianity. During the end of the 5th century, the Pope declared February 14th St. Valentine’s Day in honour of their saints. Effectively they turned a Pagan festival into a Christian celebration. This tradition continued throughout the Middle Ages when people became enveloped in Christian beliefs. Most people were very poor and life focused around the church.

Valentine’s Day became more as we know it and gained popularity around the 17th century. Ever since it has evolved into a day of love and romance. The initial meaning behind the Pagan or Christian influence has been long forgotten by the masses.

With technological advancements of the 1900s and cheaper postage rates, mass production of Valentine’s day greeting cards began. This was when the commercialization of Valentine’s Day truly began. Via strategic marketing throughout many counties around the world, estimated spending on greeting cards and gifts are in the hundreds of billions. Plus the industry employs a massive population globally.

Why a I telling you this? Well some people associate Valentine’s Day with mass commercialisation. They refuse to be manipulated by corporate giants promoting love and romance for profit. To them Valentine’s Day is just another ploy to empty the pockets of the people. They’re tired of the growing pressure placed on couples to show their love through expensive gifts, dining at exclusive restaurants or booking a romantic weekend away.

For me Valentine’s Day has a very different focus. It’s not that I’m not a romantic either. February 14th is the day my first child was born. Giving birth on Valentine’s Day forever changed my perspective. After my divorce and meeting a new partner, they understood that unlike someone who place an emphasis on Valentine’s Day, it didn’t have the same meaning for me.

So to answer my initial questions; should couples automatically expect some token of romance from their partner on Valentine’s Day? Sorry as unromantic as it may sound the answer is no.

What if they choose to ignore the intention of the day? It’s clear that Valentine’s Day mean’s different things to different people. So if you have a partner you really need to understand their perspective and they should appreciate your expectations. Ask the question about what the day means to them. Ironically most of us don’t even know why we celebrate Valentine’s Day anyway.

Is it something to get upset or angry about? In all honesty if you love and cherish your partner everyday, why should this one day make any difference? Why not just make everyday your Valentine’s Day!

Image via wantickets.com

Friendship Is Their Secret Ingredient

Generations ago couples “courted” and got to know each other well before they hit the sack. They might have fooled around a bit but the fear of pregnancy kept most women’s legs pretty tightly shut! Unbeknownst to them they were actually building a friendship which would help through the tough times ahead. By the time couples married they had a reasonable idea who they were spending their life with.

RELATED: Marriage and friendship help you live longer

Fast forward to the 21st century we are lucky to have birth control and options for protected sex. Instead of pregnancy being the deterrent it once was, women are now free to be more, um-mm, free?! The downside is that the friendship required for intimate relationships to survive long term is often missing.

This maybe one of the reasons separation and divorce rates are so high. Plus we have options which our ancestors didn’t. If they were unhappy or dissatisfied in their relationship they had to fix it. Their only options were to find a workable solution, live in misery or murder their spouse. I’m sure a few went missing, some were miserable but the majority worked on it.

We don’t have these restraints. Instead, couples opt for the easy way out, separate and try to find love and happiness elsewhere. The problem with this is that many fail to realize they need to fix the issues created in their initial relationship so it won’t be transferred to the next. Serial cheaters are a prime example. Until they work on their cheating behaviour in their current relationship, it’s pretty likely they’ll cheat over and over again in others.

Today, couples that have a solid friendship are far more likely to work through their baggage, issues or hard-ships and remain together. It’s not just about communicating as friends but encompasses the mutual respect, validation of opinions, understanding, acknowledgment and all the other goodies being best friends involves.

Friendship in new relationships

If you’re on the market or just beginning a new relationship, great! Hold off on the sex and concentrate on the friendship. It doesn’t matter what gender you are either. Simply spend time together, communicate and build a solid foundation for a strong, sustainable relationship.

Avoid placing a time limit on initiating intimacy because that will become the focus. It really doesn’t matter. As a guide when you feel comfortable being able to strip naked in front of your partner and jump up and down, you’re probably pretty comfortable with each-other! Although holding of on sex maybe easier said than done it’s much easier to begin as friends and work toward intimacy than the other way around.

Concentrating on friendship in established relationships

If your relationship is based on physical attraction and lust you’re in serious trouble if you want it to last long term. We all know the passionate side of relationships is awesome but there’s got to be more. Eventually that will subdue and you will need to have a friendship for it to last.

Rather than suddenly stopping the sex to work on your friendship, continue as you would when you want to befriend someone. Work on what you have in common, likes and dislikes, family history, strengths and weaknesses, fears and life experiences. You should know all the things friends know about each other and concentrate on building mutual respect, understanding and trust.

Why friendship?

So why is friendship the secret ingredient to a happy, satisfying long term relationship? Easy. Best friends look out for each other no matter what. They are comfortable in extended periods of silence. Everyone needs down time. They treat each other as equals with respect, dignity, validation and compassion, not as possessions or objects to be abused. They have fun together, laugh together, communicate and enjoy each others company.  Plus, when the s### hits the fan, who do you want to turn to? Not the friend with benefits which some couples resemble, but your best friend.

If your intimate relationship doesn’t have a solid foundation built upon friendship it will eventually crumble. It might last a few years, maybe even a decade or more but the most satisfying and happy relationships seem to have this one essential ingredient. Thankfully this is something we can all build upon, achieve and improve with age.

Image via nedhardy.com

Is There A Perfect Time To Start A Family?

The short answer to this question is no. There is no perfect time to start a family. Regardless how well organised you think you are, it’s almighty life-changing shock. In fact, the longer you wait, the harder it’s going to be to adjust.

Sure older people might have a few extra bucks in the bank, climbed an extra rung or two on the corporate ladder but, unless it’s a few hundred thousand tucked away or you’ve managed to touch the glass ceiling, it really won’t make any difference. Starting a family is hard work regardless of whether you’re 15 or 50.

RELATED: Three Trimesters of Pregnancy – What To Expect From Each

For starters, sleep deprivation has a habit of making life unbearable. The older you get, the harder it is to wake up every three hours (if you’re lucky) for a feed. That 3am feed is a nightmare!

If your plan is to have a few months off and return to work, good luck. Some babies just wanna party all night and then you’ll need to function at work the next day. Repeat this over and over for several months and you will be ready for them to open the door of the nearest mental health facility and check yourself in. Haha, you think I’m joking!

Also, babies are expensive. Teenagers, on the other hand, are something no one can prepare for. Do you know how much one pair of Nikes cost? You can’t just go to the nearest K-Mart or op shop. Teens are relentless, they want what their friends have. Now picture the kid growing out of their shoes every six months for over a decade. No wonder Nike are doing so well!

Most teens also have a rip roaring social life and because it’s so damn good they won’t have time for a job. God forbid. They go to school, isn’t that enough “work” for one day? You need them to get a great education so you give in hoping they will eventually afford to cover their own feet.  So basically your finances will never be the same again. Unless your pockets are very deep you’re guna have to adapt.

Then there’s the incredible strain on your relationship. Couples hit their 30s and think a beautiful bouncing bubs will complete their prefect life together. OMG – if you want to test a relationship try having a baby that doesn’t sleep, eat and has a fever. They all get them so that’s not stretching the truth.

Plus parenting styles differ. That puts additional strain on your relationship. No matter how well you get along and compromise, there will usually be some difference of opinion along the way. Parenting is generally when you discover that you came from different families and the pressure begins to mount. No-one wants to get it wrong so people get very passionate about how they raise their kids. As kids get older this issue becomes more prominent. It’s a wonder any relationships actually survive!

Lastly and most importantly, the longer you wait the greater chance the baby will have problems after birth. Women don’t produce eggs, they are born with them. Therefore every-time you drink too much, smoke a cigarette or chose to consume unhealthy food it effects the eggs you have. If you’ve spent time partying think of the damage you’ve done already. Add the natural aging process to the scenario and the longer you wait the greater the chance of miscarriage and birth defects. This isn’t a joke, this is a reality.

So, have a completely put you off of starting a family? I hope not. Although it is by far the most significantly challenging thing you can do in your life, it is also the most rewarding. There is no better feeling on earth when they get older and say to you, “Thanks for everything. You’ve been a great parent.” All that sacrifice, work and effort pays off tenfold. Any parent (on a good day) will probably tell you the same. Be sure it’s a good day, because on a bad day you might get a very different response!

Image via e-mama.gr

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