Tuesday 30 September 2014

What are the Two Questions You Should Ask on a First Date?

Here's...useful dating advice

What are the Two Questions You Should Ask on a First Date?

It sounds like the sort of line that is best suited to the opening of a horror film, but the co-founder of matchmaking website OkCupid has revealed that “Do you like scary movies?” is one of the best questions to ask on a first date.

Christian Rudder, who set up the dating service with two friends a decade ago, said it was one of the best ways of telling whether you would end up with a prospective partner.
The other question he would recommend asking is “Have you ever travelled alone to another country?”

“In about three-quarters of the long-term couples OkCupid has brought together, both people have answered these two questions the same way, either both ‘yes’ or both ‘no’,” 
Rudder wrote in a newspaper article on what he had learned in ten years working on the site.“That’s much, much higher than the expected rate, since both questions evenly split our user base. In fact, successful couples agree on scary movies – either they both like them or they both hate them – about as often as they agree on the existence of God.”
Rudder, who has led OkCupid’s analytics team since 2009, also compiled a list of 30 words which appeared disproportionately often in British users’ profiles.
Haribo, wot, wasters, trousers, trainers, bloke, moaning, lecturer and bolognese all made the cut.

View the original article here

Monday 29 September 2014

Relationships that Start Online are Less Likely to End in Marriage

Online daters break up more.
Online daters break up more. Source: News Corp Australia
IF YOU consider how many of your friends have met their significant others on OkCupid, you know there’s considerably less stigma surrounding online dating than there was 10 or 15 years ago. But does that necessarily mean these relationships will be successful, 10 or 15 years down the line?
That’s what researchers at Stanford and Michigan State University wanted to know. In light of websites like eHarmony’s claims that more than a third of marriages start online, they recently polled more than 4,000 people to see whether eHarmony and OkCupid are as successful at predicting long-term romantic compatibility as they claim to be. Instead, they found the opposite: Couples who meet online are less likely to stay together long-term than those who meet offline.
It might start well, but online dating doesn’t end well.
It might start well, but online dating doesn’t end well. Source: Supplied
According to the study, couples who meet on websites like eHarmony, Match.com, and Zoosk are less likely to get married than couples who meet offline. Furthermore, even couples who meet on those sites and do end up getting married tend to break up at a higher rate than their offline counterparts. Perhaps most damning of all, online dating isn’t the most efficient way to find a romantic partner, with online couples taking a longer time on average to initiate a relationship than couples who met offline.

The reasons for this discrepancy, Michigan State University researcher Aditi Paul speculates, probably have to do with the fact that even though online dating is less stigmatised than it once was, we still tend to take online relationships a lot less seriously than ones in real life.
“We don’t put in too much thought into online relationships,” she wrote in the study. “Maybe this casualness that is associated with online relationship initiation impedes the development of the relationship in the long run.”
After all, if you don’t think of the guy you emoji-flirted with on Tinder as a serious dating prospect from the get-go, it’s unlikely that your views on him will evolve much six months down the line.
Online daters less likely to marry
Don’t delete your profile, but be wary. Source: Supplied
Do the results of this study mean that we should all delete our Tinder and OkCupid accounts en masse? Of course not. After all, not everyone is logging on to dating websites and apps looking for a long-term romantic commitment. Even if you are, the study is quick to note that online dating isn’t a totally fruitless endeavour, as long as you take the time to build relationships with people and get to know them first.
“The more couples spend time with each other, the more they get to know the other person and develop interpersonal trust and intimacy with them,” the authors of the study wrote. “This leads to greater stability of the relationship, which in turn increases the odds of them staying together in the long run.”
So think about that the next time you’re half-heartedly thumbing through profiles on Tinder, swiping right for your soulmate.


Friday 12 September 2014

Is Marriage a Promise of Sex?

Is Marriage a Promise of Sex? 

I have a question for you. On the surface it’s a simple question, but dig about just a little and you’ll find a network of emotionally tricky, ethically ambiguous answers. Nevertheless, I’ll ask it anyway, because that’s the kinda party I like. Here you go:

Is marriage a promise of sex?

Let me loosen that up a bit: If you’ve chosen sexual monogamy as your relationship model, to what extent are you responsible for your partner’s intimate satisfaction?

It’s a question that’s been bumping around my head ever since I wrote the column we sportingly called ‘miserable married sex’. Yesterday, the question started bumping about too loudly to ignore.

You might’ve heard about the man who made an Excel spreadsheet of all the reasons his wife gave him, over the course of a month or so, for not having sex with him. Of the 30 times he propositioned her, she agreed three times. Her excuses ranged from being tired to feeling ‘gross’ to wanting to watch TV.

I’m not going to go into a discourse about the state of their relationship (shit), her attitude (shitter), his response (shittiest), but I think it’s a good place to kick off this question.

Because, while this particular piece may have oozed its way from the depths of Reddit, the sentiment is hardly unique.

There are many people – men and women – who feel rejected, unsatisfied and lonely in marriages and commitments that bind them sexually to one person. And society more happily defends the person doing the withholding. They’re legally, politically and morally more comfortable for us to deal with that, say, the person who cheats, challenges our ideas of possession or whines about being sex or touch starved. 

The commentary camps that form around this Reddit wife and her Excel-spreadsheet husband are quick to shape themselves around gender lines and politics, around tired ball-‘n’chain stereotypes and, unfortunately, questions of consent.


Entire books can be written about each of these.

But let’s imagine that two adults who agree to a sexually monogamous relationship take equal responsibility for their choice. Let’s imagine that these adults, who have agreed to be gatekeepers on their partner’s genitals and desires, take their job seriously and don’t become manipulative, mean or lazy about it.

Let’s imagine a relationship structure where as adults we are able to behave like adults; that we don’t take our partners or our intimacies for granted.

Let’s imagine, oh the horror, that we don’t actually own the people we say we love.

Adult relationships understand sex, commitment and building a life together as negotiated spaces where both partners are equally accountable to the outcome.

And yes, part of that space is sex and physical intimacy. You’re not physically committed to your brother, after all.

If you’re tired, overworked, sad, unhappy with your body (or his) or not liking the sex your partner is giving you, you speak up, get out or get help. You don’t claim to be Queen Of All The Land and then go hide in your chamber.

Reddit wife and Excel-spreadsheet husband didn’t just raise a question about responsibility in a sexually monogamous relationship, they made themselves – and those capable of choosing their circumstances – into victims when they’re not.

You are responsible for what you choose.

View the original article here


Thursday 11 September 2014

Why It Takes More Than Love for Your Relationship to Work


Why It Takes More Than Love for Your Relationship to Work

I hate to be the one to say it but The Beatles were wrong when they sang All You Need is Love. Love isn't enough. At least not according to those of us living in healthy relationships.
I've spent the past year looking for love and wondering why everyone keeps saying it isn't enough. In the process, I've spent hours in conversation with men and women from across the world, recording their stories for my book Love: a collaborative memoir.
Two of the most commonly used words to describe successful relationships were not four letter words starting with "L" ... they were "compromise" and "sacrifice." Yet, according to Relationships Australia, over 90 percent of us still say we marry for love.
This very notion renders the institution of marriage even more fragile than ever before. And sadly, the divorce rate also shows that about 50 percent of us are kidding ourselves when we marry for love (and for ever after).


What does this say for the future of marriage? I don't know. I'm divorced so I'm probably not the most qualified person to talk about it. But despite our changing society and increasing divorce rates, there are still couples who hold on. How do they do it?

Here's some of the advice I received about what makes a happy relationship:
''...don't assume that your partner is coping the same way you are.'' --Jo
Talk about things that are important to you, practice being open and honest with your partner from the very beginning, and remember that human beings aren't mind readers. If you don't communicate with your partner, they're not going to guess what's going through your mind.
'' ...the first thing you've got to do is learn to love yourself.'' --Troy
You, on your own, are a complete person. You are capable of love and being loved but learn to love yourself first. Relationships aren't about two halves making a whole; they're about two wholes forming a partnership and to do that you have to be a whole to begin with.
''Being in love is about wanting to be with someone forever. While I don't think I am naive enough to believe that we all stay with that one person forever, I think the minute you stop wanting to be with someone forever is when you know you are no longer truly in love with them.'' --Tiarni

Live in the short term but think in the long term. We all know that happily ever after doesn't really exist but you've got to hope that it can.
'' ...our relationship needed to go through everything that it has to make it what it is today. Love means you have to be sacrificial.'' --Carrie
People don't like to think of sacrifice when they think of relationships but unfortunately you make many sacrifices for the sake of love (and your loved ones). Just remember, when you make those sacrifices you don't have to make your partner feel guilty. And both of you should make sacrifices. Be sure you're making the right decision and communicate the whole way through the decision-making process.
''We sat quietly on our veranda; cried together in raw emotional pain at three o'clock in the morning on the kitchen floor; and picked weeds from the front lawn. Through these simple tasks, through the authentic release of pain and emotion, our love grew.'' --Angie
Sometimes love's going to hurt. But when you get through the not-so-good stuff you're both stronger, happier and healthier for it.
''That feeling you had at the beginning fades and that's okay, because you develop other feelings that can be even better, more meaningful.'' --Mel
She's right a thousand times over. Your relationship is going to change. Enjoy the change --even embrace the change--but don't run from it or think there's something broken.
My piece of advice? I learned to not be too proud to ask for help. There are people who genuinely care and want to help you (either individually or as a couple). Ask for help, learn from others and make informed decisions about your relationship.

Wednesday 10 September 2014

How Being Vulnerable at Work Can Work for You

How Being Vulnerable at Work Can Work for You

I can remember the first time I let my guard down at the beginning of a dating relationship. I'm rarely the first to show my cards, but after a first date I took a deep breath and sent a message: "I'm really into you. I'd like to see you again. I can't remember the last time I connected with someone in this way." It felt incredibly freeing to express how I felt.
That feeling lasted for exactly 30 seconds before it was washed away by hot wave of panic -- a mix of frantic uncertainty and searing regret. I was now susceptible to being hurt -- the very definition of vulnerability.
In one of her TED talks, Dr. Brené Brown calls this post-exposure feeling of regret and dread a "vulnerability hangover." It's the perfect term because it captures the euphoric high of being completely open, paired with a subsequent crash of anxiety.
It takes guts to put yourself out there. So, why do we do it? Why bother? The answer is because vulnerability is the key to connection.
While connection is obviously important in dating relationships, it's also important for our work relationships. And since vulnerability is a key ingredient in connection, we must learn to be vulnerable at work.
If we keep ourselves walled-up there's no opportunity for a meeting of the minds and hearts. Whether it's making amends with a colleague, asking for a raise, requesting help, admitting you don't understand, or going for the promotion, good things can happen when you take down your walls. Yes, bad things can happen too, and there is the risk of disappointment.
People think that if you don't put yourself out there you can't get hurt. Wrong. You're hurting yourself every time you refuse to go after what you want.
Some will say that by wearing your heart on your sleeve you relinquish the power of cool. You're out there on a limb, naked and exposed. Maybe so, but if you don't put yourself out there people won't know what you want. Playing it cool is overrated.
Another reason for biting the bullet and putting yourself out there is because it's better than the alternative. "You cannot selectively numb emotion," says Dr. Brown. She explains, we'd love to numb out the bad emotions like grief and shame and fear, but you can't do so without also numbing yourself to emotions like joy and happiness.
Is this inconvenient? Very. But because we can't selectively numb emotion, we have to feel the scary ones in order to fully experience the good ones. In essence, feeling excruciating vulnerability is better than closing yourself off and feeling absolutely nothing.
Dr. Brown argues that being vulnerable is an unavoidable part of life -- people feel it when they get fired, initiate sex, or say 'I love you' first. Vulnerability is unavoidable at work, too. You're going to feel it when you ask for help from your boss, fess up to a big mistake, apologize to a colleague, strive for a big career goal, or quit your job to make a career change. Feeling comfortably numb seems safer, but think of the possibilities (and not just the pain) when you courageously wear your heart on your sleeve.