Tag Archives: Relationship Advice

The Customer Is Not Always Right

"Am I the only one around here who believes the Golden Rule applies to customer service workers as well?"

 

There’s a mantra in America that says, “The customer is always right.” This idea is so ingrained in American culture, it’s taken for granted by customers and service workers alike. You can walk into almost any business where people make minimum wage, yell at whoever serves you, and they’ll apologize to you. Frankly, I’m a little surprised politicians haven’t written it into law that customers have the right to treat employees like 18th-century slaves.

This traditional American value is flawed for several reasons I thought went without saying, but given the way I see retail and fast food workers getting treated, apparently, this needs to be said. All people are created equal and endowed with the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Your local fast food chain’s company policy doesn’t trump this fact because the value of a human life isn’t determined by employers. The value of human life is determined by the rarity and brevity of its existence. If there is a God, then humans are sacred projections of God’s love and power. If there is no God, then humans are the universe incarnate, an inexplicable miracle 14 billion years in the making. That’s what you’re bullying when you treat a customer service worker like shit. No human being deserves to be treated like that, and you don’t deserve to treat any other human being like a second class citizen who is beneath you.

Sure, you deserve to get your money’s worth when you pay a business for a product or service, but that doesn’t trump your customer service representative’s right to be treated with basic human dignity. This is especially true when your customer service representative is getting paid minimum wage, which is so far below the cost of living it’s wage slavery. They’re not making enough money to live healthily, enjoy luxuries, save for retirement or invest in continuing education. They’re ruining their bodies working as hard and fast as they can with as few rest breaks as the law allows. They’re watching their infinitely valuable and fleeting life end as fast as the clock turns.

For all they sacrifice to bring you a burger, they’re not getting financially compensated to get treated like shit by selfish, spoiled bullies. They endure it though because if they don’t they’ll get thrown out in the streets and die of starvation in the cold. But just because you gave their oppressive employer a few dollars, and they, in turn, gave you permission to kick their wage slaves while they’re down in life, doesn’t mean you have the God-given right or philosophical justification to do so. If you think customer service workers are lazy bums who deserve everything they get, then walk a mile in their shoes and find out how hard and thankless their lives truly are.

We shouldn’t have to have an argument about whether or not you get to treat other people like dirt. You should simply care about people. Most human beings believe in religion, and every religion mentions somewhere in their holy texts that you should love other people. I think Sam Harris (an atheist) put it best when he said, “…every person you have ever met, every person will suffer the loss of his friends and family. All are going to lose everything they love in this world. Why would one want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime?”

 

tim-and-eric-mind-blown

 

Look at life from the point of view of the people who are serving you. They’re sweating and bleeding for you. They’re busting their asses to fill every order as quickly and accurately as possible. Inevitably they’re going to make mistakes, and while it may be in your right to ask politely to have your order modified or remade, you’re inconveniencing your already overworked servants. You’re making their lives harder by sending them back to the kitchen than they’re making your life harder by getting your order slightly wrong. If you’re kind enough to give money to charity at Christmas then why not extend that kindness to let a few mistakes slide? You can take more genuine joy in helping your servers by not making their job harder than you can by getting your order right. The least you can do is not go out of your way to belittle them.

Despite what I’ve said so far about the righteousness of treating other people well, we’re all human. And when you treat people like shit they tend to respond in kind. Customer service workers have to put up with abuse every day at their dead-end jobs that they dread going to and know they won’t have forever. If you consistently inconvenience and bully them, it’s only a matter of time before one of them spits in your food or worse. I won’t say their retribution is right or wrong, but I will say that you brought it on yourself.

Also, be vividly aware that the consequences of your negative behavior don’t stop in the kitchen. Every time you treat someone poorly, you weigh down their mind with another negative experience that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives. These experiences add up and color the way they see the world. They can only endure enough abuse before their soul turns dark and they begin lashing out at other people. The people they take out their anger at you on will, in turn, be haunted by their own karma ghosts that will affect how they treat others. That’s how the world turns into a bad place to live. Your childish behavior isn’t just part of the problem. It is the problem.

If you’re truly selfish enough to justify treating other people worse than you expect to be treated, then you need to recognize that this manifestation of your selfishness is merely a symptom of a greater flaw in your character that is affecting other aspects of your life negatively. For your sake as well as everyone else, see a therapist and get help. You and everyone else will be happier for it.

 

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Why You Need To Be A Little Slutty

 

"Definition of 'slut:' A person of any gender who has the courage to lead life according to the radical proposition that sex is nice and pleasure is good for you."

 

It’s a common belief that it’s immoral to perform any sexual activity before marriage, and after marriage, you can only perform several basic sexual positions with one person for the rest of your life. We got this idea from religion, but religion is mythology. It’s not based on reason or evidence. It’s based on the subjective cultural taboos of primitive societies. Sexual prudishness is not a virtue. It’s a destructive and wasteful lifestyle that conditions you to accept an unfulfilling life. If you want to live a fulfilling life you need to base your sexual values on reason and evidence.

The reality of human sexuality is that humans are hardwired in their DNA to want to crave sex… and not just missionary sex between one man and one woman (who are both over 18 years old) for the rest of their lives. Humans are designed to be sex addicts, and it takes more than one kind of treatment to manage our addiction. We need a full spectrum approach to manage our biological needs. It’s not always practical to have sex, but we still need to have orgasms. Handjobs, oral sex, and toys are as practical as they are fun. Without them, your mind and body lock up with anxiety, and the ripple effects of that anxiety will lower your total quality of life. Relieving that anxiety not only frees you to enjoy life but the confidence and satisfaction that a healthy sex life gives you will raise the total quality of your life.

Masturbation is an invaluable remedy to sexual frustration, but it’s not a permanent substitute for a sexual partner. Biologically and psychologically, you need someone to be sexually active with from the age when you first start yearning for sex. That will happen years before it becomes practical to sign a lifetime contract to share a home and all your money with another person… if that’s ever practical at all.  It would be nice if you could be in a sexual relationship with your soul mate, but your body can’t wait for you to search the whole world for that one perfect person. At any rate, you need years of independence to grow into a complete person yourself before you’ll be compatible with the perfect person for you.

In the meantime, you still need to be sexually active with someone or else you’ll be plagued by anxiety, loneliness, and emptiness, and you won’t be making as many strides in your personal growth as you would be able to if you had a healthy sex life. This means you either need a “friend with benefits” or you need to have casual sex. A friend with benefits is far less stressful and less dangerous than casual sex, but if you don’t have a friend with benefits you still need someone to help you manage your sex life, and your potential sex partners need someone to help them manage theirs. You don’t have to have sex with strangers. Handjobs, oral sex, and toys are options that are always on the table.

Taking advantage of these options doesn’t make you a bad person. Crushing your soul with sexual frustration will, however, turn you into a bad person, or at least not as good of a person as you could have been. So total abstinence isn’t virtuous. It’s foolish and irresponsible because it has negative real-world consequences. Being a little slutty is, in fact, wise and productive.

Aside from relieving anxiety and building confidence, sexual activity is fun. It’s one of the finer spices of life. If you’re not going to seize the day and enjoy your life then what are you doing here? If God exists then it was God who designed us to be sex addicts and made sex so pleasurable. God must want us to be a little slutty. God would certainly want us to be happy, and regardless of whether or not God exists, you should be happy. If you have the chance to be happy then do it. That’s virtuous. That’s wise. That’s mature.

Just be safe. Don’t have sex with skanks. Always use protection. Never force anyone to do anything they don’t want to. Try everything once. Just be smart about it and not only will you live a better life but you’ll help others do the same. There’s nothing better than that. So for goodness sake, be a little slutty.

 

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Why Men Should Wear Nice Underwear

Women are pressured by the media to look as beautiful as possible all the time. When they go through all the time and effort to look good, it ruins the effect a little when they take their clothes off to reveal cheap underwear underneath. Women, having received a lifetime of training in how to look good, generally understand this. So it’s not uncommon for women to spend $60 for just a bra or a single pair of panties when they could easily buy a 6-pack of panties at a discount store for $15. They spend the extra money though because it makes them feel confident and turns men on.

If it’s important for women to please their men by wearing sexy lingerie it stands to reason that women deserve the same respect from men. Actually, it’s more important. Since women are pressured by the media and religions to have an irrational fear of their sexuality, when they do have sex, they’re stepping out on a limb. They’re also letting a man experience her in the most intimate way possible, which can be a little nerve-racking. She would hope that her sexual partner appreciates the gift she’s giving him, and she would certainly hope that her man realizes that sex for a woman isn’t just the mechanical, physical exercise that men sometimes view sex as. For women, sex is as much about emotional stimulation as it is about physical stimulation. Men who understand this will take steps to give women the emotional stimulation they crave while also minimizing the anxiety they may feel about sex.

There are a lot of little steps men can take to show a woman he’s not just some random jerk. You can show her that you’re worth having sex with by taking care of your body and having a successful career. You can tell her she’s special, listen to her and spend money on her. You can totally reinvent yourself as James Bond, but if you go through all that hassle, understand that it’s going to ruin the effect if you take your clothes off to reveal you’re wearing cheap, discount underwear with holes and stains in them.

If you take your clothes off to reveal a nice, elegant pair of underwear you’re sending a message to her that you care enough about her to go the extra mile for her. It’s your last chance before sex to prove you’re worth having sex with. Granted, if you’re already down to your underwear with another person you’re probably going to have sex anyway, but going the extra mile is being a good person.

Wearing nice underwear isn’t something you should only do on special occasions. Even if nobody sees your underwear, you know you’re wearing it. You should have confidence in yourself regardless of what clothes you wear, but it gives you a psychological boost when you know that underneath your clothes you’re always wearing lust-worthy underwear. That extra confidence boost can go a long way, and as you become used to feeling calm, cool and collected that confidence will become a part of your subconscious, and then you won’t have to put effort into being confident. You’ll just be confident, and that will help you get laid, not because you tricked a girl into having sex with a poser but because you’re somebody worth having sex with.

If you’re reading this thinking to yourself, “Man, you’re taking this underwear thing way too far. Underwear is just one little detail in a million,” then you don’t understand women. To women, all of the little things are big things, because they’re all details, which make up the whole picture. The finest picture has the most attention to detail, and the most repulsive picture has the least attention to any kind of standards. If you don’t think underwear is important, then don’t bother wearing nice clothes nice cologne. In the end, they’re just cheap masks hiding your cheap underwear underneath.

Unless you’re Tom Cruise, you don’t look good in old-school whitey tighties. Don’t buy them. Don’t buy flannel cotton boxers. They make you look like an old man. If your girlfriend can wear your boxers as shorts in public and not get weird looks, you’re not wearing sexy underwear. Bad underwear is basically anything you can buy at Wal-Mart or any big box store. As a general rule, avoid anything by Fruit of the Loom or Hanes. When you’re looking at a shelf of underwear, if you have the option to buy 6 different colors of the same pair of underwear in one bag for about $15, don’t buy that underwear. In fact, leave the store and go find a high-end department store that doesn’t even have that option. For a better selection, just go to Amazon.com

DON’T BE THIS GUY.

DON'T BE THIS GUY.

DON’T BE THIS GUY.

DON'T BE THIS GUY.

DON’T BE THIS GUY.

DON'T BE THIS GUY

DON’T BE THIS GUY

Regardless of the price, what makes good underwear is that it’s made from better material than flannel and cotton. I can’t say exactly which material to look for. The important thing is that it’s soft and smooth. Imagine sleeping in a bed with sheets made from the same material as your underwear. The more awesome it would be to the sleep in that bed, the more you should consider buying that pair of underwear.

The most important quality in a good pair of underwear is that they look sexy. Sexy is sleek. Underwear shouldn’t hide your curves. It should accentuate them. Sexy is expensive. Sexy looks like a million dollars even if it doesn’t cost a million dollars. Sexy is enticing. If you can look at a piece of underwear and not think, “Damn. That’s sexy,” then you’re probably looking at the wrong piece of underwear. When all of your underwear looks like that then you can always be sure you’re giving the woman of your life the best show all the time. Think about this. You wouldn’t expect your significant other to always wear sexy lingerie, but if she chose to do that, you’d love it. Regardless of whether or not she gives you that permanent show, you can still give her a permanent show as a way to show her that she’s important to you and also because you’re a sexy beast. And that’s what’s sexy beasts do. They’re sexy all the time.

Specifically, Calvin Klein, Jockey, Diesel, 2(X)IST and Exofficio are all great brands as long as you don’t buy any of their floppy stuff. If you’re still not sure what sexy underwear is, then go grab a couple of girls and take them to the underwear section of an upscale department store and have them point out to you what sexy is. Since ultimately the whole point of wearing nice underwear is to please the most important woman in your life, it would be best to have her show you exactly what she likes.

BE THIS GUY.

BE THIS GUY.

BE THIS GUY.

BE THIS GUY.

BE THIS GUY.

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6 Stages Of Friendship

1: Strangers

Everyone in the world starts out as a stranger (and potential friend) to you.

 

2: Loose Acquaintance

The first time you meet a person they’re just a random face in the crowd. Unless you meet this person at your arranged marriage, there’s little to no guarantee you’ll ever see them again. It takes time to learn enough about a person to know whether you like them or not. It also takes time to build shared experiences together with which you’ll come to base your friendship on. So even if you really hit it off with someone the first time you meet them, they’ll only be a potential friend until you see them again… and again… and again…and again.

There are over 6 billion people in the world. You only have enough time in your short life to become best friends with a few of them. Your brain understands this. So even if you don’t your mind will subconsciously size up every person you meet and come to a conclusion about whether or not this person is compatible enough with you to be worth pursuing a deeper relationship with. 99.9% of the people you meet in your life will fail the Loose Acquaintance Test. The first time they leave your sight, you won’t ever think about them again. Even if you do remember them, the thought will never occur to you to regret their absence in your life, because they were just some unimportant, random person.

That’s fine. We can’t all spend our lives obsessing over everyone we meet. In fact, we should be conscious of the fact that we should be sizing people up to assess who we can/can’t build meaningful relationships with. If we don’t pay attention we risk passing up the right people and attaching ourselves to the wrong people.

 

3: Regular Acquaintance

If you keep running into the same person over and over again you’ll learn things about each other and build shared experiences. In no time at all, they’ll stand out of the crowd. When you see their face it will mean something to you, and when you talk to them you can continue your previous dialogues. These interactions will evolve your relationship with each other. Instead of just being a random person they’ll become the person you met there who does this for a living and goes to the place you’re at to get… whatever.

Spending time with a person doesn’t guarantee you’re going to be friends. You’ll meet just as many people who, the more you meet them the more you despise them. However, some will pass the Regular Acquaintance Test, and some will pass it faster than others. You could buy coffee from the same barista for ten years before they become anything other than a friendly barista to you. On the other hand, sometimes you run into people who you just click with and end up spending the next two weeks together every day. Not only do you need to spend time with a person to get promoted in their friend book, but you have to spend meaningful time talking, opening up, overcoming challenges, learning and having fun together before your relationship has significant meaning.

 

4: Allies

Eventually, you’re going to work with people for so long that you’ll know their whole life story, their idiosyncrasies, and secrets. You’ll know them well enough to accurately predict their future. But they’ll still just be a regular acquaintance who you know at work. Intimate knowledge is a prerequisite for friendship, but it’s only one component.

Feeling affection for each other is another prerequisite for friendship. When you experience affection towards another person emotionally, you get those feelings from your brain. Consciously and subconsciously your brain has been calculating how valuable that person is in your life. If the results of that calculation are negative then you’ll dislike them. If the results of that calculation are positive then you’re like them. The higher they score, the more you’ll like them. The lower they score, the less you’ll like them.

Friendships are warm and fuzzy, but they’re also based on a cold calculation. Life is beautiful, but life is also war. Everyone and every living thing is competing with each other to survive in a dog-eat-dog world where only the strong survive, and only the alpha thrive. Every stranger is a potential threat to you. They could rob you, bully you, steal your lover, get your job, rip you off, betray you or kill you. You might not walk around all day grimly sizing everyone up, but if a stranger asks to borrow $1000 from you, you’re probably going to say “no” without even having to think about it.

The test that regular acquaintances have to pass before they can get promoted to an ally is the test of trust. When you put your trust in someone else by (for example) lending them money, you risk losing ground in your battle against nature to survive. That’s a profound thing to do because you’re choosing to bet or give a tiny piece of your life. That’s sharing life.

As you and another person reciprocate trustworthiness you cease to be regular acquaintances, and you become allies. Effectively you’ve signed an unwritten truce not to fight each other and to back each other up in their time of need even if it’s inconvenient.

There are different kinds of allies you make in life, and each truce is different. Some friends would only let you borrow $10. Some would let you borrow $100, but they wouldn’t pick you up from jail or give you a ride to work. You can open up to some of your friends, and some friends prefer to keep your relationship more formal or professional. Some friendships involve lust, and some don’t. Your expectations of each of your friends is different, but that doesn’t mean your contracts between them are unequal. Variety is the spice of life. We should be conscious of the different kinds of friendships we have and celebrate their idiosyncrasies.

 

5: Official Friend

When you make a truce with an ally, you agree not to take what the other person has. You can borrow from each other in your time of need, but you’ll be expected to pay your ally back. There’s also a limit to how much your ally will risk on you. An official friend will give you what you need for free without expecting you to pay them back. In fact, they’ll insist that you don’t pay them back. That act goes above and beyond the conditions of a contract. It’s not a bet. It’s a gift, and that’s profound. You’re sacrificing a bit of your life to make another conscious being’s reality better.

Ultimately, friendship is a choice. That choice is yours. Rocks and trees can’t make choices. Only living, sentient beings can. When you choose a friend you express the existence of consciousness in an otherwise inert universe. It also establishes a bond between you and another individual consciousness. The emotions and ideas you share will be unique in all the universe. All of this is valuable enough to justify the existence of life.

But I digress.  Sacrifice is the cost to become an official friend, and it’s not enough to just be willing to make that sacrifice. As admirable as that is, you’ll never be as good of friends with an untested ally than say war veterans are with the people they fought alongside. When you build a history of shared sacrifice with another person you build a history of proven character.

 

6: Best Friend

Every alliance and friendship is different, and while there’s no need to stress over which friendship is “better” than the others, one will inevitably rise to the top. You win that prize by getting the highest score on the Best Friend Test, which is one question long and looks something like this:

Best Friend = (how well you know a person + how many experiences you’ve had with them + how much you care about them + how well you treat them) – (how many conditions you place on each other’s trust)*(mutual sacrifice).

Put your allies to the test and figure out who your true friends are. And put yourself to the test as well. Consider how high your friends would score you. If hardly anybody would give you a good score you’d be wise to consider the hard possibility that you’re an asshole and need to seriously rethink your life. If your friends score horribly low you may consider the hard possibility that they’re not really friends and it might be better for both of you to step out of each other’s lives.

When you do find a best friend, cherish them. When your life flashes before your eyes you’re going to see all the best friends you’ve made through the years. They were your life. As important as that is, it’s also a simple fact of life that you can’t spend your entire life with just one best friend. Things change. People change. You can’t write a song by only playing one note. As beautiful as that note may be, you have to let go when the time is right and move onto the next note, and the next one, and the next one, celebrating all of them for their uniqueness. (That last bit about music notes was paraphrased from “The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment”).

 

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Should You Let Friends Borrow Money?

If your friend comes up to you and tells you they’re in a time of need and they ask for your help and you look them in the eye and tell them, “Sure, I’ll help you, but you have to pay me back every penny and maybe even interest.” …that means you weren’t really friends to begin with. When real friends hear that a friend is in need, they go out of their way for them, because that’s what friends do. That’s the point of being friends. You’re more than just allies in the game of life.

When a friend asks to borrow money from you, you just give them the money and never expect to see it again. You don’t have to be a drama queen martyr about it. Your friend could ask to borrow money and you could give it to them, and they can pay you back just like normal, but when you hand over your money you know in your mind that you never expect to see that money again, and you’re going to forget about that non-debt as quickly as possible. Then, if your friend ever does pay you back it will be a pleasant surprise, and it will make you feel closer to your friend since they gave you more than you expected from them. And your friendship won’t go through any rocky times because you weren’t  permanently stressing about holding debts over each other’s heads.

It’s fine to lend people money and expect to get paid back; just understand that expecting to get paid back is a clear sign that you’re not friends, you’re allies at best. So if you lend someone money and expect to get paid back, don’t hug that guy a party the next weekend and tell him you’re buddies.

And if you ask one of your friends for money and they get domineering about the details of the loan and keep pestering you about it, then you know you’re not really friends. You’re only as valuable to them as long as it’s convenient for them, but they won’t go out of their way for you, because your friendship isn’t worth a piece of paper to them. They failed the friendship test and aren’t worth the time and effort to pursue a deeper relationship with.

And when you do hand cold hard cash to one of your friends that you never expect to see again, pause for a moment and smell the roses. A good friend is the rarest, most wonderful thing in life, and today you got to experience real friendship; apparently, there’s someone in your life who is worth more than a piece of paper. You’re lucky to have them. Cherish them.

That’s why you shouldn’t lend friends money… that you expect to get back.

 

"Don't let friends borrow money unless you don't mind never getting it back."

 

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The Evolution Of My Definition Of Love

"Love is just a word until you find someone to give it a definition."

 

Dictionary.com defines “love” as:

1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.

2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.

3. sexual passion or desire.

4. a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.

 

That definition is nearly vague to the point of being useless. It doesn’t tell us how long it takes to fall in love, what you have to do to get there or how to be sure your feelings are more than just an infatuation. Does it only take a few weeks to fall in love? A few months?

When I was seventeen years old I didn’t know what love was, but I believed it had to be forged by stronger, more meaningful experiences than could be had in a few months. I believed this so strongly that I refused to kiss my high school sweetheart until I was sure it meant something very, very serious. I was even more reserved about telling her I loved her. I didn’t want to undermine the value of our kiss or our words by throwing them around loosely. In the end, my high school sweetheart and I broke up, and I never did tell her I loved her. For years afterward, I congratulated myself for make the right choice because, in my mind, the fact that we broke up proved our love wasn’t real.

Yet, during the time we dated she was all I thought about all day. Seeing her took my breath away every time. The sound of her voice was like an angel singing. When I was in her presence I felt like I’d been let into Heaven early and unworthy. Most of my peers would have called that love, and though I wouldn’t have agreed with them at the time, looking back on that relationship I can say that even if our feelings for each other weren’t forged by the test of time, they were still sincere. I’ve often wondered if I could articulate a reason why my feelings for her weren’t love.

I had a hard time answering that question without a usable definition of love, but my next relationship taught me a few things that helped me better define the concept. Several years after graduating high school I moved to Italy where I dated an Italian girl who introduced me a novel way of defining and measuring love.  She pointed out how, in the English language, you can tell a romantic partner that you either like them or you love them. That only gives lovers two ways to define their relationship.

In the Italian language, new couples can tell each other, “Ti voglio,” which means, “I like you.” Just as in English, this statement implies there’s a limit to how much you like the other person. If you like someone more you can tell them, “Ti voglio bene,” which means, “I like you good.” You could escalate that by saying, “Ti voglio tanto bene,” which translates, “I like you good, a lot.” If you’re crazy about someone you can tell them, “Ti voglio tantissimo,” which means, “I like you most.” The final, strongest statement of affection would be, “Ti amo,” which means, “I love you.”

 

"Keep calm and ti voglio tanto bene"

 

English speakers are free to use the same terms to describe a progression of affection, but the tiers aren’t as institutionalized in the American vernacular/dating customs as they are in Italy. I certainly didn’t see the distinction growing up in America. I wish I would have had the words to tell my high school sweetheart, “Ti voglio tantissimo” at least.

In my early twenties, I found this tiered perspective of love slightly more useful than my original “all or nothing” point of view, but it raised more questions than it answered. In order for this paradigm to be useful to me, I had to define all the stages of a relationship leading up to love in addition to defining what love itself is.

The Italian girl and I eventually broke up, and we both went on to explore new relationships. I studied mine closely to try to pick out their turning points as if I were picking out plot points in a Hollywood sitcom. I could tell there was a definite progression to real-life romances, but the lines between the stages were blurred. I stared at those blurred lines until I accepted the obvious truth: Love doesn’t evolve like a Pokemon. It doesn’t level up into a new and improved creature in a bright flash of light after racking up enough experience points. It grows gradually, but no matter how big or small it is, it still is. On one level there’s no need to label arbitrary points in its growth. Love doesn’t need labels. It can still mature between two people even if they never change their Facebook status or say the magic words. And as I learned the hard way with my high school sweetheart, spending too much time worrying about labeling the stages of your relationship’s growth can hurt it.

Having said that, you can watch the love lives of the couples in your own life and see that relationships do follow fairly predictable patterns, and understanding them will help you get through them. They’re not profound, mystical or based on tiers of obsession. The most successful couples are the ones who have the deepest friendship, not the strongest case of codependency. In a lot of ways, falling in love is simply the process of becoming best friends. So the stages of falling in love are basically the same as the stages of friendship. But long-term romantic relationships are more involved than simply getting to know someone you enjoy being around. Moving in with someone and intertwining your life with theirs effectively makes you business partners. Integrating two people’s lives isn’t easy, but the process follows a logical and predictable series of stages that Disney doesn’t teach children about.

If you’re looking for a time frame for when it’s reasonable to tell your partner that you love them, you can reference the stages of friendship or relationships. But when do you tell other people you love them platonically? Does the evolution of that kind of love follow a different route? How differently should we love others (if at all)/ Should we have a different name for other kinds of love? And does love have to be so confusing?

The Greek language has five different words for five different kinds of love. They’re more nuanced than I’m about to describe them, but for the sake of brevity, we can say that “Mania” is obsessive love. “Eros” is romantic love. “Philos” is platonic, brotherly love.  “Storgy” is the bond between providers and dependents, and “Agape” is unconditional, selfless (and potentially spiritual) love.

Every other language humans have invented contain their own nuanced definitions of love. It might seem like all these competing definitions would make the task of defining love more complicated, but actually, all the extra data helps us simplify the problem by revealing a common denominator. Regardless of how intensely you feel or show your affection towards any person or group, you’re ultimately doing the same thing for the same reason: you’re valuing them.

If I had to define love, I would say love is valuing something. Who, when, where, why, and how much are just details.

Using this definition, we can answer the question, “How do you love someone?” One way is by valuing them in your heart and assigning emotional weight to the thought of them in your mind. If your feelings exist, then there’s love in them, and that’s worth something. At the same time, anything you do that helps another person fulfill their potential is functionally equivalent to an act of love regardless of your intentions. If you tell someone you value them and then turn around and mistreat them, the love you feel may be sincere in your heart, but functionally your love will be hollow at best and destructive at worst.

We all live according to our unique understanding of the value of life. So we measure and express value slightly differently. This means everyone lives according to slightly different definitions of love. This makes it hard to know when you can believe the words, “I love you?” It also makes it hard to prove to someone else that even though you’re not meeting their criteria of love, the love coming from you is still genuine.

If you can honestly say that you value the other person enough to commit to making them the happiest and helping them fulfill their full potential unconditionally for the foreseeable future then you fully love that person. Even if you can’t commit unconditionally, every bit of commitment you can give is still love by degrees. If your commitment ever waivers or ends, that has no relevance on the value of past love; since it was genuine when it was given it stands on its own.

So when is the right time to tell someone you love them? Well, if you can commit to a person, then sure, go ahead and tell them you love them. Likewise, don’t tell someone you love them unless/until you’re willing to commit your mind, body, resources, options, and emotions to them.

 

"Love is not maximum emotion. Love is maximum commitment." Sinclair B. Ferguson

 

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Stages Of A Romantic Relationship

1. Anonymity

You don’t know your future partner exists.

 

2. Strangers

You meet your future partner, but you don’t know what their name is or who they are.

 

3. Acquaintance

You break the barrier of anonymity. You talk, and then they’re no longer a stranger. They now have a connection to your life even if it’s a part as small as “friend of a friend.”

 

4. Interest

Eventually, you take an interest in one another. In this stage, you act like cats sniffing a treat and deciding whether or not it smells good enough to eat.

 

5. The Hunt

After passing the smell test, you make a conscious decision to pursue the other person. This is the chase. It’s exhilarating, expensive, sometimes unsuccessful, sometimes discouraging, and you have to exert a lot of energy pretending to be cooler and more collected than you really are to compete against other people who have more experience pretending to be cooler and more collected than you.

 

6. The Salad Days

Following the catch at the end of the hunt, you gorge yourself on each other for as long as your stamina holds out. During the salad days, children hold hands on the playground, teens make out in public, and adults try to have sex in every room of their house.

 

7. The Trial Commitment

People tend to assume that once they’ve reached the salad days they’ve found true love. Contrary to what Disney or the pop music industry would have you believe, this is not the time to propose for marriage. Though at some point in the salad days you’re going to have to consider where your relationship is going. If the salad days don’t end as just a successful fling then the next step is a trial commitment.

You may have already considered yourself a couple, but this move ups the ante. You may transition from “going out” to “going steady” or from “dating” to “being engaged.” You’ll spend this phase looking at your partner more seriously, and you’ll probably pretend to act like what you think a serious adult who is in a committed relationship acts like.

 

8. The Breeze Days

If things go well and your lifestyle and personality are compatible with your partner’s then you will find yourself working together like a finely tuned machine. You’ll act like twins who are so in tune with each other that you can complete complex tasks together with minimal verbal communication. Like twins, you’ll also develop a secret language of your own based on shared references and inside jokes. Life will operate so smoothly that time can fly by without you noticing it.

 

9. Deep Appreciation and Familiarity

One day you’ll roll over and see your partner lying next to you in bed and you’ll realize they know you better than anyone else, and you know them as well as yourself. You’ll have come to depend on this person like your right hand, and losing them would leave you more lost and helpless than losing your job. If there is a thing called love then this stage is it, but it can’t last forever. And the fact that you may have had it once with someone doesn’t mean you always have to have it with them or that either of you owes the other anything for having had it.

 

10. The “Washing Machine You Take For Granted” Days

It’s a wonderful thing if you can work with another person like a well-oiled machine, but when a machine works perfectly for long enough we tend to take it for granted. Even though you work well with the other person your heart’s somehow not in it anymore. You’re walking through your relationship and life on autopilot.

 

11. Full-on Boredom

One day you roll over and see your partner lying next to you in bed and you realize you’re tired of looking at them just like you’re tired of having to step around that damned washing machine you’re always bumping into on the way out the door. You’ll be surprised to find yourself actually bored of sex. You’ll fake enthusiasm during sex. You might even fake orgasms. You’ll yearn for the hunt and wonder where the magic in your relationship went. You’ll blame the other person when in reality the problem is that that’s what happens when two people share a pair of golden handcuffs for long enough.

 

12. The Pretend Days

You’re fully aware that you’re bored of the other person. You always think about someone else when you masturbate, but out of respect and obligation to your partner, you don’t let them know how far your heart has drifted away from them.  So even if you don’t lie to yourself about your feelings you lie to the other person to keep the boat from rocking.

 

13. The Onset of Resentment

You can only pretend to be happy for so long before it gets old and the cracks in the walls start showing. You’ll start dropping your mask more often and compromising less.

 

14. Outright Resentment

If you don’t talk openly to your partner, reassess your relationship, get some space, pursue separate interests or break up (if need be) then your resentment for one another will cross the line into open hostility. You may not act on this hostility yet, but you’ll feel it and be fully conscious of it. You’ll carry it with you all day and won’t be able to stand to look at your partner. Everything they say will sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, and everything they do will be wrong. This phase has ended in murder and/or suicide for millions of people.

 

15. Bursting out of the Bottle

The hate-charade can’t last forever. Eventually, the crack in the dam will burst and everything will come out. If this process is managed productively it can be a euphoric release that takes the weight of the world off your shoulders. If this process is managed unproductively it can lead to broken hearts, burned bridged and closed doors.

 

16. (A) Reconciliation or (B) Break Up

At this point, your old relationship is over. You can never go back to the way things were. Your only choice is to start a new relationship with your partner or end the relationship. Below is a list of the steps of the stages your life will go in if you reconcile. After that is another list that starts back over at #17 and traces the stages your life will take if you break up.

 

The Path of Reconciliation Leads to:

17A. The Kicked Puppy Days

You may have reconciled your differences with your partner, but you’ve both just come out of a traumatic experience. One sweaty night and a few heart felt words aren’t going to fill those wounds. There will be a short time where you’ll both still feel hurt and ashamed of your past behavior.

 

18A. The Trial Recommitment

Once the dust has settled and emotions have calmed you’ll find yourself looking at your partner soberly. Both of your punishments may be over, but you’re both still on notice.

 

19A. The Recovery Days

If you’re both truly sorry for hurting each other and earnestly want to be together you’ll try to make it up to the other person. This phase of your relationship will find you going out of your way again to do nice things for each other and say nice things to each other. These will be days full of pampering and feel like stages 6 (The Salad Days) and 9 (Deep Appreciation and Familiarity) combined.

 

20A. Return to the Breezy Days

You can’t keep up that intensity forever. Life goes on. The best place you can go from here is back to the Breezy Days. Where you go from there is up to you.

 

Breaking up Leads to:

17B. The Free Fall

If you break up with your partner at any stage of your relationship you’ll end up in a free fall. The intensity of the free fall experience for you will be relative to how long you’ve been with your partner, how strong of an emotional attachment you had with them and how strong your dependency on them was.

You will feel lost in space. You’ll feel disconnected from your environment. You’ll feel like you just stepped into a new universe, and you may or may not want to be there.

 

18B. The Landing

One day all the emotions left up in the air after your break up will come back down to earth. It’s like coming to terms with the fact that your dead relative really isn’t just sleeping in a box. They’re never coming back. Your life will go on, and you will be alone. Again, this can be a good thing or a bad thing.

 

19B. The New Underwear/Phantom Limb

So you move on with your life, but you’ll be so used to sharing a life with your partner that you’ll have some trouble readjusting to life without them. Sometimes it can feel like you’re missing a limb. Sometimes it’ll feel like you’re getting to stretch your limbs after years of being tied down in a contorted position.

 

20B. The Great Wide Open

When you finally get used to living on your own again and doing things your way then the world is your oyster. Life is there for the taking. Your plans may include hunting another partner or it may not, but either way, you have a new chance to get what you want.

 

21B. Normalcy

The things you’re doing with your freedom will lose their novelty, and if you don’t keep your life interesting, then the repetitiveness of your daily life will lull you into a dream state where you just go about your business on autopilot and not really notice time passing.

 

22B. Boredom

If you do the same thing over and over long enough eventually you’ll get bored with it. Technically you’ll have everything you need to survive. You may even have a giant television and a well-worn stack of awesome video games collecting dust in the corner of your living room, but you’ll feel an inexplicable sense of boredom and lack of satisfaction in life.

 

23. Desperation

After you feel bored long enough the boredom will turn to despair. You’ll put pictures of island beaches on your desktop background and/or screensavers and fantasize regularly about escaping the grinding, suffocating darkness of your normal yet “privileged” life. You’ll masturbate more, and you’ll have dirty thoughts about almost anything with two legs that walks past you.

 

24. Forever Alone

The longer you’re alone the older you get. The older you get the farther you’re removed from the dating pool. Eventually, there comes a point where you just have to face the fact that you’ll be forever alone.

 

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The 13 Rules Of Successful Relationships

1: Be kind to one another

As a general rule, your partners will tend to treat you as well as you treat them. After all, the better you treat them the more reason they’ll have to admire you and care about you. The less often you reciprocate kindness the less lovable you’ll be and the less motivation your partner will have to be kind to you. If your relationship is having trouble the first step you should always take is to be extra kind to your partner every day. If you think belittling, harassing, snapping, or yelling at your partner will ever accomplish anything other than destroying your relationship, then you’re ignorant and should be alone.

If you’re never kind to your partner and they always go out of their way to be kind to you then over time they’ll empty out all of their passion, and when they run out they’ll turn as cold and passionless as you. Then the coldness will turn to bitterness and the person who was once your lover will become your enemy. At that point, you might be able to turn your relationship around by being nice to each other again, but you’ll probably break up and resent each other.

This is very simple. If you’re not going to be kind to one another then there’s no point being together.

 

2: Communicate intimately and regularly

Human beings grow and change as they learn more, have new experiences, change jobs, move and meet new people. As we age we change, and when we change our expectations and goals change. Two people may be perfect for one another one year and then hold each other back the next year not because either of them did anything wrong but because they grew into themselves and outgrew their current relationship. This is the nature of relationships, and the only way to manage this risk by communicating intimately and regularly.

You can’t have a healthy, functional relationship with a stranger. You can’t resolve interpersonal problems between yourself and a stranger. In order to nurture and monitor your relationship, you and your partner need to tell each other everything that’s going on in your head all the time (within reason). The point is the only way to see eye to eye is to see mind to mind.

If you can’t talk to your partner, or your partner won’t open up to you, then one of you needs to walk away because a silent relationship is like driving with your headlights off; you’re going to run into problems.You should want to open up to your lover anyway. If you don’t have the motivation to open up to your partner or they don’t have the motivation to let you in then you’re not really in love, and you should strongly consider separating because neither of you are going to get the emotional nourishment you need from your relationship.

If you’re missing something in your relationship the only way you’re ever going to get it is by telling the other person about it. You need to encourage your partner to tell you if they’re missing anything so you’ll know what you need to do to improve your relationship and give the person you love a chance at happiness.

 

 

3: Don’t accept being treated poorly; stand up for yourself, and don’t be afraid to leave.

The promises you made to your partner and the contracts you’ve signed aren’t more important than your happiness. Staying in a relationship that makes you unhappy is throwing your life away for nothing. You’re not upholding a virtuous moral ideal by staying in an unfulfilling relationship. All you’re doing is hurting yourself.

Nobody deserves to be made unhappy. You can’t screw up in any way that would justify being treated poorly. If your partner can’t treat you with the dignity, respect, and empathy you deserve then they don’t deserve you. Stand up for yourself. Communicate your expectations, and if they’re not met then the mature, wise thing to do is leave. That’s not being unfaithful. That’s not giving up. That’s self-preservation. That’s making the most out of life.

 

4: Do things you enjoy together regularly (hobbies not events), and get away from each other regularly.

In order to be happy you need to do things you enjoy. If you can do things that make you happiest with the person who makes you happiest, then you’re winning at life. You’re also building great memories of one another. So at the end of your life, you’ll look back and see the best times of your life were with that person instead of the best times of your life being when they weren’t there.

Going to movies with another person doesn’t count. If you’re just going to be sitting somewhere staring ahead you could have anyone next to you. It’s not enough for you to go somewhere with your partner. You need to do meaningful, enjoyable things that involve you working together somehow.

As important as it is to do meaningful activities together it’s equally important to get away from each other on a regular basis. No matter how wonderful another person is, if you spend 24 hours per day with them every day you’re going to get bored of each other, and you’re going to get on each other’s nerves. So if you want to stay together for the long haul you need to get away from each other on a regular basis.

 

5: Maintain an active, dynamic sex life

Humans are sexual creatures. We need to have sex, and if we don’t we suffer physically and psychologically. Every time you and your partner’s sex life suffers your relationship will suffer. So both of you need to be proactive about initiating sex and spicing up your sex life.

There’s no one right way to structure your sex life. It depends on the individuals involved. So you need to regularly communicate with your partner about your sex life. Let them know your needs, expectations, fantasies, and disappointments. Help them help you and visa versa.

Even though everyone is different I would still give everyone one piece of advice: oral sex is the magic bullet. It’s hard to be unhappy when you’re getting great oral sex all the time. If your relationship is suffering, give each other more oral sex. You’ll see immediate improvements. And everybody wants oral sex anyway. So you should be giving each other great oral sex already because you care about each other and want to fulfill each other’s wants.

 

 

6: Proactively try to grow and articulate yourself

Your relationship is only as strong as its weakest member. If you don’t proactively teach yourself new knowledge and seek out edifying experiences your mind will atrophy. You’ll forget what you already know. You’ll get stuck in your ways, and regress into a boring old idiot. In that state, you won’t be able to fulfill your own potential much less help your partner through their personal saga of life. If your life only has a vague direction, you’ll bumble through life semi-lucidly never really getting anywhere, and you’ll keep your partner in life from getting anywhere as well.

Learn. Think. Grow.

 

7: Learn about the differences between men and women.

If you’re going to be proactively studying important subjects anyway, you may as well start with learning the differences between how men and women think. After all, if you’re going to spend the rest of your life with a member of the opposite sex it’s important that you understand them. Even if you’re going to spend the rest of your life with a member of your own sex, half the world’s population is still made up of the opposite sex. So it would serve you well to understand them.

There have been dozens, possibly hundreds of books written on the psychology of the sexes. There are even university courses on the subject. Read those textbooks before you buy self-help books written by self-proclaimed gurus with dubious credentials… such as myself.

 

8: Don’t date stupid or crazy people

Crazy, stupid people do crazy stupid things. If you let a cloud of bats live in your bedroom then your life is going to be hell. Learn how to spot crazy and stupid and stay far, far away from them.

 

 

9: Your happiness is your own responsibility.

This last rule is a combination of rule #3 and rule #9. Your partner should want you to be happy. After all, if they don’t, then why are they there? Yet at the same time, your happiness is ultimately your responsibility. If you can’t be happy without someone else constantly checking up on you and tending to your every, need then you’re behaving like a parasite, and you’re going to consume your partner. Once you’ve nibbled away your partner’s soul your relationship is going to crumble and your own chances of happiness will crumble right along with it.

Do what you need to do to keep yourself happy. Give what you expect to get back and more. Don’t rely on someone else to keep you happy. If you can’t keep yourself happy then they won’t be able to either. Then nobody will get to be happy and it would have been better for both of you if you’d never met.

 

10: A lover who doesn’t let you be yourself doesn’t love you for who you are.

If you lover constantly harasses you for going out with your friends or doing the things you want to do until you break down and behave the way they want you to behave then they must dislike who you are and what you want out of life. You’re never going to share and celebrate your life with one another. You’re just going to fight until you either leave or become their willing slave. No matter how many positive traits your partner may have, if they don’t respect you for who you are and give you space to do the things you enjoy then you don’t have a healthy relationship. You’re just being taken advantage of by someone who cares more about themself than you.

 

11: Don’t confuse co-dependency with love.

If you base your perception of love on Disney movies and pop music then what you call love is actually co-dependency. I’m not saying you’re codependent if your partner still takes your breath away even after ten years. I’m saying you’re codependent if you can’t breathe without them being right next to you worshiping you every moment of every day. If you can’t live without your partner’s love and affection you’re going to smother and cripple them, and when they’re too worn down and stressed out to live up to your unrealistic expectations you’re going to hate them, yourself and life itself because your life will be meaningless without a host to feed on.

Don’t confuse co-dependency with love.  Couples should be able to stand alone as individuals. Two individuals who are complete alone, will make a greater whole when they’re together than two people who need someone else to use as a crutch. So base your philosophy on relationships on reason, not oversimplified commercial children’s stories.

 

 

12: Learn how to argue for truth as opposed to winning.

Inevitably you’re going to have a disagreement with your partner, and often times little disagreements can escalate into big ones, especially when couples are already stressed out. Disagreements aren’t inherently a bad thing. They’re an opportunity to bridge a gap that’s come between you and your lover, but immature people don’t see it that way. Immature people see a disagreement a challenge to be won, but that means there has to be a loser. That means in order for you to win your lover has to lose. When you beat or shout your lover into submission you might win the battle, but you lose the war. It doesn’t matter who “wins” an argument. All that matters is your relationship.

When you argue, listen to your partner’s entire argument before uttering a word. When you do speak, ask for clarifications and elaborations. Find out everything on their mind and then think about that. Bend over backward to look at the situation from their point of view, and assume (for the sake of argument) that you’re wrong. Even if you’re right you’re probably wrong about something. In order to win the war, you need to find out what that is and correct it. If you’d proactively analyzed yourself for flaws beforehand you wouldn’t have to wait for them to drive your partner to the breaking point where they feel the need to confront you about your flaws.

 

13: Don’t hold back.

There are two parts to this piece of advice. First, don’t be afraid to love. Holding back and waiting to let yourself love someone or to tell them you love them until after you have ten tons of proof to justify your emotions doesn’t defend the integrity of love. It merely postpones your connection with the most important person in your life. Granted, there’s a limit. You don’t want to tell someone you love them on the first date; that’s just co-dependency. Having said that, there’s also a line where withholding your emotions is just being cold, and the consequences of holding back a little too long are worse than jumping the gun a little bit.

The other way you don’t want to hold back is by not letting the other person in. It’s understandable that you don’t want to be hurt. It’s understandable that you don’t want to share your deepest secrets with a complete stranger. However, if you’re in a committed relationship with someone and you keep holding them at arm’s length and never letting them swim through your soul then you’re just torturing the most important person in your life, and you’ll never be able to build a deeper relationship if they can’t dive into you.

 

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10 Character Traits To Look For In A Long-Term Romantic Partner

1: They’re proactively engaged in a lifelong quest for knowledge and growth.

There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who actively, consciously and consistently learn new things, explore their interests and expand their horizons… and those who sit there and stagnate and become dull and flawed. If you spend your life with the first kind of person, they’ll lift you up as they lift themselves up. The latter type will drag you down like a boat anchor. Not only will they keep you from achieving your external goals, but after you spend enough years with another person you’ll adopt their personality. If that person is a dullard, you’ll become one too. Then that will be the reality you’ll experience for the rest of your life.

Facing life alone will make you a more vibrant person than living in cold comfort with a child stuck in an adult’s body. The more time you spend becoming a strong individual, the more you’ll attract similar mates. Once you find the right one, you can spend the rest of your lives moving forward together.

 

 

2: They’re not self-centered, demanding, or judgmental

When two people share their time, resources and energy equally, they can accomplish more together than they could have alone. That’s called a symbiotic relationship. When one person takes everything the other has and barely gives anything back, that’s called a parasitic relationship, and it’s not sustainable. When one person constantly empties their bucket and never gets it replenished, they eventually run dry. Then they start acting frustrated and resentful. When the spoiled, codependent parasite doesn’t get what they want, they start throwing tantrums. It’s a vicious cycle that inevitably ends in a dramatic breakup that leaves the host broke and depressed while the parasite just moves on to the next host without learning any life lessons.

Nobody is all-good or all-bad. There are millions of self-centered, demanding, judgmental parasites out there who are smart, interesting, funny, strong, successful, attractive and moderately generous. They have enough going for them to make you consider looking past their selfishness. Maybe they do deserve a chance, but if you give it to them, proceed with caution. Self-centered people can be generous and charming when they want something from you, but their prime prerogative is themselves. Sooner or later you’re going to take a back seat to their ego, and your needs will be treated as less important than their wants. Don’t be surprised when you wake up one day and realize that your life is just an accessory to theirs.

 

3: They’re able to take criticism and accept responsibility for their actions.

You can’t become a better person if you never change. Specifically, you need to figure out what your bad habits and character flaws are, and fix them. You shouldn’t even wait for someone else to point out your flaws. You should be proactively searching yourself for them and finding ways to fix them before they bother anyone else enough to call you out. If you do that, not only will you be happier and more successful in life, but you’ll be an ideal mate. Someone would be very lucky to spend the rest of their life with you.

You don’t need luck to find the right person to spend the rest of your life with. Pay attention to your dates. If they automatically get defensive and angry every time anyone points out their flaws, then be very cautious of that person. They’re probably never going to change. They’re going to build an impenetrable wall of circular, logic-proof, self-fulfilling excuses around their ego that will protect them from ever having to accept responsibility for their actions. They’ll never grow because they already believe they’re perfect. As they stagnate in their own ignorant arrogance, they’re going to get more toxic and more stuck in their ways.

If they’re unwilling to accept responsibility for the problems they create, they’re going to have to find someone else to blame, and it will inevitably be you. You have precious little time on this Earth to find yourself, identify your dreams and work towards achieving them. If you have to spend half your life defending yourself from irrational accusations and cleaning up someone else’s messes, you’re probably not going achieve your dreams. Even if you do make it, you’ll probably still be miserable. You’ll also find that as you grow and change while your partner stays the same, your goals will gradually become different. Eventually, you’ll probably find that you’re both moving in different directions. When that happens your toxic partner will probably harass you to give up your stupid dreams. They’ll continue to make you feel bad for being yourself and hold you back from fulfilling your potential.

 

 

4: They think rationally.

Sanity is defined: “having or showing reason, sound judgment, or good sense.”

mental illness exists when “ongoing signs and symptoms cause frequent stress and affect your ability to function.”

Unreasonable people with bad judgment and no common sense are always stressed out over nothing, and they turn simple tasks into major disasters. Irrational people are effectively insane. I’m not saying they’re bad people. None of us are perfect, and we all deserve to be loved. I’m just saying, spending the rest of your life with someone who has a condition that causes them to be a danger to themselves and others and needs to be managed constantly, is a huge and costly responsibility.

Hunky meat head studs and ditzy blonde bimbos make great one night stands (if you use a condom), but they make bad life-partners because they’re better at ignoring and creating problems than solving them. Improving your quality of life depends on solving the problems that make your life suck. So if you want to be happy and secure in your old age (when you and your partner’s looks have faded) then marry Sherlock Holmes.

 

5: They have the same or compatible domestic goals/standards.

You’re going to spend most of your life either at work or at home. When you look back at life on your deathbed, about half of what you see will be your house. It’s half of your reality. It’s half of your universe. Spending that much time in the same environment will shape who you are and how you feel. So it’s vitally important that your home fits you. The decorations, cost, noise-level, pace, cleaning schedule, etc. should fit your personality. If your environment fits you like a glove, you’re going to find it pretty easy to be happy. If your environment doesn’t fit you at all, you’re going to find it pretty hard to be happy.

When you move in with another person, you have to share your environment. So it’s equally important that both of you fit your environment. If your partner is stifled by your environment, then they’ll get frustrated and stressed. Then you’ll have to live with a frustrated, stressed person, and that will frustrate and stress you out. The cycle can escalate quickly and lead to new problems.

Obviously, people who share a house will have to make compromises, and couples who communicate rationally will be able to find common ground peacefully. But the more you have to compromise, the less often both people get what they want. If nobody ever really gets what they want, you have to wonder why you’re together when you could just as easily be with someone else who wants to live the same way you do.

 

6: They have the same or compatible interests and passions.

If you have no personality, interests, hobbies, ambition or style then you’ll be happiest living with another blank person. Ideally, you have found some topic or hobby that you’re so passionate about that you clear your schedule to make time for it. That will give your life meaning and direction, which will make you a healthy life-partner. If you’re going to share a house with another person for the rest of your life, you should pick someone else who has a passion of their own. It’ll keep them growing and glowing, which will make them a positive force in your life.

If your partner discourages you from doing the thing that defines you and gives you joy then they either don’t understand or care about you. You’re not going to be happy if you spend the rest of your life with someone who doesn’t understand and care about you. If your partner loved you, they would encourage your hobby. If your passion is bowling, then you should find someone who will buy you bowling-related gifts on your birthday and won’t mind coming to watch you bowl. You might also strongly consider finding someone who enjoys bowling as much as you do. Then neither of you will have to take time out of your schedule to support the other’s passion. Plus, sharing your passion is a profound connection for you to bond over.

 

7: They have the same or compatible philosophies on life.

No two people are going to see eye to eye on everything. So finding the perfect person for you isn’t a matter of finding someone who always agrees with you. You can be perfectly happy with someone who doesn’t even believe in the same religion as you. The thing about that is, your belief system guides your actions. People with the same belief system as you are likely to have compatible domestic and long-term goals as you. Plus, sharing similar beliefs is a huge bond you share. You don’t have to share that bond, but it’s nice if you can get it… and with over 7 billion people in the world, you can find it if you look hard enough.

 

 

8: They’re financially responsible.

When most people move in with a long-term partner, they do it for love, not because it’s a cold, calculated business decision. Little did you know, moving in with someone is the biggest financial decision you’ll ever make in your life. Live with someone long enough, and all of your finances will become tied together.

In a world that revolves around finance, you can’t live a decent quality of life without money. Housing, food, clothes, and free time all cost money. Nothing is more expensive than retirement, and that takes a lifetime of financial responsibility to save up for. You might find temporary happiness with a poor, charming, irresponsible job-hopper, but they’re not going to help you build a secure life for you and your children. They’re going to bleed you into perpetual poverty. Since one of the biggest causes of divorce is financial problems, your relationship probably isn’t going to last forever anyway. It’ll just hold you back for a while.

 

9: They treat you with kindness.

There’s no point being in a relationship with someone who doesn’t treat you with kindness. That’s half the point of being with someone: they treat you well, and your life is better with them than without them. Even if you’re patient enough to put up with an unkind lover (which is an oxymoron), they’re going to empty your bucket sooner rather than later, and the longer you stay with them, the more miserable you’re going to be. There’s no point being with someone who isn’t kind. Even if they’re a good provider, they’re just helping you survive to be miserable another day. You should spend the rest of your life with someone who regularly goes out of their way to say and do little things to make you smile and feel good about yourself. That’s a person worth waking up next to every day for the rest of your life.

 

10: They build you up.

When assessing potential long-term romantic partners, the question you have to ask yourself is, “Do they build me up, or tear me down?” The more they build you up, the more seriously you should consider spending more time with them. The more they tear you down, the quicker you should untether your life from theirs.

 

 

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15 Tips On Internet Dating

1: The goal is not to attract as many people as possible. It’s to attract the most compatible person possible.

This piece of advice is implied in most of the steps on this list, but it’s so important that I posted it as its own entry to emphasize the point. Even if your goal is just to have casual sex with strangers, you’re still looking for a specific kind of person. The way you find the most compatible person for you is to weed out everyone who is incompatible, which is at least 80% of the people out there.

Good dating sites help you weed out the competition by making you answer questions so it can calculate your compatibility with other users based on their answers. The more honestly you answer those questions the better the site can point you in the right direction.

The more honest your pictures are and the more completely and accurately your written profile reflects who you are the more your profile will attract compatible matches and repel incompatible ones. So don’t try to put your most polished foot forward. Put your real foot forward and let the chips fall where they may.

 

 

2: Post a picture of yourself.

It’s perfectly acceptable to make a generic profile with no picture if you just want to lurk on dating sites and check out the smorgasbord anonymously. But if you’re actually looking for a date, put a picture of yourself on your profile. You might be scared to do that because you have insecurities about your attractiveness. But if a potential date doesn’t find your picture attractive then they’re not going to find you attractive in real life, and it’s probably not going to work out between you. Putting up a picture saves everyone’s time. At any rate, potential dates deserve to know what you look like, and not posting a picture of yourself tells them that you have something to hide, which will discourage them from contacting you.

If you are too insecure to post a picture of yourself then you’re probably too insecure to have a truly successful relationship. I say this in the nicest possible way: you should see a therapist before jumping into the dating pool. You have some healing you need to do. You deserve it, and you owe it to your future partner.

 

3: Post a clear picture of yourself that accurately captures your appearance.

Again, there’s no point hiding what you look like. People who aren’t going to like you aren’t going to like you. That’s the cold, hard reality of the dating scene. Accept it, and act accordingly. You need someone in your life who will accept you for who you are anyway, and you future partner needs someone who is honest with them.

If you’re so attractive that you feel the need to post slightly uglier pictures of yourself to discourage horn dogs from messaging you, understand that you’re also discouraging good people from messaging you as well. You might say to yourself, “But I don’t want to date someone who would only date me if I’m beautiful.” To that I would say, stop being a hypocrite. There are certain people you would never consider dating based solely on their appearance. We all pretend like there isn’t a petty bone in our body, but the cold, hard reality of dating is that water rises to its own level. We all know where we fit in the attractiveness spectrum, and statistically speaking we’re probably going to end up messaging and eventually settling down with someone in our range. There are good people with specific standards. Don’t help them overlook you.

 

4: Guys, don’t post shirtless mirror pics.

Shirtless mirror pics scream, “I’m vain,” and vain people are selfish. Selfish people aren’t good partners. Posting shirtless mirror pics repels girls who are looking for more than just sex.

 

Picture of a shirtless man wearing large gold chains and a backwards baseball cap taking a selfie in his bathroom

 

5: If you can write a description under the pictures you post then do it.

It gives people a better idea of who you are and whether you’re compatible with them. Use the tools you’re given.

 

6: Don’t fill out your profile with generic information. Express yourself.

It’s perfectly okay to make a generic profile if you’re just lurking, but if you’re looking for a real relationship you should fill out your profile as completely and honestly as possible.

If you’re uncomfortable sharing personal information then you should probably see a therapist before jumping into the dating pool with both feet. Your insecurities are a symptom of a larger problem that will surface in all your relationships. For you sake as well as your future partners, get help.

If the only thing you profile says is that family and friends are important to you and that you like getting out of the house, watching movies and hanging out with friends then all you’ve really said is that you have a pulse. Everyone feels that way; it goes without saying. So if that’s all you say then you’re really saying you have no personality. That’s what you’re telling potential suitors anyway. You may be exactly what someone else is looking for, but if you don’t show them that you’re that person they’re going to overlook you.

You may not want to share too much about yourself out of fear that it will scare people away. If what you say about yourself scares someone away… that’s great! That’s what it’s supposed to do. It’s supposed to scare away the +80% of people who are incompatible with you.

If there really isn’t any more to your personality than the bare basics then you need to go traveling and find yourself. Being basic is no way to go through life, because being a dull person yields a dull life. The more you explore new passions and define yourself the happier and more fulfilling your life will become, and as you define yourself you define who is compatible with you.

There’s no one, right way to fill out your profile, but the following outline provides a useful starting point:

Explain what most defines you. What type of personality do you have? What do you like to do? What’s important to you? What do you believe? What do you hope to accomplish in life.

Explain what you’re doing with your life these days.

Explain what kind of a person you’re looking for.

Explain what kind of person you’re not looking for.

 

7: Use proper grammar.

Using poor grammar and typing in text talk like this, “Hi wuz up!? I think ur hot. LOL. Write bck plz.!,” screams, “I’m dumb.” You might feel that’s harsh and judgmental, and maybe it is, but for right or wrong, that’s the message it sends.

If you’re only looking for anti-intellectuals then feel free to type like you’re a 13-year-old on a cell phone. But if you really do possess the intellect of a teenager I would strongly urge you to consider taking a break from dating and focusing on educating yourself. Knowledge is important. It’s like having a superpower. I guarantee that it will make you a better person and a better partner.

 

"The fact that you failed to spell check your online dating profile gives me serious doubts about your attention to detail in bed."

 

8: Don’t use “wink” or “like” buttons to express an interest in someone.

It’s the equivalent of having your friend tell someone you like them. It conveys that you’re not confident enough to approach them directly.

 

9: Unless you just want sex, don’t message people with catcalls.

Don’t send people messages that just say, “You’re hot.” “Hi, cutie.” “Message me.” “How you doing?” etc.

These types of messages convey one of three things:

1. You’re just looking for sex.

2. You’re too insecure to send a real message.

3. You’re too simpleminded to communicate effectively.

 

10: Make your first message personal, but keep it simple.

The first time you message a person, write a brief statement about who you are and what piqued your interest in them. Then offer to meet them for an informal date. Then click “send.”

If you drone on and on about yourself you’re going to come off as self-absorbed. If you drone on and one about the other person you’re going to come across as clingy.

You don’t need to tell people your life story before meeting them. You don’t need to know their life story, and you don’t need to woo them. You’ll know within a few minutes of meeting each other whether there’s a connection between you. By just skipping to the chase and offering to meet you minimize your chance of making a fool of yourself, and you save everyone a lot of time and energy.

You want to make your message short and sweet, but you don’t want it to be so simple that it sounds like a cut and pasted template. People are more likely to respond to you if you show that you’re genuinely interested in something about them and that you have something in common.

 

11: Don’t message people if you’re not going to respond to their reply.

I’ve noticed a strange trend on internet dating sites, and I’ve talked to other people who have experienced it too. People will send you a message introducing their self. But when you write back and offer to meet up, they never write back. It’s frustrating and disrespectful. I don’t know why people do this, but stop it.

 

12: Have an informal first date.

Going on a big, fancy expensive first date may seem like putting your best foot forward. If you’re just looking for sex then it’s a good way to impress someone in the short term, but if your goal for a first date is to measure compatibility then you’re hurting yourself because all the glamour and glitz serves as a mask that hides your true selves.

The fewer pretenses you put up on your first date the more likely you are to connect on a real, personal level, and the more likely you are to recognize incompatibility. You might feel like a failure if you leave an informal date knowing that there will never be a second date, but the date wasn’t a failure. It succeeded at weeding out one more incompatible person.

 

13: Be attractive.

Even though I advise against getting too dressed up, I would also advise against being too informal. The simple truth is that people are attracted to attractive people. It’s in our DNA. You might have the best personality in the world, but if you show up on a first date badly in need of a haircut and wearing sweatpants you’re just slitting your own throat.

There’s more to attractiveness than just how beautiful your face is. It’s the total package from your haircut to the length of your fingernails to how you smell to how well you dress. If you look like you’re successful and well-groomed then you will exude attractiveness. If you present yourself like a slob you’ll be taken for a slob and will likely find yourself sitting alone at the end of a failed date. The problem isn’t that the other person was too judgmental. The problem is that you sold yourself short.

 

 

14: Don’t be afraid to be yourself.

Again, the success of a first date is not determined by whether or not there’s a second date. Success is determined by whether or not you connect with someone you’re compatible with, and securing a second date with someone you’re not compatible with counts as a failure.

If you are compatible, the other person won’t be able to connect with you if you behave vaguely and safely without revealing your true personality. If you’re not compatible, the other person needs to know that, and they won’t if you don’t show them.

 

15: If you’re just coming out of a traumatic breakup you should consider putting off dating for a while.

There are a lot of people on dating sites who will say flat out not to message them if you’re just getting over an ex and are an emotional wreck at the moment. That request seems harsh and arrogant, but there’s some validity to it. It’s hard (maybe even impossible) to build a healthy relationship with someone who is still getting over an ex.

After a big breakup you may feel alone and think that the best way to heal is to find love again as soon as possible, but there’s a good chance that the best thing you can do to heal, recoup and redefine yourself as an individual (as opposed to a member of your last relationship) is to spend some time alone.

If you’re feeling angry, hurt, lost and/or suicidal, find a therapist to help you work through your feelings. If nothing else, read this book: Getting Past your Breakup.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

Sex positions and techniques
General Sex Advice
Dating Advice
Relationship Advice
Philosophy of Sexuality
Friendship
My Tweets About Romance

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