In 2008, the world was re-exposed to the music of Swedish pop group ABBA, thanks to the summer blockbuster “Mamma Mia!”. In that musical-turned-film that was based on ABBA songs, we followed the story of Sophie Sheridan (Amanda Seyfried), who – while looking for her real Dad before her wedding because her mom (Meryl Streep) opted to remain secretive about her past – ended up discovering the real meaning of family.
It helps, of course, that the story is pushed forward by ABBA songs – from the melancholic “I Have a Dream”, to the always-lively “Dancing Queen”, to the poetic (albeit sad) “Our Last Summer” and “Slipping Through My Fingers”, and to the flirtatious “Lay All Your Love on Me”, “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” and to the very title of the film, “Mamma Mia”.
That film earned $615.7 million in the box office, highlighting – perhaps – that ABBA has not really gone (even if the group disbanded in 1982). By successfully encapsulating the essence of the songs, we – like Sophie – journeyed to joyful self-discovery.
A decade after “Mamma Mia!” was released, we revisited Sophie and – yes – ABBA via “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again”.
This time around, the story picks up with Sophie (Seyfried) pregnant and single just as her mother, Donna (Streep), was years earlier. A spoiler: Donna is dead. So in her place, and to comfort Sophie, Donna’s friends and former bandmates, Rosie (Julie Walters) and Tanya (Christine Baranski) share stories of Donna in her adventurous youth.
And from this, there are five lessons I think “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” can teach everyone not just about family, but about real love.
1. Love can come from unexpected places.
With Donna’s death a year earlier, two of her fathers (Harry and Bill) unable to make it to the reopening of Donna’s hotel, and Sky (her partner) in New York, the pregnant Sophie was not having an easy time.
But even if these people very close to her are not (supposedly) around, she is not lacking for love. Rosie and Tanya, for instance, are there for her; and even the community that they helped shape via Donna’s hotel back her up.
I suppose this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Nine of the singles of ABBA – formed by Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid in Stockholm, Sweden almost half a century ago – are about love, which is the group’s most-popular subject. Five of those songs went to No. 1: “Waterloo”, “Mamma Mia”, “The Name of the Game”, “Take a Chance on Me” and “Super Trouper”.
As an FYI: The group’s next most-popular subject matter (with four singles) is about lust. But none of those reached top spot [even if “Voulez-Vous” and “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” reached number three].
2. When you find real love, hold on to it as long as you can.
Remember the way the first film ended, with Sophie’s three dads basically saying that it doesn’t matter who her biological father is, they all claim to be her family because they love her?
“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” continues that premise.
That is, that when you find real love (whether it’s romantic or familiar or whatever), hold on to it.
3. Not all heartbreaks break us.
Three of ABBA’s singles are about heartbreak, and two are about loneliness – themes that “Mamma Mia!” and “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” also tackle.
And while the first movie included “The Winner Takes It All”; the second one included “Why Did It Have to Be Me” and “Angel Eyes” – all these songs actually lamenting about lost love.
But here’s the thing: These songs may be sad, but they are also self-aware, with the one singing it actually being thankful for the loving. This highlights that there may be moments when loving hurts; but this does not need to break us.
4. Your past never disappears; you just learn to live with it.
That Donna is dead exemplifies “past”. But instead of just forgetting the past, it may be best to learn to live with it instead. This is why Sophie is celebrating Donna.
“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” also shows that your past will eventually catch up with you. The first film, after all, had Donna claiming her mother is dead; but in the second movie, this mother appeared in the person of Cher.
To this end, too, ABBA’s “Fernando”, as sang by the indomitable Cher, is more than apt: “Though we never thought that we could lose, there’s no regret…”
To survive, we all move on from our past, learning how to live with the lessons we got from it.
5. Live in the present.
Donna’s character was always in-the-present (which explains her falling in love with three succeeding guys; and then – when she got pregnant – deciding to settle down to form a family). And there is something that can be learned with loving from Donna. That is, to grab every moment as they come, and savor these moments. Some of these moments may not happen again, and there’s no sense living with regrets for what-could-have-been’s.
“Dancing Queen” may arguably be ABBA’s most popular – and catchy – song. But to summarize this lessons in loving, I’d say “Thank You for the Music” is more apt. The words may refer to music as a whole; but it may as well refer to loving, i.e.:
“So I say
Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing
Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me…”
So I say thanks to “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” for giving me a glimpse of real love.
Study says sex helps initiate romantic relationships between potential partners
Sexual desire may play a causally important role in the development of relationships. It’s the magnetism that holds partners together long enough for an attachment bond to form.
A budding relationship or just a one-night stand? The difference may not be immediately obvious, least of all to those directly involved. However, sex helps initiate romantic relationships between potential partners.
This is according to a new study, “Fueled by desire: Sexual activation facilitates the enactment of relationship-initiating behaviors” by Gurit E. Birnbaum, Moran Mizrahi and Harry T. Reis, and published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
The team of psychologists from the Israeli-based Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya and the University of Rochester’s Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology conclude that sexual desire may play a major role not only in attracting potential partners to each other, but also in encouraging the formation of an attachment between them.
“Sex may set the stage for deepening the emotional connection between strangers,” says the study’s lead author Gurit Birnbaum, a social psychologist and associate professor of psychology at the IDC Herzliya. “This holds true for both men and women. Sex motivates human beings to connect, regardless of gender.”
The study was – however, and worth noting – limited to heterosexual relationships.
Still, according to Birnbaum, some believe that men are more likely than women to initiate relationships when sexually aroused, but when one focuses on more subtle relationship-initiating strategies, such as providing help, this pattern does not hold true: in fact, both men and women try to connect with potential partners when sexually aroused.
In four interrelated studies, participants were introduced to a new acquaintance of the opposite sex in a face-to-face encounter. The researchers demonstrate that sexual desire triggers behaviors that can promote emotional bonding during these encounters.
“Although sexual urges and emotional attachments are distinct feelings, evolutionary and social processes likely have rendered humans particularly prone to becoming romantically attached to partners to whom they are sexually attracted,” says co-author Harry Reis, a professor of psychology and Dean’s Professor in Arts, Sciences & Engineering at the University of Rochester.
In the first study, the researchers looked at whether sexual desire for a new acquaintance would be associated with non-verbal cues signaling relationship interest. These so-called immediacy behaviors are displayed in the synchronization of movements, close physical proximity, and frequent eye contact with a study insider who worked with the scientists. The study participants, all of whom identified as single and heterosexual, were recruited at a university in central Israel.
Study 1 included 36 women and 22 men who lip-synched to pre-recorded music with an attractive, opposite-sex study insider. Afterwards, participants rated their desire for the insider, whom they believed to be another participant. The scientists found that the greater the participant’s desire for the insider, the greater their immediacy behaviors towards, and synchronization with, the insider.
Study 2 replicated the finding with 38 women and 42 men who were asked to slow dance with an attractive, opposite-sex insider, whom they believed to be a study participant. Again, the researchers found a direct association between synchronization of body movement and desire for the insider.
Study 3 included 42 women and 42 men and established a causal connection between activating the sexual behavior system and behaviors that help initiate relationships. In order to activate the sexual system, the researchers used a subliminal priming technique in which they flashed an erotic, non-pornographic image for 30 milliseconds on a screen, which participants were not aware of seeing. Next, participants interacted with a second study participant–essentially a potential partner–discussing interpersonal dilemmas while being videotaped. Afterwards judges rated the participants’ behaviors that conveyed responsiveness and caring. The scientists found the activation of the sexual system also resulted in behaviors that suggested caring about a potential partner’s well-being–an established signal for interest in a relationship.
Study 4 included 50 women and 50 men. Half the group watched an erotic, non-pornographic video scene from the movie The Boy Next Door. The other half watched a neutral video of rainforests in South America. Next, study participants were assigned an attractive opposite-sex insider and told to complete a verbal reasoning task. The insider pretended to get stuck on the third question and asked the participant for help. The researchers found that those participants who had watched the erotic movie scene were quicker to help, invested more time, and were perceived as more helpful, than the neutral video control group.
What then could explain the role of sex in fostering partnerships? Human sexual behavior evolved to ensure reproduction. As such, sex and producing offspring don’t depend on forming an attachment between partners. However, the prolonged helplessness of human children promoted the development of mechanisms that keep sexual partners bonded to each other so that they can jointly care for their offspring, says Birnbaum, whose collaboration with Reis spans 20 years, dating back to her postdoc days at the University of Rochester.
“Throughout human history, parents’ bonding greatly increased the children’s survival chances,” she says.
Prior neuroimaging research has shown that similar brain regions (the caudate, insula, and putamen) are activated when a person experiences either sexual desire or romantic love. The researchers surmise that this pattern hints at a neurological pathway that causes sexual activation–the neural processes that underlie a sexual response–to affect emotional bonding.
They conclude that experiencing sexual desire between previously unacquainted strangers may help facilitate behaviors that cultivate personal closeness and bonding.
“Sexual desire may play a causally important role in the development of relationships,” says Birnbaum. “It’s the magnetism that holds partners together long enough for an attachment bond to form.”
Tips on learning to communicate better with ladies
No matter who you are, you can actually transform yourself to become a Prince Charming, a man who is such a darling when around ladies.
The dream of every man is to be a Prince Charming, someone who woos women by his diction and the way he expresses himself. Unfortunately, not all men or should we say, a lot of men aren’t what they want i.e. they are not Prince ‘Charming’s’. While this indeed is a terrible thing, the good thing is that it can be changed.
No matter who you are, you can actually transform yourself to become a Prince Charming, a man who is such a darling when around ladies. In order to do this, all you need is to understand the following transformative tips.
BE AN ACTIVE LISTENER
Listening in communication is as much important as talking. There are two types of listening and if you want to be a good communicator, you have to be very good in one of these. The two types are active listening and passive hearing. To be charming and to build strong relationships, it’s important for one to master the art of active listening.
When we talk about active listening, we are talking about someone who listens with patience, who concentrates when listening and who is modest in his listening. Active listeners, therefore, are people who listen to understand first and foremost before they listen to respond. Patience is important so that you get the ‘verbal’ message being relayed and concentration is important so that you read the ‘non-verbal’ message being relayed.
Modesty is also important so that you let the other person talk with interrupting her even if you feel your person is being attacked.
They say experience is the best teacher and you know what, this is very true for those looking to learn the art of communicating better with ladies. You may read a lot of stuff online but if you do not practice what you are learning, then it’s safe to say you are wasting your time. In order to learn how to communicate better with ladies, you need to make time to ‘actually’ communicate with the ladies. Go on as many dates as you want to horn your communication skills. Errors that you do on your first experience will be rectified on your second experience and so on and so on. As you do that, you will realize that you are actually perfecting your communication skills from just communicating.
Married men can also make time to learn how to communicate better with their spouses. Rather than chatting about what kids want for the holidays or who is going to fetch groceries from the mall, you need to make time (an hour or two) every day where you just talk about different stuff not related to family life.
When communicating, it’s important that you do not take any conversation as an argument in which one party has to lose and the other win. Communication is not about winners. Even when you are involved in an argument, always make sure that you remain calm and composed and ensure that you always show her the caring side despite the circumstances.
To learn more about communication skills with ladies, signup here.
People who prefer casual sex still desire intimacy
Those who prefer sexual hookups to traditional relationships more likely to want affection.
Casual sex among emerging adults can be a source of intimacy, and often is. This is according to a new study conducted by an interdisciplinary team of researchers, including Binghamton University faculty and researchers at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute.
“Intimacy through casual sex: Relational context of sexual activity and affectionate behaviors” – published in the Journal of Relationships Research – was designed by Ann Merriwether of Binghamton University and Justin Garcia of the Kinsey Institute, and conducted with Sean Massey of Binghamton, Amanda Gesselman of the Kinsey Institute, and Susan Seibold-Simpson of SUNY Broome.
Researchers sent a voluntary online questionnaire to several hundred college students, and asked about their affectionate and intimate activities during sexual encounters in the contexts of both romantic relationships and casual sex hookups. The researchers found, as they expected, that partners were more likely to engage in affectionate and intimate activities in relationship sex than in casual sex– but the rate of these acts in casual sex was much higher than hypothesized.
Ann Merriwether, a developmental psychologist and lecturer at Binghamton, said casual sex is largely misinterpreted in today’s society.
“We have a stereotype that casual sex (hookups) are just about meaningless sex, but this research shows this is not necessarily true,” said Merriwether. “It shows intimacy is important and desired by many people, especially those who prefer hookups to more traditional relationships.”
Justin Garcia, research director of the Kinsey Institute and Ruth Halls associate professor of gender studies at Indiana University, said they’ve been working on the topic of casual sex for over 10 years with a focus on integrating concepts from evolutionary and gender theories of human behavior, and are conducting further studies as part of ongoing collaborations between researchers at the Kinsey Institute and Binghamton University.
“We are continuing to explore dynamics of casual sex behavior, and how interpersonal factors like intimacy and demographic factors like gender and sexual orientation influence the motivations, experiences, and outcomes of sexual activity across different relationship contexts,” Garcia said.
The students were randomly selected from a university in the US Northeast and answered questions about whether or not they engage in affectionate and intimate acts during sex, including cuddling, spending the night, eye gazing, and engaging in foreplay. They also indicated which of these acts they preferred during casual (hookup) sex or sex in the context of a romantic relationship.
The researchers hypothesized women would report being more likely to engage in intimate acts in all scenarios. The information they found supported this hypothesis, but the data also showed many men were likely to engage in intimate acts as well, with no gender difference found in relation to engaging in foreplay or eye gazing.
The participants specified which type of sexual context they preferred: sex in a long-term relationship or in casual hookups. Study coauthor Sean Massey, a social psychologist and associate professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies at Binghamton, said the team found results they had not anticipated.
“Young adults who indicated they prefer casual sexual encounters over relationship sex were more likely to want affection and intimacy from them,” said Massey. “This suggests they seek to meet their need for intimacy through those casual encounters.”
Massey hopes this study will help to eliminate some of the stigma that still surrounds casual sex and increase public understanding of uncommitted sexual encounters among college students and emerging adults.
The single’s guide to online dating
Are you ready to jump headfirst into the world of online dating? If so, this guide is for you.
The world of online dating can feel intimidating if you’re just getting started as a single today. Whether this is your first time downloading a dating app or you’ve swiped casually for months now, there’s a lot to learn about this brave new world. The odds of finding a match through online dating are in your favor with 66% of users dating someone they met online.
Are you ready to jump headfirst into the world of online dating? If so, this guide is for you. Stop being intimidated by the possibility of finding your match online. It’s time to embrace this technology for the tool it is: a revolutionary way to connect with other singles in your area without the pitfalls of traditional dating.
FINDING THE RIGHT PLATFORM
When you’re first getting started with the world of online dating, you probably are overwhelmed with the sheer number of platforms out there today. Across the globe, there are more than 7,5000 online dating websites according to Online Dating Magazine. With so many options, it’s easy to get confused.
How you choose a website for you will depend on a number of factors:
- Are you introverted or extroverted?
- Do you prefer to make the first move?
- Are you interested in long-term dating or hookups?
- Are you gay or straight?
- How much work do you want to put into meeting others?
There are no right or wrong answers. For example, if you’re looking for gay singles near you, you’ll probably want to choose a platform designed with your needs in mind. If you’re not interested in putting in a lot of work, at least at first, choose an app that focuses less on comprehensive matchmaking and more on first impressions. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a platform for you.
BUILDING YOUR PROFILE
The next step once you’ve decided on the right platform is to create a profile. This is where most newbies make the most mistakes. Realize that your profile isn’t the same thing as your resume. It’s also not your life story. You need to find a balance between introducing yourself and sharing what you’re looking for.
Here are the basics of a quality profile:
- Username – You want your username to be unique, interesting, and relevant to who you are as a person.
- Photos – Use clear, nicely taken photos that clearly show your face. Don’t be afraid to include photos of you participating in your favorite hobbies or sports if that makes sense for you.
- Bio – Depending on your platform, you’ll have a lot of room to introduce yourself. Keep it to the point and genuine. Most people won’t read through a drawn-out profile. Remember you want to save some conversation for your first date!
- Interests – What are you interested in? Make sure this is clearly shown on your profile so potential matches can get a feel for what you’re like. They also make great conversation starters.
- Location – Don’t lie about your location. You want to meet singles near you, so don’t list that you live somewhere you don’t.
Write your profile from a place of authenticity. Don’t try to be someone you’re not, and also don’t go overboard explaining every part of your life. This should be a highlight reel. Talk about who you are, what you do, and what you’re excited about. People are attracted to passion, so let yours shine through.
MAKING A MOVE
Once your profile is live and ready to go, it’s time to start meeting your matches. Try not to be too picky, but also know your deal breakers. This is a great chance to chat online with some interesting people near you. Start a conversation and see where it goes.
When you’re ready to meet someone you met online, make sure you take safety precautions. No matter how much you think you trust them, they’re still a stranger. Always schedule your first date for a public place, and let a friend know where you’ll be at all times. Online dating can be great fun, but only if you take safety seriously.
FINDING A MATCH
It’s okay to just put yourself out there and have fun. That’s what online dating is all about. Don’t get hung up on the perfect profile or finding a 100% match. This is the best time to explore your options and get to know what you like and don’t like.
If you’re not feeling a certain dating platform, just move on to the next one. There’s a platform for everyone, and you don’t have to settle for anything that doesn’t feel right to you. You never know. Your perfect match might only be a few clicks away.
Top three 2019 relationship resolutions
Here are three top tips for couples who want to deepen their love connection and strengthen their partnership in 2019.
It’s that time of the year again, when romantic partners all over the world will be celebrating the new year together. With this, relationship expert “Real Love, Right Now: A 30-Day Blueprint for Finding Your Soul Mate — and So Much More!” – said that those in relationships may want to consider “relationship resolutions”.– author of
Nonetheless, while having relationship resolutions is great, “none of them really matter unless you have true admiration and respect for one another’s life journey to begin with. Celebrate where you have been and how the experiences in your relationship helped you both grow into the individuals and couple you are today — the good, the bad, and the not-so-gorgeous,”
shares three of her top tips for couples who want to deepen their love connection and strengthen their partnership in 2019.
- Honor your relationship’s evolution: “Remember who you were and who your partner was when you first fell in love. Notice how the two of you have grown and changed into who you’ve become today. Look at the ways each of your souls have impacted one another and woken each other up. Today, you are in a place where you both know each other and yourselves better than ever before, and that never would have happened for either of you without the other.”
- Date each other again: “Next, it’s time for you to come together as two loving beings (‘grown-ups’) who have evolved to a new awareness. Believe it or not — yes — you can tap into the love you felt when you first met and start to date each other again.”
- Experience everything new together: “Even things you may have done a thousand times. How can your favorite wine taste different? How can the same restaurant feel like a new place? How can your partner’s body feel different when you make love? You have an opportunity to create a new, fresh connection with each other that has never been possible before. When couples reconnect in this way, they often find that their love is stronger than they knew and things don’t have to be as mundane as they had come to believe.”
3 Things to remember when meeting your partner’s parents
When you meet his or her parents, play the role of the observer, then be ready to have an open, honest, and vulnerable conversation with your partner about both of your family histories later on when the time is right.
The holidays = family time, that’s a given. And so, not surprisingly, many new couples will beover the holidays, which can really be a nerve-racking event. That said, it’s also a very important step in any couple’s evolution.
Relationship expert– author of “Real Love, Right Now: A 30-Day Blueprint for Finding Your Soul Mate — and So Much More!”, and who is known for her work on the series “Lovetown, USA” with Oprah Winfrey, as well as the E! reality shows “Stewarts & Hamiltons” and “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” – shares three tips to keep in mind when you meet your significant other’s (SO’s) parents.
1. Be Yourself: Don’t focus on trying to impress your significant other’s parents. Be polite and gracious, of course, but above all be yourself. Feeling comfortable and at ease with your partner is one sign of a promising partnership. Let those feelings translate to an openness to truly being yourself when meeting his or her family. You’ll get more useful information about your relationship and your partner’s family when you interact openly and honestly.
2. Look for Clues: You will learn so much from seeing where your partner comes from in terms of past love role models. Are his/her parents married or divorced? Are they happy and healthy in their current lives and partnerships? How do they interact with each other? With you? With your partner?
All of us are likely to play out some version of what we witnessed as children when we marry. If you or your partner is the child of divorce or marital dysfunction, it isn’t necessarily a relationship death sentence, though. It simply means your mutual awareness of it and willingness to work through it are vital to the health of your own partnership. When you meet his or her parents, play the role of the observer, then be ready to have an open, honest, and vulnerable conversation with your partner about both of your family histories later on when the time is right.
3. Listen to Your Inner Voice: When meeting your partner’s parents, pay less attention to any anxiety or nerves you may have about them liking and accepting you and pay more attention to your inner voice — that deep inner knowing that keeps you grounded and moving in a healthy direction with your life and your love relationships.
Is your intuition telling you that the relationships and communication you are witnessing in your partner’s family are something you can embrace, handle, or work through? Or is your “gut feeling” saying that something just feels off and you’re not sure you and your partner can overcome certain aspects of his/her family history or dynamic? Don’t rush to judgment; meet the parents, then give your inner voice time to let you know how it feels (how you truly feel) about all you’ve experienced.