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LOVE AFFAIRS

Lisa and Jennifer: Finding super-love

In June 2011, Lisa Dazols and Jennifer Chang decided to leave their nine-to-five jobs to travel the world for a year in search of gay people creating change for the LGBT community through their project, Out and Around: Stories of a Not-So-Straight Journey, which is a collection of conversations with “Supergays” from around the world. This project took them throughout Asia, Africa and South America. It was also a celebration of their love for each other.

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Lisa Dazols and Jennifer Chang met five years ago (in 2007), “while riding our bicycles an hour outside of San Francisco. We both showed up for a training ride for an HIV fundraiser (i.e. the AIDS Lifecycle, a 500 mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money for HIV services),” Lisa recalled. At that time, though, “Jenni had a girlfriend, so we just became friends and shared a sandwich that day. Jenni had short hair at the time and was all sporty, so I thought of her as a buddy.”

So, yes, “it wasn’t love at first sight, because we were both dating other people,” Jennifer said.

That was, at least, for the first year of the couple’s friendship. And then “Lisa then needed a date to a wedding at the last minute after a breakup, and asked me to join her,” Jennifer said. Then, smiling: “Lisa was never interested in me until I put on a dress.”

But even early on, “I knew pretty early into dating Jenni that I was in love,” Lisa said. “She kept trying to break up with me because she had recently ended her first relationship and wasn’t ready to date. But I kept persisting and eventually won her over. I remember that I invited her to my sister’s house during the holidays, and I couldn’t contain my excitement for my family to meet her.”

As for Jennifer, “I already had the chance to get to know Lisa as a friend, so I knew I could trust her. We shared many of the same values and I could see her as a solid partner. On Lisa’s 30th birthday, we went skydiving together. I was willing to jump out of a plane with this woman! I told her later that day that I loved her.”

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In June 2011, Lisa and Jennifer decided to leave their nine-to-five jobs to travel the world for a year in search of gay people creating change for the LGBT community through their project, Out and Around: Stories of a Not-So-Straight Journey, which is a collection of conversations with “Supergays” from around the world. This project took them throughout Asia, Africa and South America.

On their website, the couple noted that “we’re at a pivotal point for gay rights in the world. Significant change has been made for gays in terms of civil rights and societal acceptance. To think that 10 years ago, there was not a country on this planet where we could get legally married as a lesbian couple. Now, 10 countries have legalized same-sex marriages. Nonetheless, more progress must be made. Gay youth still get bullied every day, gays everywhere still face a tremendous amount of homophobia, and gay rights still don’t exist in much of the developing world.” They hoped, therefore, that “with our project, we can change this.”

Lisa and Jennifer were able to interview New Zealand Olympian Blake Skjellerup, Australia’s former High Court judge Michael Kirby, China’s jazz musician Coco Zhao, Filipino philanthropist Ricky Reyes, Nepal’s member of Parliament Sunil Pant, and India’s Price Manvendra Singh Gohil, among others.

The journey was, of course, very personal (“I figure that if we can survive 365 days of traveling together, it’s a good test of our long-term commitment,” Lisa was earlier quoted as saying). A few months into their journey, Jennifer surprised Lisa by proposing to her on the beach on Boracay Island.

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There remain challenges that the couple face – both as LGBT advocates, and on a more personal level; though the two tend to be connected, as their experience shows.

“The biggest challenge Lisa and I face as a lesbian couple is that my parents don’t accept our relationship. They’re faithful Evangelicals who believe in their Church’s teaching that homosexuality is wrong. I’ve spent time in therapy with my parents to find a way that they can participate in our lives. We’re so often in opposition that now they feel as if they’ve lost their daughter,” Jennifer said. “I just want them to see that I am happy. Like many same sex couples, not having the support of our families adds stress on the relationship.”

“In the U.S. we still don’t have marriage equality. Jenni and I got engaged while traveling in Boracay. We feel like second class citizens not having the same rights as every other couple,” Lisa said. But while “we’ve used our website as a way of starting conversations about international LGBT rights, at the same time, there are still over 70 countries where homosexual activity is illegal and can result in incarceration. When we visited East Africa on our travels, all of the activists had received death threats for their advocacy work. So, we’re pretty lucky in the States and need to stand by our LGBT family in countries with far less tolerance.”

Lisa and Jennifer have set a date (June 8, 2013) to get married “whether or not our State recognizes it,” Lisa said. On August 10, though, the two “felt somewhat vulnerable without legal protections, so we decided to complete our domestic partnership paperwork.”

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That they found happiness being with each other is nonetheless what’s apparent.

“I feel so fortunate to have Jenni in my life. She’s gotten me to travel around the world and jump out of my comfort zone. Spending a year traveling together, we had the luxury of time. I really enjoy her company,” Lisa said.

“We’re always laughing. Even when we fight. She truly makes my everyday very happy. After a year of traveling, the best feeling is building a home together and feeling settled with one another,” Jennifer said.

Lisa and Jennifer are now working on taking their short films and making a larger one to reach an international audience. This in their attempt to “continue educating people on global LGBT rights,” Jennifer said.

This education also comes in celebrating Lisa and Jennifer’s togetherness.

Know more about Lisa Dazols and Jennifer Chang at www.OutandAround.com. A video and summary of their Philippine visit is available here; while a trailer of Out and Around is available here.

LOVE AFFAIRS

Be fierce, not forlorn: Bouncing back from a bad breakup

You don’t have to feign a complete recovery. If you need time to mourn, even a really crappy relationship, then give yourself time to do it. You have your own pace, so long as you’re working at it, you’re on the way to a healthier future and a wiser, more confident view of future relationships, too.

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We’ve all been there. Whether it’s the sudden end to a seemingly perfect relationship, the long untangling of a messy pairing doomed to fail, or the righteous indignation that comes after infidelity, breakups can hit hard. Worst of all, they can hurt you in ways that can take a long time to heal without the right self-care.

If an ex seemingly won’t let you move on, then you need to be firm, stand your ground, and cut your ties, even if you didn’t want the relationship to end in the first place.
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Here, we’re going to look at ways you can make sure you’re not stuck wallowing and get back to the you that you want to be.

Cut the cord

“We can still be friends.” It’s something many of us will say or hear after a painful breakup and it’s almost always a bad idea. If an ex seemingly won’t let you move on, then you need to be firm, stand your ground, and cut your ties, even if you didn’t want the relationship to end in the first place. You’re not going to be able to move on if you’re still spending time and energy on maintaining some sort of relationship after the breakup.

Say “Bye, Felicia”

Every relationship needs some closure for us to be able to focus our energies elsewhere. Rarely do you get that closure in the breakup. The suddenness of it, the emotionality of it all, can make it hard to actually reflect on it. That’s why you should, instead, consider writing a letter to your ex. Take the time to put your thoughts in place, think about all the things you wanted to say, and say them. Then burn it. What’s important is that you got the chance to say them, not whatever they might have thought when hearing them.

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Work on yourself

It’s all “me, myself, and I” after a breakup. Surrounding yourself with friends, family, and your positive support group can be helpful, but proactively spending time on yourself in a way you may have been unable to can be greatly rewarding. Getting into some new workouts, chasing a professional goal, or simply updating your style can help you refocus your efforts somewhere other than a relationship. Achieving something for you and yourself alone will give you plenty more reasons to be confident again.

Date yourself, too

Want to see if you still got it or simply want a little fun after getting out of a heavy relationship? Fine. However, following a breakup with another immediate attempt to start a relationship rarely goes well. Spend time on self-care, on friendships around you, and on indulging a little in ways you haven’t been able to. Take some time to yourself and give the scars of the relationship some time to heal so that they don’t sabotage your future potential for happiness.

You don’t have to feign a complete recovery. If you need time to mourn, even a really crappy relationship, then give yourself time to do it. You have your own pace, so long as you’re working at it, you’re on the way to a healthier future and a wiser, more confident view of future relationships, too.


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Love Guides

How you can add fresh excitement to your relationship

It is important that you take the state of your physical relationship into consideration, as letting things slide in this department can result in other areas and aspects of your relationship being affected.

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When it comes to relationships, it can be very difficult to keep things magical and fresh all the time. While your physical relationship may have been really exciting to begin with, once you have other commitments to think about, things can start to slide. Most people are busy with commitments such as work, family, and financial worries, which can all take their toll on your physical relationship.

It is important that you take the state of your physical relationship into consideration, as letting things slide in this department can result in other areas and aspects of your relationship being affected. The good news is that there are simple methods you can use to add fresh excitement to your love life, and if you are open-minded you can have great fun at the same time. In this article, we will look at some of these methods.

Methods You Can Use

Are you and your partner open-minded and up for some adventure and excitement in the bedroom? If so, using adult toys could be the perfect way to try new and exciting experiences together. You may be one of those people who has never used these products before, and you may find yourself wondering ‘what are anal beads?’ and other products you are unfamiliar with. Well, the good news is that there are so many adult toy products available these days, you are certain to find something that you and your partner can experiment with in the bedroom.

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Another thing that the two of you may find exciting and thrilling is to act out your fantasies in the bedroom. Just because your partner has never mentioned anything about fantasies to you before, this doesn’t mean they don’t have any.

Likewise, you may harbor your own fantasies but have never mentioned them to your partner. Well, now is the time to stop being coy and communicate with your partner about your fantasies. You can then enjoy reliving these in the bedroom by dressing up sexily, creating scenarios, and more.

There are couples who feel far more at ease when they are not at home, such as while away on vacation. Well, you can’t go on a vacation every time you want to get intimate. However, one thing you can do is book a couple of nights away somewhere from time to time so you can get away from it all, feel less stress, and feel more relaxed. You can enjoy spending some quality time together by doing this, and you can use some of that time to get things moving in the bedroom department.

Making an Effort Makes a Difference

When you make this type of effort and open up your mind, you can both look forward to exciting new experiences as well as a more satisfying physical relationship. This is something that can then have a positive impact on your overall relationship so it is well worth making time to work on your love life. 

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LOVE AFFAIRS

Signs whether your partner is cheating on you

According to research, 20-26% of married people have admitted to having an extramarital affair that involved sex. At least 40% of married people admit to emotional infidelity, and almost 100% of married couples have admitted to having thought about cheating.

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Cheating, also called infidelity or adultery, involves one partner or both going against their vows regarding emotional and sexual exclusivity. Depending on your personal boundaries in your relationship, some of the things that could be considered cheating are:

  • Having sexual contact with someone else other than your partner,
  • Discussing matters of a sexual nature with someone other than your partner,
  • Giving gifts to someone other than your partner, and/or
  • Having romantic chats (calls and texts) with someone else behind your partner’s back.

According to research, 20-26% of married people have admitted to having an extramarital affair that involved sex. At least 40% of married people admit to emotional infidelity, and almost 100% of married couples have admitted to having thought about cheating. This shows that cheating among couples is becoming more common than maybe we like to think, radically changing the meaning of faithfulness and honesty in marriages.

Coping with cheating or believing your partner is cheating is a nightmare in many romantic relationships. Cheating is disastrous and can destroy even the best relationships. Besides, the effects of cheating are severe heartbreaks and hopelessness. Some relationship coaches add that cheating may lead to low self-esteem and feelings of betrayal.

With such effects, there are some everyday factors that can predict whether your spouse will cheat on you.

Level of Education

A recent study shows that women who are more educated than their husbands were twice as likely to engage in sexual infidelity. Furthermore, ladies are more prone having extramarital affairs with men who are more educated than their husbands.

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Number of Lifetime Sexual Partners

The higher the number of sexual partners one has had in the past, the more likely he/she will cheat. A high number of sexual partners indicates that the person is not likely to settle into a long-term relationship.

Revenge

Many people cheat as a way of getting revenge on their unfaithful partner who had previously cheated on them.

To help look after yourself,you can sign up to happymatches.com and find a faithful partner who’ll treasure your faithfulness and trust. Often, revenge in relationships turns into never-ending conflict.

Age  

Relationship experts cite that women are more likely to cheat when they are younger. On the other hand, the likelihood of men cheating increases with age,as they are generally more attracted to younger partners.

State of the Relationship

Is your partner satisfied in his/her relationship? Women who are dissatisfied in their relationship have a higher chance of cheating as a way of avoiding stress and finding happiness. Moreover, cheating can be a way of influencing a divorce or a breakup.

Reasons Why People Cheat in Relationships

Some of the common reasons why people cheat are:

Opportunity

You are more likely to cheat with people who you spend a lot of time with. Spending lots of time with someone who isn’t your partner influences you to share some of your most intimate feelings with them.

Peer Pressure

This mostly applies to men. A considerable number of men consider cheating on their partners as something to brag about and be proud of. This has tempted several men to cheat on their spouse so that they can fit in with the “squad.”

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LOVE AFFAIRS

More than one in 10 want to be in an open relationship

Researchers found that people engaging in and preferring open relationships tended to be slightly younger. Men were also more likely to have reported being in an open relationship and to identify open as their ideal relationship type. Relationship satisfaction didn’t differ significantly between individuals in monogamous and open relationships.

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An open heart?

A sizable number of adults are either in or would like to be in an open relationship. This is one of the key findings from a research from the University of British Columbia, and which was published in the Journal of Sex Research.

The study was conducted in Canada, and is the first outside of the US to assess the prevalence of open relationships using a representative sample.

Researchers analyzing data from a nationally representative survey of about 2,000 Canadian adults found that 4% of those in relationships reported being in an open relationship, while 20% reported having been in an open relationship in the past. Meanwhile, more than one in ten (12%) reported that open relationships were their “ideal relationship type.”

“Our findings suggest that more people would like to be in an open relationship than already are, possibly because of the stigma associated with these types of relationships and the difficulty of broaching this subject with partners,” said Nichole Fairbrother, the study’s lead author and assistant professor in the UBC department of psychiatry. “Even with the stigma, however, it still appears that a sizable number of Canadian adults are either in or would like to be in an open relationship.”

Relationship satisfaction didn’t differ significantly between individuals in monogamous and open relationships.
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Open relationships are those in which individuals agree to participate in sexual, emotional and romantic interactions with more than one partner. Examples include polyamory (engaging in multiple romantic relationships) and swinging (engaging in multiple sexual relationships outside of a relationship, alone or together, with minimal or no emotional or romantic involvement).

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For the study, the researchers had market research firm Ipsos administer an online questionnaire to a representative sample of about 2,000 Canadians between the ages of 18 and 94. Nearly equal numbers of men and women responded to the survey. Fifty-five per cent of respondents were married or living with a romantic partner, while 31% were single, 10% were separated or divorced and nearly 4% were widowed.

Among the key findings, the researchers found that people engaging in and preferring open relationships tended to be slightly younger. Men were also more likely to have reported being in an open relationship and to identify open as their ideal relationship type. Relationship satisfaction didn’t differ significantly between individuals in monogamous and open relationships. Rather, having a match between one’s actual and preferred relationship type was associated with greater relationship satisfaction, the researchers found.

As for why greater numbers of men tend to prefer open to monogamous relationships, the researchers suggest it could be partially due to the greater prevalence of open relationships among same-sex male couples. They say more research is needed to fully understand the factors behind men preferring open relationships more than women.

Fairbrother said the findings have clinical implications for mental health providers, especially for those who provide couples therapy.

“Given that a significant minority of respondents say they prefer open relationships, it may be useful for mental health providers to consider ways of making it easier for couples to talk about their relationship preferences in therapy,” she said.

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The researchers also collected survey answers from hundreds of UBC and Ryerson University students to analyze the characteristics of people who prefer different relationship configurations. They are analyzing this data now.

Men were more likely to have reported being in an open relationship and to identify open as their ideal relationship type.
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The study was co-authored by Trevor Hart, a psychology professor and director of the HIV prevention lab at Ryerson University, and Malcolm Fairbrother, a sociologist at Umeå University in Sweden. It was supported by a Ryerson University faculty of arts new initiatives award, awarded to Hart.

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LOVE AFFAIRS

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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.”

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LOVE AFFAIRS

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.

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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.

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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.
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MAKE TIME

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.

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.
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BE COMPASSIONATE

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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.

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