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The language of love: When diverse cultures come together

If you’re in a relationship and experiencing communication barriers then take a few hints here and start joining together as one.

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The beauty of love is that it can happen to the most unlikely of couples. People can come together in the strangest of circumstances and begin a beautiful relationship, which could be deemed as unexpected. The truth is that, romance can come in many different forms and when two cultures come together it can be a magical adventure. Of course, there are hurdles to overcome such as differing beliefs and language barriers, but these things can be easily solved.

If you’re in a relationship and experiencing communication barriers then take a few hints here and start joining together as one.

Calm Communicating

Are you feeling frustrated that you can’t quite understand what your partner is saying? Can they not understand you too? Both of you might benefit from taking a pronunciation course. This will allow you to become more fluent in the language you’re trying to speak. Taking a course like this will help you to refine any skills that you have already picked up. Often it is the minor details in language that cause the most misunderstandings and confusion. Perhaps you want to make a speech at a birthday party or you are afraid of offending them with your errors in diction.

Speaking face to face involves many other communicative aspects such as facial expressions, hand gestures and body language, so these will help you to convey your message as well. Once you have managed to secure the smaller details of pronunciation in your mind you will be able to carry out more fluid conversation.

Family Respect

Meeting the family members of somebody you have fallen in love with is a very daunting thought. It is even more daunting when their family speaks another language or grew up in a different culture. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself when meeting them for the first time. Get some hints and tips from your other half and get to know what their family might like to talk about. Don’t go in with a fully prepared speech, but have a few conversation starters ready to go. As soon as they see how much you respect their culture and the effort you are making, they will soon warm up to you.

Exploring Together

When two different cultures come together as one the most exciting things is exploring each other’s traditions. Take a walk in one another’s shoes and travel to places which mean to the most to them. Experience as many authentic parts of their life and culture as you can, so that you can begin to truly understand where they came from and how they grew up. Respect every aspect of their belief system even if it is completely opposing to yours. Open up your mind and be willing to learn new traditions as a couple.

Learning about people who are different to us is the most endearing and beautiful thing we can do. Appreciating other cultures and languages sets us up to live a diverse and fulfilled life. Start your journey now and fill your mind with new experiences, languages and traditions.

LOVE AFFAIRS

6 Unique ideas for date nights

Date night provides a dedicated evening you can spend together while avoiding the usual busy-ness of everyday demands and allows you the chance to reconnect and try something new without life getting in the way.

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Date night should be a priority for any couple, whether you’re new and starting out, or whether you’ve been married for years. Date night provides a dedicated evening you can spend together while avoiding the usual busy-ness of everyday demands and allows you the chance to reconnect and try something new without life getting in the way.

With that in mind, here are six great date night ideas if you’re looking for inspiration. 

Exploring a new town or city can put you both in the same position to discover and experience a great new place together.

1. Explore a New Location Together

There may be a lot of pressure during date night for one person to make a suggestion based on what they know and enjoy. However, why not do something entirely new, in a place neither of you have been to before? Exploring a new town or city can put you both in the same position to discover and experience a great new place together.

2. Catch a Sports Game

Whether you’re both big sports fans, or perhaps neither of you have ever been to a sports game before, a live game can be an exciting experience, especially if you’re always been curious about a certain sport. You can grab tickets for games like the NFL at Ticket Sales, for a variety of different teams, and you can make a whole night of it with some great food and drinks too. 

3. Try a New Hobby

There’s nothing like getting stuck into a new hobby and learning a new skill – so why not do it together as part of your date night? Maybe there’s something new you’ve always wanted to try, like painting, so you could always head out to a painting class together. There are many art classes which now offer drinks and all supplies included in a set price for the evening, making your date night easier to plan. 

READ:  Dead, Not Forgotten

4. Take a Cooking Class 

If you’re both foodies – or perhaps you’re both simply awful cooks and would like to learn how to improve – then a cooking class can be a fun (and delicious) way to spend an evening together. You could even spend your next date night at home practicing the dishes you have learned to cook and trying out new recipes going forward.

A cooking class can be a fun (and delicious) way to spend an evening together.

5. Head for a Spa Treatment 

You need rest and relaxation sometimes, and a little TLC, especially when it comes to health and beauty treatments. While your date night is about caring for your relationship, go a step further and care for one another by spending time at a spa, either to simply relax using the facilities or by booking in treatments. You could even do joint treatments like a couple’s massage to ensure that you’re spending the time unseparated.

6. Have a Games Night 

Whether it’s spent at home playing classic board games, video games, or heading out to the nearest arcade to get stuck into some nostalgic gameplay like Pacman or racing games, an evening spent together like this is a must for gaming couples – and there’s nothing like a little friendly competition!

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LOVE AFFAIRS

When possibility of sex looms, people more likely to tweak truth

People will do and say just about anything in order to make a connection with an attractive stranger.

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Photo by Gabriel Matula from Unsplash.com

In a world of seemingly endless opportunities for finding a mate, competition for a partner can be fierce. Not all that glitters is gold, as the old adage goes. If you’ve long suspected that people fudge the truth when it comes to presenting themselves to a potential partner, here’s the research to back you up.

In a new study, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, two researchers from the University of Rochester’s Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology and the Israeli-based Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya conclude that when the possibility of sex looms, people are more likely to change their attitudes and engage in deceptive self-presentation. In other words, they conform, embellish, and sometimes lie.

The duo of Gurit Birnbaum, a social psychologist and associate professor of psychology at the IDC Herzliya, and Harry Reis, a professor of clinical and social sciences in psychology and Dean’s Professor in Arts, Sciences & Engineering at the University of Rochester, hypothesized that sexual thoughts–or, in the researchers’ more precise terms, the activation of an individual’s sexual system–would increase a person’s efforts to manage first impressions, bringing with it deceptive self-presentation.

Sex on the brain

What laypersons might describe as having sexual thoughts, researchers refer to more precisely as the activation of the sexual system or sexual priming. The phrase, Harry Reis explains, “means getting people to think about things in a sexual way. Technically it means activating a certain set of concepts in the brain. So, the parts of the brain that represent sexuality are being activated. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that people are getting genitally aroused.”

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They tested that hypothesis on 634 students–328 female and 306 male–with an average age of nearly 25, all identifying as heterosexual. Over the course of four studies, the psychologists exposed one group to sexual stimuli and the control group to neutral stimuli. Study participants, all students at an Israeli university, then interacted with an opposite-sex stranger.

Study 1 asked two study participants at a time to solve a dilemma faced by a fictitious third person–whether to accept a job offer abroad or to reject the offer to stay close to family and friends. Both participants were assigned one specific position–one for and one against the move abroad–to argue in a face-to-face interaction.

Afterwards, participants rated the extent to which they outwardly expressed agreement with the other participant’s position during the interaction. Compared to participants in the control group (without prior sexual stimuli), participants who had been sexually primed were more likely to express agreement with a contrary opinion advocated by an opposite-sex participant. The researchers interpret this behavior as a strategy to make a favorable impression with the stranger, thereby increasing the likelihood of getting closer to this person.

Study 2 examined whether study participants would actually change their declared preferences to conform to a stranger’s ideals. Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire that assessed their preferences in various life situations (such as “to what extent does it bother you to date someone who is messy?” or “do you like to cuddle after sex?”). Next, participants were subliminally exposed to either a sexual or a neutral picture prime.

READ:  Dead, Not Forgotten

Participants were then told they would be part of an online chat with another participant, who in reality was an insider–an opposite-sex member of the research team. They looked at an online profile that purported to present the insider’s preferences on various subjects. After viewing the profile, participants were asked to create their own profile to be emailed to the other participant, and asked to complete their profile by rating the same items that had been presented in the insider’s profile.

The researchers found that even a non-conscious sexual stimulus (such as showing an erotic picture in a flash frame inside an otherwise neutral video) led participants to conform more to a potential partner’s preferences across various life situations.

“The desire to impress a potential partner is particularly intense when it comes to preferences that are at the heart of establishing an intimate bond,” writes the team. “Such attitude changes might be viewed as a subtle exaggeration, or as a harmless move to impress or be closer to a potential partner.”

Studies 3 and 4 addressed whether participants would lie about the number of past sexual partners. The researchers hypothesized that people would reduce the actual number of partners so as to appear more selective–or less promiscuous–to a potential mate. To test the hypothesis, researchers had participants talk about the total number of sexual partners they had had during a chat with an attractive study insider. Then they were asked the same question in anonymous questionnaires to provide a true baseline for the researchers. The findings were clear: study participants who had been sexually primed were more likely to lie, reporting lower numbers of previous sexual partners to a potential mate compared to the group without sexual priming.

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The researchers found that both men and women (all of whom were sexually primed) tended to decrease the reported number of past sexual partners when chatting with an attractive stranger. (By the way, around seven previous partners was the magic number that most people reported in their doctored answers).

Interpreting the findings

Interestingly, Birnbaum and Reis, who have collaborated for decades (Birnbaum was a post-doctoral fellow in psychology at Rochester in 1998-99) have slightly different takes on what the findings ultimately mean.

“People will do and say just about anything in order to make a connection with an attractive stranger,” says Birnbaum. “When your sexual system is activated you are motivated to present yourself in the best light possible. That means you’ll tell a stranger things that make you look better than you really are.”

But, says Reis, “a lot of it is not necessarily what you’d call a bald-faced lie. Even though it’s clearly not the truth, it’s a way of people finding ways to emphasize different parts of how they see themselves.” And yet: “I think there’s some degree to which it is finding ways to shade one’s perception of the truth. It still counts as a lie, there’s no question about that.”

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LOVE AFFAIRS

Dating: How to choose the right person for you

Online dating has made a massive difference in the way we meet people and connect with potential partners.

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Online dating has made a massive difference in the way we meet people and connect with potential partners. It makes it easier than ever to strike up a conversation with someone that catches our eye, so theoretically, it should make dating a whole lot easier. However, in many ways, it is a lot harder. 

IMAGE SOURCE: UNSPLASH.COM

Rather than go out to the bar and have the pick of the singles in that bar, dating apps and even Freechatlines gay gives us a whole host of people to choose from and get to know better, literally right at our fingertips and without leaving the house, which is ideal for those with work or family commitments restricting their social lives.

However, this increased choice makes it much harder for some people to commit to one relationship, just in case they miss out on meeting somebody that they are more compatible with. It also means that you need to decide who is best suited for you out of a large pool of potential daters, and that can be tough. Here, we look at some of the best ways to narrow down your online dating options to help you find the one for you. 

Look for shared values

Unless you and your potential suitor have shared values, the relationship is never going to take off. For it to even have a chance of working, you need to have something in common and some shared values and beliefs. For example, if one of you is a meat lover and the other is a fervent vegan, it may not be the best pairing. Similarly, significant differences in religious beliefs or political thinking may mean that you are not very well suited. Sussing out whether someone has the same values and belief systems as you at the beginning can help to prevent heartbreak further down the line. 

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Red flag behaviors

We use the term red flag behavior to define behaviors that may be of some concern. For example, what might seem to be cute little quirks early on in the relationship may turn out to be controlling and abusive behavior further down the line. Secrecy and dishonesty is always a huge red flag – if someone can’t tell the truth right at the beginning of a relationship, the chances of them ever being entirely truthful with you are slim.

Commitment

When you are first starting out and talking to someone, you are not going to be asking for a long term commitment. Until you truly know someone, that would be rather silly. However, it is important to get an idea early into your connection about their long term plans. Are they in the dating game simply to have a bit of fun, or are they hoping to meet a long term partner at some point? Asking them upfront is always a good idea – you will then know if it is likely to be a waste of yours and their time.

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LOVE AFFAIRS

Despite what you might think, sexting isn’t just about sex – research

Some people use sexting as foreplay for sexual behaviors later on; some sext for the relationship reassurance they receive from their partner; and some sext as a favor.

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Photo by Clique Images from Unsplash.com

Let’s talk about sext.

Sexting is extremely common among adults – but maybe not for the reasons you think.

New research from the Sexuality, Sexual Health & Sexual Behavior Lab in the Texas Tech University Department of Psychological Sciences shows that two-thirds of people who sext do so for non-sexual reasons.

In an analysis of the reasons people engage in sexting with their relationship partner, assistant professor Joseph M. Currin and doctoral student Kassidy Cox confirmed three main motivations found in previous research:

  • Some people use sexting as foreplay for sexual behaviors later on;
  • Some sext for the relationship reassurance they receive from their partner; and
  • Some sext their partner as a favor, with the expectation the favor will be returned later in a non-sexual way (such as a dinner date).

When they began the research, Currin and Cox were curious to see if one of these motivations was the most prevalent. Using data gathered online from 160 participants, ranging in age from 18-69, they performed a latent class analysis measuring sexting motivations, relationship attachments and sexual behaviors. To their surprise, they discovered three nearly equal clusters, suggesting no motivation is more common than another.

“It was intriguing that two-thirds of the individuals who engaged in sexting did so for non-sexual purposes,” Cox said. “This may actually be demonstrating some individuals engage in sexting, but would prefer not to, but do so as a means to either gain affirmation about their relationship, relieve anxiety or get something tangible – non-sexual – in return.”

Sexting is extremely common among adults – but maybe not for the reasons you think.
Photo by Leon Seibert from Unsplash.com

Also surprising to the researchers was there were no significant differences in motivation based on sexual orientation, gender or age.

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“This study highlighted the main reasons to date that individuals are motivated to sext, and it actually normalizes all three types of motivations,” said Cox.

“As it is becoming a more accepted method of communicating one’s sexual desires, we wanted to highlight how adults utilize this behavior in their relationships,” Currin added. “This tells us that sexting among adults is an evolution of how we have communicated our sexual desires to our partners in the past. People used to write love poems and steamy letters, then when photography became more common place, couples used to take boudoir photos for each other.”

Currin and Cox noted that their research focused on sexting between current partners in consensual relationships only.

“As with any sexual behavior, it is important and necessary to have consent to engage in sexting,” Currin said. “Individuals who send unsolicited sext messages – such as images of their genitalia – are not actually engaging in sexting; they are sexually harassing the recipient.”

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LOVE AFFAIRS

Kindness is a top priority in a long-term partner – study

22-26% of attention is given on kindness, though other qualities considered include physical attractiveness and good financial prospects. Traits like creativity and chastity received less than 10% of attention.

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Photo by Isabella Mariana from Unsplash.com

One of the top qualities that we look for in a long-term partner is kindness, according to new research by Swansea University.

In a paper published by the Journal of Personality, researchers had over 2,700 college students from across the globe build themselves an ideal lifelong partner by using a fixed budget to “buy” characteristics.

While traits like physical attractiveness and financial prospects were important, the one that was given the highest priority was kindness.

The study compared the dating preferences of students from Eastern countries, for example Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, and Western countries such as the UK, Norway and Australia.

Students were given eight attributes they could spend “mate dollars” on: physical attractiveness, good financial prospects, kindness, humour, chastity, religiosity, the desire for children, and creativity.

While there were some differences in behaviour between Eastern and Western students – there were also some remarkable similarities.

People typically spent 22-26% of their total budget on kindness, and large parts of their budget on physical attractiveness and good financial prospects, while traits like creativity and chastity received less than 10%.

The research team also found some interesting sex differences – both Eastern and Western men allocated more of their budget to physical attractiveness than women (22% vs 16%) while women allocated more to good financial prospects than men (18% vs 12%).

The principle researcher, Dr Andrew G. Thomas, believes that studying mate preferences across cultures is important for understanding human behaviour.

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“Looking at very different culture groups allows us to test the idea that some behaviours are human universals.

“If men and women act in a similar way across the globe, then this adds weight to the idea that some behaviours develop in spite of culture rather than because of it.”

The results also showed a difference in a partner’s desire for children, which was a priority only for Western women.

“We think this may have something to do with family planning,” said Thomas. “In cultures where contraception is widespread, a partner’s desire for children may predict the likelihood of starting a family.

“In contrast, in cultures where contraception use is less widespread, having children may be a natural consequence of sex within a relationship, making actual desire for children less relevant.”

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Do open relationships really work?

In a gist: Sexual activity with someone else besides the primary partner, without mutual consent, comfort, or communication can easily be understood as a form of betrayal or cheating. And that can seriously undermine or jeopardize the relationship.

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Photo by @nicotitto from Unsplash.com

Open relationships typically describe couples in which the partners have agreed on sexual activity with someone other than their primary romantic partner, while maintaining the couple bond. Can these open relationships work? It depends, concludes a team from the University of Rochester that focuses on couples research. Not surprisingly, the success of such relationships hinges on solid communication between all parties involved.

“We know that communication is helpful to all couples,” says Ronald Rogge, an associate professor of psychology and head of the Rogge Lab, where the research was conducted. “However, it is critical for couples in nonmonogamous relationships as they navigate the extra challenges of maintaining a nontraditional relationship in a monogamy-dominated culture. Secrecy surrounding sexual activity with others can all too easily become toxic and lead to feelings of neglect, insecurity, rejection, jealousy, and betrayal, even in nonmonogamous relationships.”

Past studies have attempted to gauge the success of nonmonogamous relationships. But the critical difference this time is that the Rochester team considered distinctions and nuances within various types of nonmonogamous relationships, and then assessed the success of each type independently. As a result, their findings draw no blanket conclusions about the prospects of nonmonogamous relationships; instead, the research, published in the Journal of Sex Research, suggests conditions under which nonmonogamous relationships tend to succeed, and those under which relationships become strained.

Rogge — together with his former undergraduate research assistant, Forrest Hangen ’19, now a graduate student at Northeastern University; and Dev Crasta ’18 (PhD), now a post-doctoral fellow at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center and the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry — analyzed responses from 1,658 online questionnaires. Among the respondents a majority (67.5 percent) was in their 20s and 30s, 78 percent of participants were white, nearly 70 percent identified as female, and most were in long-term relationships (on average nearly 4 ½ years). The team assessed three key dimensions for each relationship–applying what they call the “Triple-C Model” of mutual consent, communication, and comfort.

READ:  Dead, Not Forgotten

Significantly, they divided study participants into five distinct classes of relationships:

  • Two monogamous groups, representing earlier- and later-stage monogamous relationships
  • Consensual nonmonogamous (CNM) relationships, marked by low interest in monogamy and high levels of mutual consent, comfort, and communication around commitment and sexual activity with a person other than the primary partner
  • Partially open relationships, with more mixed attitudes toward monogamy and lower consent, comfort, and communication
  • One-sided sexual relationships with a person besides the primary partner, in which one partner desires monogamy while the other partner engages in sex outside the existing relationship with low levels of mutual consent, comfort, and almost no communication between the couple about sex outside the relationship.

The team discovered that monogamous and consensual nonmonogamous (CNM) groups demonstrated high levels of functioning in their relationships and as individuals, whereas the partially open and one-sided nonmonogamous groups exhibited lower functioning.

People in both monogamous groups reported relatively healthy relationships, as well as some of the lowest levels of loneliness and psychological distress. Both monogamous groups and the consensual nonmonogamous group (CNM) reported similarly low levels of loneliness and distress, and similarly high satisfaction levels in regards to need, relationship, and sex.

Moreover, both monogamous groups reported the lowest levels of sexual sensation seeking, indicating fairly restrained and mainstream attitudes towards casual sex.

Overall, people in the three nonmonogamous relationships reported high levels of sexual sensation seeking, were more likely to actively look for new sexual partners, and to have contracted a sexually transmitted disease.

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Yet, each of the three nonmonogamous groups varied in significant ways.

People in the consensual nonmonogamous group (CNM) were in fairly long-term relationships (and had the highest proportion among all five groups of people living with their partner, followed closely by the monogamous group with minimal recent sex outside their relationship).

The consensual nonmonogamous group also had the highest number of heteroflexible (primarily heterosexual but open to sex with same-sex partners) and bisexual respondents, suggesting that individuals in the LGBT community might be more comfortable with non-traditional relationship structures.

By contrast, people in partially open and one-sided nonmonogamous relationships tended to be in younger relationships, reported lower levels of dedication to their relationships, and low levels of affection. Few reported high sexual satisfaction, and they had the highest rates of condomless sex with new partners.

The groups of partially open and one-sided nonmonogamous relationships also showed some of the highest levels of discomfort with emotional attachment (also called attachment avoidance), psychological distress, and loneliness.

Overall, the one-sided group fared worst of all, with the highest proportion of people significantly dissatisfied with their relationships: 60 percent–nearly three times as high as the monogamous or the consensual nonmonogamous group.

Rogge cautions that the authors looked at cross-sectional data only, which meant they were unable to directly track relationships failing over time.

While the data clearly show that not all nonmonogamous relationships are equal–one rule applies to all:

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“Sexual activity with someone else besides the primary partner, without mutual consent, comfort, or communication can easily be understood as a form of betrayal or cheating,” says Hangen. “And that, understandably, can seriously undermine or jeopardize the relationship.”

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