We tend to focus on the classic reasons why relationships can go sour (i.e., lying, cheating, abuse, etc), never realizing that a lack of compatibility can force a wedge between any couple.
More often than not, the termination of a relationship is the result of two people who, at their core, are incompatible, and unable to respect the aspects of each other’s personality that they could not understand.
When we try to force our partners to pour nicely into the molds we’ve created, we are challenging their natural instinct to shape themselves however they may choose. Often, this occurs in relationships where one person is naturally ambitious and driven and the other is more relaxed and settled.
One of the worse things you can do is attempt to fit your ambitious partner into a conventional mold, or try to change anyone for that matter. I’ve been on the receiving end and it isn’t fun. If you happen to be interested in/involved with an ambitious person, here are seven things you need to know.
1) They will choose work over a date night.
Sometimes, I prefer to work instead of going out with my significant other. The pressure to appease their loneliness would frequently force me out of my zone and into a dress and heels for an evening of distracted dining, rushed conversations, and unsettled energy. The whole time I’m on the date, I’d be taking notes and answering work emails. I would end the night frustrated because I missed hours of work.
Set a mandatory date night once or twice a week. This is an opportunity for your partner to break away from work and a chance for you to get the affection and attention you need. If at any point you feel you are on the back burner, express this to your partner and offer some suggestions for how to resolve this.
2) Don’t be intrusive.
When your partner is occupied with their work, the worst thing you can do is to be intrusive. It will not only frustrate your significant other, but more than likely you will feel rejected.
It is a mistake to think that you can distract your mate from work with sex or other ploys. When the focus is high and the thoughts are flowing, intimacy is the last thing on your partner’s mind. Learn when your partner is in his or her flow and give them space to create.
You probably didn’t need a study to tell you this, but research confirms that sex is one of the ingredients that’s most crucial to making long-term relationships thrive. Early on, feeling sexy and passionate isn’t hard—but things can get trickier as the years go on. Hoping to bust out of a dry spell or prevent those embers from fading? Don’t make these common mistakes.
Mistake #1: Thinking you need a “date night” to connect
If you’re like most couples, the first thing you do when you want to reconnect with your partner is put a “date night” on the calendar. “The idea is that after a fancy dinner, candlelight, and wine, you’ll come home and want to jump each other,” says Tammy Nelson, PhD, a sex and relationship therapist and author of The New Monogamy. But what really happens after a meal of rich food, a few glasses of wine, and a late night out? “Most couples want nothing more than to go to sleep,” Nelson points out.
Send the kids out while you and your partner stay home alone. “Think of this as a sacred time for the two of you to practice ‘planned’ spontaneity,” Nelson suggests. “It’s a much better way to act out all of your fantasies, without feeling bloated and hungover the next day.”
Mistake #2: Forgoing sex because you’re not in the mood
“Having a grown-up life is exhausting, and stress and fatigue can decrease desire,” acknowledges Nelson. But if you wait to have sex until you have plenty of free time and boundless energy, you may be waiting a long time.
Plus, “for many people, particularly women, desire comes after arousal, not the other way around,” Nelson notes. “That means once your body is sufficiently aroused, you may find you are more into sex than you realized.”
Just do it, and you’ll probably be glad that you did. If you’re genuinely crazed from obligations and short on time, you can still fit in a quickie, says Nelson. “The sexual contact will make you feel connected to your partner and can reduce the stress in your marriage.” Sex also helps release endorphins and dopamine, serotonin, and other brain chemicals that can reduce your stress during the day and help you sleep better at night.
Mistake #3: Falling into a rut
There’s something to be said for sex so familiar that you can anticipate what’s coming next. “Each of you knows the buttons to push for the other, and if you have a routine that’s giving the other a good orgasm, then by all means, keep at it,” says Nelson. That’s said, it’s not uncommon for couples to get entrenched in habits that aren’t working. They just aren’t sure how to change them or worry that speaking up will hurt the other’s feelings.
“Pick one day a week to do something different,” suggests Nelson, “maybe a morning or an afternoon when you have more leisure time to expand on the erotic connection in your relationship.” Start by telling your partner three things you appreciate about him sexually, plus one bedroom move you’d like more of. Then listen as your partner does the same.
“Talking about sex can increase the sexual tension between you, and if you do this exercise in bed, it can really turn up the heat,” Nelson says.
Mistake #4: Worrying how your sex life stacks up
From leaked sex tapes to the latest episode of Game of Thrones, we’re inundated with sexual images—which can put an outsized amount of pressure on us to look or act a certain way in the bedroom. “Sex isn’t supposed to look like porn,” says Amy Levine, a sex coach in New York City and founder of IgniteYourPleasure.com. “Sex in real life can be awkward, takes practice, and has the potential to be incredibly intimate and vulnerable.”
Be open-minded, Levine says. “Be present, know what feels good to you, communicate your wants and desires, be yourself, and find your confidence.” In other words, approach sex with your partner, she says, “without judgment or expectations.”
Mistake #5: Taking your emotional connection for granted
When was the last time you really spoke to your partner, other than to confirm what’s for dinner or who’s on duty to pick up the kids after soccer practice? Thanks to hectic, overscheduled days, the majority of time we spend with our partners takes place when we’re asleep, notes Paul Hokemeyer, PhD, a licensed marriage and family therapist in New York City. “But quality relationships require an intimate emotional connection during awake times,” he says.
Carve out 30 minutes of connection with your partner before shutting your eyes, Hokemeyer advises. “Turn off all electronics and snuggle or discuss the events of the day.” And while you love your kids (or the family pet) dearly, having them around at this time will “squeeze out the romance,” he notes. “Set clear boundaries and enforce them.”
Mistake #6: Not talking about sex
“The inability to have open and honest communication is at the heart of many couples’ problems in the bedroom,” says Elona Landau, a sex educator in Portland, Oregon. “Even with the people to whom we’re committed, we can’t openly talk about our wants, desires, and needs.” We either never learned how, she says, or keep quiet for fear of being judged, shamed, or shut down.
Your partner isn’t a mind-reader, and neither are you. Want to have sex more often, try something new, or have concerns about your waning libido? Speak up. Meanwhile, ask your partner to weigh in on the state of your physical union. Just as relationships grow and evolve over time, so does your sexuality.
“Listen with ‘fresh ears’ and try to hear what your partner wants without putting it through your own filter,” says Landau. Pay attention to how you’re responding, whether you’re intrigued, uncomfortable, or somewhere else on the spectrum—and approach that with curiosity as well. “Being willing to hear the other person, acknowledge their vulnerability, and be empathetic to their needs can go a long way.”
Movies have always been a staple in date ideas. Sitting in the back row, watching a movie with your partner (but not really watching the movie, if you catch my drift) is an appealing concept. So intimate, getting to share the experience of the movie world together, while also getting to take part in something that the rest of the world is watching as well. It can lead to stimulating conversation, and can allow you to learn more about your partner through their taste.
However, being the lover of all movies I am, I tend to see movies with partners that stray from the typical romantic fluff or current blockbuster. I like to really test my partner through the movies I show them. Here’s a few of my most memorable date movie experiences.
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
This film is my personal litmus test of whether or not I can truly date someone. Little Shop has something for everyone- a romantic subplot, musical numbers, horror elements, 1980’s comedy stars- you name it. It’s a campy movie that will literally make you laugh and cry within minutes. Not to mention it was my childhood favorite, so liking this movie really does mean a lot to me on a personal level.
The Room (2003)
Every person I’ve ever dated has loved The Room. This unintentionally funny cult movie directed by and starring the legendary Tommy Wiseau takes the stereotypical romance movie to new heights.
The dialogue is filled with cringey gems that you’ll be quoting for the rest of your life, and will be a wholesome and fun bonding experience with your partner. Even better, pair it with The Disaster Artist (the new film about the making of the room starring James Franco), and make it a double feature.
Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (1982)
This is truly my partner and I’s movie. There was one day, before we dated, where I was taking a nap in his living room while he was in his bedroom watching this film. I woke up to the creepy stylings of the movie’s theme (“Happy happy Halloween, Halloween, Halloween…”), and without even seeing it, I was immediately hooked. We watched it when we started dating, and I fell in love with this underrated classic (even if Michael Myers isn’t in it).
The To-Do List (2013)
My first official date with my first real boyfriend consisted of sitting in his grandma’s living room and watching this movie on demand.
This awkward comedy about a teenage girl (Aubrey Plaza) trying to lose her virginity before college was a surprisingly great way to break the ice between us, also being young and sexually inexperienced. Afterwards we watched Juno. That, on the other hand, is not a movie I would recommend on a first date.
Carrie (1976 and 2013)
It seems like this movie follows me with every relationship I’ve been in.
I met my first boyfriend as a teenager (who I dated for five days, or a “business week” as we called it) at a performance of Carrie: the Musical, which yes, is a real thing. After that I met the following boyfriend at the midnight premiere of the Carrie remake. And of course, strangely enough, a week after my current partner and I started dating, the original Brian DePalma classic ended up being on TV.
I don’t know what it is about this movie, but I’m not complaining. It’s a great movie.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1976)
Another instance of “if you don’t like this one, we can’t date.”
This one is kind of cheating, since my current partner and I are both part of a Rocky Horror shadowcast. We met as co-stars, and bonded over our love of the movie. He had been a fan since practically kindergarten, and had been part of the cast for 15 years. I was new to shadowcasting, but I had been going to screenings since I was 12. It brought us together, and is definitely the most important movie in my life.
Sometimes the most romantic movies are the most unexpected ones. Every couple has those films, the ones that really bring them together. Whether it’s through humor, fear, or sadness, a film can bring out emotion between you and your partner in a way that you might not get from other shared experiences. For your next date night, consider showing your partner your favorite movie. Maybe you’ll learn something new about them.
Honestly, I think I’d have a hard time dating someone who didn’t share the same weird taste as me. It’s surprisingly a big part of any relationship. Having something like that in common can be hugely beneficial. Movies can say a lot about your personality and interests. And who knows, perhaps after watching, they’ll fall for you even more.
Your 30s are an interesting decade and if you are single, we put together some tips on dating.
Whether you’re just getting out of a long-term relationship, divorcing, or seem to be perpetually single, dating in your 30s can often be tough yet eye-opening. So, we put together a guide for those who might need some extra dating help.
Don’t forget, we can help break through the noise of the dating world and streamline your success. Join LOVE TV today!
Here are 15 tips on dating in your 30s.
1. Don’t settle!
This is the number one piece of advice for women not only in their 30s, but any age. Your 30s in particular though are the in-between, often confusing decade. You are no longer a teen or 20-something but not quite an experienced 40-something. It’s important to remember that you never, ever have to settle. Everyone has been single at some point—you were a strong and independent woman then, why not now?
2. Don’t get too giddy about each new date.
I’m all for getting excited and optimistic about things (you should see me at Christmastime). However, with dating it’s important to stay calm and focused and remember to really think about whether or not you’re truly compatible with the person. Sure, there’s physical attraction, but know that will eventually fade. You’ll need to think about whether or not you can be best friends with that person.
3. Don’t get too hung up on your age.
If you’re 35, so what? Even if you’re approaching 40, who cares? Age is really just a number. I’m not saying date the first 18-year-old you meet, but remember that if you’re compatible with someone significantly younger or much older than you, it’s okay to go for it. You never know where the relationship will go.
4. Do use apps.
This one is for those getting out of long-term relationships. Chances are, your ex-husband or boyfriend was not met over one of the numerous dating apps out there. Now that you’re newly single, check out the options. I have known many, many people who have met over online dating apps and ended up married or in a wonderful, loving relationship.
5. Take advantage of work events.
Work is probably where you spend most of your time, right? Those happy hours or networking events are great places to meet people. Even if you’re not into anyone from work or don’t believe in dating someone you work with, you could meet a friend of a friend. That friend of a friend could be perfect for you!
6. You’re not as young as you were.
This may sound harsh, but it’s essential to remember that you might not want to meet someone at a bar. In your 30s, you may find the love of your life at the gym, in the grocery store or even waiting in line at the post office. Never lose the optimistic romantic views you once had in your 20s, but keep an open mind as to where you could meet someone.
7. It’s okay to be confused or on the fence about someone.
You may read about people feeling so confident or knowing exactly what they want in their 30s, but it is totally and completely fine to not feel that way. Not freaking out about your confusion is important. Just take things one step at a time.
If things like faith and family are important to you, stick to your guns. Same with any sort of values, be it political, drugs, alcohol, or just plain being kind to others. If someone you meet does something that is just not okay, don’t stick around just for the sex, or just to be in a relationship. It’s not fair to you or to them either.
9. Kids can complicate things.
This one is especially for those who’ve been previously married. If you ended up with kids and are now finding yourself single, just remember that dating can be hard. Many men can be scared that you already have kids or just plain don’t want them. It’s important to weed out those types of men and find one that you and your children especially adore and love.
10. Issues get heavier and darker.
As sad as this one is, be aware that the older you get, the more life happens to you. You could meet someone dealing with a sick parent or a parent that has passed away. Others can be dealing with health issues themselves, including things as serious as fertility problems to more everyday concerns like changes in diet.
11. Don’t be so set in your ways that you aren’t open to new experiences.
You swore you’d never date a Republican. You said your whole life you would never ever be in a relationship with someone who was a fan of your most hated sports team. Things like that are better off abandoned in your 20s. In your 30s, it’s crucial to be able to keep your mind open to new experiences and not become a curmudgeonly old biddy decades too early.
12. Nobody, and I mean nobody, is perfect.
Absolutely nobody is perfect and it’s so critical to remember this, especially in your 30s. You will never find a flawless man. After all, isn’t that what love is about—knowing and accepting a partner’s quirks and differences?
13. Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve, but it’s okay to be vulnerable.
This may seem like contradictory advice. However, it is true. Don’t open yourself up to just anyone. As I previously mentioned, you may have more baggage in your 30s. Not being completely trustworthy of someone right off the bat is okay. At the same time, even if you’ve been hurt in the past, it’s okay to open yourself up to that vulnerability. It will be scary at first, but I promise it’ll be worth it.
14. Be aware you may be intimidating to younger men.
You may not have officially reached cougar status yet, but being aware that you may be a little on the terrifying side to young ones is an aspect of your age to remember. Embrace your age and use it to your advantage. Feeling sexier, more confident and beautiful is a great asset to being in your more experienced 30s.
15. Have fun!
Last but not least, life is short. Have fun dating. If anything, you will have some wonderful, hilarious stories to share with friends and loved ones.
Looking for ways to meet people besides dating apps? Check out this piece.
Meeting someone special and going out to dinner for the first time can be exciting, but after a few evenings out, the same old date idea can get, well, a little monotonous.
Maybe dinner gets dull because you run out of things to talk about or you realize you’re not connecting… but I think a dinner date can get boring because sharing a meal isn’t always the best way to get to learn a person’s complexities, personality, and strengths. You won’t learn about his or her wacky sense of humor in a fancy restaurant and you’re probably not going to swap deepest darkest secrets in a crowded café.
In order to get into the real relationship stuff, to truly bond, sometimes you have to step away from your comfort zone (and I’m not just talking about ordering that strange oyster appetizer the waiter suggested).
Whether you’re just getting to know someone, or are looking to spice it up with your long term significant other, trying a new date could be just what you need to connect on a deeper level. Here are my seven favorite spring activities to help you break away from the safety of the dinner date and get closer to each other this season.
I would specify by saying that you should take your date “indoor” rock climbing, but, who knows? It is springtime, so if you two are outdoorsie (and I mean really outdoorsie), maybe climbing in nature will be just fine.
But, no matter where you choose to go, rock climbing is a great activity to help a new couple bond. The whole date is like one giant trust fall exercise, which will help you build confidence in each other (and hopefully build confidence in your relationship).
Usually, in climbing gyms, one person will climb while the other will belay the climber with an attached rope, making sure the climber gets back to the ground safely. It requires a lot of communication and trust, which is exactly what you need to build a stronger connection.
When I went rock climbing with my fiancé for the first time, I was nervous. I’m a little afraid of heights so the idea of going up a wall was terrifying. Being held up by only a belt and one single rope made me extra unsure.
Still, being forced to put my well-being in my date’s hands really helped us build trust early on. You might even say it made our bond “rock” solid.
2. Size your date up… by going shopping
Bringing your date shopping shows that you care about their opinion and respect their taste. Whether you’re shopping for a new spring wardrobe or browsing for a new couch, taking your date to the store can be a great way to get to know each others’ styles and get a hint into what your lives might look like if you took the relationship to the next level.
When I moved into a new apartment a few years back, I took my fiancé (then boyfriend) to Ikea to get some furniture. We had a great time looking around at all of the model rooms, choosing our favorite furniture pieces, and talking about our styles.
By the end of the day we were both happy with the furniture I’d purchased: I was glad to have had someone to bounce ideas off of and he felt honored that I had cared enough to take his opinion into consideration.
Of course, if you haven’t been going out long, you’ll want to start out small: let your date help you pick out an outfit or let him or her help you pick out the menu for that party you’re planning. The important thing is that you learn about your date’s style, and let them know that you care about their preferences.
3. Get on the relationship path… with a long hike
Hiking is a great way to get in shape, relieve stress, and get in touch with nature, but did you know it can also be a great way to strengthen your relationship?
Hitting the trail together this spring is the perfect way to get some one-on-one time in a romantic, flower-filled, spring setting, but it’s also a great opportunity for you and your date to learn to support each other. Even a short hike can be difficult and learning to encourage your partner, work together, and challenge each other can do wonders for a new relationship.
My fiancé and I have been going on hiking dates since we first met and we love trying new trails and seeing how far we can go on new paths. We’ll find nearby trails, plot out a path, then, over the next few weekends, build up our endurance and challenge ourselves to get farther every week.
Between the fresh air, teamwork, good conversation, and physical activity, hiking can really get your relationship headed in the right direction.
4. Prove that you’re not just playing around… by hosting a game night
As spring really gets going, and the days get longer, your friends might want to start planning more events and parties together. This is great because group activities can be a perfect place to bring a date to see how they interact with your friends, but it’s also an opportunity to learn more about his or her personality.
One great idea is to host a game night. If you happen to choose games where you work in teams, like Pictionary or Charades, you and your mate can have fun as you practice working together. If you decide on games where everyone plays as individuals, like Monopoly or Clue, this can be a great way to see how your date reacts to competition.
Game nights will give you a chance to learn more about your date, but it will also allow him or her get to know your better through your friends. Plus, you’re both sure to have a good time hanging out together. Looks like everyone’s a winner!
5. Improve your relationship… with an improv class
Being able to laugh with a partner, and learning to understand their humor, is incredibly important to any relationship. Take this idea to the next level by attending an improv class with your date.
You’ll let loose as you giggle your way through warm-up exercises like “what are you doing?” and “zip zap zop,” then you’ll have fun creating scenes with classmates. Improv class is a perfect activity because you can impress your date with your best jokes while you bond over trying something new.
When my fiancé and I first signed up to take an improv class together, I was afraid I would look silly. Of course, I looked very silly, but I found that acting goofy was half the fun. By the end of the class we were both creating scenes and making jokes just like the cast of “Whose Line is it Anyway.” Or, at least, pretty close.
6. Avoid relationship roadblocks… by taking a road trip
I’ve heard it said that you never really know someone until you travel with them… and I’m pretty sure that whoever said that was talking specifically about road trips.
Sitting in a car, staring at nothing but billboards for hours at a time, can drive a person stir-crazy, but a road trip can also be great fun, especially if it’s with the right person.
Once you and your mate have been going out for a little while (and gotten comfortable with each other enough to commit to a weekend together) consider taking a spring break road trip. Traveling with him or her will tell you a lot about their personality. Between the way they drive, the way to the way they deal with stress or boredom, to the activities they get most excited about, there are so many opportunities to learn something new about your partner, and so many opportunities to make memories together.
You’ll always remember that crazy themed diner with the Elvis impersonator and you’ll be able to laugh looking back at the time you almost ran out of gas. You’ll treasure the pictures you took in front of the world’s biggest yarn ball and think back fondly on the time you kissed by the grand canyon.
Road trips aren’t always perfect, but they’re a great way to see what it would be like having a future with your partner, learn a little bit more about them, and create memories.
7. Wash away any dating nerves… by creating a water park
Everyone has a child-like side, but sometimes it can be hard to see it right away. Take advantage of the warming weather by building a DIY waterpark, it’s the perfect way to encourage your date to get playful and silly with you.
What might seem, at first glance, like a simple grassy backyard, can turn into a mini waterpark designed for hours of fun. Set up is easy: turn on the sprinklers, fill a few water balloons, set up a kitty pool, and get in your swimsuit.
Spending an afternoon playing in the sprinklers will definitely bring out that playful side in both of you, plus, it can open you up to great conversations about childhood memories. After a water balloon fight, you can bask in the kitty pool as you talk about that summer at sleepaway camp or bond over stories about your crazy siblings.
When it comes to getting closer, these seven spring dates are just the beginning. The truth is that any activity can be a bonding activity, the key is to just be willing to try new things together. Step out of your comfort zone, share a secret, do something that seems different or even a little scary.
If your significant other and you are tired of the same old dates, the new year is a great time to give new things a try.
Does the thought of date night bore you lately?
Here are 15 dates to start the new year off on a bold note.
George H.W. Bush went skydiving well into his 80s, even doing a run for his 90th birthday. Going skydiving with your significant other is a great way to have a big adrenaline rush in your relationship. If you’re wondering where to take a dive, here are some options.
2. Taking a road trip with someone you just started dating
If you’re a This is Us fan, chances are you’ve seen this season’s episode where Jack and Rebecca drive across the country to Los Angeles. Rebecca even mentions to Jack how her mother disapproved of her taking a road trip with someone she just started seeing. It turns out, the trip ends up bringing the two closer together. Don’t be afraid to take that chance this new year.
3. Have sex somewhere daring
After a movie, have a quickie in your car. If you’re hiking, find a secluded corner in the woods and get down and dirty. The important thing is, be spontaneous with things and you’ll soon see a new year spark.
4. Get a tattoo
This one’s only if you’re really serious about it. Head to your nearest tattoo parlor and get his and hers tattoos (or if you’re feeling more individual, your own personal design).
5. Go to a Drive In
Yes, they do exist. Find a small town near you that still has a drive in and make it an adventure just getting there. Channel your inner high schooler and steam up the windows. That little bit of rebellion will bring some adventure to your new year.
6. Stay up until the sun rises
I know this isn’t too adventurous but there’s something magical about staying up all night and talking. To me, watching the sun rise with your significant other is one of the most adventurous things you can do.
7. Visit a city you always wanted to go to
Figure out a city you’ve always wanted to visit and plan a vacation there. Make a pact to go before the summer. Ideas for cities to visit include Chicago, Seattle, San Diego, San Antonio, New York, Philadelphia and more.
8. Plan your dream trip abroad—then do it
Sure, everyone dreams about traveling abroad. This year, plan your dream trip (I did it on a budget when I was 25). Vow to do it by New Year’s 2020. Don’t forget to document every step of the way.
9. Go on a ghost tour
If you scare easily, step out of your comfort zone and book a creepy ghost tour in your city. Chances are, you may live in a place with plenty of haunted history.
10. Try out trapeze lessons
Make like Carrie in Sex and the CIty and learn how to fly through the air gracefully (or in my case, not so gracefully!).
11. Take a hot air balloon ride
If you’re not a fan of heights, snuggle up to your significant other and bring a bottle of wine for a romantic afternoon. There’s nothing more romantic than seeing your hometown from the basket of a hot air balloon.
12. Go ziplining
This one could be a great way to take in spectacular views while having a unique date.
13. Go rock climbing
Many cities have opened indoor rock climbing businesses. Check some out in your area for some physical fun. Challenge each other to see who can get to the top first.
14. Stay out all night
If you’ve been feeling too “adult” lately, channel your inner 20-something and go clubbing all night. Finish off your time out with breakfast at your local diner. Don’t forget to Instagram the photos!
15. Try a new cuisine
Pick a type of food your significant other and you haven’t tried before. Getting out of your comfort zone can be a real eye-opener—not to mention, the type of food you try could become your new favorite!
Want to read more about getting out of your comfort zone? Check out this piece about creating holiday traditions.