10 Ways to Tell You Are Falling in Love

It’s a thin line between love and lust. If you’re crazy about your guy but not sure if you’ve crossed into crazy-in-love territory, there are definite signs you’ve gone off the deep end.

Here are 10 of our favorite tells.

1. You start thinking in terms of the future, and it doesn’t scare you. Do you already have next year’s couples Halloween costumes planned? You’re on the edge of the cliff, my friend.

2. His happiness is your happiness. Not only do you go out of your way, instinctively, to make your man smile, but when he’s content, you’re floating on cloud nine.

3. You want him around in good times and in bad. The idea of him taking care of you post-wisdom-tooth-removal doesn’t send you into a freak-out fit, in which your voice takes on dog-hearing-only octaves as you scream, “He can’t see me doped up on Valium, drooling into a pillow!” Instead, he’s the one you want spoon-feeding you.

4. You crave physical contact that goes beyond sex—oh, and sex with him is also amazing. When you’ve had a tough day at work, burying your face in his neck is an instant cure. You sleep better when you’re in his arms. And his chest is way more comfy than your memory-foam pillow.

5. Feeling like an addict? Check. Hours spent together simply aren’t enough, and any empty space you have in your brain is taken up with thoughts of him.

6. You talk him up 24/7. From every sweet text he sends to that new—and very effective—move he whipped out in bed, your gal pals have the 4-1-1.

7. You get jealous. Not in a crazy-psycho-don’t-talk-to-my-man way, but in the sensitive-to-potential-relationship-threats way.

8. “We” and “our” have become regular parts of your vocabulary. It’s not the coffee shop; it’s “our coffee spot.” And when you get invited to your BFF’s weekend bash, you reply, “we’ll be there.”

9. Ex who? If any thoughts of your last love held on at the beginning of this relationship, they’re now long gone. Why would you think about an ex, after all, when a perfect man is right in front of you?

10. Love songs were written for you. When you start relating to the lyrics of your favorite gushy tunes, you know you’ve got it bad.

What are some other signs that you’re falling in love? If you’re in love, how and when did you know?

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

Why He Smells So Good to You

I once fell in love with a guy because I loved the way he smelled. He wore Eau Savage by Dior, and it made me swoon. It never had that effect on me when worn by anyone else, just Ben. He was a fellow journalist, and we really liked each other in other ways, but it was his smell that really turned me on.

Scientists have said that the sense of smell is overlooked in romantic encounters, mostly because we don’t notice it. Pheromones are ridiculously important in the animal kingdom, but apart from being clean, and putting on deodorant and perfume we humans don’t think of it much.

In fact, if we are too clean, and wear too much perfume, we may be confusing our olfactory (smelling) senses and confusing our romantic brains. It is said that the Emperor Napoleon would send a message to his lady love Josephine, telling her not to bathe, because he was on his way home from War! Now we probably wouldn’t want to go that far, but should we perhaps lay off on the deodorant a bit?

Some research even suggests that we may even pick our “soul mate” by subconsciously reacting to pheromones that transmit their genetic compatibility. A research study which had women smelling a variety of white tee-shirts worn by unknown males discovered that women consistently preferred the odors of tee-shirts that had been worn by strangers who were genetically compatible with them … and were actually turned off by those who were genetically incompatible. What’s more, the odors they preferred reminded them of their boyfriends.

Scientists are discovering that the hypothalamus plays a critical role in receiving pheromones through the vomeronasal organ (VNO) in the nose, and then triggering an emotion or response.

Until recently, the VNO was assumed to be an important organ in animals, but a vestigial organ—leftover from primitive times and no longer needed or functional—in humans. But in 1994, Dr. David Berliner and his colleagues at the University of Utah discovered that their 400 human subjects did indeed have a VNO, which, as in animals, detected pheromones and sent messages to the hypothalamus, which is linked to the limbic system.

The limbic system, your “primitive brain”, drives your more basic, less complicated impulses – emotional connections, your awareness of the environment and how you interact in it, the “fight or flight” response…your sexual behavior.

So should we all stop bathing and using deodorant? Probably not, but perhaps we should be aware that our own clean natural scent is the best thing to “wear” when getting close to the ones we love, Eau Sauvage notwithstanding!

Are You In Love? Science Will Prove It

Scientists have pinned down exactly what it means to “fall in love.”

Researchers have found that an in-love brain looks very different from one experiencing mere lust, and it’s also unlike a brain of someone in a long-term, committed relationship. Studies led by Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University and one of the leading experts on the biological basis of love, have revealed that the brain’s “in love” phase is a unique and well-defined period of time, and there are 13 telltale signs that you’re in it.

1. “This one’s special”

When you’re in love, you begin to think your beloved is unique. The belief is coupled with an inability to feel romantic passion for anyone else. Fisher and her colleagues believe this single-mindedness results from elevated levels of central dopamine — a chemical involved in attention and focus — in your brain.

2. “She’s perfect”

People who are truly in love tend to focus on the positive qualities of their beloved, while overlooking his or her negative traits. They also focus on trivial events and objects that remind them of their loved one, day-dreaming about these precious little moments and mementos. This focused attention is also thought to result from elevated levels of central dopamine, as well as a spike in central norepinephrine, a chemical associated with increased memory in the presence of new stimuli.

3. “I’m a wreck!”

As is well known, falling in love often leads to emotional and physiological instability. You bounce between exhilaration, euphoria, increased energy, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, trembling, a racing heart and accelerated breathing, as well as anxiety, panic and feelings of despair when your relationship suffers even the smallest setback. These mood swings parallel the behavior of drug addicts. And indeed, when in-love people are shown pictures of their loved ones, it fires up the same regions of the brain that activate when a drug addict takes a hit. Being in love, researchers say, is a form of addiction.

4. “Overcoming the challenge made us closer”

Going through some sort of adversity with another person tends to intensify romantic attraction. Central dopamine may be responsible for this reaction, too, because research shows that when a reward is delayed, dopamine-producing neurons in the mid-brain region become more productive.

5. “I’m obsessed with him”

People who are in love report that they spend, on average, more than 85 percent of their waking hours musing over their “love object.” Intrusive thinking, as this form of obsessive behavior is called, may result from decreased levels of central serotonin in the brain, a condition that has been associated with obsessive behavior previously. (Obsessive-compulsive disorder is treated with serotonin-reuptake inhibitors.)

6. “I wish we could be together all the time”

People in love regularly exhibit signs of emotional dependency on their relationship, including possessiveness, jealousy, fear of rejection, and separation anxiety.

7. “I hope we stay together forever”

They also long for emotional union with their beloved, seeking out ways to get closer and day-dreaming about their future together.

8. “I’d do anything for her”

People who are in love generally feel a powerful sense of empathy toward their beloved, feeling the other person’s pain as their own and being willing to sacri?ce anything for the other person.

9. “Would he like this outfit?”

Falling in love is marked by a tendency to reorder your daily priorities and/or change your clothing, mannerisms, habits or values in order for them to better align with those of your beloved.

10. “Can we be exclusive?”

Those who are deeply in love typically experience sexual desire for their beloved, but there are strong emotional strings attached: The longing for sex is coupled with possessiveness, a desire for sexual exclusivity, and extreme jealousy when the partner is suspected of infidelity. This possessiveness is thought to have evolved so that an in-love person will compel his or her partner to spurn other suitors, thereby insuring that the couple’s courtship is not interrupted until conception has occurred.

11. “It’s not about sex”

While the desire for sexual union is important to people in love, the craving for emotional union takes precedence. A study found that 64 percent of people in love (the same percentage for both sexes) disagreed with the statement, “Sex is the most important part of my relationship with [my partner].”

12. “I feel out of control”

Fisher and her colleagues found that individuals who report being “in love” commonly say their passion is involuntary and uncontrollable.

13. “The spark is gone”

Unfortunately, being in love usually doesn’t last forever. It’s an impermanent state that either evolves into a long-term, codependent relationship that psychologists call “attachment,” or it dissipates, and the relationship dissolves. If there are physical or social barriers inhibiting partners from seeing one another regularly — for example, if the relationship is long-distance — then the “in love” phase generally lasts longer than it would otherwise.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

My Name is Sunah and I am a CARER

To Care, or Not to Care, that is the question every person actively dating is forced to ask themselves daily.  However if you’re a carer you’ve probably already realized there is exactly zero point in going through this daily test because you have no choice.

My name is Sunah Bilsted. I am a carer. And I don’t know how to stop.

Managing the percentage of care or not care is one of the more elusive challenges when it comes to getting to know someone. Care too much and a fragrant waft of desperation flies around you like a gaggle of zombie cartoon birds. Care not enough and you feel like a robot living in fear, mechanically pushing people away with rationalized aloofness.

Carers tend to have a habit of falling in love with people who prefer dating people who don’t love them.  And in a confusing turn of events, so do the NOT carers. EVERYONE seems to love a not carer. Oh, the gladiator like challenge you take on, to be so wonderful, so amazing, so fucking cool, that you alone can change their distant nope persona into a loving hells yes persona. Society idolizes not carers too because for some peculiar reason, apathy mimics confidence. It’s almost as if caring is an insecure act of weakness and I’m so above caring cause I’m too busy being awesome, it is an act of high self esteem. We’ve all heard that feeble nugget of advice: “Just act like you don’t care” or “Just act like you have somewhere else to be”.  And you see it work for them.  They act like they don’t care, they get the job.  They win the relationship.  They win life.

What do you do if you just can’t fake it? What if you have nowhere else to be??

Everyone has a friend that excels in not caring and they have an endless stream of suitors. Who cares if they’re actually fulfilled, you’ll simply revel at their effortless ability to snare people into their web, I mean lives. And you’re secretly or perhaps not so secretly jealous, but you have long accepted that they’re perfect and are incapable of insecurity and you; well you drink insecurity like whiskey. Or diet coke. Or whatever shitty thing you slurp down in a desperate attempt to pad your void. You sit there and listen to their advice, breath held, eyelids wide, almost fluttering, but you know that their addictive wisdom will never work on you. Like an iPhone that drowned in toilet water for one precious moment too long. There ain’t enough rice in the world to dry out your need to care too hard, too soon.

But nah, screw that! You’re real! You don’t play games. And if people want to play games then you don’t want them! But you do. You do want them. Can you have them authentically? Can you be yourself and also create healthy boundaries? Yes!

But only if you address your own anxiety. Because maybe, just maybe, love and anxiety feel like the same thing to you.

“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.”

– Anais Nin

You don’t want to be a strangler! You just want to love. How is that a bad thing?

If you’re early on into getting to know someone, and you’ve spent one or more days wondering about how their day is going instead of yours, then you care too much.

Pointers to Maintain a Healthy Carer “non-strangler “ balance:

  1. You’re not in control. So stop trying to be. So often we reach out, call, text too much, or make it your part time job to ‘like’ all their dumb Instagrams, because in some weird way, we are trying to control the outcome. You feel vulnerable just being, just living with your feelings, so an action, any action, temporarily alleviates the worry. But action borne out of trauma, will usually result in more trauma. When you feel like you need to connect or you might actually die, check in with yourself first. If it feels like a game, an attempt to get the imaginary upper hand, or even if you just want attention. Stop. Do something else. For yourself.  Like your own Instagram pictures if you have to.

Do You Fall In Love Too Easily?

When you fall in love easily, it’s never just with love. It’s with ideas. And places. And ideas of places. And people, of course, and all the things you think you could amount to.

You imagine the ways these things are meant for you, connect the coincidental dots to prove it. When you fall in love with another person, you wait for them to say they return the sentiment; when you fall in love with so many things, you have to find it for yourself.

You fall in love with all the jobs for which you apply — imagining how you’d situate your cubicle and make friends with coworkers and come home with sparkling stories of the great, important things you’re up to, only slightly imbued with exhaustion — all as you fill out the application.

But you also fall in love with the jobs you never get. The jobs you never interview for.

You fall in love with strangers in restaurants and on public transportation: people you’ll never see again, but who are beautiful and wonderful and undiscovered, as if maybe either of you will build up the courage to say hello, and that’s all there is to it. That will be all it will take, and you’ll look back on that day together and think, we almost might not have been, but thank God we did.

And you fall in love with little everyday things — with idealized photos of the way your apartment could look, with the outfits of people who seem so effortlessly put together and nonplussed about it all, with the life you could have. With your morning routine, with your daydreams during your commute. With the life you only believe you lead in your mind.

It’s so easy to fall in love with things you’ll always fall just short of ever having.

Because it is easier that way, to live in the what if and the could be and the dream world. When you’re the one who falls in love easily, you fall in love with all the things that are easy to fall in love with, the things kept at a distance, the things that will not love you back. Because when they love you back — when that love is real and something to be acted on, it has to be cultivated. And then comes the second part to the idea of love: then comes the work.

But when you don’t have to work, loving is easy. That’s why it’s so easy to fall in love. There’s no obligations, no phone calls, no anniversaries to remember. When you fall in love with jobs you never had, you never have to make deadlines. You’ll never be fired. And when you fall in love with a life you never lived, you don’t ever have to wake up when life falls short of the way you dreamed it.

Because when you fall in love easily, you also set yourself up for the fall. Because when you fall in love easily, you never have to deal with someone else breaking your heart. You’re already doing that yourself.

And when you set yourself up for a hundred little daily heartbreaks, you feel like you’re more accustomed to it. Like you’re better prepared for the day when you DO fall in love, when you DO meet the love of your life and they don’t love you back, or when you DO go on your job interview and still don’t land the role. If you imagine a trillion little what ifs, you can’t be disappointed.

But you also can’t go after what you want if you always keep it at a distance.

Because it is easy to fall in love, because it is easy to keep from living. It is easy to hide, and to say that you are the person who falls in love too easily, and that is, of course true. You fall in love easily. But love is never easy. Love is hard. Really loving, really risking yourself is terrifying and difficult and frightening and confusing and strange.

Love is worth it, though.

And the thing about that love that’s worth it, is that it feels easy when it’s real. Not always, but a lot of the time. It feels easy even though it’s not. Because when things are worth living for, and worth loving for, they may be hard, but they’re also natural.

But you can’t hide who you are just because you fall in love easy. You also have to stay in love. And that takes work. That takes not just loving, but living, too.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

Want to Fall Deeper in Love? Take Up These Sex Habits

Sex can be, and can be used for, so many different things. But early in a relationship, once you get through a couple of awkward rounds, sex can play a big role in building intimacy and even falling in love.

There is sex that is straight up sex for sex’s sake— passionate, charged, carnal. There’s awkward, first-time with someone you really like sex. There’s random hookup sex. There’s long-term couple trying to spice it up sex. The list goes on—but building intimacy during sex is one we rarely talk about.

Warning: The following sex acts may lead to the awkward “Oh crap one of us said “I love you” during sex— does it count!?” dilemma. Don’t worry. It happens to the best of us. It’s no need to be embarrassed, even if it is really awkward. Just remember you’re not alone. (And the generally consensus seems to be that it doesn’t really count.) Between a really intimate act that you’re doing, heart racing, hormones all over the place, it’s so easy to let it slip out in the moment.

But what are the more intimate sex acts? The ones that can make you feel so connected to your partner and overwhelmed with emotions? Here are 6 sex acts that help build intimacy.

1. Kissing

I know it may seem basic, but don’t discount kissing as a very important sex act. And maybe the most intimate one. Along with cuddling, a lot of people avoid kissing during one-night stands because of this. It’s something we do all the time, but sometimes we can get distracted during sex and not do it as much as we should. But if you stick to positions where kissing is an option, you’ll really feel connected to your partner.

2. Missionary

Maybe because it’s sort of the classic go-to position, there’s definitely something romantic about it. Your faces and your entire bodies are very, very close, and the weight of whoever is on top keeps you in constant contact. And it’s not just for hetero sex. So whoever you are, there can be all the eye contact, kissing, and intimacy you can handle.

3. Oral Sex

Oral sex is intimate no matter what, because you’re getting up close in personal with parts of the body we’re normally taught should be kept hidden. But while every man I’ve ever met unselfconsciously loves a blow job, a lot of women find someone going down on them incredibly intimate— almost intimidatingly so. Maybe it’s because you end up with someone’s tongue basically, or definitely, inside you, or maybe it’s just that we’re taught to be even more ashamed of our vulva and that people don’t like going down on it. (Both of which are ridiculous.) In any case, for a lot of women getting to a point where you’re completely comfortable with oral sex means a whole lot of trust.

4. Undressing

When you’re new in a relationship it’s probably all about tearing each other’s clothes off, but then it slows down. I’m not saying you need some kind of big cheesy striptease, or to make a whole event out of it, but there’s something really sexy and romantic about building up from just a bit of kissing, to heavy kissing, to feeling each other, and then slowly going beneath the clothing and removing them completely. All of that combined with making out can be a really connect you to your partner.

5. Side-By-Side

Similarly to missionary, having sex facing each other, both of you on your side, has the benefit of all over contact and your faces being close for kissing, or just some sickly-sweet staring into each other eyes. But while in missionary, one person is definitely dominant within the position, when you have sex side-by-side there’s a more even playing field. Especially if you’re having lesbian sex and mutually fingering each other, it’s a really leveling, connecting position.

6. Post-Sex Cuddle

If you are a better person than me and lay there without making a horrible awkward joke, it’s when you kind of bask in a little love halo (if you’re having sex with someone you have romantic feelings for). Taking some time to relax into that and just enjoy it is a sure way to build intimacy.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

Falling for Men with Narcissistic Tendencies

Most women claim to want the guy who is sensitive, emotionally fluent and intimate. Yet, when it comes down to it, women consistently chase after the “bad boy,” the guy who is narcissistic, self-absorbed and avoids all forms of intimacy as if they were infectious diseases.

A woman’s dating preference is the ultimate paradox.

The thing is, while we’re constantly on the lookout for that super sweet, caring guy who will make a great companion, we’re actually attracted to the guy who ignites passion within us.

Nice guys are just boring.

It’s a giant catch-22, isn’t it? We want to have serious relationships with good, sweet guys, but we want to make babies with aggressive assh*les.

There’s just something so satisfying about taking the jerk home from the bar who’s spent most of the night intellectually challenging you in a heated verbal debate.

He needs to be brought down a notch. He’s absolutely infuriating! And isn’t that so f*cking sexy?

What it all comes down to is biology. We are literally, scientifically geared to want assh*les.

While women claim to want “the nice guy,” we’re genetically hard-wired to want to procreate with the alpha male because he has stronger sperm.

There is an actual “Nice Guy Paradox”

In two studies highlighted in “Sex Roles, A Journal of Research,” the “nice guy paradox” is explored.

This nice guy stereotype contends that women often claim they want a nice guy, a man who is sweet, kind and sensitive, and yet, when it comes down to it, she rejects this man for one with “other salient characteristics” like a hot body or an ultra strong personality.

Both studies found that “nice” qualities were more desirable for long-term relationships while physical attractiveness prevailed in terms of sexual relationships:

Niceness appeared to be the most salient factor when it came to desirability for more serious relationships, whereas physical attractiveness appeared more important in terms of desirability for more casual, sexual relationships.

How I Knew I Found Someone Special

All I cared about is that she made me happy whenever I was around her, and she helps me help myself feel worthy of that love every day.

I’ve always been a bratty, picky introvert, lamenting about my loneliness while putting myself through self-imposed solitude. I can’t quite explain why. I love being alone yet I hate being lonely. It’s this inexplicable balance that I’ve lived with for the vast majority of my life.

I have a high capacity for love, yet a very low tolerance for stimulus. This means that while I appreciate every moment I get to spend with my friends and family, I was never able to see any one person more than twice a week before I started feeling overwhelmed. I would have to take regular breaks from seeing people.

That was, until I met my current girlfriend.

In 2012, I was going through a journey of self-discovery. That was the year I realized that I had never really been happy. I would smile and laugh occasionally, but the feeling of pure joy eluded me. I started figuring out how to love myself using cognitive behavioral therapy and meditation.

It was around this time that I met Cate. When I first got to know her, I didn’t know that she would be the person I’d want to spend my life with. We always got along made each other laugh, but I was still in the process of finding myself. I still held onto my rule of only seeing my friends twice a week. I kept a wall up, perhaps to protect myself from pain.

But one fateful day, after many months of cognitive therapy, I worked up the nerve to take a risk. For a long time, I had “jokingly” asked her on dates, which always gave her the opportunity to laugh off the situation. But not on this day.

I wanted to drop any pretense that I was joking and told her that I was serious, letting her know that I wanted to get to know her better. We finally set up our first date.

I wasn’t sure what I expected when we went out for the first time. All I wanted to do was have a good time, get to know someone new. I always enjoyed her company and our Facebook chats, and she was the smartest person I knew.

If You Are Hurting During Thanksgiving, Focus on the Love

When I was a kid and then a teenager, I had a simple and happy life. My childhood was great, and my family was supportive and wonderful.

Holidays were filled with laughter, traditions, love, friends, incredible food, and lots of joy. On Thanksgiving eve, I had a tradition of watching the Steve Martin and John Candy film: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. It is a movie about a businessman (Martin), who is trying like hell to get home to his family for Thanksgiving, and instead, gets stuck with an obnoxiously annoying shower curtain-ring salesman, (Candy) as his only companion. The results are hilarious. Back then, in my childhood innocence, I only saw the comedy in this movie, and not the sadder and much deeper messages that were present. My life was happy and pain-free, so I couldn’t really feel or understand the painful parts of that film. We see things from the foundation of our own experiences.

Years later, at age 35, I had finally found my soul-mate and my best friend for life. I was married, and we were very happy. We loved the holidays, and my husband and I had our own traditions. One of them was to put up / decorate our small Christmas tree in our apartment on Thanksgiving Eve, order take-out, and watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. My husband’s laugh was loud and infectious. It was my favorite sound. Back then, we both loved the comedy in the film, but also appreciated the sentimental themes about loneliness, loss, and love coming in many different forms. We appreciated the sadness and poignancy in John Candy’s character, (spoiler alert) who is a homeless widower, a fact that the viewer doesn’t find out until almost the end of the film. My husband and I had sympathy and empathy for him, but because our life was so happy and lacked grief or any real deep pain, we couldn’t ever comprehend what it was like to be him. We see things from the foundation of our own experiences.

Love and Obsession: How to Tell Them Apart and Leave One Behind

I’ve been the target and I’ve been the obsessed and neither of them feel great.

Scenario One: You can’t stop thinking about him.  You go to sleep thinking about him and wake up wondering what he’s doing.  When you wake up, you already have a message from him saying that he can’t stop thinking about you either.

You’re in new love!

Scenario Two: You can’t stop thinking about him.  You go to sleep thinking about him and wake up wondering what he’s doing, and hope you’ll see him soon.  You feel like your connection is so strong, you’ve just got to be together.  You think you’re in love.

You’re not.  You’re obsessed.

Obsession and unrequited love can seem extremely romantic, and are frequently romanticized in works of fiction.  Love stories like The Princess Bride, Pretty in Pink, Edward Scissorhands and The Notebook all have love stories that originate in one-sided obsession. In many films, this single-minded pursuit is rewarded by the return of that love.  In real life, that could happen, but more frequently it does not.

Music is rife with obsession- in Late Night, Maudlin Street, Morrissey (the OG romantic obsessive) says “I could list the detail of everything you ever wore or said or how you stood”- Stevin Merritt’s The Magnetic Fields lets a girl know that he’s just a fan who remembers every dress she ever wore.  Pretty much all Evanescence songs are about obsession or stalking.  Look out for fans of that band.

If you’re not loved back, obsession can lead to unhealthy attachment, stalking, or just profound unhappiness as the obsessed person refuses to let go of the object of attachment, perhaps believing that they have no power to do so, and missing out on other possible partners while they are blinded by their pursuit of one.  In the circular logic of obsession, the obsessed person will sabotage new relationships to self-fulfill their belief that they can only be happy with the object of their obsession.  “SEE, THERE IS NOBODY FOR ME BUT CARLA!”

Real love is much more practical than people think- attraction is magical and capricious, chemical in many ways, but in the day to day, love is something two people make together with words and deeds, because they are attracted to each other and care for each other, and it’s not something you can do with yourself.  Like the tango, it takes two.  If you say to yourself, “If only they knew how much I loved them…” you can stop right there.  You’re not in love, you’re obsessed.

I’m Not Really Obsessed, Am I?

Sometimes the slide from normal crush to unhealthy obsession feels gradual, and you might not even notice- but if you’ve been interested in a person for a while, you’ve made your interest known, and it’s not returned- it’s time to back off and try to leave that idea behind.  You’re not in love, because you don’t really know this person.  You’re imprinting on some traits you like and filling in everything else with information of your own making.  You’re in love with an idea of them, and that person you think you love likely doesn’t exist.

I’ve been the target and I’ve been the obsessed and neither of them feel good.  If you know someone cares for you and you don’t feel the same way, you feel pity and guilt and can feel like a failure for not feeling the same way.  If you’re obsessed with someone who doesn’t care for you, it feels like you’ll never care for anyone else.

A friend of mine was telling me about going to a wedding of a woman he was obsessed with, and how he thought it was important that he go and support the bride, even though it made him want to collapse as he stood in a room of happy people watching her pledge her eternal love for another man.  He spoke about his feelings for her, the length and depth and passion of those feelings, and it would be easy to assume that she was an ex lover, but they had never been anything more than friends.  This didn’t keep him from feeling betrayed, from being miserable, and from cutting other dating pursuits short because they failed to measure up to her, his impossible goal.

OK, I’m Obsessed.  How Do I Get Out?

You might think that you’re stuck obsessing over someone, because they’re perfect for you and WHY DON’T THEY SEE THAT?, but you control your own mind and thoughts and feelings.  You do!  You can let go of obsessive thoughts and feelings and make healthier choices.  Try the following:

  1. Distance yourself from the object of your obsession, don’t go to places you know they are, don’t stop by their coffeeshop, etc. etc. If you’ve been stalking them on Facebook (which is sort of like an obsession machine in of itself), consider hiding or blocking them until you feel more clarity.
  2. Don’t feed your obsessive thoughts.

Humans love being sad, or feeling sorry for ourselves- it is pleasurable to scratch that itch that makes us miserable.  We also love being in love, and sometimes obsessive thoughts can feel like that, you can get a little shot of endorphin thinking about them. What if you see them today? Will they pursue you?  Etc.  But you do control your thoughts.  Your thoughts are made by you.  When you start thinking about the object of your obsession, try to let it go.  Replace it.  Have a thought or phrase handy ready to replace it, like a mantra.  It can be something or nothing, it can be a nonsense phrase- just have something ready to reset your unhealthy thought cycle.

  1. Distract yourself- with a new hobby, book, or activity.  Go to the gym and concentrate on yourself.  Don’t let idle thoughts go to the person.

Think of this as practicing good mental hygiene, keeping your brain clear- you’ll be amazed at how quickly you retrain your brain to stop dwelling on one person- and one day you’ll see them at the Trader Joe’s and be surprised at how ordinary and non-magical they seem!  You’ll be more open to meeting people who like you back, and whom you can find something real with.

One Man Analyzed The World’s Languages to Discover At Least 14 Different Kinds of Love

There are at least 14 different kinds of love that one man was able to uncover simply by analyzing the world’s languages.

Dr. Tim Lomas at the University of East London has been a lecturer in positive psychology for the past five years. In a report from The Conversation this month, Lomas explained that there is nothing more expansive than the feeling of love. It ranges from the love you have for your favorite pair of shoes to the love you have of your child or partner.

In the 1970s, psychologist John Lee put together his own identification of love. So, Lomas noted that he isn’t the first to look into the way the world loves. However, there’s more than just the six “styles” of love Lee developed, and Lomas has them.

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Check out the full article reprinted with permission from The Conversation below:

Happy couple in love. Stunning sensual portrait of young stylish fashion couple indoors. Young man playing guitar for his beloved girl.

No emotion, surely, is as cherished and sought after as love. Yet on occasions such as Valentine’s day, we can often be misled into thinking that it consists solely in the swooning, star-crossed romance of falling deeply “in love.” But on reflection, love is far more complex. Indeed, arguably no word covers a wider range of feelings and experiences than love.

So how can we ever define what love really is? In my new study, published in the Journal for the Theory of Social Analysis, I’ve made a start by searching the world’s languages for words relating to love that don’t exist in English.

Most of us use the word love fairly liberally. I use it for the deep ardour, care and respect I have for my wife. But I will also call upon it to describe the unshakeable bonds of kinship and history I share with my family, and the connections and allegiances I have with close friends. I’ll even use it in relation to our cheeky dog Daisy, the music of Tom Waits, Sunday morning lie ins and many other things.

Clearly, whatever love is, it spans a great deal of emotional and experiential territory. Needless to say, I’m not the first to notice this. For instance, in the 1970s, the psychologist John Lee identified six different “styles” of love. He did so by studying other languages, in particular the classical lexicons of Greek and Latin, which boast a wealth of precise words describing specific kinds of love.

Lee identified three primary forms of love. “Eros” denotes passion and desire, “ludus” refers to flirtatious, playful affection, and “storgē” describes familial or companionate bonds of care. He then paired these primary forms to produce three secondary forms: ludus plus storgē creates “pragma,” a rational, sensible long-term accommodation. However, eros combined with ludus generates “mania,” signifying possessive, dependent, or troubled intimacies, while eros and storgē form the charitable, selfless compassion of “agápē.”

This analysis seems like a good start, but an incomplete one. After all, it mostly just concerns romantic partnerships, and doesn’t account for many of the feelings that fall within the ambit of love.

Untranslatable words

I decided to expand on this work as part of a broader lexicographic project to collect so-called “untranslatable” words that pertain to well-being, a work-in-progress which currently features nearly 1,000 words. Such words can reveal phenomena which have been overlooked or under-appreciated in one’s own culture, as I explore in two forthcoming books (a general interest exploration of key words, and an academic analysis of the lexicography). In the case of love, then, untranslatable words help us understand the bountiful variety of emotions and bonds that are in English subsumed within the one word “love.”

My enquiry yielded hundreds of words from around 50 languages (which of course leaves many languages still to be explored). I analysed these thematically, grouping the words into 14 distinct “flavours” of love. Some languages were particularly prolific in their lexical dexterity, especially Greek, which contributed the most words by far.

As such, in a spirit of poetic consistency, I gave each flavour a relevant Greek label. I call these “flavours” to avoid implying that relationships can be exclusively pigeonholed as constituting just one form. A romantic partnership, say, might blend several flavours together, generating a unique “taste” which might subtly change over time.

14 flavours

Happy lovers are enjoying breakfast in cafe outside. Man is feeding woman with croissant and smiling. He is covered by warm blanket

So, what are these flavours? The first three do not concern people at all. They refer to people’s fondness and passion for certain activities (meraki), places (chōros) and objects (eros). Note that this usage of eros reflects its deployment in classical Greece, where it was often used in the context of aesthetic appreciation rather than romance. Indeed, like love itself, all these words can be used in varied and changing ways.

Each of these flavours is a “compound” of related terms from various languages. For instance, the connection to place denoted by chōros is reflected in concepts such as “turangawaewae,” “cynefin” and “querencia” – from Māori, Welsh and Spanish respectively – which all pertain in some way to the sentiment of having a “place to stand” on this Earth, somewhere secure that we can call home.

When it comes to love between people, the first three are the non-romantic forms of care, affection and loyalty we extend towards family (storgē), friends (philia), and ourselves (philautia). Then, embracing romance, Lee’s notions of pragma, mania, and ludus are joined by the passionate desire of “epithymia,” and the star-crossed destiny of “anánkē.”

Again, these labels all bring together related terms from diverse languages. For instance, the spirit of anánkē is found in terms like the Japanese “koi no yokan,” which roughly means “premonition of love,” capturing the feeling on first meeting someone that falling in love will be inevitable. And likewise the Chinese term “yuán fèn” can be interpreted as a binding force of irresistible destiny.

Finally, there are three forms of selfless, “transcendent” love, in which one’s own needs and concerns are relatively diminished. These are the compassion of agápē, ephemeral sparks of “participatory consciousness,” such as when we are emotionally swept up within a group dynamic (koinonia), and the kind of reverential devotion that religious believers might hold towards a deity (sebomai).

Clearly, there any many ways we can love and be loved. You and your life partner might well experience feelings of epithymia, pragma, or anánkē, but may also – or alternatively, instead – be blessed with moments of storgē, agápē and koinonia. Likewise, a deep friendship could similarly be suffused with some mixture of flavours such as pragma, storgē, agápē and anánkē, in which we feel a profound and fated bond of lifelong connection.

Moreover, this list is merely preliminary, with other flavours potentially yet to be acknowledged. So hopefully we can be reassured that even if we are not romantically head-over-heels “in love” – in that archetypal Hollywood fashion – our lives may still be graced by love in some precious and uplifting way.


Read more about love such as: Love and Obsession: How to Tell Them Apart and Leave One Behind or Who Knew this LOVE Potion Actually Had Science to Back it Up.

Falling in Love Onstage: Finding My Lover Through the Magic of Theatre

I’ve been a performer for my entire life. Now, I’ve met my love thanks to the theatre.

A majority of my friends are involved in the theatre scene, which isn’t especially surprising since I was part of a theatre troupe in high school and studied theatre in New York City. It also isn’t especially surprising that the only people I’ve really dated have been involved in the entertainment world as well.

High school and college was filled with romantic drama surrounding my theatre crushes. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of falling for people that have played my onstage love interests a few times. Onstage chemistry is very important to me, and sometimes those feelings bleed into real life.

Do I always act on it? No. That would be unprofessional. But I have slipped up once or twice.

However, there was one time where it was actually successful. I met my dream man through my “Rocky Horror” shadowcast. Which was, in all honesty, something that I expected would happen since I was a kid. Rocky is incredibly important to me, and there’s no way I could have ever dated someone that didn’t like it.

I met Chris a little after I joined Rocky around last year. We had known of each other in passing at cons and such, but didn’t become friends at first. One of the few times we did talk was via Facebook message, where he gave me advice about how to construct a costume piece. I didn’t think anything of it.

Around the time I joined his cast was when we really became friends. I had a falling out with a few friends, so I turned to him for help getting through the tough time. We ended up quickly becoming best friends, with me staying at his house often and going on adventures constantly. He treated me well, but again, I didn’t think anything of it in a romantic sense.

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Falling in love on stage

Then the on-stage romance began.

A few months into our friendship, I started playing Columbia. He plays Eddie, so it made perfect sense that he would be performing with me in my first show. I was so nervous about the performance, and I couldn’t put my finger on why. Something just felt weird about playing my best friend’s girlfriend. Maybe it was a subconscious thing, who knows.

Cut to a month later, and we’re dating. After a three-show day in late October (our prime season), we realized we had something more to our relationship and took it to the next level.

Now, Chris and I have performed together as Eddie and Columbia with three different casts, traveling as far as Toronto.

It’s an interesting life we have, being two performers who date, not to mention live together. Our life consists of making costume pieces, constantly practicing at home in front of the TV, and me reminding him which days he’s performing (I’ve become almost his Rocky secretary in that sense).

Before every show, we usually get ready at home, me sitting in front of a mirror for an hour trying to cover my eyebrows with a glue stick, and him making sure his beloved leather vest is good to go.

Doing Rocky on tour feels akin to being in a traveling circus, and it can be a very high-strung and energetic environment. For that, I am grateful for Chris. He keeps me grounded through all of the stress of performing, and it’s comforting to know that whenever I feel insecure or nervous on stage, he’s right up there with me.

finding love on stage with rocky horror picture show

Even when one of us isn’t performing, the other is usually in the audience showing support. The amount of pride I feel when I’m in the crowd watching him emcee a show is like nothing else, in fact, I usually tend to turn to the person next to me and say something along the lines of “He’s so weird. I’m so proud of him.”

Once the show’s over, and after we’ve had a traditional late night breakfast with our castmates, we usually go home and immediately pass out. We tend to spend the rest of the next day at home, doing chores and watching “Friday the 13th” movies like the homebodies we truly are. It’s important to find balance.

I’m eternally grateful for the life I currently live. I get to write all day, perform all night, and get to do it alongside the love of my life. It honestly everything I could have asked for, and it’s only the beginning. We have plans to travel all around the world to perform, and we hope to continue doing for as long as we possibly can.

Fall Is the Best Time to Find Someone

Is cuffing season backed up by science?

According to Urban Dictionary, “Cuffing Season” is the time of year when people are more likely to look for relationships they can settle down into than looking for casual dating scenarios. As the weather turns cooler, staying cosy with someone is a more attractive option, with the added bonus of having someone to take to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year parties. Running from November until Valentine’s Day (when the cuffing becomes official, or when  the weather warms up enough to start venturing out on dates again), we looked at whether this trend had any factual basis, and it turns out that actually… it does. Don’t worry, Cuffing Season doesn’t technically start for a week, so you’ve still got a bit of time to brush up on your science and get some potentials lined up.

Autumnal Aphrodisiacs

We all know that oysters and chocolate act as aphrodisiacs, but we’re well out of oyster season and a way off from Valentine’s Day, so what should we be looking out for in the meantime? Fall means that pumpkins are plentiful, and Jack O’Lantern is an oft overlooked aphrodisiac. Pumpkins are full of antioxidants, and their seeds are packed with zinc and magnesium. Together, those are great for raising testosterone, boosting blood flow, and upping libido. As well as pumpkin carving being a great date idea, the scent of pumpkin pie caused the highest levels of arousal in both male and female participants of a study by Chicago’s Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation. Cinnamon also rated pretty highly, so autumnal scents really topped the test. Bring on Pumpkin Spiced everything!

Rare Flesh

Couple in love sitting on autumn fallen leaves

With autumn comes the addition of what feels like an extra layer of clothing every day, but humans might actually be programmed to find each other more attractive as we get more covered up. Researchers discovered that a lack of skin on show in winter made women more alluring to men. Responding to stimuli, the male participants of a trial were more turned on in winter than they were in the summer. It may sound surprising, but those results suggest that the gents in question had become overstimulated to seeing bared bodies just three months earlier. The rumour that everyone looks better in a sweater actually has some truth to it, it would seem. We’re also of the opinion that more men grow beards in the cooler months (to keep their faces warm, we assume), and, like a sweater, every man looks better with a beard.

Don’t be SAD

The nights drawing in are one of the worst parts of the changing seasons. With lower light levels through the day, and darker mornings and evenings, levels of Seasonal Affective Disorder are on the rise. SAD symptoms can be alleviated with special light lamps, or a Vitamin D supplement, but research has also found that physical touch can also provide a massive boost to our wellbeing. As infants, touch is the first of our senses to develop, and science suggests that people who are touch-deprived are more likely to suffer with depressive episodes. Skin to skin contact is vital for humans to feel bonded with others, with benefits starting after just twenty seconds so all the more reason to snuggle up with someone.

Happy Hormones

couple dating in fall

The seasons have a huge impact on our hormone levels, with testosterone levels peaking – in both men and women – in fall. Studies show that testosterone in men can increase by as much as 31% in late fall and early winter, with sperm counts also rising after taking a dip caused by summer heat. In the US, the highest number of babies are born in August and September, as fertility levels for both men and women are at their peak in November and December. We’d suggest making sure your potential baby-mommy or -daddy have passed the Cuffing Season playoffs before testing out this particular scientific theory, though. Science hasn’t yet shown what it is about the changing seasons that triggers this boost in fertility, but it could be a combination of decreasing daylight, evolutionary survival techniques, and overindulging on the festive eggnogs.