“I want you to be my best friend, and my trusted confidant and my passionate lover to boot, and we live twice as long [as we ever have].”
Have you ever thought about how much we ask of our partners? In her TED Talk, Psychologist Esther Perel sheds some light on the difference between love and desire, why our imaginations are so important to a lasting, passionate relationship, and why we have got to stop asking our partners to do the work of a whole village.
Hate to break it to you, but you’re human. You’re gonna screw the pooch eventually. Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to minimize the impact of poor decision making. A simple place to start? Maintaining strong friendships.
I’ve been mostly great at prioritizing friendships, with the exception of one relationship. I’m not sure what happened, but I was bitten hard by The Crazy Bug. We were inseparable for nearly two years. Which, as you can imagine, means I came close to losing all my friendships. After the breakup I realized I made a mistake. With time and intentionality I was able to fix plenty, but some damage was beyond repair.
So, learn from my mistakes! Here to help you make better choices are a few reasons to make friendships a priority.
Friends can help you determine if your relationship is healthy.
If you’re a sitcom junkie like me, you’ve definitely seen the stock-episode where “Character X” is dating some scum bag, but none of her friends have the guts to break the news. Such episodes make me shout at my TV, “Warn her! She needs to know!”
After all, you probably chose your close friends because you value their character and wisdom. That is, unless they’re filthy rich and you’re only using them for the free wine and ice cream, (Clearly, my assumption of how rich people spend their money is spot on.) Anyhow, assuming your friends only make a modest paycheck, they’re probably trustworthy. You picked them. Now trust them.
It might be tempting to write-off their opinion. You might want to make excuses (Ahem, “She’s just jealous!”) in order to protect your relationship. Look at it this way, though: If your friends are brave enough to approach you with an opinion, you have the responsibility to honor their courage by at least considering their point of view. If you’re especially bold, you’ll take the first step and ask your friends for input before they come to you.
(That’s not to say that every friend gets to give input. You would drown in opinions. Choose a few with good judgement skills. Keep them close.)
Your friends need your relationship (in healthy doses.)
I often hear single people say, “Ugh. I hate hanging out with couples.” I get it. Some couples are truly awful. However, I love spending time with couples and one-on-one with married individuals. I like to study them.
Observation helps us discover our wants and learn healthy behavior. Studying close friends helps us determine relationship characteristics we like and dislike, as well as bring abnormal family patterns to the surface. That weird way your parents interact? Yeah, not everyone does that. Spending time with a diverse group of couples makes that obvious. The ability to process those details is important for single people. It helps them (…Us? …Me?) make better relationship choices.
If you isolate yourself, you deny your friends a valuable example. Your friends need to hear you talk about your relationship. They need to learn from your victories and failures.
(That’s not to say this is the sole thing you should talk about. Otherwise, your friends will probably never want to see you again, and for good reason.)
They keep your identity in check.
Let’s play a game: Name the first couple that comes to mind that has it’s own identity. Did you think of somebody? Don’t lie. You definitely did. We all know a couple that has developed their own distinct personality. They like all the same things, they make the same bad jokes, and they creep us out. They’re almost straight out of an episode of Portlandia.
Spending too much time together can lead to being eerily similar. While it’s great to develop connective relationship tissue, you and your partner are two distinct human persons. Each of you has unique tastes, opinions, and hobbies. Those things make you awesome! Don’t lose sight of that. Making time for your friends is a great way to maintain your personal identity.
Unfortunately, your relationship might not last.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is a chance your relationship won’t make it. Lots (most!) of relationships don’t. Relationships are hard work and sometimes things fall apart, even when you don’t expect it. Worse yet, what if you lose your partner to an accident or disease? There are plenty of factors that keep us from the circumstances of life, unfortunately. We can’t always plan it out to our liking.
If you lose your closest friends amidst your relationship, who will bring over a pint of ice cream when things go sour? Who will binge Netflix in sweats and remind you to keep moving forward?
Save yourself the pain and frustration! Don’t be the turd who has to apologize after a breakup. Keep your friends close. You will be more sand and balanced, and it will help maintain a healthy relationship for the long haul.
Who doesn’t want that?
Did you like this post? Check out some of Erika’s other posts:
The following article is a guest post, courtesy of Alina Polishuk
Turn down the top 40 and listen up: here are 8 of 2014’s best indie songs about love and relationships. Whether you’re going through an emotional breakup, falling in love, or just have a crush on your cute neighbor, these tunes are sure to get you through.
1. Cavalier, James Vincent McMorrow
In this dreamy track, the Irish musician produces a sound that is simultaneously seductive and ethereal. His haunting refrain “I remember my first love,” will cause intense nostalgia, and probable cravings for a rainy afternoon in bed with your current snuggle-buddy.
2. Like Real People Do, Hozier
A sweet, slightly twangy song about craving a kiss from the girl that caught your eye. For some reason, this song brings to mind summer days and swing sets. If you don’t fall in love with this song just by listening, be sure to check out the So You Think You Can Dance choreography that brought this song to the masses (myself included). If that doesn’t melt your heart, no one can help you.
3. Angus and Julia Stone, Grizzly Bear
One of the latest songs using delay loopers from this brother-sister duo, Grizzly Bear paints a sweet picture of simply wanting to be around the girl you like. Why is it called Grizzly Bear? Beats me. Confusing titles aside, the groovy instrumentals and infectious refrains are worthy of any tale of charming infatuation.
4. Melt, Chet Faker (feat. Kilo Kish)
Less about love and more about desire, Australian music producer Chet Faker collaborated with dreamy vocalist Kilo Kish to represent both sides of playing “hard to get.” This lyrics of this song are relatable anyone who has tried to resist a relationship that is inevitably damaging, but eventually gives in. Besides that, the soulful electronic pulse will have you playing “Melt” on repeat.
5. Flaws, Vancouver Sleep Clinic
In Flaws, 17 year old Tim Bettinson presents listeners with a creeping nostalgia for the throes of a lost relationship. The wintry Bon Iver vibe of this song will, similar to Cavalier, have you reaching for a cozy blanket, and maybe a loved one.
6. Bound, Laura Welsh
We’ve all seen Kanye’s bizarre video for Bound 2, featuring the mother of his child, Kim K. And if you haven’t, you really should. West’s creative oddities aside, British songbird Laura Welsh gives the hyped up hip-hop track a stripped down and emotional redux. With her own soulful rendition, she gives truer meaning to his refrain, “I know you’re tired of loving, with nobody to love.”
7. Ben Howard, End of the Affair
Another sad one, but really, are any love songs truly happy? End of the Affair laments just that; the end of a relationship and eventually watching your old partner move on, signifying the finality of a break-up. In typical Howard fashion, the song is mellow and folk-y, with occasional bursts of anguish. It makes for easy listening, and easy relatability.
8. Fall In Love, Phantogram
Let’s end it on a fun note, shall we? Possibly the catchiest and most pop-esque song on this list, Fall in Love laments the struggle of being on the receiving end of unrequited love. While your heart will go out to the guy lead vocalist Sarah Barthel is singing about, you can’t help but hum along and twitch your shoulders to this synthesized hit.
Enjoy this playlist? Then be sure to check out our article about Getting Over a Breakup With Calvin Harris.
About Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB): CMB is a dating app designed with women in mind. Founded by 3 sisters in 2012 in NYC, CMB aims to deliver a fun, safe, and quality dating experience that results in meaningful relationships.
The art of the first date is a fragile endeavor, and few people embark upon it with success.
First impressions matter, and there are a million factors that can make-or-break an initial meet up. If you’re looking to solidify a connection, it’s important to pick an environment and activity that will allow both of you to be yourselves—relaxed and at ease.
I’ll be honest: I hate the typical meal-or-coffee thing. It’s too much pressure. I feel stressed to be consistently witty and charming, and to balance an equal measure of talking about myself with asking questions. Can you tell I’m an over-thinker? That leads to awkwardness, which leads to more over-thinking, which leads to more nerves. And on, and on, and on. It’s a vicious cycle.
Not to mention, if you’ve been cruising the dating scene for a while, there’s a good chance you’re hurting for cash. When you’re looking to make a good impression, it can be daunting to plan a date on a budget.
Don’t you worry, though, Grasshopper. Here are five great options for a creative and fun experience that won’t burn a hole through your wallet.
1. Breakfast (or Brunch!)
Ok, maybe it seems like I’m reneging on my “no-meals” rule. I promise, I’m not. Breakfast is the exception.
I like breakfast dates for several reasons. For one, it’s fun. Who doesn’t love breakfast? It’s early, so you’re probably awake and refreshed—rather than bogged down from a day full of work and meetings. If possible, choose a place with a nice outdoor patio. Fresh air is calming, and you can always fall back on people-watching when conversation lulls.
Plus, breakfast is a pretty accommodating meal for people with dietary restrictions. Most breakfast spots have great options for vegetarians and those sensitive to gluten. And to top it off, breakfast is generally more budget-friendly than other meals. Word to the wise: Only choose a breakfast date if you’re both morning people. I’ve heard disaster stories of anti-morning folks attempting this. Needless to say, it was a flop. If your bodies natural rhythms aren’t going to cooperate, avoid this at all costs.
Take to the interwebs and do a quick Yelp search for a local improv show in your town. If you do your research, you should be able to find something free, or less than a general admission movie ticket.
I can personally vouch for this date. I went to a show with a guy I had almost no chemistry with, and the performer were—ahem—not the world’s best talent. Regardless, we had a blast. It took the pressure off of us and allowed us to connect through laughter (because improv is still enjoyable when the performers blow it!) Word to the wise: Most shows have some sort of appropriateness rating available. Try to avoid anything over PG-13. Those kinds of jokes can be too much for a first date.
3. Farmers Market
One thing I dislike about the typical meal date is being glued to my seat. When I am nervous, I am fidgety.
The nice thing about heading to a local farmers market is the ability to stay moving, which releases all those jitters. There is a ton to see and explore, and endless possibilities for conversation starters. It’s also a great opportunity to try new things together, and many farmers markets have some kind of music or live entertainment. Boom.
Plus, who doesn’t like supporting their local community? Word to the wise: This is an especially great first date if you already attend your farmers market regularly and know a few vendors. Having established friendships and knowing who has the best produce in your neighborhood will seem super charming.
4. Dollar Movie Theater (Mystery Science Theater Style)
Now, before you assume this is tacky—let me explain. Movie dates can be uncomfortable, because you’re sitting next to a stranger in silence for at least two hours. That’s fine if the movie turns out to be good. But if the movie blows, it’s a recipe for disaster.
Instead, pick out a show together at the local dollar theater. Try to pick something that looks particularly awful, that’s also been out for quite some time. You want the theater as empty as possible.
Then, during the film, you both have freedom to talk. You can crack jokes and criticize the acting all you want. The lighthearted experience is a great means to feel comfortable around each other, and build an actual bond. Word to the wise: This might not be the best option for two introverts, or for those folks who very passionately hold an anti-talking-in-movies policy.
It’s time for a treasure hunt! What could be better for a first date than a little bit of teamwork and adventure?
If you’re unfamiliar with geocaching, let me explain: Geocaching in a real-life treasure hunt. Around the world, there are millions (yes, millions!) of active geocache locations. Participants mark the coordinates of hidden treasure using a GPS device, and everyone who visits a cache has the opportunity to take something and leave something behind. (To be fair, be prepared to leave something that is of equal/greater value to that which you take.)
If you have a smartphone, there are plenty of great geocaching apps available for download. These will help you pick an adventure, navigate to your destination, and give you clues to help you figure out where the treasure is hiding.
The best part? Every cache has a logbook for you and your date to sign—leaving a legacy of your first date. (Imagine coming back a year later and re-signing!) Word to the wise: Warn your date to wear comfortable clothes and good shoes. These adventures can lead you to unexpected places. Be prepared.
(For more information, visit the official Geocaching website.)
You could get rejected because you went up and asked someone out.
Or they decided after the first date that you two weren’t a good match.
Heck, maybe even after four months of seeing each other, the person says he/she doesn’t want to see you anymore.
You’re completely confused.
But above all, you’re heartbroken.
Of course it’s natural to feel sad. But you cope and you move on.
1) Admit defeat.
This person is never going to ask you out. Or, if you guys have, never ever again.
2) Nurse your bruised ego.
3) Rant to your friends.
4) Realize at least he/she was honest.
5) Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
6) Rejection is a blessing in disguise.
Someone better will come along.
7) Just keep being you.
There’s nothing you can do about a rejection.
8) You’re free!
9) Enjoy being young, single, and happy while you can!
The following article is a guest post, courtesy of Travis Noddings
If the internet were to represent a typical human brain, with its varied neurons (webpages), axons (links), and synapses (social media), Tumblr would be the lobe soaking in gin and juice.
Free of inhibitions, posting wildly at all hours of the night, the people on this popular blogging site often say what the rest of us are too sober to think of—and what results is pure genius.
Here are the 8 most inspiring, hilarious, and ridiculous Tumblr posts on love and dating!
1) A fool-proof plan
2) Sympathy becoming the new sexy
3) This treasure-hunting adventurer
4) Bursting some age old gender bubbles
5) When Instinct Takes Over
6) Prepping for the big event
7) But then you find a love that’s timeless…
8) …and you never want to let it go
With these smooth criminals as our teachers, only one question remains:
The following article is a guest post, courtesy of Alina Polishuk
When watching any movie involving romance, it’s easy to scoff into your popcorn and say something along the lines of, “Puh-lease. That relationship is so unrealistic!”
While this may be true of most fantasy inducing scenes and happy-ending tales of love, some on-screen romances that seem absurd at first glance actually prove themselves to be relatable upon some… “deeper analysis.”
Ah yes, your eyes first met across the desks of Mrs. Jefferson’s 4th grade classroom. By recess you had decided you would hold hands, and by lunch you were boyfriend and girlfriend. Suzy and Sam’s relationship in Moonrise Kingdom might be a little bit more complex than your first romantic encounter, but their charming naivety and steadfast dedication to each other is certainly reminiscent of your adorable puppy love.
“Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love. Girl does not.” So goes the tale of unrequited love: the relationship that will simply never be because feelings are simply not mutual. No modern account of love mirrors this sad situation more perfectly than 500 Days of Summer, a sweet flick that looks like a rom-com but is actually a horror story.
The Love that was Always There
A list involving romantic movies wouldn’t really be complete without the Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan classic, When Harry Met Sally. You know that girl that you always viewed as just a friend? The girl that you could talk to about your exes, and watch Game of Thrones with, without it getting weird during the R-rated scenes? Well, maybe one day, you guys just looked at each other and realized that your long-lasting friendship should be more than just that.
You and this past partner were polar opposites and maybe even despised each other… Until you realized that opposites attract. No movie encapsulates this highly emotional strand of love better than the Woody Allen classic, Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Two-thirds of a threesome, the temperaments of artists Maria Elena and Juan Antonio go together like water and oil, but amidst the turmoil lies a magnetic kind of passion. While this is perhaps not the longest-lasting relationship, chances are all of the “feels” you had for it’s duration it took up more than a few pages in your diary.
Friends with Benefits Love
Ah yes, the friends with benefits kind of love. You were always been super chill with this person, be it hanging out and watching movies together or getting beer drunk with your friend group down at O’Malleys. Until one night you had a pint too many and ended up in bed together. Instead of making it awkward, you two decided to roll with it. This person is fun, unattached, and also kinda cute. And that is why it’s love.
Long Distance Love
This one is hard, and many people would rather sacrifice a relationship than go through a long distance romance. But to those of you who have chosen to test love’s international boundaries, you can probably relate to the heart-wrenching trials that quirky Jacob and adorable Anna have to endure in the indie-flick, Like Crazy.
Maybe you met this person online, or maybe you’re just too shy to talk to her in person. But regardless, your romance takes place mostly through the Facebook, Snapchat, or text. It’s hard for this relationship to feel sustainable, when the object of your affection is far or maybe unattainable in real life. While we are a far cry from dating our computers, Her, which follows Theodore as he falls madly in love with his quick-witted personal operating system, Samantha, reminds us that love doesn’t always have to be tangible.
There are probably hundreds of movies out there about forbidden love (from Twilight, to Avatar, to Pocahontas), but there is no tale more classic than Romeo+Juliet. Baz Luhrmann’s colorful 1996 Shakespeare adaptation starring youngsters Leo DiCaprio and Claire Danes will tear your heart out, and make you reminisce about the time you dated a boy from the rival high school. Relatively comparable stories, right?
This guy was supposed to be your rebound, supposed to be your filler date, or supposed to be… the subject of an article you were writing? Regardless of what the original situation was, you fell for this person when you really didn’t expect it. In the chick-flick classic, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Andie and Ben each had an agenda when beginning the relationship, but their eventual feeling for each other are, of course, a pleasant surprise.
We’ve all been through the relationship ringer at some point or other. Perhaps it’s infidelity, perhaps it’s an identity crisis, or perhaps it’s just realizing your partner isn’t actually “the one.” But this true love came in and swept you off your feet, right when you decided you had given up on relationships forever. This person loves you “just as you are” (*swoon*), the way Mark Darcy loves Bridget in the relatable classic, Bridget Jones’ Diary.
Enjoy this post? Then you’ll love reading about the 9 stages of falling in love! AboutCoffee Meets Bagel (CMB): CMB is a free dating service that helps members make meaningful connections. It’s designed for busy singles who want to find something real with little or no effort.
The following article is a guest post, courtesy of Alina Polishuk
Coffee Meets Bagel staffers Andrew and Alina sit down to talk about dating online from a guy’s perspective. Andrew offers online dating tips to ladies looking for love, talks about “provocative” pictures, being catfished, and more!