About Sarah James-Cyrus

Sarah James-Cyrus is a Civil Servant and a fervent freelance, willing to tackle a wide range of subject matter, her past articles have explored political debates to poignant teen issues. Past and current clients include Teen Caribbean online, Kush magazine, The South London Press, New Black Magazine, Precious Magazine and Flavour. She has also hosted her own show Brent Youth Radio and the UK Unsigned finals. Professionally, she would say she is a visionary, quite opinionated and not afraid to push boundaries. Follow Sarah on Twitter @illusionSJC

Goodbye Honeymoon… Hello Relationship

The honeymoon period in most relationships is usually crammed with the culmination of endearing gestures, poignant revelations and spontaneous acts. From being contentedly overwhelmed by the late night phone calls and flirty text messages, to the impulsive date nights and that feeling of being totally besotted with each other; it is easy to conclude that the dating process with the right person can be extremely pleasurable! However, similar to the purchase of a new car, or the acquisition of a new property, it is only human nature for the initial exhilaration and novelty to wear off and become part of the norm. So what do you do when you have cleared the initial hurdles only to be confronted by another relationship stumbling block, where communication diminishes, spontaneous gestures stop and he outwardly expresses a preference to spend an evening out with the boys?

General Paranoia Vs Women’s Intuition

With the explosion of celebrity infidelities, shocking chat shows and the continuous growth of the social media, it is hard not to start scrolling through his phone, hacking his Facebook or checking his pockets. However, every relationship is unique and should be treated as such. So whilst his lack of constant affection may be a sign that he is losing interest, it could also indicate a new sense of security where he no longer feels the need to outwardly devote all his attention to his chosen soul mate. Intuition can provide answers behind suspicious activity or a change in behaviour, but be cautious as not all change is detrimental.

Sorry babe I’m busy!

Do you remember the time when your partner had the innate ability to juggle his appointments, postpone meetings and deprive himself of sleep in order to tend to your needs? Suddenly you come to a point in your relationship where all your invites are declined; excuses are commonplace and you no longer feel like a priority, due to his ‘work commitments.’ Rejection at any level can dent one’s pride, but it can be particularly hurtful if you are used to a set behaviour. Nonetheless, the word ‘busy’ literally translates to unavailable and should not be taken personally once you have settled into a relationship. Whilst his sudden change in priorities could indicate a straying eye, with the dramatic increase of shift work and longer hours, he could just be trying to keep up with a demanding and hectic schedule. Moreover, this sudden focus of tending to previously neglected commitments may simply reflect his contentment and the fact that he is positively looking to a future with you.

But I promised the boys…

You may not understand why he would prefer an evening out with the lads or constantly cancels when he has his son for the weekend, but if your initial conversations were dominated by stories which included them, it should not be a surprise. Bear in mind that whilst you may have been his focal point initially, friends do get jealous, unexpected events happen and people usually adjust to the way of life they are most comfortable with. So before you reach for his phone, schedule a drink with your friends and focus on ensuring that you make more of the quality time you have together. After a stressful day at work, help him loosen his collar and release that tie, by being that much needed tentative, amusing and tactile distraction that he needs.

We don’t talk like we used to

Most people text on an impulse and if you are the only thing occupying his mind and he wants to make contact, he will! So how do you go from overwhelming wake up calls and complimentary texts, to uneventful two minute calls where you discuss why he did not get his monthly bonus? Naturally, you may come to the conclusion that he may be communicating with another when you don’t hear from him when you expect to. Even so, you must be realistic. Do not expect the forty text messages a day that you used to receive, as once you are settled, the need to communicate at that extremity becomes less necessary. As a couple, your quality time together should compensate for this as you get to know each other on a more intimate level. So unless you are receiving authentic warning signs of infidelity, (such as no communication, lack of personality on the phone, or long periods of silence), fine tune your imagination to regain his interest via text by perhaps suggesting a back massage or a spontaneous excursion.

Change in body language

Whether it is due to lust or infatuation; intimacy, exploration and discovery play significant roles when it comes to getting to know someone new. In the beginning, his gentle tactile nature will be emphasised as you enjoy the benefits of holding hands, affectionately gazing at each other and flirtatiously touching. If you are lucky to experience real chemistry, your attraction will undoubtedly strengthen by that uncontrollable shiver as he whispers in your ear or that warm glow when he caresses your hair. Consequently, as time progresses that physical chemistry should adapt and the discovery process should be more pleasurable.

Not tonight Hun

If your complaint is that your partner seems distant or appears repulsed by the thought of getting intimate, you have to address this immediately as there is obvious cause for concern. However, if you are merely peeved because you no longer intimately engage with the same vivacity or enthusiasm, think before you assume the worst. It is a scientific fact that stress exacerbates most conditions; on an extreme scale that bullying boss or financial stress may cause temporary impotence or affect the libido. Conversely, his lack of interest in bedroom could simply be put down to fatigue. Before you seek solace elsewhere, take some advice from Beyonce in the song Countdown and “run up in the kitchen with your heels on” and make that effort to “meet him at the finish line!”

Meeting someone new and intriguing can expose innovative adventures; mysterious conversations and unearth hidden emotions. Unsurprisingly, we are partial to the endearing features of the person we meet, but as time progresses some of our expectations remain too high. Consequently, whilst one party expects the other to maintain this high level, the other party is now comfortable to be themselves. If he consistently passes up the opportunity to see you, keeps mysteriously vanishing or insists on doing everything on his terms, your intuition is key. However, do not let your imagination go wild; remain alluring, spice it up with impetuous surprises and most importantly talk to him!

Image reproduced from askdeb.com

Opposites Attract

Struck by the way his dark mocha skin complimented her porcelain complexion,
Her conservative image creatively disturbed by his sinuous dreadlocks and loose-fitting jeans,
Struck by their contagious smiles, magnetised by their togetherness,
I come to a halt, caught myself staring and wondered.

beyonce-jay-zMost of us can summon up a time when we have sighted a couple and stopped in amazement due to the randomness of their pairing. Whilst the little angel perched on your shoulder might have invoked a smile; that mischievous devil probably challenged you to do a double take to satisfy either your inquisitiveness, or sheer ignorance. The celebrity world is beleaguered with examples of what the world may consider to be inequitable couples, ranging from Dita Von Teese and Marilyn Manson, to Beyonce and Jay Z. Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley shocked the world with their partnership, whilst Paula Abdul aptly used her song to emphasise the fact that ‘opposites attract.’ The success of any such partnership is testament to the fact that whilst outwardly they may appear incompatible, there is clearly a secret ingredient, spiritual connection, or trait that they both share to make their relationship work.

Ticking the Perfect Box

We all have a surreptitious idealistic checklist of the characteristics that we would like in a partner; whether it be smouldering eyes, the innate ability to communicate, or an incredible sense of humour. Most dream of the ‘butterfly-in-the belly moment’ when they meet that individual with whom they share mutual physical attraction, core values and an undeniable connection on a spiritual level. However, whilst we seem humanly programmed to flock towards those who share similarities, often enough it is the qualities we do not possess that provide the magnetism. But what keeps you together when you are poles apart?

Opening the Pandora box

We may be conditioned to live by the rules of compatibility, but even the media throws unexpected curveballs when the popular school boy falls for his geeky counterpart, or an unpredictable casual relationship turns into more. The reason to take the leap into the unknown varies for each individual and their situation. Some may take the plunge simply out of curiosity, whilst for others, (despite that fact that the physical attraction has always existed), the fear of disapproval or rejection has prevented them from pursuing the object of their desire.

Opposite characteristics may fuel initial attraction, but it is debateable as to whether they can provide the solid grounding needed for a long term relationship. Magnetism to someone different can contribute to the chemistry, invoke fascination and introduce one to a whole new perspective.  The unanticipated arrival of a tactile and spontaneous partner can fill a new relationship with allure and enthralment to the organised individual who lives by routine. The highly-strung person may seek solace in the passive individual and the party girl may hang up her high heels to spend a quiet evening with her more reserved counterpart. However, it can also increase the likelihood of a tumultuous relationship, if you have two different people who are pulled in two different directions.

Weighing up the scales

This scenario is even addressed in literature by authors such as Shakespeare with his witty characters Benedict and Beatrice, notwithstanding the notorious rollercoaster that brought Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele together in E.L James’s saucy novel ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ However, in reality, what do you do when your opinions and values differ so much that you cannot even agree on your choice of a TV programme, let alone decide on what religion your child should follow? It is easy to lose sight of the reasons you fell in love with your partner, as they might later become the very things that infuriate and frustrate you. For instance, whilst you may initially have found his respectful and cherished relationship with his mother endearing, the fact that he is a classic ‘mummy’s boy’ may be the source of many arguments.

The Secret Ingredient?

In order to ensure longevity in any relationship, it is important to communicate and learn to compromise. When you are different, it is important to be open to possibilities, focus on surmounting difficulties together and refrain from trying to change the other person. Counsellors, psychotherapist and psychologist all have their theories of what constitutes the perfect relationship, but as every individual is unique, it is impossible to provide one set recipe to success. Accept that you are attracted to your partner for their flaws, as well as their attributes and that you are with that person through personal choice. They say familiarity breeds contempt, but life would be extremely mundane if everyone dated themselves, so with that in mind embrace the unknown and celebrate your differences.

 “Our greatest strength as a human race is our ability to acknowledge our differences, our greatest weakness is our failure to embrace them” (Judith Henderson)

Image reproduced from behindthetalent.com

Brush Away Those Singleton Blues

With the sudden dip of temperature causing us to dust the cobwebs from our hats, gloves and scarves, Winter is definitely here! For most people, thoughts turn to the planning of impending significant family occasions and the countdown to Christmas, but for some, the idea of spending the next few months with only the duvet and a hot water bottle for comfort is a terrifying prospect.

Being single is a double edged sword. Depending on your viewpoint, you can either be the tragic ‘Bridget Jones,’ desperately searching for Mr Right, or see it as a choice to mould your future, embracing experiences and opportunities that present themselves, like the ladies in ‘Sex in the City’. Whilst you may inwardly rejoice the fact you are not ‘tied down’, public displays of affection may unearth a tinge of jealously and lack of companionship after a bad day at work can certainly be disheartening. Nevertheless, it seems that with our changing roles and emergence of the ‘independent’ career driven woman, one no longer feels obliged to move from one relationship to another, in fear of being rejected or viewed as a failure.

As Kelly Rowland and Natasha Beddingfield have musically demonstrated, being single is just another adventure, so whilst the cold chills may restrict your social opportunities, one just has to consider other ways to shrug off that snow blanket.

Keep your friends close
Some of the components that solidify your close relationships, such as communication and familiarity, can provide the comfort and reassurance needed after a painful reminder of an ex, or a frustrating day at the hands of work colleagues. Pick up the phone or go for a cocktail with your friend. You might not get the intimacy you crave, but an entertaining evening of laughs, gossip and hugs is a perfect tonic to lift and distract your mood.

Defy the norm
Whilst it is important to appreciate your friends, show willing at family functions and attend the odd work party, try not to limit yourself to one social circle. You may find that most of your social circle will be comprised of people who are already in a relationship, so use your compass to go out and meet other singletons to widen it. The sudden popularity of speed dating, events organised specifically for singles, and the ‘old-fashioned’ online dating sites, has brought more opportunities for singles. With the less enticing weather setting in, one can now chat, flirt and practice their socialising skills at the click of a button, in the comfort of their home. The idea of snatching your soul mate on the internet may be alluring, but nothing replaces the security of human interaction. So if you are thinking of dipping your toes into the virtual world, keep it light hearted, be sceptical and have fun.

Dip your toes
One of the main advantages of being single is that you stand alone when making choices, which means that if there is a particular career or a thrill seeking adventure you want to pursue, this is the best time to do it. Enjoy the things you are happy doing and people will be drawn to your drive and enthusiasm. When you do have your low points, remember that there are so many other people who are in the same situation, but it is what you choose to do with this new found freedom that will either make it momentus or just another painful memory.

Remember the pros
Like a vacation, being single can refresh you and help you gain perspective. It is a time that allows for spontaneity, abolishes compromise and permits you to dip your toes into the unknown. Used productively, it can create meaningful relationships and ensure you get exactly what you want from life. Patience is crucial, but it is important that you do not wait to be rescued from that knight in shining armour. Instead, confidently explore, realise your own potential and your Prince Charming will turn up with that glass slipper when you least expect it.

“Some people are settling down, some people are settling and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies” (Sex in the City)

Image reproduced from webhealthwatch.org

Picky, Faulty or Simply Unlucky – Part 2

“I don’t like to be labelled as lonely because I am alone!” - Delta Burke

As suggested in part one, being single in your thirties can give rise to implied connotations, hidden disapproval and unexpected complications.  Deeply immersed within an opinionated society, (and steadily swimming alongside fellow peers who have adhered to certain expectations), the happily single thirty-something may suddenly find herself drowning from the pressures of speculative questioning and flabbergasted facial expressions, every time her single status is discussed.

Single? Happy?

Single? Happy?

Red Carpet  Vs. Painting the Town Red

Despite trends in the celebrity world where childbirth is now embarked upon later on in life and the furtive emergence of the sexy cougar, there is still an underlying buzz that surrounds the choice to remain single. Over the years, females such as Rachel McAdams, Tyra Banks and Mindy Kalm, have illustrated the possibility of achieving success and happiness, whilst remaining single. On the other hand, the average female who enjoys the perks of a thriving career and an occasional night out with her supportive network of friends, may still be caught in the trap of annoyingly having to justify her status and reassure the outside world that she is happy. Everyone seems to have an opinion, or harbour an element of curiosity when it comes to the single woman in her 30’s. At City Connect we continue to look at some of the real reasons behind this status.

Once Bitten Twice Shy?

On entering a room you exude the amount of poise, charisma and exuberance necessary to spontaneously approach strangers, or be a main speaker at a boardroom conference. Equipped with intelligence, charm and life experience, you may find that it is your cheekiness and directness that intimidates or scares of a date. Family members worry that you unnecessarily erect barriers with the opposite sex, you constantly make excuses as to why the last Wentworth Miller lookalike had very little potential and the world is of the opinion that you are unable to let your guard down to embrace potential happiness. Sadly, the concept of trust may be tarred by the serial cheating ex and the idea of love just a fallacy, owing to the partner who led a double life or the pretentious ex who had no intention of settling down.

The truth is…

We all know that future actions can be predetermined by past events and that we treat others in the manner in which we are accustomed to be treated. For most, the Rihanna song ‘Good girl gone bad’ resonates on a deeper level and there are those who are unable to differentiate between allowing another person to love them, and giving them the opportunity to hurt them again. However, you are open to the possibility of finding love and know that one bad egg does not necessarily contaminate the pack. You may come across hard to the outside world, but secretly you know that if the right man came along to crack your shell, you would happily allow him to melt your heart!

The Idealist

You are the ultimate romantic! Fortified with the tub of Haagen Daz ice-cream, box of tissues and comfortable slippers, you wholeheartedly throw yourself into the concept of finding true love. Sniffling at the moments in movies where timing is not quite right and rejoicing at the pivotal moment when cupid strikes; you are not willing to settle for anything less than perfect. You are confident that your knight in shining armour will sweep you off your feet, open car doors and shower you with romantic gestures. Whilst friends think you reside in an unrealistic bubble, you loyally stick to the idea that there is someone out there for everyone.

The truth is…

You believe that if waiting for the man who knows how to treat a lady right is being unrealistic, perhaps you really are not ready for a relationship. In your social circle, you secretly admire the men who possess the traits you desire, (so you know they do exist) and spend countless hours on the phone with distraught friends who have jumped into relationships with their eyes closed. Hugh Jackman may not knock at your door, but your letterbox will help filter the one night stands, from the one gentleman who will ring your bell in more ways than one!

2013 Woman

We have all heard of the evolved New Age man that wears mascara, carries a man bag and spends more time than you in the bathroom. It is now time to embrace the 2013 woman who has been through the fire of relationship turmoil and spent a considerable amount of time to rehabilitate her body, heart, and spirit. During the process you have immersed yourself in another area of your life to distract, entertain and better yourself. As a result your ideas of marriage may have changed, you have become more independent and your man has to match the ambition, dreams and drive that you now possess.

Man! I Feel Like a Woman (Shania Twain)

Contrary to what most think, you are not a snob and your type of man is not the millionaire that can give you everything. Due to time out of the game, you are adjusting to new methods of dating, enjoying random experiences and gauging what the new you truly want from a relationship. Up until this point you may have been motivated by ambition, money or status and whilst you are comfortable being alone, you are happy to redefine your boundaries to allow the right man into your life. However, as you have waited this long, the right man has to be worth the sacrifice!

Meeting Mr Right can be difficult, regardless of what stage you are in life. So whether being single in your thirties is a clever guise for the woman who is set in her ways, holds unrealistic expectations, or simply an individual ‘who is strong enough to live and enjoy life, without depending on others,’ the debate continues!

Picky, Faulty or Simply Unlucky – Part 1

With Beyonce’s undeniable vocal skill celebrating its benefits, alongside Ne-yo’s sexy tones highlighting the magnetic allure of them, the single woman in 2013 is largely considered as a physically autonomous and mentally powerful female, armed with abundant choices. However, despite glamorous examples of females, such as Kelly Rowland and January Jones, it seems that the once celebratory and supportive consensus, (that is enjoyed by most in their 20’s), gradually fades once individuals reach their thirties. Recent statistics illustrate that one in five women, in Britain, over 35 is single and childless, with numbers suggesting that women are more financially capable if they choose to marry later in life. Nevertheless, the single 30-something is still met with negative attitudes, stigmas and messages ingrained from childhood.

SJP as Carrie Bradshaw

SJP as Carrie Bradshaw

I don’t need a man!

The Pussycat Dolls confidently crooned about their ability to enjoy life without having someone to share it with, but do these lyrics reflect the true feelings of singletons? From a young age, we tend to set the thirties as a benchmark for that perfect job, 2.4 families, amorous relationships and stability. Braced for battle, we enter this decade with an increased sense of self awareness and anticipation, (which if single), appears to be unevenly matched with a suspected shrinking dating pool, increased personal responsibilities and a detachment to our previous social crowd, who have all settled down. Whilst there may not be any malicious intent; the raised eyebrows, shocked expressions and psychological questioning used to ascertain what is wrong with you, can be a little tedious.

Someone press the snooze button!

The antics of the notorious Sex in the City girls, alongside the infamously engaging and humorous journey of Bridget Jones, has provided years of inspiration and seemed to disassociate the assumption that being single later in life, is linked to feelings of loneliness, failure and melancholy.  Highlighting the fun of flirting, rejuvenating those belly butterflies and encouraging females to take more control in being the masters of their own destiny, (whilst the plots focused on finding true love), they gave females the encouragement to experiment and enjoy their status of being single.

Venus vs. Mars

Their effect just scratched the surface. As whilst you can openly drool over the mature eligible bachelors, (who have more time to play the field and enjoy the bachelor life with a prosperous career), in popular magazines, there is a distinct lack of the female equivalent. Instead this is replaced with constant reminders of how loud your body clock is ticking, scrutinising statements, sympathetic suggestions on how to date and offers to match make.

Why are you single?

This question alone can be uncomfortable for some singletons, but in order to dispel the stereotypes, or try to alleviate the pressures on 30-somethings looking for love, it has to be addressed. Everyone seems to have an opinion, so we at City Connect have decided to explore the stereotypes and stigmas that may give rise to the woman whose bad experiences, ambitious streak or personal preferences, prevent her from walking down the aisle!

Single Stunner!

From the outside world, you are extremely aesthetically pleasing! Blessed with amazing genes, never short of male attention and constantly receiving compliments, there is the immediate assumption that there has to be an inherent negative reason as to why you are still single. With a supposed line of dates at your door, you may be considered to be too picky, possess personality defaults, or have unrealistically high standards.  Family members will express their concerns, friends may be tempted to encourage you to settle with the last average date and the daily briefing at work may consist of some dating tips from fellow colleagues.

The truth is…

You have edited your perfect man requirement list and have made a conscious choice to entrust yourself to fate, rather than the pressures of society. You are not one for excuses, but maturity has given you an acute sense of consciousness. You are aware of your worth and would not purchase a wedding dress that you had reservations about simply because it fit you.

Reeling in the wrong fish?

You may have experienced quite a few relationships, but they all seem to come to the same ill-fated end. Friends can compose a physical e-fit of your potential beau and family members are able to list the traits you look for, simply because all your ex’s seem to be the same. You fall fast for the cheeky boy personality and furiously shrug off the composed intellect, preferring a rugged Vin Diesel, to a well groomed Paul Walker. To the outside world, you are your own worst enemy for refusing to open up your pool to other potentials.

The truth is…

You have dated a variety of different men, no longer base your ideal man on his superficial appearance and you are mature enough to understand that whilst men may physically possess similar components, they vary in substance. However, if you find that you are consistently complaining that your ex’s take financial advantage, never have enough time for you, or serially cheat, you may have to reassess your relationships and the part you play in them.

“Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with.” (Sex and the City)

Post Break-Up – Are You Hard or Soft Centred?

The end of a meaningful relationship is one of the hardest things to cope with, as it often leaves us exposed to a Pandora’s box of emotions. Newly single, you are forced to cope with the loss of that special person, as well as the shattered hopes and dreams of your previously planned future together. Advice of how to cope is abundant; from taking the time to invest in yourself and reconnecting with friends, to assessing your options and finding that new lease of life to help fill the void. So, whilst Cheryl Cole chose to inherently focus on her career, other celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Kate Winslett and Kim Kardashian elected to invest in luxurious pampering treats and holidays abroad to help them deal with the heartache.

We all possess unique traits and characteristics, so whilst generic advice will aid the process, every break up will affect each individual in an inimitable way. Most of us accept that the majority of relationships end for a reason, but very few of us recognise the subconscious personal transformations we make as individuals, to help us cope with the hurt and heartache.

Rhianna’s ‘Good Girl Gone Bad!’

The easiest trap to fall into after a break up is to indulge in insalubrious distractions such as excessive drinking or casual sex, in an attempt to regain power, attractiveness and attention. This individual was once naive, trusting and loyal, but her inability to cope with the enormity of her emotions, exploded into a hurricane of excessive behaviour, poor decisions and a general lack of control. She will experiment with her new found freedom, unknowingly hurt others with her blasé demeanour and lose sight of boundaries. She may blame the opposite sex for her misfortunes or ineptitudes and will engage in numerous no-strings-attached encounters to fulfil her sexual needs. Not allowing herself time to heal, she opts for the quick fix and it subconsciously manifests itself into a self destructive pattern of serial dating, unfulfilling nights out and encounters. To the outside world, she is content in living for the day; secretly she is incessantly looking for the next ‘high’ to compensate for the loneliness to her detriment. Guys take heed of Lauryn Hill’s warning in her song ‘Doo Wop’ and watch out.

The Stone Queen

This female is characterised by her strong personality, substantial confidence and commonsensical way of approaching others. The very definition to Destiny’s Child’s ‘Independent woman,’ (she provides for herself and depends on no one), but may approach men with scepticism, generalise on past experience and be quick to make judgements. She enjoys the benefits of the other sex, but her emotional detachment and sometimes unobtainable expectations may make her appear aloof, unapproachable and a little intimidating. Taking a fighting stance when it comes to love, she remains in full control of the emotional wall, (she has subconsciously built), effortlessly brushing off anyone who taps into any of her weaknesses. She may cling onto the past, continuously make comparisons and subconsciously ensure that no one matches up to her idea of her ideal partner.

Often expecting the man to initiate and maintain contact, she finds it hard to be tactile, hides behind a cheeky exterior and will often play hard to get. Sadly, her success at masking her pain and fears may inevitably make her, her own worst enemy and scare of any potential suitors!

The Settler

Ruffled by the sudden change, this female will immediately seek solace in the arms of the first admirer who expresses interest, just to fill the void. Shunning the opportunity to reunite with old friends, meet new acquaintances and date others, she is blinded by the subliminal messages that convince her that she cannot be alone. The split may have caused a sudden lack of confidence and self esteem and she is anxious about the future, so she invests in the next human replacement to place her back into her comfort zone. Not giving herself time to lament over her last relationship, she jumps straight into the deep end, guided only by fear. Fear of solitude, attending functions alone and ultimately scared of being that female that Adele sings about in her song, ‘Someone Like You’! Positive distractions can open a plethora of opportunities and lift the spirit, but without standards, aspirations or purpose, they can have the converse effect. This female’s impatience and lack of self-love may make her prey to undesirables, lead to future destructive relationships and leave her unfulfilled when it comes to love!

Destiny Child’s – ‘Survivor’

Without a doubt, most people would like to fall into this category. This female has mastered the art of simply using past relationships as learning curbs and stepping stones. She takes time to focus on herself, skilfully manages unconstructive emotions and refuses to allow negative past experiences to influence, or shape her future relationships. The break up was particularly hard, but she allowed herself the recovery time needed to dissect her emotions, scrutinize past faults and make new dreams and objectives. Content in living for the day; she holds on to the hope of new love, innovative experiences and enthusiastically embraces the quest to find her soul mate. Cushioned with the support of her friends and family, she works hard and plays hard, but always has time to make eye contact with that cute man at the bar!

Letting someone go to allow for something better can be a timely, yet rewarding process. Whether you choose to build a fortress around your heart, or allow others to trample on your exposed vulnerabilities, can make a significant impact on your development and the next individual you attract. Ideally we may all want to possess the traits of the ‘Survivor,’ however individuality will dictate that most of us won’t. Remember that very few people leave relationships unscathed, but if you take Christina Aguilera’s advice by unleashing the ‘fighter’ in you and ‘trusting the voice within,’ it might make the process a lot easier!

Images reproduced from sgclub.com, ultimate-rihanna.com, weheartit.com, blog.thirdeyehealth.com and poplicks.com

Be Careful What You Wish For – Part 2

“Soul mates are people who bring out the best in you. They are not perfect but they are always perfect for you”

Most of us are aware of the age old tale of Aladdin, his trusted genie and the endless possibilities provided with the granting of three wishes. Some will even be familiar with the extremely popular adult version, which uses this wish theory to explain the ‘Law of Attraction’ principle in the book called ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne. However, whilst wishing may be pleasurable, the underlying lesson of repercussions, consequences and potential devastating ramifications, seem to have been disregarded.

In the first part of this article, we looked at the danger of positive traits having a similar effect to the overconsumption of too much chocolate and effectively, turning your Mr perfect into Mr Hyde. In the second part, we will continue to look at the intrinsic qualities from our non-exhaustive wish lists, which can cause irreparable damage in our relationships if not approached with caution.

Shaken and stirred with Mr Bond!

Daniel Craig as James Bond

It is an undeniable fact that chemistry requires a few elements to create sparks, the most poignant being that of visual attraction. From an early age, we subconsciously create internal visions as to what our potential future partner should look like. Whether it is the exquisitely strong, yet rugged look of men such as Vin Diesel and Hugh Jackman, or the fine features of ‘pretty boys’ such as Shemar Moore and Tom Cruise, we know what we find attractive. His piercing eyes, sexy tattooed sleeves or bulging muscles may be what initially attracts you.

But beware:

With the promise of a visual paradise, come the warnings of placing a colossal amount of emphasis on the looks of your potential beau.  You may be content with the knowledge that you have that complete package draped on your arm, who makes your friends drool and the waitress weak at the knees, but those looks may be accompanied with unwanted baggage. They say that there is someone for everyone; however, whilst beauty may ensure attractive babies, it can also increase superfluous female attention. If you are confident, you will overcome niggling self destructive insecurities, but you may also have to battle with the worry that he will not succumb to all that female adoration.  Remember, that in any relationship, it is important that both parties feel lucky with their choice of partner. Looks should only be part of that complete package, as there is no accounting for the man who continuously boasts about his fitness regime, or is unable to hold a conversation.

Coping with ‘The Joker’ in the real world!

Ricky Gervais joking around

If you ask most women what attributes they look for in a man, the majority will emphasise the need for a potential partner to have an amazing sense of humour. With the increasing popularity of men such as Ricky Gervais, Kevin Hart and Russell Brand, the need to have someone that makes you smile is palpable. As well as possessing that ability to elevate the mood after a bad day at work, a good sense of humour seems to be the one attribute that can momentarily conceal any emotional baggage, financial problems, or an extremely bad hair day!

But beware:

What started off as playful amusement can potentially reduce you to tears, if he is unable to switch off the laughter tap and take things seriously. Most people appreciate jovial banter, but very few are as responsive when they are not taken seriously, or targeted as the subject matter of these jokes. Whilst there is nothing wrong with the good-humoured person who is able to see the glass half full, or alleviate the stress out of a bad situation, it is important to know when to stop. If he lacks the maturity to know that point, maybe it is best to leave him to socialise with the King or Ace in that pack of cards!

The Condescending Intellectual

Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud

Whilst most people would find a date with admirable intellects such as J.R Tolkien, Sigmund Freud or Richard Dawkins a terrifying prospect, there are those of us who find a high IQ and intelligence exceptionally attractive. His eloquent use of words, enthralment with books and theories may fascinate you and that healthy obsession with debates and discussions may have you hooked.

But beware:                                     

You should never feel intimidated by anyone you allow to enter into your personal space. Just as the ‘visually fit’ man, (who appears totally oblivious to that fact), is more appealing, the intelligent man who does not brag, appear condescending, or subjectively place himself on a pedestal, can be quite a catch. Sadly, there are those who allow certain attributes to negatively overwhelm others and whilst intelligence is attractive, if patronisingly used to make others feel bad or inept, it can also be quite embarrassing. Save yourself the blushes, looks of disapproval and self-doubt by staying away from the man whose ego grows with every book he reads.

The Flying Bachelor

Jake Pavelka from The Bachelor USA

On paper he is the ideal man; charismatic, ambitious and material secure, with very little external baggage or responsibilities. Very closely linked with the High flyer, he gushes with pride when he talks about his job, travels the world and invests in the latest gadgets. His dreams of a five bedroom mansion, exotic vacations and the possibility of him earning money whilst he sleeps leaves you intrigued.

But beware:

Whilst he may have immense future plans, they may not necessarily include you. He may be one of those individuals who enjoys the freedom of bachelor life, where work can be a priority, he is able to make last minute plans and answers to no one, (apart from his paying boss). If after a certain period of time, he fails to extend invitations from friends, make space in his wardrobe, or can go for days without making contact, he is not ready to make any further commitment. He may be sincere with his feelings, but you should not allow him to have his cake and eat it, if it is all without action. His words may offer a blanket of security, but if his behaviour mirrors that of a single man, it may be time to let him spread his wings until he is ready to touch down on the runway.

Emergence of the Green Eyed Monster

Othello – a classic tale of jealousy

He calls you continuously, showers you with romantic text messages and overwhelms you with his passionate gestures. Continuously talking about you to friends and family, he makes it patently clear to the outside world that you are marriage material and he is captivated. For us females, there is nothing more flattering than being showered with compliments by someone who take a protective stance around male counterparts and makes you feel like you are the only woman in the world.

But beware:                                 

This is one of the most dangerous traits, if boundaries are crossed. Jealousy is a natural human emotion, as no-one wants to share emotional attachments or intimate bonds with outside parties. At its mildest, it is a reflection of your partners’ devotion to you; but at its worst, it can place you within the startling statistics of women who endure mental and physical torture at the hands of their ‘supposed love one.’ When he starts to check your phone, demand your whereabouts, or initiates the process of isolating you from your friends and loved ones, it can lead to a slippery slope of self loathing, domestic abuse and loneliness. If you start feeling claustrophobic in a relationship, walk away before it becomes a re-enactment of the film ‘Battle Royale,’ where parties have to fight until only one is left standing!

Shared with the right individual, love can unearth amazing qualities, evolve you as a person and fine tune your outlook on life. However, it is easy to lose sight of the reasons you fell in love with your partner, as they might later become the very things that irritate and frustrate you.  We may all have a secret idealistic checklist of the characteristics that we would like in a partner, but it is more important to select the individual who shares your core values, champions your beliefs and connects with you on a spiritual level. Warning signals should not only be apparent on reflection. If he has the appearance of a superhero, discard that comic and leave that fairytale land to Disney!

Images reproduced from tailgate365.com, birdsontheblog.co.uk, moviedex.com, articles.nydailynews.com and Wikipedia Commons

How to Survive the Honeymoon Period

“The most important ingredient we put into any relationship is not what we say or what we do, but what we are.”(Stephen R.Covey)

Every day the papers are overpopulated with stories of unfaithfulness, impending divorces and kiss and tell stories of the Rich and Famous.

It seems as though, we have lost the secret ingredient enjoyed by the older generation and replaced it with less fulfilling casual relationships and our ever changing views of marriage.

Most people are happy to be entertained with the drama that surrounds others, but very reluctant to partake in it, so they psychologically opt for enchanting relationships, hoping for love and longevity.

Unfortunately, this can have a negative impact on the choices made within the dating process, due to the superfluous pressure and heightened expectations we place on others when searching for the ‘one.’

There are a few of us that are either serial daters, (callously brushing off anyone who fails to meet expectations, whilst patiently waiting for that ‘special connection),’ or those who find themselves continuously falling at the last hurdle and plagued with the ‘what went wrong’ question. If after a few dates, you find yourselves mutually attracted, but still remain sceptical; here are a few things you should consider to assist with the progression and durability in your new relationship.

Have Fun Challenging Myths and Stereotypes

The dynamics in a relationship vary according to the individuals in it. Whilst your friend may shy away from dating a particular type of guy, you should not let opinions or negative connotations stop you from dipping your toes if you feel that attraction.

Despite the myths, there should be no rules of who approaches who, or how many days you have to wait before calling a potential beau; everyone is different. Confidence coupled with fortitude can be very attractive, but it is far more important to focus on how you conduct yourself, rather than how you are perceived by others.

A lady asking probing questions, (to satisfy her curiosity), will always be better received than the female who pretends to possess a halo, but is easily coaxed into bed.

Location, Location, Location

The initial stages within the dating process should be used as period of exploration. What you choose to do together should provide some insight as to the kind of person you are dating, whilst giving you that much needed time to enjoy each other’s company.

Unless you want your relationship to primarily consist of sexual contact; be smart and try to stay away from conceding to the second date in the bedroom. A healthy sex life with the right person can be amazing, but if it is a long term relationship you are looking for, it is important to find that balance so that sex is presented more as the tempting desert rather than the main course.

Square Peg in a Round Hole?

Compatibility is something that is often overlooked. It is often thought that once you locate the man with an amazing sense of humour, or the female who challenges your intellect that this element will fall into place.

It’s importance become pivotal when you look at the recent breakups of celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries, or Katie Price and Leandro Penna, (where the location of the family home and complete disregard of culture, lifestyle and family life), led to the rapid deterioration of these relationships.

Differences allow people to maintain their identities, whilst encouraging healthy relationships, but it is imperative to have mutual shared interests. Individuals are often presented with signs that could later lead to ‘irreconcilable differences’ in a divorce, so take heed of that light bulb moment.

Don’t Let Your Past Haunt You

Ill-informed opinions, quick judgements and past experiences can often lead to bad decisions and it is not uncommon to hear singletons sending warning singles to others about the individual who comes to a relationship with ‘baggage.’

This is probably one of the hardest principles to enforce, but you should try not to compare the words and actions of an individual, with that of another and also remember that we all carry some luggage around with us to some extent.

Whilst gut feelings can avoid love triangles, (such as the infamous ‘Bradgate’ saga with Jenifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie), secretly checking up on him and raiding her pockets, will inevitably take away that trust and lead to devastating consequences.

Know Who You Are and What You Want

On the first few dates, we are all guilty of putting on a facade to impress the other person. Every woman dreams of that complimentary man, who showers her with flowers and remembers to open the car door, whilst most men are drawn to the woman who glows when talking about multi-tasking her adventurous side with her cooking.

However, as time progresses, flaws will start to surface and honesty comes into play. You may not want to come across picky, but if you cannot do a long distance relationship, you should say so. If the idea of spending an afternoon in the pub with his friend terrifies you, you may have to give him the red card.

Although you should try to steer clear of making comparisons, if that person does not compliment the individual you are, (or simply has greater priorities), now is the best time to realise that. People love ambition, but very few realise that in order to achieve, you have to sacrifice.

If you are not happy to slot into his timetable, then maybe it is best that just remain friends. Bear in mind that ‘you may have to meet a few wrong ones before you can appreciate the right one.’ Set your standards but balance them with your expectations.

Paul Newman & his wife Joanne Woodward

In summary, dating should be an enjoyable rollercoaster of emotions and experiences, ranging from the butterflies of excitement and flirty phone conversations, to that first sensual touch and realisation that you are falling for that person.

Enjoy yourselves as a couple, embrace new experiences and take comfort in the fact that long term happy marriages do exist; you just have to look at the marriage of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward for proof.

Image reproduced from myqualities.com

Be Careful What You Wish For – Part 1

Colin Firth as Darcy in BBC’s Pride & Prejudice

Most are familiar with the concept that like attracts like and many of us are convinced that the reason why we continue to attract similar people into our lives is because they are a reflection of who we really are. For most singletons the quest to find that perfect partner becomes complicated, when their perfectly compiled wish list, is tarred by the failure to recognize the warning signals, ghastly experiences and recurring mistakes. Our lists may adapt with age and experience, but our girlie conversations consistently centre on the dreams, hopes and expectations of the next potential suitor. Some of us remain specific (refusing to lower our standards), whilst others will be more vague yet obstinate that they base compatibility on that captivating smile, exhilarating personality, or that breathtaking spark.

Distinguishing Dr Jekyll from Mr Hyde!

Similar to the recipe for a gingerbread man, we all have a list of qualities that we each believe makes up the dream man. Alongside the numerous films and Mr Darcy type characters which dominate the romantic literature we read, there are the sultry tones of artists, such as Beyoncé, who intensify these expectations with songs such as “Dangerously in Love” and “Halo”. However, whilst dreams can motivate, inspire and encourage, they can also perilously blind the strong independent woman and create an artificial sense of reality.

Dr Banner transforms into The Hulk

In this first of a two part article, we will explore some of the endearing and persuasive characteristics and attributes, which if erroneously placed in extreme hands can change your perfect Dr Banner into his alter ego, The Hulk!

The High Flyer that can never find a place to land

One can tell he is going places with that impeccable culmination of suave suits, inimitable poise and abundant possessions. Draped in designer wear he orders everything on tab, snares one with his riveting conversations about his future business ventures and instantaneously commands respect from his colleagues and peers. With an outer exterior that exudes intelligence, confidence and ambition, he is perfect to introduce to the family and possesses the status and personality to make him a hit with your friends.

Daniel Craig as James Bond

But Beware:

It is easy to overlook the sacrifices and the time consumption that go hand in hand with high positions of responsibility. The initial buzz you experience may soon be replaced by emails, phone calls and last minute meetings that solidify your second place position on the priority hierarchy. Success has its benefits, but it can also unearth unhealthy traits such as aloofness, arrogance and over inflated egos. If you’re potential beau is familiar with calling the shots and designating tasks to over eager employees, it may be hard for him to strike a balance with someone who is stubborn, outspoken and who finds it difficult to take orders. This will inevitably, leave both parties in deadlock and incessantly engaging in a destructive power struggle.

Sadly, many women have sacrificed their development to focus on their partners’ successes only to be left behind when he gains that promotion, gets a seat in office or hits the big time. If time and attention are prominent requirements for your better half, it may be best to let that highflyer pass you by.

Like Batman, don’t be fooled by the silver tongue of The Riddler!

On first glance he may appear ordinary, however once engaged in conversation, his slick tongue, effervescent tales and flattering words have one immediately hooked. His striking presence in a crowd, flattering use of compliments in private and ultimate talent of being able to talk his way out of any situation, leave onlookers astonished and you ready to settle down.

Jim Carrey as The Riddler

But Beware:

The man, who can talk his way out of a fine, flatter the potential mother-in-law and successfully barter the price of an item, may also have the potential to effectively talk his way out of an uncompromising situation, cheat his way out of an affair and convince your family that you are the paranoid one. There is a distinct difference between eloquence and manipulation and whilst very few people have that natural ability to verbally mesmerise others, even fewer will use that talent solely for good purposes. Words speak volumes, but only actions can bring things into being. The uncontrollable urge to vocally please others may initially entice you, but verbal skills will never compensate for the disappointment, heartbreak or fund your material desires. Be wary of the man who promises you world, but fails to deliver!

The masked Mummy’s Boy

There is nothing more endearing than the man who gushes about his mother, brags about his sister and prioritises every family function. His extremely protective nature of his younger sister and the high regard he holds for his mother, emanates respect, immeasurable love and sensitivity to the spectator. His unique admiration for females, authenticate the fact that he knows how to treat a lady and the emphasis he places on the family unit, warms the hardest heart and confirms what a good father he will make one day.

Sarah Jessica Parker & Matthew McConaughey in Failure to Launch

But Beware:

As films like Failure to Launch demonstrate, you could become the ‘other woman’ to the man spoilt by his adoring mother, who waits on him hand and foot. The fact that he refuses to move out of home, jumps when summoned and takes a defensive stance every time his mother is mentioned can certainly be problematic. Whilst mother may always be right; the competition, constant comparisons and demotion to ‘second best’ could soon erupt into heated discussions and develop into a power struggle – a fight you are bound to lose! If he is still content with mummy’s cooking and she has an extended invitation to enter the house with a spare key, be warned, as he may not be ready to be weaned off that dummy just yet!

Everyone puts their best foot forward when they meet someone new. In an attempt to impress the other party we immerse ourselves in provisional facades; suppressing our honest thoughts, concealing our bad traits and laughing at jokes that may not appeal to our funny side. However, whilst it is imperative to know what you want, it is just as important to realise when we are faced with smokescreens, masquerades and incompatibility. Illuminating qualities in an individual are attractive, but just as Part Two of this article will demonstrate, acute and excessive use in the wrong hands, can scarily unearth the Flying Bachelor, Condescending Intellectual and most dangerously the Green Eyed Monster.

Exquisitely wrapped chocolate may look tempting whilst on the shelf, but we are all aware of the health implications of it in high doses. They say never judge a book but it’s cover, but perhaps is can be useful to sneak a peek at the introduction, reflect and flip right through to the end to avoid future heartbreak!

Images reproduced from telegraph.co.uk, tvacres.com, tailgate365.com, spinoff.comicbookresources.com and ivewatchedit.com

How To Avoid Relationship Faux Pas

When you struggle with your partner, you are struggling with yourself. Every fault you see in them touches a denied weakness in yourself. (Deepak Chopra)

The start of a new year always brings about reflection, new ambitions and inspired action to achieve more. As a result, most will initiate diet’s, insist on physical check –up’s and tend to the maintenance of material goods. However, just as your Peugeot or Mazda is significantly easier to start, than to maintain, a lot of us tend to overlook the regular MOT that a long term relationship requires to guarantee longevity. To ensure that you won’t have to mask personality clashes or boredom as ‘irreconcilable differences’ down the line, here are some common ‘bad habits’ that may plague a flourishing relationship if not tended to.

Replace that Dressing Gown and Slippers with Some High Heels

He has seen you in the morning in your natural state, encouraged you to push during childbirth and tended to your every whim when you had flu; it is human nature to be comfortable in his presence. However, whilst familiarity can enhance your intimate connection, it can also encourage self-neglect, insecurity and loneliness. Sadly, these symptoms, (if neglected), can lead to diminished sexual attraction, impertinence, infidelity and contempt. The only way to combat this is to make that effort to devote time to each other, (and not just at the breakfast table over a coffee and paper).

Spontaneity is key and people revel in positive attention and reassurance. So whether it is a surprise text or a ‘date night,’ let them know that you value the intimate moments you share. Ditch that teddy bear gown and spice things up with something more alluring from Ann Summers. Strengthen that bond by suggesting an exhilarating activity (like a charity sky dive), or perhaps a day out devoted to something he has a passion for. Focus on your potential journey together, spicing it up with acts of pleasurable entertainment and impulsive affection!

Why Don’t We Talk Anymore?

Women hold talk groups, authors produce books and the media is infiltrated with programmes packed with advice on how to overcome this problem. Whilst it is common knowledge that communication is one of the fundamental pillars to a successful relationship, it still remains a weakness in so many partnerships. We all have the ability to talk, but the problem seems to remain in how we use it. Open displays of affection on social networks may be cute, but they can also disguise fundamental issues and difficulties. In the same way, sarcasm and raised intonations can negate ones good intention if overridden by rage.

Whilst that sense of humour might get you through the hard times, it is just as important to allocate time to discuss mutual issues. Talking is just another means of engaging that other person and giving them attention. Compliments can bring a smile, but showing an interest in your partner’s day and verbally appreciating the little things, can have a greater effect.

Priority Changes

Whether it was a new job, move of residence or the birth of a beautiful baby, we are all subjected to change. For most, it is viewed positively as a sign of growth, progression and happiness, but it can also lead to power struggles, jealously and the slow deterioration of solid foundations. Celebrity couples such as Kiefer Sutherland and Siobhan Bonnouvier have ‘blamed transition’ for their breakup, whilst the birth of a baby at a young age was listed as an added pressure to the relationship of Pete Wentz and Ashlee Simpson.

There is clearly a significant difference in change for the individual, as opposed to a couple. Whilst we all expect consistent progression from the first date to the proposal, we still have difficulty adapting and accepting differences when having to face challenges alongside others. Team work and really knowing your partner is important. Change brings expansion, but similar to a computer game; once you enter another stage, it is inevitable that you will encounter new and unexpected obstacles. Don’t give up, learn from your mistakes and tackle those obstacles together!

Please Can I Have Some More?

We all know what we ultimately want in life and at a young age we are told to have high aspirations and dreams of owning ridiculously expensive material goods. However, as we grow, our expectations seem to remain unrealistic.

Not content, we venture outside the box to view the relationships of others and begin that self destructive journey of wishing for more. However, just as items you buy have warnings and directions; ‘Beware of the Teaser and be realistic!’ Your rose tinted view of happiness may just be yet another facade leading to a road of resentment, infidelity and melancholy, because ultimately every relationship will be tested. The partnerships that exude longevity and strength are not the ones filled with sexual escapades and spontaneous jaunts, but the ones that have overcome difficulties and have grown together because of them.

Forgetting the Reasons Why You Fell in Love

The discarded socks and position of the toilet seat may now be a pet peeve, but how can you compare that to the heart warming smile and charismatic personality that you first fell in love with? As time elapses, certain quirks that initially attracted you, can turn to slight irritations once you get to know your other half. It is natural for boredom to set in after years of being with one person, but couples such as Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, as well as the notorious Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are testaments to the fact that it is possible to overcome and conquer. No one has the secret to a successful marriage, (as it is clear that one size does not necessarily fit all), but it is obvious that continuous nurturing, support and adaption are imperative to encourage growth together. Love and trust may be pillars, but constructively enjoying each other’s presence is what will keep them standing.

Let’s face it, most long term relationships take a completely different guise once the honeymoon period is over. Whilst the position you advertised for may have been filled, your journey together is now crammed with unexpected events and changing priorities that may challenge the foundations to the idyllic life you imagined. Don’t fall at the negativity post and accept that red card, because these are just common mistakes that can be rectified with spontaneity, endurance and a little bit of creativity.

Your family and your love must be cultivated like a garden. Time, effort, and imagination must be summoned constantly to keep any relationship flourishing and growing. (Jim Rohn)

Image reproduced from glamquotes.com

Time to Walk?


A positive relationship can be an enhancing source of optimism, appreciation and love, however once the honeymoon period subsides and the testing period comes into play, it can also be a breeding ground for contempt, anger, depression, anxiety and unhappiness. Whilst every relationship is unique, most people would agree that it is difficult to pinpoint the defining moment when the initial period of excitement, laughter and spontaneity is replaced with a battle ground of clashing personalities, repetitive mistakes, constant criticism and confusion as to where the mutual feelings that you once shared has gone.

“A bad relationship is like standing on broken glass, if you stay it will keep hurting. If you walk away you will hurt, but eventually you will heal” – Autumn Kohler

Giving Love a Bad Name!

Take a second to focus on your circle of friends. In most cases, there is guaranteed to be at least one individual who is trapped in, what the outside world may consider to be, a poisonous relationship. They may not be the victim of physical or mental violence; their partner may not be cheating; but their general lack of zest, transformation of character, or cynical approach to other aspects of life, is a perfect indicator of when an individual’s relationship may have hit a rocky patch. Whereas we may be aware of its symptoms, (such as a lack of appetite and concentration), most people still underestimate the power of love. Placed in the wrong hands, it has the capacity to isolate and change the person you are, capability to make you act out of character and potency to leave you powerless.

Titanic Vs Unfaithful?

People are often told not to take the advice of friends or loved ones, but by default they look toward the media to find the answer to most questions, despite the fact that implied messages can emanate from two very extreme ends of the spectrum. Packing a punch in the red corner, there are valiant heroes that risk their lives to save or protect the ones they love. In effect, secretly selling the concept of love in a gift box, but failing to address the contents. Conversely, (disguised with mystery, but armed with strategy), in the blue corner, we have the ruthless villains who indulge in debauchery, abuse and even murder, to balance the comfort of home life, with the double life they crave. Very few films actually address the medium in between and for this reason, there are those who cling on to the notion that most people in relationships go through a bad patch. Once there, whether you chose to carry on Rolling in the Deep as sung by Adele, or are pushed to leave, like Angela Bassett in the film, What’s Love Got To Do With It, it is vital you consider your relationship on its own merits.

Stupid in Love?

As vocally epitomized by artists such as Beyoncé, Bon Jovi, Kelly Clarkson, Bruno Mars and so many others, a toxic relationship can lead to a loss of self, antagonistic mental games, loneliness and complete despondency. Therefore, when you come to the point where arguments over petty things are commonplace, sex is non-existent and the time you spend together is deliberately kept to a minimum; why do you stay? Staying in a bad situation out of pity, or for others will only make you resentful and remaining static out of fear will only leave you regretful in later years. The fear of being newly single may petrify you, but so should the fear of being paralysed in a miserable environment for the next fifty years!

The Car Test

Think of your relationship as a mechanically propelled vehicle. It needs fuel as power, but in absence of all the components working in unison, it will probably fail the yearly MOT. What is your fuel? If your answer is drama, arguments, telephone confrontations, or hurtful remarks to gain a reaction, you may have to check under the bonnet and refer to the manufacturer’s manual!

The ‘Story of Us’ Test

We all know that relationships change over time, but are you still compatible? Can you think back to the times you used to smile and re-enact them today to get a similar response? How does your partner make you feel?

Think back to the first time you received flowers and the emotional charge you got whilst deciding the perfect place for them. After time, they lost their aesthetic appeal when they started to wilt. Did you invest in a flower presser to preserve them, or simply throw them in the bin?

“Problems in a relationship occur because each person is concentrating on what is missing in the other person” – Wayne Dyer

The Wellbeing Test

If you were an outsider looking in, would you be your worst enemy? Balance the time you spend moaning and crying to your friends, with the uplifting conversations and nights out that you enjoy together, do they add up?

They say hindsight is a beautiful thing, but learning to listen to your intuition is an even greater gift. After you have exhausted every option, only you will know the answer.