Love advice for couples

It is incredible the amount of information you can get by being here and being silent while someone vents to you about their problems. Don’t talk. Listen carefully. To the tone of their voice, the way their breathing speeds up when they get to the centre of the problem. Stay calm and listen.

By staying calm and listening, I became the person people came to in order to speak about their intimate problems.

And I think it is very important for me to share what I have learnt so far.

 

If you are in a couple:

 

If you feel the love, show the love.

Nothing and no one should ever be taken for granted. You probably never should take anything for granted, but that applies even more so for a human being you love. Granted means forgetting. Forgetting that they have a right to leave you, that they have a right to feel sad you don’t show affection as you used to, that they are not just another object in your house that you get to talk to or use sometimes and put in corner when you’re busy.

Most people thrive on affection. Little gestures can make someone’s day. A brush on a hand on your lover’s back, a smile and a kiss, holding hands, sharing a private joke, throw cake batter at each other, wake them up with breakfast, whatever tickles your fancy.

Show the love, dammit! If you’re lucky enough to love and be loved in return, hold that knowledge and cherish that person every time you get the chance. Finding love isn’t a given. It’s a chance. Be grateful.

 

If you feel the love, talk it out.

A couple can never work without words. Words are the cement holding the bricks of your story. Tell you partner you love them, but also tell them when they’re being stupid or unhelpful.

The reverse is also true: listen to your partner’s voice. It’s not just background noise. If your partner seeks you out to talk something out, it probably means they’ve been holding it in for while. Take five, sit down, listen, and come to a compromise or a solution. This is the person you love. You can, and should take time to work out things that may not be working. And perhaps you didn’t notice some things weren’t working. That’s okay. Most things can be fixed if worked on.

 

If you feel the love, work on it.

Imagine your love as a garden. No garden has ever thrived on being left alone. What happens to a garden when abandoned? It grows weed, , some plants you forgot to water die out, and you can end up with a jungle. Hard to make your way through a jungle without a machete and some serious determination. That doesn’t have to happen if you take care of it a little every day. Weed out of the weeds, trim the plants, water the roses. Work on your couple. That can mean various things for various couples, but as long as you take care of each other, compromise without losing yourself in the process, then there is a solution.

 

If you feel the love, feel the love.

You can love someone and not be in love with them. You can start by being in love and fall out of love. You can love someone fiercely and not be in love with them. That’s okay. Analyse yourself. Do you love them? Do you really love them? Or are you with them for all the wrong reasons? Because it’s comfortable, you’ve been with them for a long time, because you’re scared of being alone, because you have kids, because you feel like you’re not worth anything if they don’t love you, because you know nothing else… Be sure you love them for them, because they make you want to better yourself, because you love them more or as much as you love yourself.

 

If you feel the love, don’t change yourself.

If you love someone, don’t change for them. They should fall in love with you, and you should fall in love with them as they are. Some things will have to change to accommodate your life together, but the price of a couple shouldn’t be the loss of one of your partner or your own personality.

 

But the most important thing is, if you feel the love, make sure you love yourself when you’re with them.

You are the one person you will have to live with for the rest of your life. No one else is a fixture in your life but yourself. Make sure you can look at yourself in the mirror and think “I’m enough all by myself, and I love myself”. If you can say this and love someone else just as much, put a smile on your face and keep it on. Go gardening and smell the flowers.

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5 tips for Lonely People

 

Lonely people have always existed, and in the past few years I have found myself to be a part of this category.

Now, lonely and alone don’t mean the same thing. You can be alone and lonely, but you can also be surrounded by people and still be lonely. Alone depends on the number of people around you. Lonely is its own little monster. It shows up, drags you down, and makes you feel all alone in the world behind the fake smile no one seems to see through.

Being alone is lovely. You get to think, listen to music and dance in your underwear, watch a great movie and eat all the pop corn by yourself (#NoShame), read an enthralling book (in one go) and no one bothers you.

Lonely sucks.

 

So since I appear to have gotten a master’s degree in loneliness, here are my top tips to be comfortably lonely.

 

Tip #1 : Go to a coffee shop. Not an industrial one like Starbucks. Scout the city, find a place where people aren’t in a rush. Take your time ordering a drink, ask the barista what he recommends, find something you haven’t tried before. Sit at a comfortable in the corner and people watch. Observe and invent people’s life. Smile at them, then pretend you’re busy so he/she doesn’t think you’re a stalker (unless you are, which is another issue entirely). Bring a journal and write your feels in there. Leave it for someone to find. Listen to music way to loudly and have no shame, mouth the lyrics and shuffle in your seat. Hum for a while, with various speeds and rhythm. I promise you can cheer yourself up. Just get out of the house, befriend the barista and entertain yourself around other people. The little interactions are like an aspirin against a headache. They almost always work.

 

Tip #2: Train for an athletic event. Anyone can train for a marathon, or a triathlon, or a race. A race is basically a little marathon, it’s only 10km, which you can walk if you feel like it. Why does it help? Because endorphins are great to give you a high and make you feel happy. But also because having an athletic goal gets you out of the house. Run a little, run a lot, walk around if you want, put on some music and move. It takes away a good chunk of time you would be spending feeling lonely. Exercise, in any form, takes time and makes you feel like you are accomplishing something, like you are working towards something. Not to mention the day of the event, where you get to meet great people (don’t take your headphones, I swear you can talk to anyone at a race), have free food and drink (and sometimes massages). For a day, you’re not lonely, because there are hundreds or thousands of people who trained for the exact same thing. You are a part of a group. For a day, sure, but maybe you’ll make friends for life? Encourage people, wave at the people on the sidelines and randomly yell at someone that his/her costume is amazing (there always are people in costumes cheering you up). Those events are all year long and perfect to shake off the lonely monster from your shoulder. After all, you’re running faster than him.

 

Tip #3: Bake the shit out of every complicated recipe you’ve seen on Bake Off. Watch food networks, find a really complicated recipe that looks delicious and spend hours trying to make it as perfect as the recipe. Put music, your favourite apron (go buy a favourite apron if you don’t have one) and destroy your kitchen floor like it’s nobody’s business. The messier, the better. Eat the raw batter, use fancy kitchen instruments like dinosaur cookie cutters to cut your eggplant or your sweet potatoe… or your cookies.

Don’t clean it right away. Sit down and eat the food while it’s hot in front of your favourite TV show.

 

Tip #4: Concerts. Go to concerts or festivals by yourself. If you’re ashamed to say you went alone, say that you lost your friends in the crowd. But frankly, if you tell it like it is, chances are you’ll get invited to a party or to share a beer with a bunch of people you don’t know. Feeling shy? You’re all here for a singer. Talk about a conversation starter, you all like the same person. Done. Conversation starter. If that doesn’t happen, go in the centre of all the fun and jump and sing with everyone. However, don’t drink people’s drink. Take care of yourself.

 

Tip #5: If one evening you feel very lonely, go get this book you’ve been meaning to read but haven’t. Put on some calm music like The Civil Wars, settle down with a cup of tea/coffee/wine and read all evening until your eyes start to close by themselves. Give in. Don’t even brush your teeth, no one will know. Don’t forget, books are temporary friends forever. They won’t replace the real thing, but they’ll do the trick for a little while.

 

However, if you feel lonely, I hope it’s only for a little while.

Take care