A Solace Away from Work

Buying my first house has been far more of an investment than I originally anticipated it to be. Not that I mind; I’ve enjoyed being able to improve the place in a big way. Everything from ordering new shower doors in Union County NJ to a whole new bedroom design, I’ve modified this place to be a sanctuary for myself. I want nothing more than to be able to come home, relax and not think about the daily stresses that I face. It’s ridiculous that as an American I more often than not have to deal with constant stress due to work.

We have to work in order to be able to afford the things that we want.

10 Questions to Answer Before You Date Your Ex

A woman hugging her ex, wondering if it's a good idea to get back together

Does the old saying, “Time heals all wounds” prove to be more true than, “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it”? These conflicting approaches to balancing the past with the present really stay at the forefront of a new partnership involving two people who were previously in a relationship together.

Any relationship from the past must be assessed by answering ten questions. The manner in which you answer these ten questions will help you to answer the big question: Is it a good idea to date your ex?

  1. How Long Have You Two Been Separated?

    If the answer to this question is “not long,” then you must consider whether you two were really broken up. If you are just going back and forth, then your partner is not an ex, but rather is a participant in your drama. If you two have been separated by more than ten percent of your life, then it is long enough to consider getting back together. What is ten percent of your life? If you are twenty years old, then it is two years. If you are thirty years old, three years is ten percent of your life. And so on. IF you have been broken up at least that long, continue on …

  2. What Was the Reason You Two Broke Up?

    First of all, if all your answers place the blame on him, why would you want to get back together? If he has changed, the question you must ask yourself is whether or not you have changed. If he has modified his behavior that contributed to the breakup, but you haven’t, you might allow unwanted behavior patterns from the past to resurface and slowly re-enter your life. In this case, your lack of change will be the biggest hurdle to a successful reconciliation. You must consider your role in the original breakup and be prepared to confront convenient narratives that have evolved over time to confirm your version of reality. Are you ready to admit forgetting and overlooking some of the real reasons? If so, continue on …

  3. How Are Things Different Now?

    What is it about things that have truly changed? Are you more financially stable? Is he? Has a person who came in between you two stepped out of the picture for good? All of this must be analyzed in detail, because if things are not different, how can a relationship be successful under the same conditions in which it fell apart? Look at how much has changed in both of you and assess whether this change has been for the good.

  4. How Will You Stop Falling Into Old Bad Habits?

    There are two ways to maintain a second-time-around love: committed or sloppy. If you are committed with a reborn love, you two should be able to maintain a consistent approach in moving forward. Being sloppy means suddenly falling back into the patterns that allow bad habits to rule your lives. How are you committed to halting the recurrence of these habits?

  5. Were You Both Too Young the First Time?

    If you look back on when you two were together, and it is obvious that you were too young to even really comprehend what you two were doing together, that is a great sign. If you look at each other and life is relatively the same as it was when you two split and you cannot point to any specific transformative event in either of your lives, getting back together would be like rearranging the furniture in your living room. It is new and interesting for a while but it is no substitute for moving to a nicer house. The goal in life is to be moving forward. If who you are has changed and who he is can be seen as fundamentally matured, you two might be ready to “try, try again.”

  6. Was Cheating Involved – Would It Be Different Now?

    While we all want to believe that people have the capacity to change, if infidelity occurred in your relationship and you two have separated, what are you doing to ensure that this is no longer an issue? If you are not getting counseling, the pairing between you two is a time bomb, waiting to destroy the trust you have pieced back together.

  7. Was Substance Abuse Involved in the Initial Breakup?

    If issues of addiction and substance abuse were central to your relationship, only after treatment and a few years of complete sobriety should revisiting an old relationship even be considered. Like falling into old bad habits, the chemistry between you two could have echoes of old demons, things in your nature that need work in the therapeutic process, not the love relationship.

  8. Is This Just a Booty Call?

    If old bad habits are hard to break, how about old feel-good habits? If both of you are clear that a booty call is not the resuming of your committed relationship, then there is nothing stopping a good time and a good physical release. But the bump and grind can create deep feelings instantaneously and passion can develop into an emotional connection when it was agreed upon to just remain physical. It only takes a few minutes to fall back in love when you replay the ultimate committed act.

  9. If This Is a Rebound or Comfortable Wedge Relationship, Is One of You Being Used?

    Many former relationships are re-entered as safety nets when a subsequent love relationship fails. A rebound is a quick, fragile union between people after the demise of a strong affair. A wedge relationship is an acknowledged short-term relationship that simulates a long-term love commitment. Unless you two are both clear on the short duration of getting back together, there could be hurt feelings and a permanent severance between you two.

  10. Did You Two Have Children and Want to Make It Work for Them?

    Casual dating with your ex-husband is cruel to children. If you want to make things work for the good of your kids, it is better to have a definite separation or a definite union than it is to build some drama where you two have other partnerships. Do not use your kids as a rationalization. Be definite; it is the ultimate sign of love and is the biggest healthy step you can take toward finding a great love relationship in the world.

Channeling Positive Love Energy: 5 Things You Can Do Right Now

Meditating on Love ThumbnailEverywhere you look you see people in love: at the beach, eating dinner at a restaurant, even at the supermarket. But the frustrating thing is while love may be all around you, for some reason, you just can’t seem to bring it home. You’re either meeting all the wrong people, or just not meeting anyone at all.

And while you might think you don’t have any options, you actually do have a couple of choices: You can curse your luck . . . or you can change it.

How? By releasing negative energy and behaviors that are either holding you back or closing you off from love signals that might be meant for you. Whether consciously or subconsciously, you may be putting up barriers to love that you’re not even aware of. It’s as if it’s raining love in buckets, but on an emotional level, you’re holding up an invisible umbrella and bundled up to weather a Nor’ Easter.

In order for love to find you, you have to lose the layers and put down the parasol. Following these steps isn’t guaranteed to put you on the path to true romance, but they will certainly help you become a more visible target the next time Cupid sets you in his sights.

1. Clean Up Your Act

When it comes to trying to attract love into your life, if you’re surrounding yourself with junk (both literally and figuratively) you might as well be wearing full-body camouflage. All that “stuff” you’re holding onto is actually turning you from a bright, shiny diamond, glittering in a showcase, into that proverbial needle in a haystack that’s almost impossible to find. Sure, someone might accidentally step on you, but chances are, they’re going to look in more accessible places for romance.

So on a literal level, it’s a great idea to periodically go through your possessions and get rid of things that aren’t actively adding to your agenda. Donate. Toss. Repurpose. Don’t worry–you absolutely don’t have to get rid of everything, but even divesting yourself of a few possessions can make you feel lighter and change the flow of energy from “stop” to “go.”

On a figurative level, you must try to learn to “forgive and release.” Bad things can and do happen, even to good people. However, when it comes to not finding the love you seek, you need to differentiate between an explanation and an excuse. Understanding how you got to where you are is healthy, but yanking out past misfortunes, especially romantic ones, as the reason “no one is good enough for you” or “is only going to hurt you anyway” can become a crutch that serves to hold you back rather than support your efforts. Learning to acknowledge your past and then let it go will help you release emotional baggage that’s keeping you from finding the love you seek.

2. Feng Shui Your Bedroom

Feng Shui is a traditional Chinese art for balancing energy to promote health and harmony for the mind, body and spirit. Practitioners of this ancient technique believe that when energy is out of balance, positive energy can either be blocked, and thereby prevented from reaching you, or actually drained away. By applying the principles of Feng Shui to your bedroom, you can both attract and activate positive “chi” (a Chinese term which loosely translates to “life force”) that can help energize your love life.

Everything from the placement of your bed or where you hang mirrors, to removing non-essential electronics and the color scheme you choose can have a negative impact on your chi, but one of the first rules of Feng Shui reinforces the idea that less is more. Nothing is more detrimental to a positive flow of chi than clutter.  A neat bedroom promotes harmony and attracts love.

3. Meditate

Do you know the difference between meditating on love and obsessing over it? One employs a practical technique called “metta” that helps you bring the healthy relationship you seek into clearer focus, the other allows your negative emotions to consume you.

Metta teaches that in order to love others, we must first love ourselves. It shows how to focus on love that already exists, and prepares you to be accepting of more love by creating a positive environment in which to sow the seeds of future romance.

4. Rejoice

Joy begets joy. Do things that please you. Create good work. Share yourself and put yourself out there. Sing. Dance. Volunteer. Don’t abandon common sense, but do open yourself to new adventures. Say yes because saying yes to the universe is a signal that you’re ready to embrace romance when it comes your way, and helps make you a lightning rod for love.

5. Stop Looking

Think of finding love like growing a garden. You wouldn’t go out and buy the flowers before you’d found a sunny spot, gotten rid of the weeds, prepared the soil, and made sure you had water close by, would you? If you concentrate on creating an environment in which love can flourish, rather than being on a perpetual lookout for your perfect soulmate, you might not have to chase love down. There’s actually a good chance it will come to you.

Five Signs You’re Not Ready For New Romance

Clean House for a New Romance ThumbnailWe live in a culture that tells us being in love is the be-all and end-all, but when love goes wrong and relationships end, it’s up to you to clear up the clutter in your own emotional house before hanging out that “single” shingle. While it’s easy enough to say, “I’ve got to clean up my act,” it’s often much harder to achieve. Because besides the hard work involved, sometimes, we’re unprepared to admit that the mess in front of us is, at least in part, of our own making. If you’re wondering if you’re ready for the next new thing, but aren’t totally sure, here are some clues that you might just have a little more renovation to do before you get back in the game.

1. You’re Still In Love With Your Ex

Rationalize all you want. Make every excuse. Tell yourself and anyone who will listen that you’re done, through, finito! But if your everyday world is booby-trapped with physical reminders and emotional landmines that consistently blow up and send you reeling into either fond or angry reminiscences about the one that got away–like the makeup she left behind in the medicine cabinet that you haven’t gotten around to tossing, or the T-shirt of his you still sleep in “because it’s really comfortable”–then chances are, you’re not over your ex.

What You Can Do About It

Some people who have lost love, especially those who feel badly burned by a romance soured, take the “scorched earth” approach and banish every scrap of evidence—physical and emotional—of their former flames.  There’s certainly something to be said for the cathartic element of clearing away failed love in one fell swoop, however, by pretending your former partner never existed, you are likely refusing to acknowledge the truth of what went wrong in the first place.

The opposite extreme are those of us who just can’t let go of anything that reminds us of our exes. This often happens when lovers hope, openly or secretly, that the object of their former affection may be coming back. Again, this type of rationalizing and denial is only holding you back from moving ahead, because it keeps you stuck in the “emotionally unavailable” zone.

There’s an old saying that goes, “if you love something, set it free,” but what many don’t understand is that if you can “let things go” in a healthy way by honoring and integrating what you’ve learned into the present and moving ahead, rather than denying or ignoring the past—you will set yourself free as well. If it’s truly “meant to be,” that lost love may return, and if not, you’ll be ready to embrace something new.

2. You Think Being With Anybody is Better than Being with Nobody

Many people feel the need to be in a relationship because, plain and simple, they’re afraid of being alone. Some use being in a relationship to validate their existence. Others have abandonment issues, and are constantly trying to fill an emotional void, that, like a metaphoric black hole, is not something that can ever be filled. Whatever the motivation, the core of most discomfort about being trapped in life at a “table for one” has to do with lack of self-esteem.

What You Can Do About It

Your mental house not only needs to be cleaned, but you also need to shore up structural damage. The first step you should take is making an honest assessment of broken behavior that has neither served you in the past, nor will further your cause in the future. Learning to differentiate between “being alone” and “being lonely” is a process that can take time, and may require professional assistance.

If you look into the mirror and don’t like what you see, or feel incomplete unless you’re in a relationship, a consulting a romance advisor to help shed light on problems that are staring you in the face that you still don’t notice might be the perfect place to get the relationship ball rolling in a more productive direction.

3. Everyone You Know is In a Relationship, So You Should Be, Too…

Peer pressure is a powerful thing, and falling prey to it can lead to poor decision-making, even as we get older. When all your peers seem to be paired up, and you’re left standing out in the cold, the impulse is often to hook up with the next even semi-sentient creature that comes along and project “happily ever after” on them, no matter how ill-suited a partner they may be.

What You Can Do About It

If friends and family are making you uncomfortable about being alone, or constantly trying to fix you up with all the wrong people, take a moment to step back from the “madding crowd,” and reflect on what it is you really want from your next long-term romance. As difficult as it may be to see the people you know contentedly coupled when you’re not, do your best to be happy for them, but stop comparing what they have with what you don’t–because it’s a waste of time and energy that would be better spent investing in yourself.

Of course, feedback from trusted friends can be a positive resource, but what will be of more value to you will be learning to trust your own instincts and appreciate that your needs are not necessarily the same as other people’s. When you have a clear idea of who you are and what you want, the universe has a way of bringing it into your life.

4. You’re a Romance Junkie

You love being in love. The thrill of the chase fills you with ecstasy. The first rush of passion is your favorite natural high. But when reality sets in, you begin to feel trapped. Suddenly, there are cracks in the façade, and your new love doesn’t seem as perfect as they did at first blush. Little by little, their flaws and idiosyncrasies begin to annoy you. Even things that drew you to that person in the first place begin to seem less than appealing. Your dissatisfaction grows, and you feel chafed by the confines of boredom as more and more, familiarity breeds contempt. So… you either A) break up with the person you once thought was perfect, or B) start seeing someone else behind their back.

What You Can Do About It

Grow up. Sound harsh? That may be true, but if you’ve got a revolving door on your love life because you love “the idea of being in love” more than the actual process of loving someone and having them love you back, you’re not ready for a mature relationship. Sure, it’s fun to be the kid in the candy store, but we all know stuffing your face with gobs of sweets is not something that’s going to end well, nor will happiness be found in grabbing at every shiny new thing that comes your way.

If you’re young and not ready to settle down, there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you understand it yourself, and make it clear from the beginning to the people you’re dating that you’re not ready for the long haul yet.

5. You Think Having the Right Partner Will Solve All Your Problems

Mr. Right. Prince Charming. Betty Crocker. Whatever your idea of the perfect partner is, there’s no such thing, nor is anyone going to sweep into your life and magically erase your every current woe. Long story short: If you believe that being part of a couple is the answer to all of life’s conundrums, you haven’t got your head screwed on straight.

What You Can Do About It

The most mutually beneficial love partnerships require a 50/50 share of the commitment, so it’s unrealistic to hope that someone else is going to put in 110 percent while you sit back and enjoy the profits. Love may be more important than money, but it is a resource to be invested wisely. Unless you’re a total gold digger, you’re going to have to be willing and able to hold up your fair share of the bargain, and in order to do that, you’ll have to build up some equity, as in self-worth.

Think about it. By letting someone else solve all your problems for you, you’re actually abdicating control of your own destiny. As much as a new romance may be a temporary fix for what ails you, in the long run, you might just wind up resenting a partner who has, in effect, bought you, and hating yourself for letting it happen. Is that what you really want? Likely not. When you’re not happy with your life, you’re the one who needs to change it for the better, preferably before inviting anyone else along for what may prove to be a bumpy ride for the both of you.

 

Not sure if you’re ready to bring a new love into your life? Let a KEEN love advisor help you put your house in order before you start sending invitations.

Sunshine of Your Summer Love

Summer of Love ThumbnailIn 1967, “The Summer of Love” shook conservative America to its very foundation with a clarion call—not to battle, but for “peace, love and understanding”—and along with it the glorious rebellion marked by “sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll.” But eons before throngs of flower children massed in Haight-Ashbury, “summer lovin’” (obligatory Grease reference—check!) was a hot topic, and historically has been since mankind started keeping track of such things.

Some of the catalysts that drive summer love are cultural, and some, when you get right down to it, are pure chemistry. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking into a few of the summer-centric elements that truly put the locomotion in your hot-weather rendezvous—and we’re starting off our list with the most ubiquitous factor of the season—sunshine!

Here Comes the Sun

It’s true, The Moon is one of the tarot deck’s most mystical cards, and moonlight may be made for romance, but speaking strictly through the lens of science, the illumination of the moon is really just reflection of sunlight. Much as the sun (another stellar card in the tarot deck) is responsible for our appreciation of a glorious lunar spectacle, it also manufactures some powerful performance-enhancing natural chemicals in the human body that encourage our urge to merge like nothing else can.

As the late great John Denver so aptly sang, “Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy”—and with good reason. Sunshine—or more specifically, ultraviolet (UV) rays—gift us humans with a host of health benefits, many of which relate directly to mood, attraction, and—dare we say it? Sex.

Yeah, we know. “UV = BAD!”

There’s no arguing that overexposure to these potent solar darts can be more than a little damaging, and melanoma is certainly nothing to laugh about. However, getting the right amount of sunlight, at the right time of day, can work wonders for your libido. And as a bonus activity: sharing the sunscreen, as in, “I’ll do your back if you do mine…” has kindled many a summertime affair.

Vitamin D-lightful

In an article for Psychology Today, Alex Korb, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher in neuroscience at UCLA, notes: “UV always gets a bad rap, because too much of it can lead to skin cancer. However, UV is important because UV light absorbed through your skin produces Vitamin D. Vitamin D plays many roles in your body, including promoting serotonin production[1].” And serotonin, for those who don’t know, helps regulate mood and libido. A deficit of serotonin can lead to depression and loss of interest in sex, while a healthy level may lead to the less-than-scientific outcomes of “feeling happy” and “making whoopee[2].”

While tanning might not be healthy for the epidermis, the appreciation of tanning may actually be part of a Darwinian cycle to ensure the race survives—at least, according to some researchers. Dr. Gad Saad, a professor of marketing who holds the Concordia University Research Chair in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences and Darwinian Consumption, has posited that the pursuit of tanned mates may have more to do with our lizard brain than common sense. In other words, our biological imperative to reproduce overrides concerns over long-term negative effects of tanning, but “natural selection could accept such a trade-off[3].”

And, as Korb also points out, the light you take in via your peepers has a similar effect on serotonin production, so you can give your flesh a rest—but he does caution that the time of day you “ingest” your Vitamin D actually makes a difference, and the earlier the better: “Bright lights at night block the conversion of serotonin into melatonin,” he explains, “and melatonin is essential for a good night’s sleep.”

You Light Up My (Love) Life

Studies show that in addition to boosting serotonin, sunshine also ups levels of the human love hormones testosterone and estrogen, as well as dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate the reward and pleasure centers of the brain.  Not bad!

Conversely, as previously noted, sunshine blocks melatonin production, and while that’s not so hot when you need to get your zzz’s, less melatonin may actually equate to fewer inhibitions, mood-wise. According to a study on tanning conducted by Wake Forest University, UV rays may also be responsible for releasing endorphins, which produce a euphoria often equated to a “natural high[4].” So, as long as you’re careful, and don’t overdose on UV consumption, when it comes to sunshine, what’s not to love?

 

Looking for someone special to light up your summer? A KEEN advisor can help show you where the action is!

Making the Most of Your Relationship Mistakes

A woman walking away from her boyfriend wondering if he's right for her

Your relationships can be viewed as a school with many classrooms to spend time in and lessons to learn. With each successive relationship you learn more about love, attraction, equality, and the destruction you or someone else is capable of. If you are lucky enough to be with one person for a lifetime, you’ll learn all those lessons in one relationship. But there is nothing like a relationship failure to create the impetus to start sorting through the baggage of attitudes and beliefs that you carry from one relationship to the next. Although you might like to avoid the inner work necessary to achieve a healthier relationship, you have to appreciate that with insight you grow to make fewer mistakes.

Whether it is your criteria in choosing a mate that requires a second look or the fact that in every relationship there is a pattern of frequent communication meltdowns, taking a hard look at yourself is important, especially if you don’t want your new or future relationship to fall into the same destructive patterns.

Making Foolish Conditioned Choices

The natural question arises: Do we really make the wrong choices in selecting a mate or does a relationship choose us so that we can fulfill a life lesson we agreed to learn? The answer is: it happens both ways. Conditioning sometimes drives the mate selection process forcing you to choose someone you are conditioned to believe suits you best. That is why many women choose a mate just like their father, especially if they are seeking the comfort of a familiar personality to start with. Or you may find yourself attracted to a bad boy thinking you will resurrect his soul and put him on the path of righteousness. This choice reflects a woman’s conditioned tendencies to see herself as a healer to mankind. The key is to identify the pattern in your choices and to determine if conditioning is driving them. Sometimes we can’t help attracting the wrong kind of person. They just seem to arrive on the relationship stage one after another. In this case, you are completing bad karma and you may have to acknowledge your mistake was in a previous life.

Led on Too Long

It doesn’t feel good to be left on hold wondering when he will stop playing the field and see that you were “the one” all along. You made yourself available, waited for his calls, loosened all other ties thinking dawn would break any day now. But if after two years you have not established an exclusive relationship, it’s likely you’ll never get the commitment you want. See the mistake of making yourself too available to someone who never wanted more than a casual relationship.

Red Flags Don’t Mean a Thing

Some personalities tend to ignore obvious signs at the beginning of a relationship that spell out trouble and warn that the subject of attraction is not exactly relationship material. So what that he tells you he was married eight times and each time it was the woman’s fault the relationship failed. Or that he guzzles a six-pack in front of the TV on your second date. Ask yourself this question: How was my blindness a product of my desperation for love? And perhaps your eyes will be open on the next go-round.

Thinking Communication Is a One-Way Street

Dictatorial communication styles are often a symptom of mindsets of inequality. Whether it is you giving out the orders and venting for hours or your partner who thinks his way is the right way and you should have nothing to say, the relationship will suffer from degradation. Words can be powerful, but how you say them can be even more powerful. Examine your communication style and the mindsets it stems from. If it needs changing, change the communication dynamic by focusing first on your own style of communicating.

Breaking Up When You Need to Make Up

If you were too quick to leave a relationship in the past you know the pain you caused as well as the regrets you have. Flight behavior can represent a fear of intimacy or the inability to recognize that people can change with time when they value the love between them and each other. Fighting the urge to break up and developing some patience and understanding may very well save a relationship deemed too challenging.

Living Too Long Without Love

If it is love that you are after, you need to face the fact that you are lovable and that you deserve a partner who sees the sun, moon, and stars in your eyes. But if he doesn’t seem to be treating you with love and respect, keeps you at a distance and is self-absorbed, unresponsive or overly critical, the problem isn’t necessarily you. There is nothing worse than staying in a relationship that is impoverished or with a lover who is never in the mood for love. In fact, it is heart-breaking. Your mistake may be in expecting a turn-around by demanding better treatment. Demands seldom seem to work. The magical elixir may be to create a life outside the relationship that looks greener. If you matter anything to him and he see’s you’ve moved onto greener pastures, he may start to value what he lost. If not, you have created a new life to move all the way into.

Too Much Unsorted Emotional Baggage

Emptying the baggage that you should have left at the airport of your last relationship need not fly in the face of a new partner. In fact, you need to accomplish letting go of the regrets, guilt, shame, anger and grief before you enter another relationship. Maybe you think you have done it to your satisfaction, but just in case look beneath the lining to see if you are harboring something else inside.

Admitting You Made Mistakes

Admitting you made mistakes in a relationship can be difficult to swallow especially if you are the kind of person who doesn’t like to admit they were wrong. The tendency may be put most of the blame on the other person and not take responsibility for your part. End the blame game by focusing instead on what behaviors from you contributed to the problems in the relationship. Then forgive yourself and make strides in learning from those mistakes, promising yourself never to do the same thing again.

Settling for the Short End of the Stick

Women who get no respect usually expect none. They are so conditioned to believe a woman is undeserving, can never measure up, and should be subservient that the short end of the stick seems taller than she feels. Therefore, she will ask for little and watch how her man commands her universe and his. Inequality is no joke, especially if you have lived it too many times or for two long a period of time. The mistake women make is thinking they can never expect equality without chasing away their man. The learning curve demands that a woman stop using the stepping stones of an outdate legacy and see herself forging a path of equality for the sake of the evolution of mankind.

Passing on Someone Perfect for You

If you are the type of woman who seeks the “perfect” man, you are guaranteed never to find him. In fact, you may have even passed on a man who was your divine complement (soulmate) thinking at the time you could do better. If you are in the habit of dissecting the men you attract, try instead to erect a new standard: “A divine design is better than mine.”

College Dating Basics for Freshman

When it comes to dating in college, there are a lot of things that you want to keep in mind. The truth is that you are in a very contained environment; so dating can actually be quite difficult. If you aren’t careful, it could also distract you from your studies. On some university campuses, like the campus belonging to Syracuse University, there are thousands of students, so finding someone you like can actually be quite difficult. Time and time again, though, seniors and upperclassmen will tell you that they wish they had some form of dating advice when they were getting through their first year. If you like someone, it can be hard to know what you should do. Here are some college dating basics for freshmen.

Keep Yourself Focused on School

Of course, the first bit of advice you should hold on to is that you want to make school your priority. If you are too focused on dating, it could lower your grade point average and college may become a lot tougher. This is why you want to focus most of your energy on school and finishing your assignments. If you have enough free time, dating may just be the cards.

Be Selective

When you are looking for a mate, you want to be very selective. You want to make sure that you find someone that has the same interests, likes and dislikes. This will make it a lot easier to talk and spend time together. If you aren’t selective, you may come into a number of situations where you just are compatible with the other person, which can make dating quite unbearable.

Long Distance Relationships Don’t Often Work Out

If you were already in a relationship when you came to college, that relationship may now be long distance. If that is the case, you definitely want to reevaluate some of your decisions, especially if you have found yourself in a situation where you are spending every spare moment talk and texting with that person. Of course, if you getting a degree from NEC Online, it may be a lot easier to stay home and continue your relationship – it’s all up to you.

Don’t Expect aSerious Relationship

When you do date in college, you don’t want to automatically assume that the person wants to develop a relationship. Many people in college simply want something short and fun. If you want a relationship, or if you expect relationship, you want to look for it and be communicative about it. The moment that you aren’t communicative is the moment that a date could go wrong.

Avoid Dating Someone Who Lives in Your Dorm

On top of everything, you want to avoid dating someone that lives in the same dorm or apartment complex as you. There are a number of reasons why you don’t want to do this. One of the biggest reasons is that you don’t want to get distracted. Also, if things don’t work out, you don’t really want to be seeing the other person around all the time.

How to Make College Dating Work

Dating is never easy, but it can be especially challenging while you are in college. A lot of people aren’t looking for serious relationships while they’re in college, and those who are often have trouble balancing all the demands of being a college student with the demands of being a good boyfriend or girlfriend. However, this doesn’t mean that it is impossible. Here is how to make college dating work.

Prioritize Academics

If you want your relationship to last, you are going to need to make sure that you are staying on top of all of your classes first and foremost. If you start to let your grades slip because you are spending too much time or energy with your sweetie, it’s going to put a lot of unnecessary pressure on the relationship. The trick to dating in college is to make sure that you are only spending time together when you are done with all of your school work.

Be Forthright

It’s important that you are always very direct about what you are looking for in the relationship. If you aren’t looking for anything too serious, but you enjoy having someone to help you get through the long weeks at Syracuse University, then you should be clear about that. If you are looking for a serious relationship that could potentially lead to marriage, then you should be clear about that as well. You definitely don’t want to drop the m-word at any point within the first few months, but you should be direct about the fact that you’re not looking for a fling.

Maintain Independence

You don’t want to become too dependent on your partner in any way. Getting too emotionally dependent is dangerous territory, but getting financially dependent is completely unacceptable. Not only will this put a lot of undue pressure on your partner to support you, but it will also be extremely unstable in the likely event that the relationship doesn’t last. Aside from emotion and finances, though, you also want to maintain your own passions and personal endeavors. You will be much more attractive to your partner if you hold true to your own unique pursuits.

Maintain Trust

There’s no way that you can have a relationship without a strong foundation of trust. This can be especially hard if you are at Syracuse and your partner is at Maryville University. However, if you don’t behave in a way that makes you trustworthy, and if you don’t place trust in your partner, then you are inevitably going to be fighting a lot, which is never a good thing. If you are dealing with a lot of jealousy or if you are overly possessive, then you are not ready to be in a relationship.

Be Supportive of One Another

No matter what, you need to support one another with everything that you do. When your partner gets bad news, you want to be there to console them. When your partner gets good news, you always want to be there to celebrate and congratulate them. If both partners don’t feel supported, then the relationship is not working out.

How to Keep a Long-distance Relationship Strong

Long-distance relationships can be difficult, as being far from a loved one can put a strain on the strength of your relationship. If you’ve decided to enter into a long-distance relationship, it’s important to remember not to slack off when it comes to putting effort into your bond. If you have a significant other who is far away, knowing how to keep your relationship strong will ensure a lasting love.

Instructions

  1. Talk over the phone at least once a day. It’s important that while you are far apart you are still very much a part of one another’s daily routine. If you can talk twice — say in the morning and before bed — that is even better. Even if you are busy and don’t have a lot of time, make an effort to have at least a short conversation or make a plan to talk at the same time every day.
  2. Plan video dates once or twice a week. Most computers today come equipped with webcams that allow for you to converse and see a person far away. If you don’t have a webcam you can find them at most electronic stores. Share a glass of wine with each other over the webcam, have dinner at your computers with one another, watch a movie together or even just talk.
  3. Make a plan for regular visits. This doesn’t mean breaking the bank to visit every weekend, but setting up an agreement that each of you will periodically visit each other can provide a goal to look forward to while you are apart. You could even set up a bank account where you each contribute a certain amount of money a week to save for visits.
  4. Send letters. While the Internet has made it easy to e-mail messages and cell phones allow for quick texts, nothing beats getting something in the mail that someone has put effort into sending. Love letters are classic romance. Send a care package once a month to one another that contains things like perfume, homemade cards, favorite foods and mix CDs.

Tips on how to Deal With a Cheating Mate

Living with a cheating mate is one of the most devastating feelings that you can experience. The feeling even gets worse if you totally had no clue that it was actually happening .The outcome is probably going through a period of self torture. You have so many questions running through your mind with no obvious answers to them.
This can be such a dreadful experience but with the right support information and people, you can recover well from the shock. You can even forgive your cheating mate later on and accept him or her back.

Yes, he or she has cheated what next? The most important thing to do next is not to find out whom the other person is or why it happened but to actually figure out how to deal with the situation. The shock can lead to several other health complications if not dealt with accordingly. You can also make rash decisions that you will live to regret for the rest of your life.

How to Deal With a Cheating Mate

Some of the tips on how to deal with a cheating mate include:

1. Confronting the cheating mate
When you find out that your partner is being unfaithful, there are loads of questions that will be popping up in your mind. These questions will actually weigh you down. You therefore need to confront the cheating mate. If he or she admits to it, go ahead and ask the person all the questions that you have in your head. Don’t hold back. The answers that you get will help you to analyze the situation better and determine the breaching point of trust in the relationship. There is no advantage of sitting on the information. It won’t make you feel better but only drown you in misery.

2. Seeking professional help
Finding out about your cheating mate can be overwhelming both physically and emotionally. You need to get professional help. You can visit therapists who will advice you on how to cope with the matter at hand. Alternatively, you can both visit a relationship counselor if you are serious about working on the relationship.

3. Having an effective support team around you
The decision on how to handle this matter is basically yours to make but you need to let in people who will be there to comfort you through this moment of despair. Your best shot will be your family members and best friend. They are the ones who understand the situation you are in and can therefore advice you accordingly.

4. Breaking up the relationship

Once you know about the unfaithfulness, you might consider breaking up with your cheating mate. You definitely need some time alone to actually reflect on the relationship and try to figure out when, how and why it all went wrong. The presence of your cheating partner will only distract the reflection process.

5. Embracing the plan of no action
When you discover that your partner is cheating, you start thinking of what to do to him or her and the other person in the picture. Remember that you are in despair and probably having impaired judgments so you definitely don’t want to make any decisions at the moment let alone doing anything. Do nothing just sit back and reflect on the whole situation.

6. Having your own ultimatum and being ready to move on
If even after visiting the relationship counselor, your mate is still having his or her affairs, you need now to call it quits. No need stressing yourself trying to fix something that is beyond repair.

Having a Cheating Partner can make you hurt so much but you need to overcome this pain and get your life back on track. There is more to life than a broken relationship.

How to Tell Your Relationship Is Ending

Sometimes a person has a gut feeling that things are not quite right in a relationship– a partner’s behavior can be a dead giveaway that something is wrong. If you feel that your relationship is heading to a brick wall, here are come clues that shows your parnter may not be interested in you.

Instructions

  1. There was a time when you and your partner had one of those long, deep conversations. Now whenever you want to talk, there is hardly a discussion going on their end.
  2. Going out together has become less frequent. Sometimes work or other issues outside the relationship gets in the way of having that one on one time together but if you constantly have to reschedule with a date more times than you can count and no little effort is done on the partner’s part to spend some time with you, this a red flag. Nothing hurts the most than feeling unwanted and if this is his or her hint for you to leave them alone, might as well kiss this relationship goodbye.
  3. Intimacy is one of the most important aspect in a relationships two people express their love for one another. If nothing going on inside the bedroom or you have demand even a simple kiss something isn’t right. The partner either lost interests in you or working their magic with someone else.
  4. Whenever you call, the response on the other end doesn’t sound too happy. In fact they might seem rather annoyed and prefer not to be bothered by you.
  5. Your minor flaws become major ones and your partner does everything can to work them against you.

How To Feel Loved When You Are Alone? by Liping Feng, Ph.D.

Liping Feng

Since you are here, I presume you’ve been through some hard knocks in the relationship department.  Maybe there was betrayal, cheating, disrespect or even abuse…

In my grandparents’ generation (back in China), divorce was as scandalous as a crime, and dating meant you were going to get married.  And married with children meant happiness ever after.  Like it or not, once you got yourself on that train, you had to go all the way.  Basically no other option.  There was a set protocol, a timeline for a human life.

Now, every morning when you get up, you have to decide:  happiness or no happiness, relationship or no relationship, marriage or no marriage, children or no children, living like a human or like a zombie… Every step is a decision you have to make, and every decision brings its consequences.

Love and Relationship in the Digital Age

In a fast changing world like ours, there’s no firm social structure that you can depend on day in day out.  At any time, your friends might move to another part of the world, change to a completely different lifestyle, or join a different social network.

If you interpret all the changes you are seeing around you as a sign whether they like you, care for you and respect you,  you will never find a safe place for yourself.

The world is changing; technology is changing; platforms are changing.  Everyone is changing.  So, the most important thing right now is:  you need to know how to take care of yourself, give yourself the stability and love that you seek out there, from a spouse or a friend.  Then you’ve got your home-base covered.  Then there is a chance you will attract people who are also stable and loving, and is capable carrying on a long-term loving relationship.  Does that make sense?

This is the time we all need to find happiness in solitude.  For a happy relationship to keep growing, each partner needs to be happy on her/his own.  Otherwise there would be imbalance: clinging, clutching, gripping, struggling, addiction, or losing yourself in the relationship and many other forms of misery.  All of that means negative tension, something you want to minimize in your life, because it prevents the flow of joy and happiness.

So, if you find yourself alone, in between relationships or contemplating taking your relationship to the next level, make sure first thing comes first: find your happiness when you are alone.  Once you know how to do that, you’ll attract more fulfilling relationships.  Here’s one tip I’d like to share with you.

Watch Out: There is Something Lurking in Your Mind

Do you hear a voice murmuring within you:  no one wants me… I’m not normal… I’m weird, too old, too short… too late…  I’m not desirable… I got ditched because I’m no good… I’m not beautiful enough… not talented enough… The list is endless.

Now, ask yourself:  is my inner voice telling the truth?  Are there people who have similar problems in our society?  Are there well known public personalities, beautiful, young and talented, who have similar problems as I do?  Are there people who are even less fortunate than I am?

Listen also to what your inner voice sounds like?  Maybe you can hardly hear a voice, but you get that feeling of being judged, being pressed down or suffocated…  Does the voice offer any solution to your problem?  Or is it just there blaming, finger-pointing and accusing you of this and that?

What happens once you notice the voice or the feeling, and realize: OMG, this is NOT the real me; this is an inner bully!  And it’s doing the same trick in the minds of many people.

You want to know the real official name of the nasty voice?  The Ego! Eckhart Tolle also calls it:  the pain body.  I call it:  the pain in the butt  (or the inner bully).  It functions like a parasite, hiding within you, pretending to be you, and taking your energy as its food!  Yes, it’s very tricky!   And extremely greedy!

Its entire purpose is to make you feel miserable and generate pain in you.  Why?  Because that’s how it survives.  That’s how it grows and expands its territory in you, in others and in this world.  Believe it or not, it lives on pain, yours, mine and everyone’s.  If you are out of pain, it starves and cannot function in you.

It doesn’t die, though.  That’s why you always have to watch out.  Otherwise, while your mind is on auto-cruise, you’ll be feeding it and activating it.  Once it’s got food, it has energy to grow.  And you’ll be wondering where the heck all my troubles come from!

If you don’t stay awake, you take it for granted:  this is MY feeling.  This is ME.  “I” am no good, too old, too short…  Everyone else can have a happy relationship, except ME…   The truth is:  you are keeping a big parasite!  And you are doing exactly what it tells you to do:  feel miserable.  Are you sure you want that?

Getting a Natural Energy Boost!

Once you’ve spotted your inner bully and learned to protect yourself from its pain-inducing mechanism, you’ll get a natural energy boost, which means more compassion, more confidence, more creativity, not to mention health, joy, even intimacy.  Why?  because you stop wasting your precious energy on the Ego trap.

Conversely, it is also true that the more you give from your own heart to help people who are less fortunate than you, the more expanded your compassion is, the more creativity you put into your everyday activities, the less energy you have to maintain the miserable pain body.  You would be busy seeking solutions for others and for yourself.  Where would you find the time to brood on your mistakes and imperfections?

Granted, finding happiness when you are alone can be challenging at times, but it is NOT more so than in a relationship.  In fact the Digital Age has made it easier than ever to be happy in solitude, provided that you stay in healthy uplifting communities, practice compassion and kindness, keep learning and growing, etc.

By the law of attraction, the happier your own vibes, the better relationships you’ll manifest in your life.  Kind of obvious, isn’t it?  So unless you can establish your happiness alone, what good vibes would you be able to send out there to attract good people to you?

The truth is:  you life is daily sustained by the great Love of the Universe, with fresh air, clean water, food, shelter…  And if you are here reading this, I presume you have access to the internet.  You are loved, aren’t you?  But you have a hard time believing it.  Why? Because of the pain body, the inner bully, that miserable Ego trap which can show up in a gazillion ways inside your mind.

The good news is:  you always have a choice!  You have the power to stay alert, and watch out for the pain in the butt and its miserable tactics.  In recognizing the inner voice as not the real you, you make room for your true self to emerge.  Then you stop believing all the junk the Ego dumps on you, and stop producing unnecessary pain to feed it.  Then, your true self gets to breathe, and enjoy freedom!

Yes, you have the power to stop the inner bully, put yourself back in the driver’s seat, and steer your vehicle in a happy direction.  Would you like that :)?

Signs of a Dysfunctional Relationship

Love is not supposed to hurt.
Relationships can be hard and take work. But, they should not be that way all of the time. Love is not supposed to hurt. A healthy relationship includes feeling good when the other person is near and wanting to make the other person feel good. People in a healthy relationship nurture each other and bring out the best in each other. There are telltale signs a relationship is dysfunctional.
Addictive and Obsessional BehaviorObsessive behavior in a relationship, such as repeatedly calling or focusing all your attention on the other person, is unhealthy. Feeling as if you cannot live without the other person is also not healthy. A person loses his self when he is behaving this way in a relationship. And, he will create what he fears the most; he will push the other person away.

A person can become addicted to the relationship.

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Constant UnhappinessLove is not supposed to hurt. Every day cannot be perfect, and everyone is not perfect. But, if a person is constantly unhappy, or unhappy more than she is happy in a relationship, it is dysfunctional. Relationships can be difficult, and there is no perfect relationship. But, people in a healthy relationship are happy in the relationship and enjoy being with the other person.

Constant unhappiness is a telltale sign of a dysfunctional relationship.

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Imbalance of PowerPeople are equal in a healthy relationship. If one person has more power in a relationship, the other person will lose himself and his self-esteem and his sense of self-worth will decline. It hurts when one person is more in love with the other and/or dependent on her. Two people can share the joy of a healthy relationship when they come together as two loving, independent people.

An imbalance of power is unhealthy.

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Frequent ArguingThere are problems in every relationship. People in a relationship inevitably argue, but when arguing is excessive, it is a problem. Constant arguing wears on the relationship and drains it of any joy. It is not healthy for people to argue a lot. It actually causes physiological changes. As stress increases so does the flow of adrenaline, and too much of this causes physical and mental illness.

Arguing a lot can ultimately lead to physical and mental illness.

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Feeling TrappedFeeling trapped in a relationship is a sign of a dysfunctional relationship. In a circumstance such as this, the person feels she cannot terminate the relationship. She feels there is no way out, and she stays in the relationship. Some reasons for this feeling are fear of the unknown, fear of being alone, and fear the other person will be hurt.

A person who wants to leave but thinks she cannot feels trapped.

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JealousySome women find it flattering if a man is jealous of another man talking to, or even looking at, them. However, it is actually unhealthy and a sign of a dysfunctional relationship. A woman, or a man, is not an object to be coveted. Trust and honesty in a relationship give no reason for jealousy. Jealousy indicates a lack of trust.

Jealousy indicates a lack of trust.

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ControlWords like “let” and “allow” used in the context of a relationship is dysfunctional, because they are a sign someone is controlling someone else. Adults should not be told what to do or told whether or not they can do something. A partner in a relationship is not a parent or guardian. Each person is the navigator of his own ship

Controlling the other person is another unhealthy behavior.

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Physical AbusePhysical abuse is an obvious sign of dysfunction. The relationship should be terminated immediately if there is physical abuse. This is for safety’s sake. Physical abuse usually escalates and can be lethal. If there are children involved, they should be removed from the environment immediately. Physical abuse should not be tolerated.

Physical abuse is dangerous and should not be tolerated.

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Emotional AbuseThreats, manipulation, hurting the other person hurt and trying to instill fear are a few examples of emotional abuse. It is hard to prove emotional abuse, because it leaves no physical scars. But words can and do hurt. There is no reason for someone to emotionally abuse a person. If this is happening in a relationship, it is a sure sign of dysfunction. And, the safest thing to do is end the relationship.

Emotional abuse is hard to prove.

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Verbal AbuseVerbal abuse is similar to emotional abuse; it, too, is hard to prove. Saying negative, rude and mean things to someone is verbal abuse. Name calling, telling someone she is worthless, pathetic and a loser are all examples of verbal abuse. If this is occurring in a relationship, it is dysfunctional. It is just as painful as any other form of abuse. The best, safest option is to terminate the relationship.

Verbal abuse is just as damaging as other forms of abuse.

Home > Articles > 8 Things to Strengthen the Husband-Wife Relationship in Islam Marriage in Islam 8 Things to Strengthen the Husband-Wife Relationship in Islam

According to the Quran, the purpose of marriage is to attain sukun (tranquility and peace), which can never be achieved through impulsive sexual fulfillment unless it is accompanied by mutual love, affection, caring, and sharing, which are all part and parcel of a fulfilling and productive marriage relationship. Islam, as we know it holistically from the sources, is a balanced way of looking at things.

Following are the 8 important factors that can InShaAllah strengthen a marriage relationship in Islam:

  • Good Attitude

A Muslim must always have a positive attitude toward life. We say, “Alhamdulillah” (Praise be to Allah) for whatever He gives us (or doesn’t give us).

  • Help

Our Prophet (peace be upon him) stressed the importance of men helping their wives and Allah tells us the importance of women being mates and helpers to their husbands. This is a real “win-win” situation, if we just follow it.

  • Trust

Muslims, men and women are ordered to be trustworthy and follow the example of our prophet (peace be upon him) as the “Trustworthy”.

  • Respect

You get respect, when you give respect. This is mandatory for all Muslims toward all people, how much more toward the spouse?

  • Joy

Our prophet (peace be upon him) used to entertain his wife Aysha (peace be upon her) and she used to play and race with him. She said, “I used to out-run him, but then when I got heavy he used to outrun me”. He told us to play with our wives and have some fun.

  • Forgiveness

Clearly, this is one of the most important aspects of Islam. Whoever does not forgive – will not be forgiven. This comes from Allah, Himself. We must learn to forgive each others for a good relationship.

  • Time

Spend time together. Go for walks. Take a bus ride. Visit a friend or someone who is ill (you get big rewards for that). Fast together on Mondays & Thursdays if you can. Make hajj – this is a great way to get a “new start” on life.

  • Worship

Our prophet, peace be upon him, used to lead his wife in salat, even though he lived connected to the mosque. He told us not to make our homes like grave yards. We should offer some of our sunnah prayers at home.

10 Habits of Couples in Strong and Healthy Relationships

What makes for a healthy romantic relationship differs from couple to couple. Forming a trusting and positive partnership takes effort and time. And unfortunately, it doesn’t just happen overnight. For any relationship to grow strong and stay strong, you need to put in some work. Below are some habits that will create and maintain a happy and healthy twosome.
Communication

Communication is key. It is one of the most important qualities in keeping a healthy relationship. However, not everyone knows how to communicate properly, or even communicate at all. Happy and healthy couples have their communication game down. They communicate the good. They vocalize their love for one another, saying “I love you” often and offering compliments to their partner. They also discuss the bad, instead of sweeping issues under the rug. In order to move forward and grow as a couple, you two need to be able to truly talk about your feelings. No matter how awkward or uncomfortable it feels, it will make for a long-lasting and fulfilling relationship.

Respect

Aretha Franklin sang a whole song about it, so you know it’s got to be important. Respecting your partner comes in many forms. Maintaining a joyful relationship means respecting your partner’s time, heart, character, and trust. However, there are many things people do in relationships that can break down respect between one another. Some of these include name-calling, talking negatively about the other to friends or family, and/or threatening to leave the relationship.

Quality Time, Not Quantity

It’s all about quality over quantity. It doesn’t matter how much time you and your partner spend together. The most important part is about the quality of this time. There’s a huge difference between having dinner at a table while talking about your day at work, versus having dinner while sitting on a couch watching the latest episode of The Voice. It’s fine to zone out together and enjoy distractions, but it’s crucial to make sure you two are still engaging and spending quality time together to maintain a deep connection.

Time Apart

Spending time together with your partner is important. But just as important is spending time apart. Being able to do your own things and remain independent is vital. When couples spend too much time together, it can create an unhealthy codependent relationship. Maintaining healthy boundaries and some autonomy will make for a long-lasting partnership.

Love Languages

Gary Chapman created the notion that men and women have five love languages. The concept is that people have unique ways of feeling loved. The five love languages are: words of affirmation, receiving gifts, quality time, acts of service, and physical touch. It’s important to know what love language speaks to you, along with your partner’s, and they might be different. Telling each other what makes you feel loved and special helps both of you stay connected. Furthermore, make sure you are attending to your partner’s love language consistently.

Appreciation

Often, we forget to let other people in our lives know that we appreciate them. We think it, but we don’t remember to show it. This occurs in our romantic relationships as well. Show your special someone that you love him or her. This could be done by words, cards, flowers, acts of kindness, or more. Remember, a flower a day keeps the relationship fights at bay. Okay, maybe not every day, but you get the point.

Positive Vs. Negative

Sometimes we get caught up in the negative. We hate our jobs, are annoyed with our friends and our boyfriend or girlfriend is getting on our last nerve. Uh oh, have we been drinking too much of that half empty glass? It’s vital that we look at our partner’s positive qualities versus the negative. Nobody is perfect, and that includes our significant other. So instead of focusing on the bad in the other person, let’s make a conscious effort to look at the good.

Pick and Choose Your Battles

There are arguments to be had in every relationship. It’s crucial to bring issues to the forefront and work through the hard times together. However, I don’t think arguing over your girlfriend using your favorite coffee cup should be one of those. You don’t want to be the girl who cried “argument,” do you? Pick and chose your battles wisely, because people in happy and healthy relationships do.

Sex

Let’s talk about sex, baby. Let’s also talk about how important it is in cultivating a flourishing relationship. Sex is simple. The more you have it, the more you want it. The other side of that is true as well. The less you have it, the less you want it. And, unfortunately, the less you feel connected to your partner will follow. Keep your sex life alive and interesting. “Spicing it up” is not just meant for the kitchen.

No Comparisons

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Or even if it is, it might not be the kind of grass you would even like. We often compare our lives to others — what jobs people have, their homes, or their clothes. And with the help of social media, we tend to compare our relationships as well. But the happiest of couples don’t look to see what the grass looks like on the other side. They are happy with the view out their own front door.

How to Fix a Relationship on the Rocks

There is no foolproof solution for a relationship on the rocks. Sometimes two people grow apart or even fall out of love, dooming the relationship despite everyone’s best efforts. Nonetheless, if both partners are willing to give it their all, they can usually work through their problems and make the relationship work. If you and your partner are still in love, it is certainly worth trying.

Instructions

  1. Agree to talk it out. Before you and your partner can fix your relationship, you need to both agree that there is a problem and commit to sitting down and finding a solution to it. Choose a time and place to talk about your relationship where you will both feel comfortable and neither partner will feel rushed. If you both feel comfortable, you can begin immediately. If one or both of you needs some time to get their thoughts together, have the talk later.
  2. Agree on ground rules before you meet. Both partners should agree not to shout at, insult or physically touch the other. Both partners should strive to use “I language” such as, “I feel like you haven’t been paying as much attention to me as you used to,” rather than “you language” such as, “You never pay attention to me anymore.”
  3. Listen to your partner carefully, and paraphrase what she said to show her that you understand her concerns. Then state your opinions and concerns.
  4. Come up with solutions that both partners can live with. Resolve to work at the relationship as a team.
  5. Spend time with your partner doing things that you both enjoy. If you can, take a romantic weekend trip together.
  6. Conscientiously avoid falling into old patterns. If you begin to argue, or one partner does something that she agreed not to do, stop it before it can go further. Old habits are hard to break, so you will have to stay vigilant.
  7. Check in with each other frequently, but not constantly, to discuss how the relationship is progressing. Once or twice a week, discuss the concerns that you’ve both had and how both partners think the relationship is progressing.

The Ancient Origins of Summer Weddings

Summer Weddings Juno and Jupiter ThumbnailGetting married in the summertime certainly has some modern practical and logistical advantages. Warm weather; sparkling sand and sunny skies at the beach, or a serene forest setting beneath a canopy of natural green, or perhaps a starry night under the stars with a romantic orchestra playing in the background–all offer unparalleled backdrops for al fresco ceremonies.

In the summer, workloads tend to be lighter and time off work is generally easier to take. Seasonal flowers for bridal décor abound. Families whose kids are out of school are able to attend nuptial events that they might otherwise be forced to miss. All of these things help in planning and pulling off a summertime wedding, but the tradition goes back to earlier times, when different conventions and concerns ruled the day.

By Juno & Jupiter

In ancient Rome, the Goddess charged with the responsibility for the well-being of brides and mothers was Juno, for whom the month of June is named. Juno’s consort was Jupiter, king of the Roman gods (who was both her brother and her husband…ick!). In order to seek the favor of this powerful pair, many brides and their prospective grooms chose wedding dates to honor the month named for Juno–but even for Romans, not every date in June was an auspicious one for marriage.

Where a wedding fell on the calendar was serious business back then, and many superstitious Romans believed that getting it right could mean the difference between a prosperous, happy marriage that resulted in many children (which was pretty much the entire point of the institution in those days), or a bleak, barren union between two ill-starred souls. In fact, the Romans were so firmly convinced that getting hitched on the wrong date could spell disaster, the upper class often consulted psychic oracles who would divine the most fortuitous day for a couple to wed, not by reading tea leaves, but rather, by interpreting the designs found in the entrails of pigs and other sacrificial animals (again…ick!) This practice, known as haruspicy, was only one of many forms of divination practiced by the Romans, but this was one closely associated with marriage and fertility. (1)

Specific days, considered unlucky for marriage, were avoided as a matter of course: The “Kalends,” which signified the first day of the month and the new moon; the “Ides,” which fell on the full moon, and the “Nones,” which fell in the center of the other two, were all considered inappropriate for weddings.

Thanks, Caesar!

The Romans had other superstitions and customs that resulted in traditions that have come down through the ages and are still practiced today. At Roman weddings, for instance, bridesmaids were required to wear matching gowns that so closely resembled that of the bride as to make her indistinguishable to any evil spirits that might have the nerve to show up uninvited with the intention of putting a curse on the happy couple (usually as payback for some transgression the bride or groom had committed to offend one of the gods or demigods who (often on a whim) felt slighted by whatever human behavior, intentional or unintentional, they might find irksome on any given day).

Another nuptial tradition that traces back to ancient Rome is the wedding cake. Unlike the elaborately decorated confections we’ve come to know today, early Roman wedding cake was more like a wheat or barley bread, and rather than eating it, the cake was crumbled over the bride’s head to augur fertility and good fortune. The newlyweds gobbled up some of the crumbs in a custom known as “confarreatio,” which translates to “eating together,” their first act as a married couple. The wedding guests then descended like a flock of hungry birds to gobble up the rest of the crumbs, conferring good luck on them as well.

Have you ever wondered where the word “bridal” comes from? Well, as the custom of eating crumbled wedding cake crumbs spread throughout Europe, someone in what is now England figured out that it would be handy–and tasty–to have something to wash the dry crumbs down with. An ale, brewed specially for these occasions, known as bryd ealu, a.k.a., “bride’s ale,” was born.

Eventually the cake evolved into something sweeter, but it was still crumbled over the head of the bride, and the guests were given handfuls of “confetto,” a mixture of nuts, dried fruit, and honeyed almonds, some of which was consumed, and the rest, pitched at the bride, again as a symbol of fertility. This “confetto” custom has evolved into the post-ceremony rice toss we’re familiar with today, and is just one of the many wedding day traditions we have the Romans to thank for.

Summer weddings, bridesmaid dresses, cakes and confetti–the Romans certainly paved the way for some wonderful wedding celebrations.  Whether you’re getting married or just enjoying a summer fling, let this summer of love be the best yet!

 

Planning to get hitched and want to scope out an auspicious date for your big day? Let a KEEN advisor be your oracle on all things wedding related.

1. http://www.britannica.com/topic/haruspicy

Relationship Management Skills

Relationship management skills are used by people to inspire, influence and develop other people. These skills are important for children, adults and professionals. Relationship management skills focus on the power of influence in relations with others. All relationships have positive or negative influence. These skills focus on building positive relationships through managing reactions in all circumstances. Daniel Goeman, author of “Emotional Intelligence,” describes six vital skills needed for relationship management.

Inspiration

  • Inspiration is a skill needed for relationship management. This skill focuses on using other people’s wisdom in situations, as well as the ability to connect with people emotionally. When a person has a vision, this quality relies on understanding the entire purpose of the mission. This skill also includes involving others in the vision and listening to their opinions and thoughts.

Influence

  • The skill of influence is vital in relationship management. This skill is learned and acquired by listening to other people, making others feel important and making them feel like their opinions are valuable. This strategy allows people to influence others by making the person speaking feel significant.

Developing

  • Another important skill for relationship management is developing others. Developing others focuses on acknowledging people’s accomplishments and strong points, then offering feedback to them. This skill is important because it helps the growth of businesses. Employees who feel valuable and appreciated are likely to accomplish more.

Initiating Change

  • Initiating change is a skill that is used for recognizing change is needed. This skill challenges the status quo and makes compelling, logical arguments when change is needed. Change is vital in growing businesses; businesses must be willing to accept change and proceed with it. People with good relationship management skills look for ways to overcome the barriers that stop change.

Managing Conflict

  • Relationship management skills include the ability to manage conflict in a constructive way. People with this skill are able to accept different perspectives, and they demonstrate self-control and respect for everyone. People with this skill are able to deal with difficult people and situations and look for solutions that everyone can accept.

Teamwork

  • People with effective relationship management skills emphasize the importance of teamwork. Teams that work well together result in higher performance and productivity levels. Encouraging teamwork includes building and promoting strong teams that communicate and work well together. It also includes encouraging participation from all members and rewarding teams for good work.

What is True Beauty?

A smiling, confident woman

There are a thousand definitions of beauty. And there are many degrees of each. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There is sadness in beauty. Beauty can be ugly. It is a concept that has haunted poets, artists and academics for centuries.

Males are visual creatures. In their minds’ eye, like the posters teenage boys hang on their bedroom walls, men have an inflated idea of beauty. But to see how he really finds beauty in his surroundings, look at the girl with whom he spends time and feels most comfortable. She is often the opposite of the bedroom poster, maybe a friends, sister, aunt or cousin. She is the one he enjoys being with most. To be able to laugh with someone, we must drop our guards. Beauty is to be free and to act naturally. Oddly, getting there can be difficult.

Today, messages and information are aimed at us in very new ways. It is happening faster than humans can adapt and evolve. Life is demanding more than we can give. In turn, you rely on text messages rather than physical conversation. The heart is missing in our lives and you must bring it back.

We judge the book by its cover. It’s usually untrue and unwise, but we place a great weight of importance on the first impression. In truth, a first impression offers fast, mostly visual cues, to make an assumption of another. Physical appearance is the first thing we see and it becomes our Achilles heel. The first impression is always the most expensive.

It is expensive because of what we lose. The priority one sets on appearances in the physical realm is to deny oneself the quality and beauty of the spirit. If you choose to focus on the beauty within, you will receive the value of true communication with another. To ignore the essence of another is to deny your own humanity.

Beauty has always been costly. By the time you have been plucked, pinched and enhanced, you can easily spend a fortune on the latest product or the most popular nip and tuck. The pursuit of beauty can also deny nature. In the fevered race to erase a wrinkle, we try to stop time and the slow and inevitable progress of nature. It is a fight no human can win. Beauty can also be a sport or a goal. Can you be more beautiful than you already are? No. Sure, every car needs a fresh coat of paint and a few new pin stripes but the real, true beauty comes from within your chassis.

There is boldness in choice and people can easily recognize it in you. To choose beauty, determines that you have pondered the question, objectified the issues and made a choice. You have asked, “What will I project today? What will I put out into the world?” Then you choose and follow it through. Embracing victimhood is a way to lick your past wounds but it never yields any positive future-oriented gains. You lead by example. Choose beauty.

Look at a flower as you would look upon a work of art. Appreciate it. Enjoy it. Relax and just let it all in. Then look at yourself the same way. You are a perfect and unique creation of nature, just like a flower. This may be hard to do and you must persist through all of the negativity and voices in your head. Remember those voices do not speak truth. They are merely the echoes of insecurity and comic relief. Appreciation for beauty isn’t forced. Beauty cannot be beaten into you. Beauty must be invited and it must flow. If you want to exhibit your true nature, all you can do is let go.

It is hard to let go. These days, with Life howling around us like a hurricane, we instinctively try to hang on for dear life. To be beautiful, to live in the flow, is a monumentally important task that requires only openness, desire and a few simple actions.

Silence is the key that unlocks the mystery. A quiet meditation. Say a prayer. Sit down and have a little chat with yourself. Open this door and you will be answered with your own beauty.

Do something that makes you happy. Let go and take the time for yourself. Something simple. Call a friend. Go to a movie. Get a massage. You do not need to spend a hundred dollars. Shop, but don’t buy anything, at a flower shop. Bake a cake. Take a hike. Do something that is purposed for you. When this happens, your beauty will begin to show. Others will recognize it and be drawn to it. You have allowed your beauty to flow.

Tips on Keeping Productive Friendships And Relationships

Human is known as a social animal. It cannot live in isolation for much time, which is why it constantly keeps on seeking company of others. Most of a man`s likenesses, preferences and decisions are influenced greatly by its reference groups apart from its own family. Some of these relationships are positive which are beneficial for it, while some of them might be negative and cause annihilation. It all depends on the nature of links and acquaintances that one develops throughout the course of its life. There is a tremendous amount of emphasis on building and keeping upright relationships with people in Islam, as they shape one`s personality. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) has been narrated as saying:

“The example of a good companion and a bad companion is like that of the seller of musk, and the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows. So as for the seller of musk then either he will grant you some, or you buy some from him, or at least you enjoy a pleasant smell from him. As for the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows then either he will burn your clothes or you will get an offensive smell from him.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Commenting on this Hadith, Imam Nawawi concluded that we are greatly affected by the nature of our associate: if it has the right etiquettes, consciousness, faithfulness and is a follower of just customs, then it will prove to be benefiting for us in some or the other like the pleasantness of musk (perfume). On the other hand, if our friend deviates from morality, we will not take any advantage from it, rather it will only come back to haunt us at some point in our lives.

Now let us discuss some of the possible ways to develop and maintain productive associations with others:

Those who Are Conscious Of Allah

The leading decisive factor for adopting a virtuous connection in a Muslim`s life should be to evaluate that person on the basis of remembrance of the Almighty. Since those, who we spend our time with, influence us in many ways, so, it is necessary to have a relation that is mindful of the Almighty, e.g. any true disciple of the religion of Islam would never like its friend to keep sitting and talking about worldly matters while a call to Salah is being made from a nearby mosque. Allah SWT says in the Holy Quran:

We Muslims know that the realization of the Tawheed (Oneness of the Creator of the universe) is the key to success in the world and hereafter, which involves constant memory of God, the Exalted and fulfilling all His commands, like performing Namaz, reading and understanding Furqan e Hameed, and fasting etc. We are also aware of pressure of our peers on us, so, we should strive to make and sustain relationships that lead us to implementation of our chief task of remembrance of the Almighty. Ibn Abbas (R.A) narrates the Prophet (PBUH) saying as:

“No one may taste true faith except by this (i.e. building relationships for Allah’s sake), even if his prayers and fasts are many. People have come to build their relationship around the concerns of the world, but it will not benefit them in any way.” (Abu Dawood and at-Tirmithi)

This saying of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) stresses on making acquaintances for the sake of Allah SWT, which means they must be based on righteousness and devoid of all sorts of wickedness.

Those Following The Sunnah Of Prophet (PBUH)

Secondly, there is also great example in the Sunnah (way of life) of the Apostle (PBUH) of Allah, like having proper insight of Islamic instructions, good conduct, humbleness, uprightness, avoiding from backbiting, giving meaningful advice, concern for others, remembrance of the hereafter etc. and our amity towards others could also be assessed on this basis. Allah SWT discusses the effect of this delicate matter in the Sanctified Scripture as:

And the Day the wrongdoer will bite on his hands [in regret] he will say, “Oh, I wish I had taken with the Messenger a way. Oh, woe to me! I wish I had not taken that one as a friend. He led me away from the remembrance after it had come to me. And ever is Satan, to man, a deserter.” [Quran, 25: 27-29]

The above mentioned Ayats explain the difference between value of having apt company, (which has been referred to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) here), and the one that is wrongful. As actions decide the outcome of the effort, so do our intentions and aspirations. If we desire to be like the Messenger (PBUH) of God, then we will definitely try to accompany those who are personification of way of Hazrat Muhammad`s (PBUH) life.

Instructions For Developing Good Contacts

The previous two matters are the foremost criteria that must be satisfied for making and building relationships with others, but since, in this day and age, it is not possible to find everyone fulfilling these standards, so, we should also try from ourselves for developing others around us in the positive way. Just like we are required to take the services of a tailor in sewing our clothes to make them wearable, same way not everybody is tailor-made for us, which is why we have to adopt ourselves accordingly. Taking inspiration from our Beloved Prophet (PBUH), Who transformed the lives of people around Him and brought them out of darkness towards enlightenment.

We can take help from the following useful guidelines for making productive social links:

1- By respecting the viewpoint of others as not everyone shares the same kinds of opinions. Instead of enforcing things on others, we should rather stick to our own values to have room for mutual esteem, e.g. if anyone of us is friend with foreigners, we do not need to celebrate their festivals with them, which contradict our religious values and thoughts, and we should rather excuse for not being permitted faithfully to do so. In this way, we can perform both of our secular and societal responsibilities without causing any trouble to our relations with others.

2- We can also take advantage from listening closely to people to be able to properly understand their viewpoint, and give them the best possible advice so that they can be benefited from it. Abu Hurrerah (R.A) once said:

“When He (the Prophet PBUH faced someone, He faced him completely. When he turned away, He turned away completely. I have never seen anyone like Him and I will never see anyone like them.” (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad

3- Exchanging gifts and presents among one`s acquaintances is another way of promoting relationships. And since we have to make it productive, so we can gift others Islamic books and other beneficial stuff that is positive in nature so as to help build our relationships in accordance with Islamic spirit. Abu Hurrerah (R.A) once reported:

              “Give gifts and you will love one another.”(Al-Adab Al-Mufrad)

4- There is also great emphasis on living up to the requirements of good connections in our religion. We have to visit them regularly to know about their health, security and help them out decently in times of need.

“He who visits the sick continues to remain in the fruit garden of Paradise until he returns”. (Muslim)

It means keeping in touch with family and friends has a very high place near the Almighty Lord.

Some Other Qualities Of Meaningful Associates

Apart from being fully aware of remembrance of Allah SWT and following the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), some secondary characteristics of good friends are as follows:

1-They are sincere and remind one about its weaknesses in order to improve its life. the Messenger (PBUH) of God is reported to have said:

“The believer is like a mirror to other believers (in truthfulness).” (Abu Dawood)

As mirror shows a man`s reflection exactly the way it is, similarly honest relationships also call for exchange of truthful views about each other so that somebody could get benefited from the word of rectitude. Ibn Hazm quoted:

“Anyone who criticizes you cares about your friendship. Anyone who makes light of your faults cares nothing about you. (Abu Dawood, Hasan Hadith)

It means that if someone gets condemned for its malice by its companion, it only leads towards the attainment of morality and uprightness, which is the sign of a genuine comrade. Conversely, the one shows contentment with one`s immorality is deemed as a detractor.

2- A proper acquaintance also has the quality of authenticity in a sense that it does not feel jealous of one`s achievements. Hazrat Ali (R.A), the 4th caliph of Islam, said:

“If a friend envies you, then he is not a true friend.”

3- True companions, when make promises, they keep hold onto them in any case.
4- They avoid talking uselessly, and do not waste each others` time, rather they always try to have a mature and productive conversation.

In short, the measure of a true friend needs to in such a way that the person should contain all the attributes in its character that are desired to have according to the Islamic teachings. It must be having the qualities of piety, consideration, compassion, tolerance, honesty, and easy to talk with etc. May Allah SWT grant us all with accurate and meaningful companionships, which could benefit us both in this world and hereafter! Aameen!

– See more at: http://www.quranreading.com/blog/tips-on-keeping-productive-friendships-and-relationships/#sthash.zuPvz9Qt.dpuf

Can A Rebound Relationship Work In Your Favor?

You’ve broken up, you’ve lost the love of your life and you want her back, but they are in a rebound relationship. Can this work in your favor? You bet it can!

A rebound relationship is when your recent ex is dating someone in order to help get over you. These relationships prevent your ex from having to deal with the emotional baggage of a break up. People tend to use rebound relationships to help them move on from the real love of their lives.

That’s the secret to getting back with your ex. They’re in that relationship to help get over you.

It doesn’t matter why or how they lost you. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is either. It doesn’t even matter who broke it off. What does matter is that there was real love there, and given the chance still there.

Nearly all relationships that are founded and based on true love can be saved from disaster.

Chances are you will find the new date is the opposite of you. This is what happens in rebound relationships. If you were a real nice person they will probably date a not so nice person. It helps them forget.

The fact that they are actually focusing on opposites is good for you for a couple of reasons. Their attention will still be focused on you even when they are with the new date. And it gives you a chance to see what they’re looking for.

If their new date is as opposite from you as possible, it could mean there was something missing in your relationship. You can use the time they are with the rebound date to try to improve yourself.

Let this new rebound relationship run its course, as it surely will. As they spend time with the new date they will start to notice the flaws in them. After a while with rebound date you start to look pretty good again.

This is why you should never crawl back to them right away. Let them realise that they miss the good stuff in your relationship. When they are ready to make a move, be gracious about it. Welcome them back and try to be a new and improved version of yourself. But don’t chase them.

Here are a few techniques that you can take if they are in a rebound relationship.

1. Don’t try to convince them you are the love of their lives. They will discover this soon enough.

2. Don’t keep apologizing. If you were at fault you can say sorry, but only the once. Move on. They know deep down why they love you.

3. Don’t make any promises that you can change. They fell in love with you for who you are, not who you should become.

4. Don’t try to convince them that it wasn’t your fault. They will realise that over time, but only if you don’t make them waste energy on fighting their corner.

5. Never ever beg your ex to take you back.

When your ex starts dating someone after you have broken up, they are “on the rebound”. You can make it up with them and get back together. Don’t despair. Being “on the rebound” is a sign that they still love you.

These tips can help you get back together but there’s a method that will almost guarantee you can get back together. You gotta take action though, no action means no results!

Three Romantic Picnic Ideas for Your Summer of Love

Summer Romance Picnic ThumbnailHot summer days and warm summer nights create a fertile atmosphere that’s uniquely suited to falling in love. The sun and heat set off a series ofnatural chemical reactions in the human body that make us more susceptible to the forces of romance at work in the universe.

Fate, of course, plays a factor too. Being in the right place at the right time to meet that special summer someone may be a matter of kismet, but getting a little guidance from your psychic mentor to help align you with the most favorable longitude, latitude, and attitude for making a Cupid connection can truly pay off this summer.

 

 

Great Outdoor Dates

A book of verses underneath the bough,

A Jug of wine, a loaf of bread—and thou

Beside me singing in the wilderness—

O, wilderness were paradise enow!

—From “The Rubyat” of Omar Khayyám

For those happily paired up, summertime offers a bevy of outdoor opportunities to indulge in al fresco outings. Picnics, especially, over shared food and perhaps a bottle of wine, aided and abetted by the unconfined ambience of a natural setting, can truly put your love affair over the top and create warm memories to last long into the cooler months. Weekend getaways have always been fodder for romance, but along with old favorites, there are many novel ways to enjoy the outdoors a deux. Here are three of our favorites.

-Daytime Hike-

Tried and true, and still near the top of any picnic list is a trek into the woods with a basket lunch. If your desired destination means a fair bit of hiking, think “moveable feast” for your picnic. Select a basket or backpack that’s easily carried, and don’t overdo it when stocking up on comestibles. Small bites and a mix of flavors are very sexy for sharing, but if you’re not equipped to keep perishables chilled, remember to pack only foods that don’t require refrigeration. If you’re likely to forget little items such as a corkscrew, choose beverages with screw-top caps.

-Beach at Night-

A day at the beach is fine for frolicking, but an evening on the sand, reminiscent of far-off locales and famous love scenes, is the perfect backdrop for a nighttime beach picnic. A little pre-date forecasting is always in order. Check the weather report to make sure you’re not likely to get rained out, and if you want a truly spectacular evening sky, why not plan your beach night to coincide with a full moon? Evening picnics often feature more sophisticated food and beverage choices, but non-breakable stemware still is a better choice for beach-goers than glass.

-Movie in the Park-

If your local city park has movie nights, this is a great spot for newly met couples to get acquainted. It’s still a “date night,” but offers the sanctuary of having other people around and a distraction in the form of the movie, if conversation lulls. Again, pack light and bring food that will fare well without refrigeration. Flavored popcorn is an excellent choice, and there are scads of popcorn recipes for tasty treats to make your movie-going date even more enjoyable.

Must-Haves

Every picnic has a checklist of specific equipment required to make your date a success. Picnics are spontaneous and fun by nature, but a little planning ahead will ensure that things run smoothly. For daytime outings, remember to bring to keep hydrated while hiking. You’ll also need: insect repellent and sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses, wipes for hands, a small first-aid kit (just in case), comfortable shoes, and a blanket/throw on which to spread out your feast.

For nighttime outdoor dates, in addition to your blanket and well-stocked picnic basket, don’t forget to pack insect repellent and a flashlight, and make sure your keys are secured to guard against falling out of a pocket while you’re lying prone.

Al Fresco Music Playlist

In sultry summer weather, Mother Nature doesn’t appreciate being blasted with a too much bass (and besides, for stormy weather, nothing in our meager mortal repertoire can compete with her heavy metal). Light musical fare such as upbeat classical, folk, or jazz are conducive to both the environment and romance, and are your best bets for picnic bliss.

Outdoor Picnic Karma

Finally, day or night, you must follow the golden rule of campers, hikers, and picnic-goers to leave everything as you found it–or better. This means you should pick up, transport, and dispose of all litter appropriately. Douse all fires and never leave embers or live coals burning. There’s nothing less romantic than arriving at the perfect picnic spot only to find it trashed by a previous visitor, so do your part to make sure that perfect picnic settings remain pristine and can be enjoyed by every subsequent courting couple that comes to call.

 

Want to know where to meet the perfect partner for your next romantic picnic? AKEEN advisor can help put you in Cupid’s path.

How to Deal With the Breakup of Your Child’s Relationship

First infatuations and relationships during adolescence may seem inconsequential to adults, but to kids, they have major significance. When your youngster experiences the trauma of a breakup, she’ll need your support and guidance to get through the rough spots. By providing support that doesn’t minimize the pain and shows your empathy and understanding, you demonstrate that you care about your child’s experience.

Instructions

  1. Resist the urge to minimize or trivialize your child’s breakup, warns the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Healthy Children.org website. Although intellectually you understand that your child will likely recover and move on from the breakup, your child probably doesn’t share this perspective.
  2. Communicate your empathy and understanding of the hurt to your child. You might say, “I can see how much this hurts right now. I’m so sorry you’re hurting. I’m right here if you want to talk or cry.”
  3. Make yourself available for your child if he wants to talk. You might show this availability by your physical presence when your child is home and by initiating a “check-in conversation” when you see your child. This interaction might sound like, “How’s it going today? Don’t forget — I’m here for you if you want to talk.”
  4. Reassure your child that she won’t feel so sad and hopeless forever, even though it may feel like she will. Tell your child that the hurt will get better and she won’t feel so sad. Remind your child that expressing and sharing feelings with others who care can be an effective method of healing from heartbreak, suggests the TeensHealth website.
  5. Encourage your child to engage in positive pursuits to work through the sadness. Connecting with other friends and pursuing enjoyable activities may help your child feel better and realize that he still has happiness in his life, advises counselor Nathan Feiles,with the PsychCentral website. Some people also find solace and positive coping by writing about feelings and experiences, offers the American Psychological Association. Mention writing as something your child might try to feel better.
  6. Monitor your child’s behavior to ensure she’s coping with the breakup. Although the hurt may take some time to dissipate, your child should not show signs of depression or sadness for longer than two to three weeks, advises the AAP. Listen for suicidal remarks. Adolescents may make suicidal gestures in response to a breakup. If you see behavior or hear your teen make comments that indicate that she’s not coping and moving on, seek professional help.

Family Relationships – The Key to Strong Bonds in the Family

The family as a social unit has undoubtedly been on the decline in the past few decades. The increasing number of single parent households, increased divorce rates, and the growing gap between generations has led the family to move to the periphery of an individual’s social life, rather than its center. Truth is, today, you will have to actually work together and work quite hard to build strong, healthy family relationships.

Like any other relationship, families are built on trust. Children, teenagers and adolescents will often hide things from their parents for fear of punishment. This behavior, if encouraged, will eventually lead to their estrangement and lack of trust. It is the responsibility of the parents, therefore, to create an air of openness in the family. Kids in the family should never feel scared of sharing things with parents. As a parent, you will have to punish kids for straying out of line, but take care to not do so in a fashion that would make your kids not trust you with their secrets again.

Trust is directly tied to sharing – the crucial part of family relationships that just seems to be missing these days. All members are usually involved in their own lives, zoned out before TV or computer screens, or in their own social lives. There is too little of ‘family time’ and too much of ‘me time’. Group activities such as dinner, a movie night, a family vacation, therefore, have to be promoted to encourage sharing.

Respect (or the lack of it) is another reason why family relationsips sometimes go sour. You should draw a firm line beyond which your kids shouldn’t go, and you should draw this line as early as possible. While a family should be open, there must be some sense of hierarchy too. Teach your kids to respect their elders, no matter their flaws, and teach the elders to love the kids likewise. A family built on trust, love, and respect will always maintain strong bonds.

Finally, parents must try and foster strong relations between siblings. Too often, siblings don’t get along with each other, largely due to the parents lack of intervention. Elder siblings must be taught to care for and love their younger brothers/sisters, and the younger siblings must be given a lesson in respecting their elder brothers/sisters. Only when the siblings get along will you build a strong family.

How to Keep Intrigue & Mystery in Your Relationship

One of the main benefits of being in a committed, long-term relationship is developing a true sense of comfort together. In a strong relationship, the other person seems in many ways like your other half. However, if a couple gets too comfortable, at a certain point that could lead to a relationship that is more like that of a brother and sister. To avoid that possibility, learn how to maintain the romance through nurturing the mystery and intrigue in your relationship.

Instructions

  1. Groom in privacy if you want to maintain your mystique and appeal to your partner. Keep the bathroom door completely shut when you do things such as shaving (whether of your face or your legs), waxing, plucking your eyebrows and applying deodorant. Let your grooming rituals stay a secret — and keep your partner wondering, as a result. If you can afford the luxury, keep a separate bathroom from your partner’s.
  2. Go out of your way to try to be as interesting a person as possible to keep your relationship feeling fresh and new. In a relationship, one of the goals is to continually grow in a positive way. Work on becoming a more interesting person for your significant other — and also for yourself. Educate yourself on topics of interest. Start a new hobby, whether you want to sew or collect rare rocks.
  3. Be romantic. It can be really easy to forget to appreciate the person you are with. Everyday living is stressful and it can be hard to find the time to go out of your way to be romantic and thoughtful. However, without romance, a relationship can quickly fall flat and lose all of its mystery and vitality. Keep your romantic connection alive by leaving your partner sweet love notes on his shoes so he sees them when he leaves for work in the mornings. Show your girlfriend that she means the world to you by surprising her with last-minute reservations to the most charming new restaurant downtown. Small, romantic gestures can go a long way in keeping a relationship intriguing and exciting.
  4. Have your own life. In order for a couple to have a bit of mystery, having separate social lives can be healthy and beneficial. A couple does not have to be together every hour of every day. Be a mystery to your partner by setting time to just be alone and also to socialize and meet with other people in your life, whether family members or close friends. If you are attached to your significant other all the time, it provides you with no time to even miss her. Keep the intrigue alive by occasionally going your own ways — and then coming back together later.

Dishonesty in Relationships

Dishonesty in relationships exists when one party withholds or alters facts about themselves or a situation and presents it as truth. Dishonesty hinders intimacy between the parties and, in essence, eliminates the validity of the relationship. Being dishonest may seem beneficial initially, but when the truth is revealed having to rebuild broken trust is sometimes an insurmountable task.

Why Lie?

  • Determine why it’s necessary to lie. If you’re in a relationship — dating, familial or friendship — and you feel being dishonest is the best course of action, you need to consider the fact that something is wrong with the foundation. When someone discovers they’ve been lied to about one thing, they often begin to question what other aspects of the relationship may have been fabricated. Broken trust requires an amazing amount of hard work to repair.

Lying is Hurtful

  • Consider the other person’s feelings. Lying is hurtful, and if you respect the other party and value the relationship, you won’t want to cause the person any harm. Withholding or altering the facts is ultimately stating through your actions that the other person isn’t capable of receiving or accepting the truth about who you are. When contemplating dishonesty, take a moment to decide if you’re OK with being lied to if the shoe was on the other foot.

Be Responsible

  • Take responsibility for your actions and emotions. If you’re habitually dishonest in relationships, others aren’t engaging or building intimacy with the real you. Consistent behavior over time shows your character, and if you’re habitually dishonest in relationships, your character is that of a deceiver. Part of being in a mature relationship is being able to own up to who you are as a person and having the courage to face acceptance and, in some cases, rejection.

When Honesty is Difficult

  • Honesty doesn’t come naturally for everyone. If being completely honest with someone is difficult for you, you may want to consider remaining single until you’re comfortable enough to present yourself as you are. Where familial and platonic relationships are concerned, and it’s not possible to refrain from involvement, commit to operating honestly in baby steps until it becomes a habit. Counseling is also an option if you believe dishonesty is a lifestyle problem.

Family Relationships: How much fake and how much real?

Relationship is the word which stands for being trusted, cared, and above all loved. The relationship may be of family or friends but the important aspect is trust for each other. The moment trust is gone, relationships loose their meaning and relevance. Mother has been the central element of family and rightly so because it is her unselfish love, affection and sacrifice which keeps the family together and happpily united. The key to happy family and healthy relationships are:

  • love, respect and trust for each other.
  • Money and wealth are the great dividers, so being transparent in such matters.
  • Avoiding playing family politics for personal gains.
  • Being self dependent and self reliant.
  • Respecting the rights of other family members and behaving accordingly.

Families makes community, communities make cities, cities make states, states makes nation so the basic building block of any nation is the families with their values and ethics. A child inherits values, ethics and culture from family, which play important role in his or her personality formation. The values of love, affection, caring, sharing, respect for elders, trusting and being trusted can create healthy relationships and sound nation. The old saying of united we stand divided we fall also depends upon sharing of good values and ethics. But then times have changed and one needs to guard against betrayal. Trust, confidence, love and affection are the four pillars of home and sacrifice of personal gains for family is the roof which differentiates home from house. In the absence of trust, confidence, love, affection and willingness to sacrifice personal gains for family will have only house and not home. Family is the place where one looks for emotional and spiritual support. Let us create homes with the values and ethics of love, affection, caring, sharing, trust and unselfishness rather than houses. Houses can have value in money but the value of home is immesaurable. Lets us have more homes rather than houses.

An Oxford Guide JEWISH-MUSLIM RELATIONS

Earliest Contacts and the Paradigms of Relationship

It is impossible to understand the complex nature of modern Jewish-Muslim relations without revisiting Arabia of the 7th century, when the new Believers (mu’minun) of emerging Islam began to establish their foundational worldviews. It is already in this earliest context that Muhammad and his followers came into contact with Jews, and this particular contact became extremely important because reactions to it were recorded for posterity in the Qur’an. The only sources for the earliest relations between Jews and Muslims are the Qur’an and its attendant literatures, which, like other sacred literatures, are interested in history only insofar as it helps to define the emerging community and its values and ideas.

Jews lived in Arabia for some generations before the birth of Muhammad. Legends place Jewish penetration into Arabia as early as the Exodus from Egypt, when Moses sent an army into Arabia to pursue the Amalekites. The Yemenite Jewish community claims its origins in the exile following the destruction of the First Temple or further back with the Queen of Sheba, whose child by Solomon was raised as a Jew. There is no reason to believe these legends as accurate history, but they point to the awareness among Arabs that Jews had been living among them for a long time before the birth of Muhammad.

According to the Islamic sources, there is no record of a Jewish community living in Muhammad’s home town of Mecca, but there was a thriving community in Medina. Muhammad was forced out of Mecca by his own tribe in 622 and found refuge in Medina, where he came into contact with the Jewish community living there. It was out of that contact from which Islamic images of Jews – positive, negative and neutral – were first established and then sanctified by their appearance in Islamic scripture.
The Qur’an on the Jews

The Qur’an is ambivalent about the Jews. On the one hand, it instructs Muhammad to go to the Jews and learn from them: ‘And if you (Muhammad) are uncertain about what We have sent down to you, ask those who read the Book [that was] before you. The truth has come to you from your Lord, so do not be one of those who doubt’ (Q.10:94).1 The Qur’an also teaches that Jews, Christians and others who believe in God and act righteously will have nothing to fear, suggesting that like Muslim believers, they will find salvation (2:62, 5:69, 22:17). On the other hand, the Qur’an repeatedly condemns the Jews for rejecting the prophetic status of Muhammad. It refers to Jews as stiff-necked and rebellious (2:93, 105, 5:78, 62:5), dishonest (2:100, ) violent (2:85, 91, 4:157), usurious and greedy (4:161, 6:146, 9:34), arrogant (3:24, 181, 5:64, 46:10), insidious (2:109, 120, 3:69), jealous (4:54, 5:51), liars (3:71, 94, 5:41, 6:28) and unbelievers (2:55, 103, 3:72, 5:41, 9:30-31, 59:2-4), and it accuses them of distorting their own scripture in order to discredit the message of the Qur’an and the prophet who brought it (2:79, 3:78, 4:46, 5:13, 41).

These references are not always directed specifically to the appellation, ‘Jews’ (yahud). Many refer to ‘People of the Book,’ and that reference generically concerns communities of people who were recipients of revelations prior to the revelation of the Qur’an, namely Jews and Christians. But Islamic sources do not contain any information about Christians living in Medina, so the assumption among the traditional Qur’an commentators is that most of the general references to People of the Book (those that do not specify Christians) refer to the Jews of Medina.

1 See also Q.16:43: ‘So if you do not know, then ask the people of the Reminder (ahl al-dhikr).’ The great 9th century scholar and collector of tradition, al-Tabari, cites the early tradition that God is referring here to ahlul-tawrah – the people of the Torah.

Even among some of the negative references to Jews, however, are reminders that not all can be typed one way or the other. ‘They are not all alike. Of the People of Scripture is an upright community reciting the verses of God at the approach of night and prostrating themselves. They believe in God and the Last Day, command the decent and refrain from the indecent, vying for the good. These are the righteous. Whatever good they do will not be denied, for God knows the pious.’ (3:113-115, and see also 3:199, 4:55, 4:155).

It should not be surprising that the Qur’an contains negative and angry references directed to adherents of established religions. Polemic is a common trait among the scriptures of all three great families of monotheism, and the anger that scriptures direct toward established religions simply denotes the difficult environments in which scriptures always emerge.

All three scriptures direct anger against representatives of the establishment systems that opposed them: the Qur’an toward Jews, Christians and above all, Arabian idol-worshippers; the New Testament toward Jews, Greco-Roman pagans and the Roman establishment; and the Hebrew Bible toward idolatrous nations such as the Moabites and Midianites, idolatrous empires such as Assyria, Egypt and Babylon, and most threatening of all, the establishment religious culture of the local Canaanite peoples. The point of this comparison is neither to reduce the particularities of Judaism, Christianity and Islam nor to avoid taking anti-Judaism seriously. It is, rather, to avoid the common error of distorting the meaning of anti-Judaism when examining it out of context. Anti-Judaism exists in the Qur’an, to be sure, but it must be seen as a natural, even if unfortunate, expression of an emerging religion’s claim to uniqueness.

One might ask why emerging religions must disparage an innocent community such as the Jews. The answer is, in part, that upon closer inspection, communities denigrated or vilified by emerging religions do not generally appear to have been so innocent. We are not trying to blame the victim, but rather to understand how and why established religions threaten the success of new religions. The problem of threat, of course, works in two directions, and the first to threaten the other is typically the new religion or sect that raises the hackles of the establishment. This is apparent, for example, with the rise of sects and ‘cults’ in our own generation. As a result of this threat, established religions characteristically attempt to prevent the success of the upstart. Most new religious movements die within a generation. Very few succeed, and the tremendous success of the Islamic movement was seen as divine proof to the Muslims that their form of monotheism is the most perfect form of religion. According to this line of thinking, history has proven the eternal superiority of Islam and the secondary status of the other monotheisms.

The Jewish communities of Medina, the only Jews that Muhammad and his followers came to know, appear to have threatened the early Muslims in both the conceptual or ideational sense and the physical sense. The first sense caused the greater crisis, but the second was also significant. Some verses portray the Jews not only as refusing to accept Muhammad’s role as prophet but also as trying to discredit him:

O you who believe, do not take as friends those who ridicule your religion, [whether] of those to whom were given Scripture previously or the unbelievers, but be pious to God if you are believers. And when you call for prayers, they take it for ridicule and jest. This is because they are a people without sense. Say: O People of Scripture, are you revengeful toward us only because we believe in God and in what has been sent down to us, and in what has been sent down previously, and because most of you are degenerate sinners? (Q.5:57-59)

The organized Jewish communities of Medina are portrayed quite consistently in the religious sources as refusing to accept Muhammad as a prophet. Those verses condemning the Jews in general while noting that a few are righteous probably refer to individual Jews who left their religion and became followers of Muhammad. The aggregate, however, is portrayed consistently as remaining steadfast (or stiff-necked) in the face of the growing strength of the Muslims. References to the Jews as stiff-necked, arrogant or jealous probably refer to their refusal to accept the new prophet and his religion, to Jews as liars or as distorting their own holy book probably refer to the problem raised by the inevitable contradictions between new revelations and those previously recorded as scripture.

All negative descriptions of Jews recorded in the Qur’an and the early literatures were a result of the friction between the early Muslim community and the organized Jewish communities (tribes) of Medina. The Qur’an represents itself as a universal teaching, however, so because of this aspect of its rhetorical style, it appears to refer negatively to the Jews in general terms. To add to the problem is the fact that to Muslim believers, the Qur’an is inimitable scripture (and the inimitability of the Qur’an is an absolute dogma of Islamic theology), so its portrayal of Jews represents a level of truth that is extremely difficult to question. As scripture, the Qur’an is a powerful foundation for contemporary Muslims’ worldviews all over the globe. The conflicts it reflects ensued for only a few years, but the verses of scripture that record them are eternal.

The Rules of the Dhimma

The layer of sacred Islamic literature that follows the Qur’an is the record of the sunna, or behaviors and sayings of Muhammad, the prophet. These are recorded in a literature called the Hadith. Like the Qur’an, the Hadith reflects the conflicts that grew up between the Jews and early Muslims, and definitive archetypes or stereotypes of Jews were established also in this vast literature. The later juridical literature of Islam was developed primarily from the Qur’an and the Hadith, so it both reinforced these images and created law that would perpetuate them.

Unlike early Judaism and Christianity, early Islam found itself in military and political control of vast populations of non-believers within only a generation after its emergence. It was therefore necessary to develop policy regarding them, and this occurred under the term ‘rules of the protected minorities’ (ahkam al-dhimma). The details vary and the process of creating any kind of official policy was a long one. Moreover, the laws or policies that were developed were often ignored by rulers or were enacted only when it suited them. Once established, however, they were ‘on the books,’ meaning that they represented an authoritative articulation of expected relations with religious minorities, including the Jews.

It should be stated for the record that the Qur’an nowhere calls for the destruction of the Jews. The policy of relationship between Muslims and Jews is based upon and authorized by Qur’an 9:29: ‘Fight those who do not believe in God or in the Last Day and do not make forbidden what God and His messenger have made forbidden, and do not practice the religion of truth, among those who have been given the Book, until they pay the jizya off hand (>an yadin), being humbled/humiliated (wahum §Œghir´n).’ The meaning and significance of the words marked by italics in the qur’anic context are unclear and have been discussed by both traditional Muslim and modern Western scholars for generations. Whatever its original intent, the verse has been interpreted to mean that the Peoples of the Book (originally Jews and Christians, but also extended to include Zoroastrians and sometimes others) were to be fought until they capitulate and recognize the political and religious domination of Islam. This recognition was confirmed formally by a special poll tax and by a series of sumptuary laws that legally established inferior status for Peoples of the Book in Islamic society. Once these corporate religious communities acknowledged their secondary status by paying the tax and accepting certain social restrictions, they were protected by the state, which guaranteed their lives, their property, and the right to worship as they chose (with some limits such as public religious processions and ceremonies). This was the rule of the dhimma or ‘protection,’ and the Peoples of the Book (ahl al-kitab) were therefore also dhimmi peoples (ahl al-dhimma), proteges of the Islamic community.

The Pact of ‘Umar

Societal restrictions that define the inferior status of Peoples of the Book were formulated from a letter purportedly sent by Christians to the second caliph, `Umar b. al-Khattab, which established the terms of surrender to the conquering Muslim armies. These restrictions include a promise not to build new places of worship or religious establishments, hold public religious ceremonies, proselytize or prevent people from converting to Islam. They voluntered to distinguish themselves in dress so as not to be confused with Muslims and to always to defer to Muslims. They would not bear weapons of any kind , take slaves designated for Muslims, or build homes higher than those of Muslims.

This document is known as the Pact of `Umar, and it defined relations between Jews and Muslims in the pre-modern Muslim world. Peoples of the Book were forbidden from holding positions of influence in government and society, but this was sometimes observed in the breech when Jews such as Maimonides became personal physicians of governors. The most famous example is Shmuel Hanagid, who was not only vizier of the Muslim king of Granada, but also commander of his armies. He successfully broke the most sacred rules of the dhimma by commanding such power, but he also brought his kingdom great fame and influence. His son, Yosef, however, did not fare as well. He fell victim to a mass revolt and massacre in 1066, allegedly caused by what was perceived as Yosef’s inflated pride and ambition in high office, which were completely at odds with the letter and law of the rules of the dhimma.

Both the interpretation and implementation of the sumptuary laws were thus flexible. Restrictions tended to be relaxed when Jews had valuable skills that were perceived as important to the governing power, especially from the 10th through 12 centuries in such areas as Muslim Spain, Iraq, Egypt, and areas of North Africa such as Ifriqiya (roughly today’s Tunisia), and the Ottoman Empire during the 16th century. These were ‘golden ages’ for Jews and their Muslim host countries. When times were economically good, the rules of the dhimma tended to be implemented with less zeal. But when times were bad, the situation of the Jews and other dhimmi peoples tended to decline.

The golden ages would not last. All of the Islamic Middle East entered a long period of decline in the latter half of the millenium. This period has been called ‘the long twilight of the late Islamic Middle Ages,’ and it aptly describes the decline and shadowy position of the Jews in these areas. The position of Jews in the Islamic world during the later middle ages and early modern period deteriorated greatly. Although the sixteenth century was good to the Jews under the firm and forward-looking policies of the Ottoman Empire in their massive geographical holdings, the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries became oppressive not only for the Jews but for most of the inhabitants of the Middle East. The ruling Turkish minority tended to treat average Arab Muslims almost as disdainfully as it did the dhimmis, and as its control of the provinces waned the various religious communities tended to act out their antipathy and antagonism toward one another. The sumptuary laws that clearly identified and discriminated against Jews and Christians were enforced more and more rigorously, and the dhimmis suffered as a result.

The native economies stagnated as the Middle East entered the modern era and became increasingly dominated by Europeans. As European powers encroached increasingly into parts of the Middle East, its impact on the social as well as political and economic levels also increased. The influence of foreign powers and ideas, therefore, became a critical factor on the evolving position of Jews and other religious minorities in the Islamic world.
Jewish Views of Muslims

Jewish attitudes toward Muslims were much less public than Muslim’s attitudes toward Jews in the pre-modern period. As a result of their dhimmi status, Jews always subject to punishment for any negative public statement or reflection on Islam or Muslims. We can, nevertheless, glean some sentiments, sometimes only hinted, from the large corpus of Jewish writings from Muslim lands.

Muslims were usually regarded as Ishmaelites in Jewish letters because of the view that the Arabs originated from Ishmael, son of Abraham, and Muslims acknowledged this genealogy in such authoritative sources as the official biography of Muhammad. Jews, therefore, who were familiar with the negative biblical depictions of Ishmael, Hagar, and other ethnically Arab biblical characters, accepted such characterizations in their view of Muslims and tended to express their negative views through the code of comments on the biblical Ishmael.

The Arab Conquests put an end to Byzantine and Persian dominion over most Jews, and some Jewish texts portray these conquests in apocalyptic terms, suggesting that at least part of the Jewish world considered the quick and unprecedented scope of victory to herald the coming of the messiah. A late, pseudepigraphic Midrash attributed to the mystical Shimon Bar Yochai includes the following:

When he saw the kingdom of Ishmael that was coming, he began to say: ‘Was it not enough, what the wicked kingdom of Edom did to us, but we must have the kingdom of Ishmael too?’ At once, Metatron the prince of the [divine] countenance answered and said, Do not fear, son of man, for the Holy One only brings the kingdom of Ishmael in order to save you from this wickedness. He raises up over them a Prophet according to his will and will conquer the land for them and they will come and restore it in greatness, and there will be great terror between them and the sons of Esau.’….when he, the rider on the camel, goes forth the kingdom will arise through the rider on an ass…” [Jellinek: Beit HaMidrash 3:78].

As Islam became entrenched as a religion of empire, it became clear that the messiah was not among the Arab armies. Secondary status, social restrictions, disrespect as Jews and occasional violent victimization laid bare the truth of Jewish status under the new Muslim rulers. As noted above, however, Muslim interpretation and implementation of the sumptuary laws was flexible, so communities at various times and in various parts of the Muslim world experienced their rulers differently. Abraham Ibn Daud, who lived in tolerant 11th century Spain, referred to Muslims positively in his book of history. He remarks that the Caliphs honored both the Babylonian Jewish Exilarch and the head of the academy, and even noted when mentioning the massacre of the Jewish community of Granada that it was provoked by the inappropriate behavior of the Jewish leader, Yosef son of Shmuel HaNagid, according to the laws of the dhimma [Gerson Cohen, The Book of Tradition, pp. 45, 76].

Maimonides suffered exile from Spain during a period of fundamentalist Islamic revival, but nevertheless reached the pinnacle of position and status as personal physician to the sultan of Egypt. In his now-famous letter to the Jewish community of Yemen, which was suffering under an intolerant and abusive regime, he describes the Jewish predicament in the following way: ‘…on account of the vast number of our sins, God has hurled us in the midst of this people, the Arabs, who have persecuted us severely, and passed baneful and discriminatory legislation against us….Never did a nation molest, degrade, debase and hate us as much as they.’ [Halkin, Epistle to Yemen, p. xviii].

Both Ibn Daud and Maimonides wrote with specific agendas, so their sentiments need to be read with caution. Taken together, they portray the ambivalence of Jews toward their Muslim overlords throughout the Islamic world prior to the eruption of modernity. Life apart from non-Jewish masters would clearly have been preferred, but such a life seemed inconceivable prior to the coming of the messiah.
Muslims’ view of Jews in the Modern World

We skip through many centuries to the nineteenth, when Europe was in expansion and the Middle East was weak. It was during this period when many Middle Eastern Jews (and even more so, Christians) began to extricate their identity from the local cultures. European pressure on the Ottoman Sultan forced a level of civil emancipation for Christians, and this emancipation was applied also to the Jews, who were also People of the Book. Christian missionary schools entered the Middle East and created an educated class of Arab Christians who, under the protection of European consuls, began to enter social and economic arenas that had been forbidden for centuries. The French Jewish Alliance Israelite Universelle and to a lesser extent British, Austrian and German Jewish organizations founded schools for Jews that accomplished parallel results. This movement among European Jews and Christians advanced the position of some of the dhimmis in their local situation, but it also tended to Europeanize them (though in rural areas these European influences sometimes did not penetrate at all). Their legal and economic position improved, but these changes became a mixed blessing, especially for Jews living in more provincial areas. Privileging Jews violated the rules of the dhimma and thus exposed them, when unprotected by the influence of foreign powers, to the unprotected hostility of the Muslim majority. With deterioration of local government control, law and order tended to breakdown and all those unprotected tended to become victims.

The emergence of Zionism and the Palestine question further added to the Muslim ‘othering’ of the Jews. From the Jewish perspective, the issue of a Jewish national home in Palestine was mostly one of modern nationalism and politics, though there was clearly an overtone of religious identity as well. The Palestinian Arab perspective was similar in that it was primarily an issue of land and hegemony, with religion a minor issue. From the Islamic perspective, however, the issue was much larger, and the separation between religion and nationalism has always been fuzzy in the modern Middle East. The Zionists disregarded their secondary status entirely and even built and managed their own independent economy. Zionism thus represented a case of dhimmis attempting to break out of their protected but inferior status by establishing an independent Jewish nation-state in the heartland of the Islamic Middle East.

This was unacceptable on its own terms, but its close historical and phenomenological association with European expansion and colonization made it all the more threatening. The Zionists were overwhelmingly European, and their views of Arabs reflected prevailing European attitudes and expectations. Whatever Zionism was to the Jews and to its British Christian supporters, it represented a reversal of the divine order to religious Muslims, and was regarded increasingly contrary to the way of God by Islamists, those Muslims who were seeking a way out of the decline of the Islamic world through greater religious devotion.

Islamic antipathy to Zionism was apparent from the beginning, but it was often mixed up with Arab political movements and Arab anti-colonialism. Because of the strong Christian and secular components in Arab political movements through the end of the Mandate period, especially in Syria-Palestine, the Islamic component was often underplayed. It always remained under the surface, however, and the large compendium of anti-Jewish material in the Qur’an and the Tradition made for a constant reminder of the negative attributes and evil desires of ‘the Jews,’ though it must be remembered that the material actually reflects a conflict that was limited to the Jewish community of seventh century Medina.

Today, therefore, the major subtext for the current Islamic view of Jews is the Israel-Palestine conflict, with its own religious subtext of dhimmitude: Jews are expected to acquiesce to Islamic domination. Jews have not done so when they created the Jewish State of Israel against the vociferous protests of the Islamic world. Some Muslims have attempted to draw a distinction between those Jews who live in and support the State of Israel – the ‘Zionists,’ – and those Jews who do not. Such subtlety, however, seems to be lost on most Muslims.

The Egyptian, Sayyid Qutb, for example, who is one of the most important ideologues of current Islamist groups, portrays the Jews in his work, Our Struggle with the Jews (early 1950s), as the ultimate source of adversity that has continuously beset Islam. He and others after him used this antagonistic image of the Jews as a vehicle for promoting Islamic activism and reform.2

Despite such disturbing portrayals, Muslims’ views of Jews are both complex and fluid. There is no single authoritative body or institution such as the papacy in the Islamic world that can speak in the name of Islam (or more precisely, in the name of a significant, unified body of Muslims). The decentralized, fragmented nature of religious organization and authority in Islam has mitigated against any kind of unity regarding most religious issues that does not rely simply on inertia. But there has been inertia in reference to Jews, and by the beginning of the 21st century that inertia has moved Islam toward an increasing public anti-Jewish antipathy.

2 Jeffrey Kenney, “Enemies Near and Far: The Image of the Jews in Islamist Discourse in Egypt,” Religion 24 (1990), 255.
Modern Jewish Attitudes Toward Muslims

Zionists viewed the natives in Palestine as Arabs rather than Muslims, partly because the non-Jewish Arab population of Palestine included Christians, and partly because they preferred to think in terms of national rather than religious categories. In any case, they regarded them as rather primitive. In fact, the European Jews considered their Arab Jewish brethren rather primitive as well. Although intended to be hyperbolic, Ahad Ha`Am’s observation reflects the general tenor of the European Jewish view of Arabs: “Outside Palestine, we are accustomed to believing that Arabs are all wild beasts of the desert, a people akin to jackasses who do not understand what is going on around them.” Inside Palestine where Jews met Arabs daily, their views of Arabs were more realistic, but they nevertheless regarded them overwhelmingly as less civilized than people of European stock. The reasons for this are complex and reflect a variety of influences, both Jewish and non-Jewish.

Early on and before the violent Arab actions directed against the Zionist project beginning in 1920-21, antipathy toward Arabs did not reach the level of anger directed by many Eastern European Jews toward their countries of origin. The continuing pogroms and violence directed against Jews in the east, despite promises of emancipation, prompted many to look toward Palestine. The hope of a future golden age of Jewish life under Islam convinced many to leave the misery of Europe and set out for the Holy Land with fellow Zionists, but the dream of a better life under the Muslims was transformed to one of a self-governing Jewish nation-state. Jewish power and numbers increased in Palestine, and Muslim antipathy increased in turn.
The Arabs, it turned out, were not the simple and friendly Orientals depicted in 19th century European Romantic art and literature. They were quite willing to fight and kill those whom they considered to be threatening their social and economic position. This, then, caused Jews to reconsider their view of Muslims. The war between Jews and Arabs over the land of Israel/Palestine has continued, both hot and cold, from 1921 to the present, and it has become the primary determiner of both Jews’ and Muslims’ view of the other. It should not be surprising that the overwhelming view of the other is quite negative in both the Jewish and Muslim communities. The “other” tends to represent the enemy. Despite important exceptions to the rule on both sides, it has been largely codified within the social systems of both communities and perpetuated in the general culture.

Notwithstanding this sentiment, Jews have been deeply interested in Islam and in the literary, historical and theological relationships between Jews and Muslims to this day. Jews have played a disproportionate role in the scientific study of Islam from the beginning of modern Western scholarship on religion. Rabbi Abraham Geiger is rightly considered to have ushered in the dawn of historical research on Islam, the work of Ignaz Goldziher continues to be read more than 100 years after its publication, and the dean of this discipline in our own day is Bernard Lewis. In Jewish theology, Franz Rosenzweig compares Islam favorable to Christianity in his Star of Redemption. ‘In a certain sense, Islam demanded and practiced “tolerance” long before the concept was discovered by Christian Europe.” (Star 216).
Jewish-Muslim Relations Today

At the time of this writing, the issue of Jewish-Muslim relations has become of increasing concern for Jews throughout the world. Especially since the watershed destruction of the American World Trade Center towers in 2001, Jewish fear of Islamic anti-Semitism has placed Jewish-Muslim relations in nearly equal status to Jewish-Christian relations.

Anti-Semitism as known in Europe is not indigenous to the Islamic World. While Christian theologies tend to be predicated on the irrelevance of Judaism or active antagonism to it, Islamic theologies establish their position relative to two rather than one established monotheistic system and critique them less categorically. It is certainly true that tensions and hierarchies, polemics and prejudice, legal discrimination and violence directed specifically against Jews are indeed a part of the Islamic World and have been since the emergence of Islam. But the particular pathology of European anti-Semitism with its blood libels and virulent hatred had to be imported to the Middle East, and it was done so by Christians. Increasing incrementally in response to the watershed events of 1948, 1967, the second or Al-Aqsa Intifada of the 1990s and the American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in 2002-3, Muslim rage against Israel, the United States and the West has been expressed through increased dehumanization and demonizing of Jews in general. The so-called Protocols of the Elders of Zion has been available in Arabic translation since before mid-century, but has been cited increasingly in newspaper editorials and strongly referenced in popular state-sponsored television series in Egypt and Syria-Lebanon.

The axis around which Jewish-Muslim tensions are arrayed continues to be the Jewish State. The tease of Israeli and Palestinian leaders shaking hands under the protective canopy of the United States, only to have relations reach their lowest historical level in the second or Al-Aqsa Intifada, had repercussions that have rocked relations between Jews and other religious and ethnic groups as well. The state of Israel is the symptom, however. It is the presenting problem and not the only cause for the pathology. The grounds for increased hostility between Jews and Muslims are far more complex, and they reflect the endemic tensions associated with what is now commonly called the post-modern era: social and economic disruptions associated with an increasingly global economy, growing economic gaps between nations and populations, lack of social and economic integration of Arabs and Muslims into Western Europe, increasing industrial dependence on oil and subsequent Western attempts to prop up dictatorial regimes in the Muslim World, the inability of Middle Eastern countries to bring economic and political stability to their own populations, and the self-perceived shame associated with the failure of Middle Eastern nations to compete with the West economically, technologically, politically, militarily and socially. All have increased the level of tensions between Jews and Muslims at the outset of the twenty-first century, but they reflect the tensions that effect global populations as well.

This chapter is being written during one of the most volatile periods of Jewish-Muslim relations. Because there are no authoritative bodies that represent a plurality of either Jews or Muslims, relations are steered as much by the shapers of public opinion than by authoritative religious positions or their representatives. Public expressions of antipathy expressed by both sides toward the other are palpable. They are formed from public statements made by un-authoritative and unrepresentative ‘spokespersons’ who are heavily influenced by the violence and politics of the Middle East (including petty internal politics) and, in turn, exert a strong influence on coreligionists on the ground. On the other hand, many dozens and perhaps hundreds of Muslim-Jewish dialogue groups and other joint Jewish-Muslim initiatives have quietly been formed and are functioning in Israel, the US and Europe. The Maimonides Foundation in London is one better known and public group. Another is the Institute for the Study of Jewish-Muslim Interrelations (ISJMI) in Los Angeles. Dozens of others exist in Israel alone, and more span the boundaries between Israel and the areas across the Green Line dividing pre-1967 Israel and the West Bank. None but a prophet can successfully predict the future of Jewish-Muslim relations, but if history is any lesson, a modus vivendi will slowly emerge that will improve the current situation.

SUGGESTED READINGS

Bodansky, Yossef, Islamic Anti-Semitism as a Political Instrument (Houston: Freeman Center for Strategic Studies, 1999). Produced by a Jewish defense organization, this monograph is a good example of how accurate data can be presented in a biased and unbalanced manner with the goal of promoting a narrow and inaccurate picture of reality.

Cohen, Mark and Udovitch, Abraham (eds.), Jews Among Arabs: Contact and Boundaries (Princeton: Darwin, 1989). This collection contains articles written by experts in the field of modern Jewish-Muslim history. The individual articles examine Jewish life in Iraq, Tunisia and Morocco, and chronicle Jewish cultural interaction and contribution to modern Arab culture.

Cohen, Mark, Under Crescent and Cross (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994). Cohen compares the treatment of Jews in Christian Europe and the Islamic Middle East to suggest where the Jews fared best and why.

Firestone, Reuven, Journeys in Holy Lands: The Evolution of the Abraham-Ishmael Legends in Islamic Exegesis (Albany, NY: State University of New York, 1990). This is a study of the intertextual relationship between ‘Biblical’ and ‘Qur’anic’ narrative literatures through the Abraham stories.

Firestone, Reuven, Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism for Muslims (NY: Schocken, 2001). An introduction to Judaism that notes the many parallels as well as differences between Judaism and Islam, treating some of the thorny questions that Muslims ask about Judaism.

Goitein, S. D., Jews and Arabs: Their Contacts Through the Ages (NY: Schocken, 1955). This is the classic survey of the history of Jewish-Arab relations, tracing the various intellectual and religious contributions of one to the other community.

Hary, Benjamin, Hayes, John and Astren, Fred (eds.), Judaism and Islam: Boundaries, Communication and Interaction: Essays in Honor of William M. Brinner (Leiden: Brill, 2000). A recent collection of essays hosting some of the best contemporary scholarship on Judaism and Islam covering history, literatures, scriptures, law, philosophy and ethics, languages and sectarian communities.

Kramer, Martin (ed.), The Jewish Discovery of Islam (Tel Aviv: Moshe Dayan Center, 1999). Examines the primary Jewish role of scholarship, literature and exploration in the modern European quest to understand Islam.

Lewis, Bernard, The Jews of Islam (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984). This has become a classic survey of the intellectual and cultural relations between Muslims and Jews that counters the two competing stereotypes of the Muslim fanatical warrior or utopian pluralist.

Nettler, Ronald (ed.), Medieval and Modern Perspectives on Muslim-Jewish Relations (Oxford: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1995). This collection of essays is a foray into the scholarly literature of Muslim-Jewish relations, topics from ‘Judaizing’ tendencies among some Muslims to the use of Muslim narrative as a commentary on Jewish tradition.

Newby, Gordon, A History of the Jews of Arabia (Columbia, SC, University of South Carolina, 1988). This brief history examines the history of the Jewish (most likely sectarian) communities of Arabia from the earliest times to the rise of Islam.

Sacher, Howard M., A History of Israel From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time (NY: Knopf, 1976). A largely political history.

Stark, Rodney, and Bainbridge, William Sims, A Theory of Religion. NY: Peter Lang, 1987. This book provides a good theoretical foundation for the study of emerging religions.

Stillman, Norman, The Jews of Arab Lands: A History and Source Book, and The Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times (Philadelphia: Jewish Publications Society, 1979 and 1991). This is an excellent two volume source book and commentary that provides a large compendium of translated documents treating the Jews of the Arab Middle East from the earliest sources to the end of the twentieth century.

Earliest Contacts and the Paradigms of Relationship

It is impossible to understand the complex nature of modern Jewish-Muslim relations without revisiting Arabia of the 7th century, when the new Believers (mu’minun) of emerging Islam began to establish their foundational worldviews. It is already in this earliest context that Muhammad and his followers came into contact with Jews, and this particular contact became extremely important because reactions to it were recorded for posterity in the Qur’an. The only sources for the earliest relations between Jews and Muslims are the Qur’an and its attendant literatures, which, like other sacred literatures, are interested in history only insofar as it helps to define the emerging community and its values and ideas.

Jews lived in Arabia for some generations before the birth of Muhammad. Legends place Jewish penetration into Arabia as early as the Exodus from Egypt, when Moses sent an army into Arabia to pursue the Amalekites. The Yemenite Jewish community claims its origins in the exile following the destruction of the First Temple or further back with the Queen of Sheba, whose child by Solomon was raised as a Jew. There is no reason to believe these legends as accurate history, but they point to the awareness among Arabs that Jews had been living among them for a long time before the birth of Muhammad.

According to the Islamic sources, there is no record of a Jewish community living in Muhammad’s home town of Mecca, but there was a thriving community in Medina. Muhammad was forced out of Mecca by his own tribe in 622 and found refuge in Medina, where he came into contact with the Jewish community living there. It was out of that contact from which Islamic images of Jews – positive, negative and neutral – were first established and then sanctified by their appearance in Islamic scripture.
The Qur’an on the Jews

The Qur’an is ambivalent about the Jews. On the one hand, it instructs Muhammad to go to the Jews and learn from them: ‘And if you (Muhammad) are uncertain about what We have sent down to you, ask those who read the Book [that was] before you. The truth has come to you from your Lord, so do not be one of those who doubt’ (Q.10:94).1 The Qur’an also teaches that Jews, Christians and others who believe in God and act righteously will have nothing to fear, suggesting that like Muslim believers, they will find salvation (2:62, 5:69, 22:17). On the other hand, the Qur’an repeatedly condemns the Jews for rejecting the prophetic status of Muhammad. It refers to Jews as stiff-necked and rebellious (2:93, 105, 5:78, 62:5), dishonest (2:100, ) violent (2:85, 91, 4:157), usurious and greedy (4:161, 6:146, 9:34), arrogant (3:24, 181, 5:64, 46:10), insidious (2:109, 120, 3:69), jealous (4:54, 5:51), liars (3:71, 94, 5:41, 6:28) and unbelievers (2:55, 103, 3:72, 5:41, 9:30-31, 59:2-4), and it accuses them of distorting their own scripture in order to discredit the message of the Qur’an and the prophet who brought it (2:79, 3:78, 4:46, 5:13, 41).

These references are not always directed specifically to the appellation, ‘Jews’ (yahud). Many refer to ‘People of the Book,’ and that reference generically concerns communities of people who were recipients of revelations prior to the revelation of the Qur’an, namely Jews and Christians. But Islamic sources do not contain any information about Christians living in Medina, so the assumption among the traditional Qur’an commentators is that most of the general references to People of the Book (those that do not specify Christians) refer to the Jews of Medina.

1 See also Q.16:43: ‘So if you do not know, then ask the people of the Reminder (ahl al-dhikr).’ The great 9th century scholar and collector of tradition, al-Tabari, cites the early tradition that God is referring here to ahlul-tawrah – the people of the Torah.

Even among some of the negative references to Jews, however, are reminders that not all can be typed one way or the other. ‘They are not all alike. Of the People of Scripture is an upright community reciting the verses of God at the approach of night and prostrating themselves. They believe in God and the Last Day, command the decent and refrain from the indecent, vying for the good. These are the righteous. Whatever good they do will not be denied, for God knows the pious.’ (3:113-115, and see also 3:199, 4:55, 4:155).

It should not be surprising that the Qur’an contains negative and angry references directed to adherents of established religions. Polemic is a common trait among the scriptures of all three great families of monotheism, and the anger that scriptures direct toward established religions simply denotes the difficult environments in which scriptures always emerge.

All three scriptures direct anger against representatives of the establishment systems that opposed them: the Qur’an toward Jews, Christians and above all, Arabian idol-worshippers; the New Testament toward Jews, Greco-Roman pagans and the Roman establishment; and the Hebrew Bible toward idolatrous nations such as the Moabites and Midianites, idolatrous empires such as Assyria, Egypt and Babylon, and most threatening of all, the establishment religious culture of the local Canaanite peoples. The point of this comparison is neither to reduce the particularities of Judaism, Christianity and Islam nor to avoid taking anti-Judaism seriously. It is, rather, to avoid the common error of distorting the meaning of anti-Judaism when examining it out of context. Anti-Judaism exists in the Qur’an, to be sure, but it must be seen as a natural, even if unfortunate, expression of an emerging religion’s claim to uniqueness.

One might ask why emerging religions must disparage an innocent community such as the Jews. The answer is, in part, that upon closer inspection, communities denigrated or vilified by emerging religions do not generally appear to have been so innocent. We are not trying to blame the victim, but rather to understand how and why established religions threaten the success of new religions. The problem of threat, of course, works in two directions, and the first to threaten the other is typically the new religion or sect that raises the hackles of the establishment. This is apparent, for example, with the rise of sects and ‘cults’ in our own generation. As a result of this threat, established religions characteristically attempt to prevent the success of the upstart. Most new religious movements die within a generation. Very few succeed, and the tremendous success of the Islamic movement was seen as divine proof to the Muslims that their form of monotheism is the most perfect form of religion. According to this line of thinking, history has proven the eternal superiority of Islam and the secondary status of the other monotheisms.

The Jewish communities of Medina, the only Jews that Muhammad and his followers came to know, appear to have threatened the early Muslims in both the conceptual or ideational sense and the physical sense. The first sense caused the greater crisis, but the second was also significant. Some verses portray the Jews not only as refusing to accept Muhammad’s role as prophet but also as trying to discredit him:

O you who believe, do not take as friends those who ridicule your religion, [whether] of those to whom were given Scripture previously or the unbelievers, but be pious to God if you are believers. And when you call for prayers, they take it for ridicule and jest. This is because they are a people without sense. Say: O People of Scripture, are you revengeful toward us only because we believe in God and in what has been sent down to us, and in what has been sent down previously, and because most of you are degenerate sinners? (Q.5:57-59)

The organized Jewish communities of Medina are portrayed quite consistently in the religious sources as refusing to accept Muhammad as a prophet. Those verses condemning the Jews in general while noting that a few are righteous probably refer to individual Jews who left their religion and became followers of Muhammad. The aggregate, however, is portrayed consistently as remaining steadfast (or stiff-necked) in the face of the growing strength of the Muslims. References to the Jews as stiff-necked, arrogant or jealous probably refer to their refusal to accept the new prophet and his religion, to Jews as liars or as distorting their own holy book probably refer to the problem raised by the inevitable contradictions between new revelations and those previously recorded as scripture.

All negative descriptions of Jews recorded in the Qur’an and the early literatures were a result of the friction between the early Muslim community and the organized Jewish communities (tribes) of Medina. The Qur’an represents itself as a universal teaching, however, so because of this aspect of its rhetorical style, it appears to refer negatively to the Jews in general terms. To add to the problem is the fact that to Muslim believers, the Qur’an is inimitable scripture (and the inimitability of the Qur’an is an absolute dogma of Islamic theology), so its portrayal of Jews represents a level of truth that is extremely difficult to question. As scripture, the Qur’an is a powerful foundation for contemporary Muslims’ worldviews all over the globe. The conflicts it reflects ensued for only a few years, but the verses of scripture that record them are eternal.

The Rules of the Dhimma

The layer of sacred Islamic literature that follows the Qur’an is the record of the sunna, or behaviors and sayings of Muhammad, the prophet. These are recorded in a literature called the Hadith. Like the Qur’an, the Hadith reflects the conflicts that grew up between the Jews and early Muslims, and definitive archetypes or stereotypes of Jews were established also in this vast literature. The later juridical literature of Islam was developed primarily from the Qur’an and the Hadith, so it both reinforced these images and created law that would perpetuate them.

Unlike early Judaism and Christianity, early Islam found itself in military and political control of vast populations of non-believers within only a generation after its emergence. It was therefore necessary to develop policy regarding them, and this occurred under the term ‘rules of the protected minorities’ (ahkam al-dhimma). The details vary and the process of creating any kind of official policy was a long one. Moreover, the laws or policies that were developed were often ignored by rulers or were enacted only when it suited them. Once established, however, they were ‘on the books,’ meaning that they represented an authoritative articulation of expected relations with religious minorities, including the Jews.

It should be stated for the record that the Qur’an nowhere calls for the destruction of the Jews. The policy of relationship between Muslims and Jews is based upon and authorized by Qur’an 9:29: ‘Fight those who do not believe in God or in the Last Day and do not make forbidden what God and His messenger have made forbidden, and do not practice the religion of truth, among those who have been given the Book, until they pay the jizya off hand (>an yadin), being humbled/humiliated (wahum §Œghir´n).’ The meaning and significance of the words marked by italics in the qur’anic context are unclear and have been discussed by both traditional Muslim and modern Western scholars for generations. Whatever its original intent, the verse has been interpreted to mean that the Peoples of the Book (originally Jews and Christians, but also extended to include Zoroastrians and sometimes others) were to be fought until they capitulate and recognize the political and religious domination of Islam. This recognition was confirmed formally by a special poll tax and by a series of sumptuary laws that legally established inferior status for Peoples of the Book in Islamic society. Once these corporate religious communities acknowledged their secondary status by paying the tax and accepting certain social restrictions, they were protected by the state, which guaranteed their lives, their property, and the right to worship as they chose (with some limits such as public religious processions and ceremonies). This was the rule of the dhimma or ‘protection,’ and the Peoples of the Book (ahl al-kitab) were therefore also dhimmi peoples (ahl al-dhimma), proteges of the Islamic community.

The Pact of ‘Umar

Societal restrictions that define the inferior status of Peoples of the Book were formulated from a letter purportedly sent by Christians to the second caliph, `Umar b. al-Khattab, which established the terms of surrender to the conquering Muslim armies. These restrictions include a promise not to build new places of worship or religious establishments, hold public religious ceremonies, proselytize or prevent people from converting to Islam. They voluntered to distinguish themselves in dress so as not to be confused with Muslims and to always to defer to Muslims. They would not bear weapons of any kind , take slaves designated for Muslims, or build homes higher than those of Muslims.

This document is known as the Pact of `Umar, and it defined relations between Jews and Muslims in the pre-modern Muslim world. Peoples of the Book were forbidden from holding positions of influence in government and society, but this was sometimes observed in the breech when Jews such as Maimonides became personal physicians of governors. The most famous example is Shmuel Hanagid, who was not only vizier of the Muslim king of Granada, but also commander of his armies. He successfully broke the most sacred rules of the dhimma by commanding such power, but he also brought his kingdom great fame and influence. His son, Yosef, however, did not fare as well. He fell victim to a mass revolt and massacre in 1066, allegedly caused by what was perceived as Yosef’s inflated pride and ambition in high office, which were completely at odds with the letter and law of the rules of the dhimma.

Both the interpretation and implementation of the sumptuary laws were thus flexible. Restrictions tended to be relaxed when Jews had valuable skills that were perceived as important to the governing power, especially from the 10th through 12 centuries in such areas as Muslim Spain, Iraq, Egypt, and areas of North Africa such as Ifriqiya (roughly today’s Tunisia), and the Ottoman Empire during the 16th century. These were ‘golden ages’ for Jews and their Muslim host countries. When times were economically good, the rules of the dhimma tended to be implemented with less zeal. But when times were bad, the situation of the Jews and other dhimmi peoples tended to decline.

The golden ages would not last. All of the Islamic Middle East entered a long period of decline in the latter half of the millenium. This period has been called ‘the long twilight of the late Islamic Middle Ages,’ and it aptly describes the decline and shadowy position of the Jews in these areas. The position of Jews in the Islamic world during the later middle ages and early modern period deteriorated greatly. Although the sixteenth century was good to the Jews under the firm and forward-looking policies of the Ottoman Empire in their massive geographical holdings, the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries became oppressive not only for the Jews but for most of the inhabitants of the Middle East. The ruling Turkish minority tended to treat average Arab Muslims almost as disdainfully as it did the dhimmis, and as its control of the provinces waned the various religious communities tended to act out their antipathy and antagonism toward one another. The sumptuary laws that clearly identified and discriminated against Jews and Christians were enforced more and more rigorously, and the dhimmis suffered as a result.

The native economies stagnated as the Middle East entered the modern era and became increasingly dominated by Europeans. As European powers encroached increasingly into parts of the Middle East, its impact on the social as well as political and economic levels also increased. The influence of foreign powers and ideas, therefore, became a critical factor on the evolving position of Jews and other religious minorities in the Islamic world.
Jewish Views of Muslims

Jewish attitudes toward Muslims were much less public than Muslim’s attitudes toward Jews in the pre-modern period. As a result of their dhimmi status, Jews always subject to punishment for any negative public statement or reflection on Islam or Muslims. We can, nevertheless, glean some sentiments, sometimes only hinted, from the large corpus of Jewish writings from Muslim lands.

Muslims were usually regarded as Ishmaelites in Jewish letters because of the view that the Arabs originated from Ishmael, son of Abraham, and Muslims acknowledged this genealogy in such authoritative sources as the official biography of Muhammad. Jews, therefore, who were familiar with the negative biblical depictions of Ishmael, Hagar, and other ethnically Arab biblical characters, accepted such characterizations in their view of Muslims and tended to express their negative views through the code of comments on the biblical Ishmael.

The Arab Conquests put an end to Byzantine and Persian dominion over most Jews, and some Jewish texts portray these conquests in apocalyptic terms, suggesting that at least part of the Jewish world considered the quick and unprecedented scope of victory to herald the coming of the messiah. A late, pseudepigraphic Midrash attributed to the mystical Shimon Bar Yochai includes the following:

When he saw the kingdom of Ishmael that was coming, he began to say: ‘Was it not enough, what the wicked kingdom of Edom did to us, but we must have the kingdom of Ishmael too?’ At once, Metatron the prince of the [divine] countenance answered and said, Do not fear, son of man, for the Holy One only brings the kingdom of Ishmael in order to save you from this wickedness. He raises up over them a Prophet according to his will and will conquer the land for them and they will come and restore it in greatness, and there will be great terror between them and the sons of Esau.’….when he, the rider on the camel, goes forth the kingdom will arise through the rider on an ass…” [Jellinek: Beit HaMidrash 3:78].

As Islam became entrenched as a religion of empire, it became clear that the messiah was not among the Arab armies. Secondary status, social restrictions, disrespect as Jews and occasional violent victimization laid bare the truth of Jewish status under the new Muslim rulers. As noted above, however, Muslim interpretation and implementation of the sumptuary laws was flexible, so communities at various times and in various parts of the Muslim world experienced their rulers differently. Abraham Ibn Daud, who lived in tolerant 11th century Spain, referred to Muslims positively in his book of history. He remarks that the Caliphs honored both the Babylonian Jewish Exilarch and the head of the academy, and even noted when mentioning the massacre of the Jewish community of Granada that it was provoked by the inappropriate behavior of the Jewish leader, Yosef son of Shmuel HaNagid, according to the laws of the dhimma [Gerson Cohen, The Book of Tradition, pp. 45, 76].

Maimonides suffered exile from Spain during a period of fundamentalist Islamic revival, but nevertheless reached the pinnacle of position and status as personal physician to the sultan of Egypt. In his now-famous letter to the Jewish community of Yemen, which was suffering under an intolerant and abusive regime, he describes the Jewish predicament in the following way: ‘…on account of the vast number of our sins, God has hurled us in the midst of this people, the Arabs, who have persecuted us severely, and passed baneful and discriminatory legislation against us….Never did a nation molest, degrade, debase and hate us as much as they.’ [Halkin, Epistle to Yemen, p. xviii].

Both Ibn Daud and Maimonides wrote with specific agendas, so their sentiments need to be read with caution. Taken together, they portray the ambivalence of Jews toward their Muslim overlords throughout the Islamic world prior to the eruption of modernity. Life apart from non-Jewish masters would clearly have been preferred, but such a life seemed inconceivable prior to the coming of the messiah.
Muslims’ view of Jews in the Modern World

We skip through many centuries to the nineteenth, when Europe was in expansion and the Middle East was weak. It was during this period when many Middle Eastern Jews (and even more so, Christians) began to extricate their identity from the local cultures. European pressure on the Ottoman Sultan forced a level of civil emancipation for Christians, and this emancipation was applied also to the Jews, who were also People of the Book. Christian missionary schools entered the Middle East and created an educated class of Arab Christians who, under the protection of European consuls, began to enter social and economic arenas that had been forbidden for centuries. The French Jewish Alliance Israelite Universelle and to a lesser extent British, Austrian and German Jewish organizations founded schools for Jews that accomplished parallel results. This movement among European Jews and Christians advanced the position of some of the dhimmis in their local situation, but it also tended to Europeanize them (though in rural areas these European influences sometimes did not penetrate at all). Their legal and economic position improved, but these changes became a mixed blessing, especially for Jews living in more provincial areas. Privileging Jews violated the rules of the dhimma and thus exposed them, when unprotected by the influence of foreign powers, to the unprotected hostility of the Muslim majority. With deterioration of local government control, law and order tended to breakdown and all those unprotected tended to become victims.

The emergence of Zionism and the Palestine question further added to the Muslim ‘othering’ of the Jews. From the Jewish perspective, the issue of a Jewish national home in Palestine was mostly one of modern nationalism and politics, though there was clearly an overtone of religious identity as well. The Palestinian Arab perspective was similar in that it was primarily an issue of land and hegemony, with religion a minor issue. From the Islamic perspective, however, the issue was much larger, and the separation between religion and nationalism has always been fuzzy in the modern Middle East. The Zionists disregarded their secondary status entirely and even built and managed their own independent economy. Zionism thus represented a case of dhimmis attempting to break out of their protected but inferior status by establishing an independent Jewish nation-state in the heartland of the Islamic Middle East.

This was unacceptable on its own terms, but its close historical and phenomenological association with European expansion and colonization made it all the more threatening. The Zionists were overwhelmingly European, and their views of Arabs reflected prevailing European attitudes and expectations. Whatever Zionism was to the Jews and to its British Christian supporters, it represented a reversal of the divine order to religious Muslims, and was regarded increasingly contrary to the way of God by Islamists, those Muslims who were seeking a way out of the decline of the Islamic world through greater religious devotion.

Islamic antipathy to Zionism was apparent from the beginning, but it was often mixed up with Arab political movements and Arab anti-colonialism. Because of the strong Christian and secular components in Arab political movements through the end of the Mandate period, especially in Syria-Palestine, the Islamic component was often underplayed. It always remained under the surface, however, and the large compendium of anti-Jewish material in the Qur’an and the Tradition made for a constant reminder of the negative attributes and evil desires of ‘the Jews,’ though it must be remembered that the material actually reflects a conflict that was limited to the Jewish community of seventh century Medina.

Today, therefore, the major subtext for the current Islamic view of Jews is the Israel-Palestine conflict, with its own religious subtext of dhimmitude: Jews are expected to acquiesce to Islamic domination. Jews have not done so when they created the Jewish State of Israel against the vociferous protests of the Islamic world. Some Muslims have attempted to draw a distinction between those Jews who live in and support the State of Israel – the ‘Zionists,’ – and those Jews who do not. Such subtlety, however, seems to be lost on most Muslims.

The Egyptian, Sayyid Qutb, for example, who is one of the most important ideologues of current Islamist groups, portrays the Jews in his work, Our Struggle with the Jews (early 1950s), as the ultimate source of adversity that has continuously beset Islam. He and others after him used this antagonistic image of the Jews as a vehicle for promoting Islamic activism and reform.2

Despite such disturbing portrayals, Muslims’ views of Jews are both complex and fluid. There is no single authoritative body or institution such as the papacy in the Islamic world that can speak in the name of Islam (or more precisely, in the name of a significant, unified body of Muslims). The decentralized, fragmented nature of religious organization and authority in Islam has mitigated against any kind of unity regarding most religious issues that does not rely simply on inertia. But there has been inertia in reference to Jews, and by the beginning of the 21st

Zionists viewed the natives in Palestine as Arabs rather than Muslims, partly because the non-Jewish Arab population of Palestine included Christians, and partly because they preferred to think in terms of national rather than religious categories. In any case, they regarded them as rather primitive. In fact, the European Jews considered their Arab Jewish brethren rather primitive as well. Although intended to be hyperbolic, Ahad Ha`Am’s observation reflects the general tenor of the European Jewish view of Arabs: “Outside Palestine, we are accustomed to believing that Arabs are all wild beasts of the desert, a people akin to jackasses who do not understand what is going on around them.” Inside Palestine where Jews met Arabs daily, their views of Arabs were more realistic, but they nevertheless regarded them overwhelmingly as less civilized than people of European stock. The reasons for this are complex and reflect a variety of influences, both Jewish and non-Jewish.

Early on and before the violent Arab actions directed against the Zionist project beginning in 1920-21, antipathy toward Arabs did not reach the level of anger directed by many Eastern European Jews toward their countries of origin. The continuing pogroms and violence directed against Jews in the east, despite promises of emancipation, prompted many to look toward Palestine. The hope of a future golden age of Jewish life under Islam convinced many to leave the misery of Europe and set out for the Holy Land with fellow Zionists, but the dream of a better life under the Muslims was transformed to one of a self-governing Jewish nation-state. Jewish power and numbers increased in Palestine, and Muslim antipathy increased in turn.

The Arabs, it turned out, were not the simple and friendly Orientals depicted in 19th century European Romantic art and literature. They were quite willing to fight and kill those whom they considered to be threatening their social and economic position. This, then, caused Jews to reconsider their view of Muslims. The war between Jews and Arabs over the land of Israel/Palestine has continued, both hot and cold, from 1921 to the present, and it has become the primary determiner of both Jews’ and Muslims’ view of the other. It should not be surprising that the overwhelming view of the other is quite negative in both the Jewish and Muslim communities. The “other” tends to represent the enemy. Despite important exceptions to the rule on both sides, it has been largely codified within the social systems of both communities and perpetuated in the general culture.

Notwithstanding this sentiment, Jews have been deeply interested in Islam and in the literary, historical and theological relationships between Jews and Muslims to this day. Jews have played a disproportionate role in the scientific study of Islam from the beginning of modern Western scholarship on religion. Rabbi Abraham Geiger is rightly considered to have ushered in the dawn of historical research on Islam, the work of Ignaz Goldziher continues to be read more than 100 years after its publication, and the dean of this discipline in our own day is Bernard Lewis. In Jewish theology, Franz Rosenzweig compares Islam favorable to Christianity in his Star of Redemption. ‘In a certain sense, Islam demanded and practiced “tolerance” long before the concept was discovered by Christian Europe.” (Star 216).
Jewish-Muslim Relations Today

At the time of this writing, the issue of Jewish-Muslim relations has become of increasing concern for Jews throughout the world. Especially since the watershed destruction of the American World Trade Center towers in 2001, Jewish fear of Islamic anti-Semitism has placed Jewish-Muslim relations in nearly equal status to Jewish-Christian relations.

Anti-Semitism as known in Europe is not indigenous to the Islamic World. While Christian theologies tend to be predicated on the irrelevance of Judaism or active antagonism to it, Islamic theologies establish their position relative to two rather than one established monotheistic system and critique them less categorically. It is certainly true that tensions and hierarchies, polemics and prejudice, legal discrimination and violence directed specifically against Jews are indeed a part of the Islamic World and have been since the emergence of Islam. But the particular pathology of European anti-Semitism with its blood libels and virulent hatred had to be imported to the Middle East, and it was done so by Christians. Increasing incrementally in response to the watershed events of 1948, 1967, the second or Al-Aqsa Intifada of the 1990s and the American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in 2002-3, Muslim rage against Israel, the United States and the West has been expressed through increased dehumanization and demonizing of Jews in general. The so-called Protocols of the Elders of Zion has been available in Arabic translation since before mid-century, but has been cited increasingly in newspaper editorials and strongly referenced in popular state-sponsored television series in Egypt and Syria-Lebanon.

The axis around which Jewish-Muslim tensions are arrayed continues to be the Jewish State. The tease of Israeli and Palestinian leaders shaking hands under the protective canopy of the United States, only to have relations reach their lowest historical level in the second or Al-Aqsa Intifada, had repercussions that have rocked relations between Jews and other religious and ethnic groups as well. The state of Israel is the symptom, however. It is the presenting problem and not the only cause for the pathology. The grounds for increased hostility between Jews and Muslims are far more complex, and they reflect the endemic tensions associated with what is now commonly called the post-modern era: social and economic disruptions associated with an increasingly global economy, growing economic gaps between nations and populations, lack of social and economic integration of Arabs and Muslims into Western Europe, increasing industrial dependence on oil and subsequent Western attempts to prop up dictatorial regimes in the Muslim World, the inability of Middle Eastern countries to bring economic and political stability to their own populations, and the self-perceived shame associated with the failure of Middle Eastern nations to compete with the West economically, technologically, politically, militarily and socially. All have increased the level of tensions between Jews and Muslims at the outset of the twenty-first century, but they reflect the tensions that effect global populations as well.

This chapter is being written during one of the most volatile periods of Jewish-Muslim relations. Because there are no authoritative bodies that represent a plurality of either Jews or Muslims, relations are steered as much by the shapers of public opinion than by authoritative religious positions or their representatives. Public expressions of antipathy expressed by both sides toward the other are palpable. They are formed from public statements made by un-authoritative and unrepresentative ‘spokespersons’ who are heavily influenced by the violence and politics of the Middle East (including petty internal politics) and, in turn, exert a strong influence on coreligionists on the ground. On the other hand, many dozens and perhaps hundreds of Muslim-Jewish dialogue groups and other joint Jewish-Muslim initiatives have quietly been formed and are functioning in Israel, the US and Europe. The Maimonides Foundation in London is one better known and public group. Another is the Institute for the Study of Jewish-Muslim Interrelations (ISJMI) in Los Angeles. Dozens of others exist in Israel alone, and more span the boundaries between Israel and the areas across the Green Line dividing pre-1967 Israel and the West Bank. None but a prophet can successfully predict the future of Jewish-Muslim relations, but if history is any lesson, a modus vivendi will slowly emerge that will improve the current situation.

SUGGESTED READINGS

Bodansky, Yossef, Islamic Anti-Semitism as a Political Instrument (Houston: Freeman Center for Strategic Studies, 1999). Produced by a Jewish defense organization, this monograph is a good example of how accurate data can be presented in a biased and unbalanced manner with the goal of promoting a narrow and inaccurate picture of reality.

Cohen, Mark and Udovitch, Abraham (eds.), Jews Among Arabs: Contact and Boundaries (Princeton: Darwin, 1989). This collection contains articles written by experts in the field of modern Jewish-Muslim history. The individual articles examine Jewish life in Iraq, Tunisia and Morocco, and chronicle Jewish cultural interaction and contribution to modern Arab culture.

Cohen, Mark, Under Crescent and Cross (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994). Cohen compares the treatment of Jews in Christian Europe and the Islamic Middle East to suggest where the Jews fared best and why.

Firestone, Reuven, Journeys in Holy Lands: The Evolution of the Abraham-Ishmael Legends in Islamic Exegesis (Albany, NY: State University of New York, 1990). This is a study of the intertextual relationship between ‘Biblical’ and ‘Qur’anic’ narrative literatures through the Abraham stories.

Firestone, Reuven, Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism for Muslims (NY: Schocken, 2001). An introduction to Judaism that notes the many parallels as well as differences between Judaism and Islam, treating some of the thorny questions that Muslims ask about Judaism.

Goitein, S. D., Jews and Arabs: Their Contacts Through the Ages (NY: Schocken, 1955). This is the classic survey of the history of Jewish-Arab relations, tracing the various intellectual and religious contributions of one to the other community.

Hary, Benjamin, Hayes, John and Astren, Fred (eds.), Judaism and Islam: Boundaries, Communication and Interaction: Essays in Honor of William M. Brinner (Leiden: Brill, 2000). A recent collection of essays hosting some of the best contemporary scholarship on Judaism and Islam covering history, literatures, scriptures, law, philosophy and ethics, languages and sectarian communities.

Kramer, Martin (ed.), The Jewish Discovery of Islam (Tel Aviv: Moshe Dayan Center, 1999). Examines the primary Jewish role of scholarship, literature and exploration in the modern European quest to understand Islam.

Lewis, Bernard, The Jews of Islam (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984). This has become a classic survey of the intellectual and cultural relations between Muslims and Jews that counters the two competing stereotypes of the Muslim fanatical warrior or utopian pluralist.

Nettler, Ronald (ed.), Medieval and Modern Perspectives on Muslim-Jewish Relations (Oxford: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1995). This collection of essays is a foray into the scholarly literature of Muslim-Jewish relations, topics from ‘Judaizing’ tendencies among some Muslims to the use of Muslim narrative as a commentary on Jewish tradition.

Newby, Gordon, A History of the Jews of Arabia (Columbia, SC, University of South Carolina, 1988). This brief history examines the history of the Jewish (most likely sectarian) communities of Arabia from the earliest times to the rise of Islam.

Sacher, Howard M., A History of Israel From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time (NY: Knopf, 1976). A largely political history.

Stark, Rodney, and Bainbridge, William Sims, A Theory of Religion. NY: Peter Lang, 1987. This book provides a good theoretical foundation for the study of emerging religions.

Stillman, Norman, The Jews of Arab Lands: A History and Source Book, and The Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times (Philadelphia: Jewish Publications Society, 1979 and 1991). This is an excellent two volume source book and commentary that provides a large compendium of translated documents treating the Jews of the Arab Middle East from the earliest sources to the end of the twentieth century.

Top Tips to Stay Happy in a Relationship

A relationship will go through highs and lows, naturally, but sometimes, the lows can often seem a lot worse, and the determination and motivation to get yourselves out of these ruts can dwindle.  There are a few tips that you can consider and implement which might be able to help avoid or assist these moments.

In the human race, we are very selfish, and we like to do things and act a certain way that will benefit us. This is natural, and the transition from being ‘I’ to ‘us’ can be a difficult one. However, it is important that you put your relationship first. A lot of married couples still consider their own families and siblings to be more important than your own family. You may not think you are one of these people, but this is likely to be true. Making that transfer from your childhood family to your new family will ensure that your partner feels like they are the most important aspect of your life, and you of theirs.

Having rituals within your relationship and secret communications will allow you to share something private and have a special connection. Rituals and habits are not to be linked with routine, as getting into a comfortable routine is what tends to put a lot of pressure on relationships as people get bored. Something as simple as having your morning tea together, or going for a walk on a Sunday no matter what the weather is, can be enough to ensure that you spend that special time together. The secrets and the moments that you share are what can be used to bond you together in a time of need. A ‘code word’ can be used to be in place of ‘love you’, which cements the bond that you share.

Ensuring that you talk to your partner daily is an essential part of your relationship remaining healthy. A lot of relationships do struggle due to a lack of communication, so having a chat about your day will ensure that you connect. This could be about your day, a compliment, encouragement, any requests, and something that you wish to do with your partner. Obviously, it’s not a sit down conference where you have to follow a structure, but you can use these as pointers and conversation starters.

You should also try to turn off from the office. Due to technology and social media, we never switch off from our phones, tablets and laptops, which means we are always distracted. Focusing on your partner, and not technology will ensure that you are their full attention. Also, work stresses should try to be left at the office. If you read an email with a new deadline, this is only going to make you more stressed. These feelings will reflect onto your relationship, when in hindsight, this is not the case at all.

Relationships take work, and you cannot just sit by and watch it evolve, as it will just fizzle out. No matter how perfect a couple may look from an outsider’s point of view, no relationship is perfect. Make sure you spend time with your partner, communicate with them and keep it fun. If you still need further help in Basingstoke, then consider couples counselling which may be able to help by talking through your problems with a professional.

4 Relationship Lessons to Overcome Breakup Blues by Theresa Ho

Theresa Ho

My heart has been broken many times. The toughest ones to get over were my first love and the ones who I’ve vested a lot of time and energy in. You know, the ones where your heart ached when it was over and it felt like something was loss or missing in your life because they were part of your every day life and now you no longer see or hear from them anymore.

It’s hard to adjust to the new found space or emptiness (depending on how you want to look at it). I used to see it as the latter, and would feel sorry for myself for messing things up. I’d think life is so unfair, what a bastard for ruining my life!

But then as I started my self-love journey, I started to appreciate my past relationships and the lessons that came with it.

Here are the lessons I’ve come to appreciate about break ups.

1. When a relationship ends, it is complete.

Instead of seeing the relationship as a breakup, see it as a ‘purpose’, that you were supposed to serve in each other’s life.

Much like a job that has run its course, you and your partner are no longer a good fit. You both have tried everything to make it work, but for some reason, life is taking you both down different paths. You can no longer fulfill each other’s needs completely. It’s not a reflection on either person. Sometimes it is what it is, and for the growth and well-being of you and your partner it is time to, consciously uncouple’ (to borrow Gwyneth Paltrow’s famous saying) because you both deserve better.

There’s a famous poem (see below) that many people refer to that talks about how ‘people come into your life for a reason, season or a lifetime.’ It explains why people come and go in our lives, and it really helped me put this concept of seeing a relationship as complete into perspective.

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty; to provide you with guidance and support; to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant. —Author Unknown

2. “It’s not you, it’s me” is a cliche but true.

As much as I don’t want to use this line because it’s so cliché and I hate it when people use it on me, it’s true more often than not.

For me, I usually use it at the start of relationships when I’m just getting to know someone. As soon as I know I have no romantic interest in the person I use it if the other side is not getting my subtle cues. I’d much rather deal with the ‘break up’ early on when there is hardly (if any) attachment than to be in a relationship.

Whenever I use the line, I mean it in the most sincere way. It is me who doesn’t see us as good fit. It is me who respects you for who you are and not wanting to change your values so that you can be a better fit for me. More importantly, I respect myself to not want to change who I am.

I want someone who naturally loves my perfectly imperfect self, where my imperfectness is something my partner is willing to accept, and vice versa.

Now sometimes, there are instances where you or your partner may have fallen out of love. You can’t really explain it, or pinpoint when or how it happened. But somewhere along the journey, the connection you used to have is gone. So you use this line when you break up. And it’s true. It’s not you; it’s me. I have lost the intensity of love I had for you. I still love you, but I don’t ‘LOVE’ You. Love can come in different forms and what I’m talking about here is losing the unconditional, romantic type of love.

This is the toughest of all because it’s a hard truth to swallow. I remember when an ex whom I was in a serious relationship with used this line on me, I didn’t get it! What did I do wrong? How can I fix this? Can we not talk about it? Can you not just give our relationships a few more months to work this out.? I promise I’ll change.

For a long time, I was stuck blaming myself and was gutted to have my heart broken, and hated him for sticking to his decision. However, looking back now I appreciate and respect him for breaking up with me when he no longer could give me the love I deserved.

Why?

Because I would rather be in a relationship with someone who is happy to show up and give me the love I deserve than be in a relationship with someone who is checked out in every sense.

Wouldn’t you?

You are worthy and deserve being loved to the Fullest.

“The way you treat yourself sets the standards for others” —Sonya Friedman

Our time is precious, so honour your feelings. Let go of those who you are unable to love you to the fullest. Spend it with those who are eager to give you love and with those who you are eager to do the same.

3. “Relationships are about two individuals who maintain their own lives and create another one together.” —Unknown

It took me a few relationships to figure this one out. When I first started dating and entering ‘relationships’, I did it to feel complete. I felt like the people whom I’ve dated helped fill a void in my life. I ended up living their way of life and embodying everything they did, and tried to replicate myself to be more like my other half so that I will be more loved. Along the way, I lost my own interest and lost touch with some friends, as I relied on my exes at the time to be my everything. Yikes right?

Needless to say, this was not healthy for either of us. I certainly wouldn’t want to take on such a responsibility where someone’s happiness is dependent on me 24/7. I have learned that to keep the relationship fresh and to continue to bring the best out of each other, it’s important to have a healthy balance where we have our own space and time to explore our own interests and create our own lives, knowing we have each other as well.

4. Remember the good times.

With every relationship, there are good and bad times. It may be counterintuitive to think about the good times when you first break up, as it is much easier to think about the bad times.

However, if you are the type of person who is motivated by pleasure, think about the good times you’ve had, and think about how you can experience that again in a new relationship and make it even better. The probability of you being able to create a better relationship is as good as any, perhaps even better when you’ve learned your lesson.

If you are someone who is motivated by pain to get over things, then think about the bad times and how it is so much better now that you no longer have he/she in your life.

These are the lessons and perspectives I’ve come to appreciate after a break up that has helped me to get over the relationship changes in my life. I hope will help you overcome the breakup blues:

What lessons have you learned that has helped you get over a relationship?

Relationship Advice: What To Say To Someone Interfering in Your Relationship

Relationships can be hard enough without your mother or friends struggling to ‘make your relationship stronger’ or, worse, trying to do away with your relationship! It’s not fun to have someone meddling in your relationship steadily.

I personally experienced a friend who would consistently counsel me about my brand new relationship (now my husband). She would explain to me what he really likes and how he really believed and she would tell me that getting to involved with him may not be a good idea.

Oh, I know what you might be thinking…’Well, she had your best interest at heart!’, but you are dead wrong!

I regularly questioned as though her nosiness was part of something bigger. And it turns out, as I down the line found out, she was interested in my boyfriend and wanted to get him away from me.

We are not friends anymore but I’m married to him.

It will not always be someone trying to break your relationship up though. There are going to be people who seriously think that they are helping your relationship. This is when you need to put a stop to it and tell them a few important things that they need to fully grasp.

Keep in mind, if you are in an abusive relationship or a really miserable relationship than your friend, loved one or whoever is probably making an attempt to help you see the light; or if you are heading for heartache in some way than you may want to listen to what they are trying to say.

On the other hand, if they are just meddling because they are nosy and opinionated then you should want them to stop meddling and leave you alone.

Here are 3 things to say to that meddling person.

1. YOU Are Not in This Relationship!

A sexual relationship has much more to it than what’s on the surface where others can see. Most of us reserve a special side of our lives for our intimate relationship that only our partner and ourselves experience.

There are personal moments of interactions and intimacy that creates a tight bond between two people that is critical for a strong.

The person who is prying does not share those moments you have had. And most importantly, they are not sharing the emotions and experiences you are experiencing in the relationship.

They are in no position to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do in your relationship given that they don’t actually know what your relationship as it really is at the core!

2. YOU Are Not Me!

Frequently a meddling individual will declare “If it was up to me, I would do it differently Of course, they most likely WOULD do it that way; because that’s the way THEY would do it! But they are not you. And YOU have a unique way of doing things.

Not only do you have a different way of going about things, but you also have a unique way of viewing things and you have unique beliefs, behaviors, and dreams in life and in your relationship than they would. Because of this you handle things differently than them – and they have to realize that.

3. I am Happy With My Relationship

Occasionally you you can’t convince them of anything and you just have to shine the happy aspects of your relationship.

As much as you would like to share the sadder moments or discuss relationship problems with them, they may not be able to handle hearing that kind of information without meddling in your relationship.

It’s not being fake, it’s not being untruthful, it’s just letting the prying person see a side of your relationship that they can deal with without interjecting their beliefs.

If they are always seeing love and happiness then there will be no reason to get involved.

Squash nosy people using the above 3 tips. Your relationship will thank you!

When Love Attacks

A couple frustrated with each other in a restaurant

The attack. It comes from the depths of inner pain. When we are hurting so much, we have tunnel vision. The only thing we can focus on is the searing pain that wells up within. And, given the opportunity, we could unleash that pain on the one we love.

In the heat of an argument we may launch into a tirade. It could be innocently triggered by a comment like, “glad to see you’re working on your attitude”. Suddenly, you have time-warped back to your childhood, when you heard something similar from a strict parent or teacher. Let the attack begin.

People often call and tell me, “I just can’t believe the anger he unleashed on me”. The hard part is to assure the caller that it was not their fault. They were merely a conduit for someone else to release their demons.

If this behavior is consistent and ongoing, it’s verbal abuse and you should make plans to leave the relationship before it escalates into a life-threatening situation. If you are dealing with occasional outbursts, ask yourself if you’re willing to love your partner through the pain and sometimes be the person who takes the brunt of it, with no end in sight.

If you can remove yourself from the equation and understand that you aren’t the cause of the anger, then good for you! Most people cannot absorb the intensity of a verbal attack without taking it personally. The natural human reaction is to launch a counter-attack, leading to screaming volleys until one of you collapses in tears.

After some time apart, the two of you reconcile. Time has cleared the fog and cobwebs, and you both can see that you love each other. And thus begins another cycle in your relationship.

Do the cycles ever stop? How long does it take to purge that inner pain? It really depends on the cause and how long it’s been festering. Many times our pain lies dormant until it is aroused. A good example of this is when we lose a loved one. We may grieve for awhile but never fully heal and, without realizing it, we transfer our remnant pain to other, more present issues. Your partner, or even a casual acquaintance, can innocently say something to you that strikes at your core and you will go ballistic.

The bottom line is to understand how and why you are triggered. The same goes for your partner. It is a practice of awareness and noticing the things we need to release. A sense of humor helps too. The more that you are able to anticipate a hot button being pressed, the more you are able to stay centered when attacked. Unfortunately, most humans react without pausing to think it through. And, we certainly don’t stop long enough to ask, “What do you mean by all this?”

I challenge you to stop and ask yourself, “Why have I reacted this way to an innocent question or action?” Explore your emotions and find the source of your pain. If you are able to locate it, then you will understand yourself better. In doing so, you are already on a path to healing that pain. Yes, sometimes the innocent comment that inflames you is the thing that sets you on a healing journey.

Family Therapy Techniques For Healthy Relationship

Family therapy is one of the best forms of communication therapy. This therapy is used to modify the relations between the family members by using effective and suitable techniques. Basically, this therapy helps to overcome negative symptoms. The psychotherapy is usually applied in the situation of marital clashes, misunderstanding between parents and children and other harsh comments. This effective technique of therapy is practiced in a different way.

family.jpeg

This form of therapy is not only the science but also an art of handle patients. The main purpose of the therapy is the family and its members which is essential to understand the importance of the every member of the family. The expert therapist gives the definition of the world family in different ways. According to the therapist, family refers to the social group which links each other by living, economic and accommodation factor or some kind of mutual responsibility. Family is the only source of satisfaction to meet personal needs. Mainly family crises occur only under certain condition. But with the help of techniques of family therapy it is easier for you and your family member to build the family values, mutual understanding, emotional support and self-realization between spouses. The biggest reason for increasing family conflicts is the custom of the new model of family relationship and still they follow the old model of family relationship. So the warm family relations is important for the healthy relationship.

In the session of family therapy, the patient is divided into groups so that the doctor easily resolve the individual issues and group problems. Counselling is the important part of this techniques. This activity is performed to give the ideas and opinion to encourage people. Basically, it is used to treat physical illness and other relationship issues. It is usually used for the reserved person as well as beneficial for the family members. The main purpose of this technique is to improve the mental health of the patient. It includes the maintenance, restoration, marriage counselling and another various aspect of the life related to family. Divorce, suicide, pregnancy are some major problems which are solved by the family therapy techniques.

In a nutshell, the therapist encourages the patient and put their efforts to counsel through their effective techniques into the success of each activity. As well as it is important to the participants that you should be aware of the reason for the situation. Any treatment takes little time and patience. So it is important for you to cooperate with the therapist and open up with so that they can understand you better which is the easy solution of most family difficulties.

Relationship Problems Due To Family, Anxiety, Money

The family members can work together to catch much the same goal or they might create an indigestive setting that eats the peace and happiness of the family. Regardless of appreciate between you plus your Soulmate, the distraction may reveal because of miscommunication or another thing. The usual marriage problems occur inside a family because of interference of other family. It does not imply they always interfere in your personal matter. They may do sometimes every time they think you are going on wrong approach. Whether they are executing it without any sound reason, it indicates they may be doing it purposely.

 

Relationship Problems Due To Family

 

It is any well-known thought that no any parent will accept at first time a fresh boyfriend or girlfriend of his / her respective daughter or perhaps son. Possibly, there will be a difference within the thinking of the parents. However, a lot of them will deny by using it. Unfortunately, on several occasions your household will put his or her views about your relationship and may break a marriage gradually. However, it’s not wrong to look at the children. It is his or her right and nature being protective to the little one, but sometimes that they show unwanted possessive character, which seems bad. This kind of relationship problems may be solved with communication within the hope of positive results.

Relationship problems can easily high their head because of money problems. The buck’s problem can ruin the head of your personalized or professional lifetime. While we count a personal issue such because marriage life, in which the difference between the incomes can establish a storm within the life. The money problems could cause of stress, stress, and depression including mental disorders. Money has perfectly created the heaven about the earth, whereas it does not take father of various relationship problems. A final solution of money problem is usually to solve your financial problems with mutual acceptance. If on the list of parties, has disposition of investment or generating a purchase, then try to do it together whereby both of you would have the information of income and expenses. It will lead both of you towards saving habit.

Depression and anxiety will be the roughest states of mind that directly affect the nature, behavior, and thoughts of the mind. They can be cause of marriage issues.

Some of common relationship complications, which are the reason why of several psychological disorders, are down the page:

1. If your companion is rude to your account, then you sense sad and continue being depressed. Sometimes your companion shows arrogant nature closer, which cannot endure. At such moment, the situation may well affect you with anxiety.

2. At the moment, while you will need mental support you will ever have partner, and she or he is unavailable, then it can make you sense disowned and brings towards anxiety or perhaps depression.

3. Timely lovemaking could be the influential factor inside a relationship. If you are unable to satisfy your partner because of workload in office, or you are not getting the correct response for lovemaking, the state of situation forces you to definitely be affected with anxiety.

4. When you often demand pertaining to spending quality time together with your partner, but one is ignoring it constantly, resultant you may fit in depression.

It just is not good to hide your emotions that what you feel about the relationship. Let him or her be familiar with your perceptions and views. Instead of this, if you are still stuck with marriage problems, then move ahead in the lifetime and remove unwanted miseries.

Sow a Summer Love Garden, Reap Romantic Rewards

Summer Love Garden ThumbnailSummer is the season when many gardens reach their peak. Flowers bloom, fruits and veggies ripen, herbs are ready to harvest, and avid horticulturalists are in their glory. Even before the first recorded reference to the Garden of Eden, plants, flowers and fertile earth have been employed in both the literal sense for the cultivation of aphrodisiacs, and in the figurative sense, timeless symbols that signify the pursuit of love. Since romance and gardening have been so intimately intertwined for much of recorded history, it’s not surprising that many a green-thumbed enthusiast has learned to combine their passion for gardening with gardening for passion.

Many of the planting traditions believed to both catalyze and nurture human affection that hark back to ancient cultures including Greece, Egypt, and China are still in common use today. If you’re hoping to inspire Cupid to take up residence in your own Garden of Earthly delights, here’s some tried-and-true flora to get you started.

 

Herbs & Foliage

Basil – Apart from being a go-to ingredient for summer salads and pesto, this herb has a reputation for its efficacy in love potions.

Bay – Fresh bay leaves (bay laurel) were woven into crowns worn by winning athletes at the original Olympic Games. To attract true love, infuse them in bathwater or wear them in an amulet.

Coriander – Coriander (a.k.a. cilantro) is a staple in both Asian and Latin American cuisine. In addition to its unique piquant flavor, this herb also traditionally used in love potions, and coriander seeds, which can be dried and ground, are sometimes sprinkled on bed linens to strengthen existing relationships.

Damiana – This small flowering shrub that’s native to the American Southwest, Mexico, parts of Central and South America, and the Caribbean, has been employed for centuries as an aphrodisiac. (1)

Dill – Apart from its most recognizable use as an ingredient in dill pickles, this favorite summertime herb is used in love spells aimed at inciting sexual yearning.

Fennel – This licorice-flavored and scented plant has a variety of romantic applications. Fennel seeds, leaves and roots are often employed in the alchemy of awakening amour.

Lavender – Renowned for its delicate purple blossoms and charming scent, this aromatic herb is used in spells to restore marital harmony and keep lovers faithful.

Lovage – Lovage, historically cultivated for its greens, roots and seeds, is a common ingredient in potions meant to inspire erotic passions. (2)

Rosemary – “Rosemary,” quoth Shakespeare, “is for remembrance.” It’s also used in a variety of ways to bind lovers together in affectionate harmony.

 

Flowers

Columbine – Useful for love meditations and spells, it’s said to be especially effective for summoning back a love that’s been lost.

Daisy – These charming flowers are useful in many forms of love conjuring, but are most often employed in love readings and prophecies.

Dandelion – Great as greens in a summer salad, dandelions are reputed to aid in the fulfillment of secret desires.

Geranium – For those wishing to procreate, these red flowers are used to concoct magic aimed at upping fertility.

Heather – Get your “Brigadoon” on and up your attractiveness quotient with this flowering shrub. Native to Scotland and other British locales, heather’s reputation for magic properties goes back for centuries.

Jasmine – Jasmine petals are part of a love spell to invoke passion, while jasmine oil can be used in a potion meant for mending broken hearts.

Peony – Flowers form an integral facet in the Chinese practice of Feng Shui, especially as it applies to affairs of the heart. To restore amity to an ailing relationship, try placing a pair of pink peonies in your bedroom.

Rose – By any other name, a rose is still one of the most potent plants in the alchemy of love. From petal to thorn, almost every part of this plant can be used in a variety of spells and love potions, while the buds themselves can be read in a manner similar to teal leaves to prophesy matters of the heart.

Sweet Pea – Sweet peas are a magnet for Cupid. Bathing in water infused with sweet pea blossoms is said to increase popularity and enhance your chances of finding love.

Verbena – Verbena, one of the most revered of the traditional “love plants,” is employed in love spells, potions, and aphrodisiacs.

Violet – Used as an aphrodisiac and an ingredient in magic spells, violet blossoms are traditionally placed inside pillows or worn in amulets to attract and keep love.

 

Vegetables and Fruit

Apples – Apples may well be the ultimate erotic fruit. (Thanks, Adam and Eve). Consuming an apple a day may keep the doctor away, but it’s said to call lovers to your door. Not a bad trade-off. It may also help tip the scales that take you from the “just friends” zone to a more loving relationship.

Beets – As part of a magic spell, this root “grounds a relationship,” and binds couples together; they are also thought to increase virility.

Blueberry – This fruit is traditionally used in spells to remove rivals.

Celery – Can celery increase the libido? Some people swear by it.

Cherries – Cherries are good for your health. Healthy is sexy. Sexy is attractive. Magic? Maybe not, but science is good for attracting love, too.

Cucumber – One of the garden’s most recognizable phallic symbols, these veggies are believed to increase sexual stamina and enhance the charms of your epidermis.

Peas – Pay homage to your inner Goddess, who is purported to love peas, and you may be rewarded with love new or renewed.

Raspberry – Acolytes of love alchemy recommend these red fruits to keep you ready, willing, and able to perform on a physical level, and also to increase existing emotional attachments.

Strawberry – Strawberry leaves are considered good luck charms, while the fruit can be used as an aphrodisiac, for performance enhancement, and as an ingredient in love potions.

Sweet Potato – Looking for someone grounded? Sweet potatoes are said to attract lovers who are gentle, kind, and mature.

Tomato – Tomatoes, also known as “love apples” are thought to both attract new lovers and enhance romance that’s already in blossom.

 

As you can see, there are a myriad of herbs, flowers, fruits, and veggies that you can plant in your summer garden to nurture a budding romance, or keep a perennial favorite in full bloom. A word of caution, however! Do not ingest any plant without first knowing whether or not it’s safe to eat, and never introduce any substance into someone else’s food without their knowledge. Love spells and potions are well and good, but potentially putting someone’s health at stake is not a risk worth taking. Attract their love with any other of our helpful suggestionsand your manifold charms.

 

Do you want to harvest the fruits of a summer romance? Let a KEEN advisor show you the most fertile spot to plant your garden.

 

1. http://www.healthline.com/health/damiana-ancient-aphrodisiac#2

2. http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/l/lovage42.html

For Marital And Business Partners: Can A Man Be Faithful By The Law?

For Marital And Business Partners: Can A Man Be Faithful By The Law?We live in the age of the rule of law and a world of both the lawful and the lawless. While the law has guided and guarded many from the frivolousness of other people; the law as also protected many from the recklessness of themselves. The law is so important in our societal engagements that every contract or agreement is bound by the law. Do you know that when family members make promises to themselves about who owns what in their father’s inheritance; they suspect one another until a legal agreement that s binding on everyone is made. I agree that agreements are essential for mutual understanding; but I also remember the account in the bible where Apostle frowned at brethren taking other brethren to the court because of dispute. (1 Corinthians 6).There are three keywords in our subject, and we must note and examine them carefully. The words are Man, Faithful and Law. We are basically dealing with the law as it concerns a man’s faithfulness to his words, commitments, obligations and promises. We want to know if the law has the power and the will to make a man true to himself – his word, promise or commitment.

We live in a time when most people prefer to be smart than to be true. To be smart is to know how to get off the hook; while to be true is to be consistent with your word and yourself! At a crucial point in my life, I learnt a crucial lesson that has become a pillar in my life. I learnt that it is better for me to be mute (quiet); than to say what I do not agree with (believe) inside of me. When I was growing up in my father’s house, I grew up with a lot of experience (by observation), being the last born of a large family. I saw how to “enjoy”myself with ladies (or girls) of loose virtues; however, to get any of them, I needed to tell her how much I love her, how she is the spice in my soup and the sugar in my tea. But due to my principle of always saying only what I mean and meaning what I say, I refuse to talk to those ladies about any emotional thing –  and that saved my life!

The point is, there is always the law and the truth; sometimes, the law helps you to say or do what is true; but ultimately, being true to yourself – your conscience (I prefer to say your spirit) is the key to being faithful. I have discovered that what we celebrate today across the world as loyalty or love is merely the work or product of the law. Many people go to places because people expect them to go there; some even call themselves Christians or Muslims because they were born into it. Abiding by anything without any personal persuasion or understanding of the nitty-gritty of it is a product of the law.

However, there is a better and more fulfilling way to meeting obligations, keeping promises, being committed and being loyal – it is being true to yourself. I have discovered that every law has jurisdiction; that is, every law has a given territory of dominance and influence. Do you know that there is an height you will go in the sky that the law of gravity will cease? Do you know that the law that guide breathing on the land is different from that of the sea? Do you know that no matter how big the President of a country is; once he leaves his country; he cannot command a foreigner as he commands is citizens? The point is, there will come a time and a space when the law does not reach or cover where you are and what you are doing; how would you be guided then if your life is only driven by the law. While being law-driven is safe; I believe that being driven from the inside-out is the best and surest.
Ask yourself, why do some married people commit adultery when they travel away from their spouses? To some of them, they could only be faithful as long as they are being watched (guarded and guided) by the law. You see, we all need more than the law guiding our daily conducts and commitments; we need the spirit – no wonder Apostle Paul said as many as are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God! (Romans 8:14)

From WitArticles: Thank you for the gift of your time. We appreciate you for reading this article published by Gboyega Adedeji. WitArticles is indeed your partner for your growth, effectiveness and maturity. 

The Relationship Saviors Free Relationship Advice

Love, it is the greatest give of God. Anyone capable of loving must be proud of himself or herself, because not everyone feels it. Love really is an explainable feeling. You go beyond your standard behavior when you feel your heart pumping for someone special. Nothing is heavenly in this earth when two couple submit themselves with the glory of love relationship.

Relationship is a connection between two existing people bonded by love. It is the so-called commitment to love. It is an agreement of two parties both feeling in love with each other.

Sadly, relationship may come to a phase where both parties might feel cheated, confused or unloved. Of course, relationship always have it downfall. It does not run smooth at all times. You might have a mixed up thoughts on how you can strengthen love, make your relationship work and overcome challenges of relationships. You may be wondering if your relationship can still be saved. Well, there is always Cupid after all.

Luckily, there are many self-informatory websites about handling relationships. Many free relationship advisers are available online. You are asking about a savior, here they come, your “Love Advisers”. In just a click away, you are in front of well-experienced love experts.

If you are having a hard time to figure out your relationship, taking advice from love experts can be a great help. These people are the ones you can lean on in times of confusions. Understandable, we humans encounter problems dealing with love and other kinds of emotion in relationships. Do not be ashamed to ask questions. It is the only way to get answers and solutions.

If you are looking for the best relationship adviser, who can solve your love relationship problems, you must look for the following criteria to which you can assess the quality of service and advise that they cater. They must cover the following topics.

The Truth About Love at First Sight

Love at First Sight ThumbnailWhen you’re looking for a quote on the subject of love, there’s no one more prolific than William Shakespeare. So of course, when it comes to the topic of love at first sight, one could certainly expect him to weigh in with an opinion. Sure enough, in Act III, Scene IV of As You Like It, the Bard describes the momentous meeting of his star-crossed lovers Orlando and Rosalind: “Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?” (Sure, he actually lifted that line from the pen of his contemporary, poet Christopher Marlowe, but it’s all in how history remembers…sorry, Kit.)

So it seems, that if it were put to a vote, Shakespeare would be in the “Yes, love at first sight does exist” contingent. Or would he?

When you consider he also wrote, “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind,” (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act I, Scene I), perhaps love at first sight was no more to Shakespeare than a convenient comedic plot device?

But even back in the day when Shakespeare played resident muse to the Globe Theatre, literary references to love at first sight were nothing new. In his classic philosophical treatise on love, “The Symposium,” which dates from somewhere around 385 to 370 B.C., Plato relates the thoughts of his great mentor and tutor, Socrates, on the subject as follows: “According to mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves [. . .] And so, when a person meets the half that is his very own, whatever his orientation, whether it’s to young men or not, then something wonderful happens: the two are struck from their senses by love, by a sense of belonging to one another, and by desire, and they don’t want to be separated from one another, not even for a moment.”

So it seems that not only did Socrates believe in love at first sight, but he also believed in the concept of finding a perfect soulmate—which is all well and good, but is there any modern evidence to back up his ancient conjecture?

The answer isn’t so simple.

Crazy Little Thing Called…

Love. Lust. Attraction. Affection. Love may indeed be a splendid thing, but it isn’t always easy to define. When you get down to it, the measure of true heart’s desire can be summed up by that oft-infuriating phrase: “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.” Being attracted to someone does not necessarily equate to being in love with them, nor does love predicate attraction. So, for the sake of argument, let’s talk about the power of attraction and the impact it has on potential romantic partners.

Human beings are sentient creatures: the choices we make are based on information we intuit via the sensory input of sight, smell, sound, touch and even taste.

Some scientists posit that deep in our “lizard brain,” the sense of smell is the most primal element of attraction, and when set off by undetectable yet potent hormones called pheromones, we can be instantly magnetized to individuals—even those who fail to meet socially accepted standards of beauty—by the innate power aroused by someone who “just smells right.” But that’s only one element in the love at first sight–or in this case, love at first scent–equation.

We are acculturated by environment, temperament, and experience to find some aesthetic combinations more pleasing than others. So, when we cross paths with someone who hits all, or at least most of the marks on our personal checklist of things we find attractive, we are immediately drawn to that individual.

If the attraction is mutual? Bingo! Love at first sight.

But is it really love?

Maybe.

Great Expectations

If the first blush of passion is really strong between two people, the next step in the cycle is often “projection.” Since it’s impossible to know how someone you’ve only just met truly thinks, feels, or behaves, in order to maintain the forward momentum of romance, those newly in love often project the desired qualities of a perfect partner on the person they’ve paired up with, and hope that as time goes by, the reality will align with their expectations.

In cases where projected reality matches up with the actual person, and when that happens for both parties involved, love at first sight can actually evolve into love for the long haul. However, when the projection and the reality don’t mesh, for one or both lovers, then love at first sight fizzles like a firecracker in the rain, leaving behind only a sad scent of regret, and a sense of “what might have been.”

So, what’s the truth about love at first sight?

It’s elusive, but for some lucky souls, it’s also out there.

How to Break Up With Someone You Still Love

When you first met and fell in love you might have thought it would last forever. Now you feel the need to end the relationship even though you’re still in love. You might realize you feel more love than your partner does. Perhaps you’ve grown tired of broken promises and the heartache of waiting for a deeper commitment that never comes. You have different goals and dreams. Breaking off a relationship while you’re still in love is painful, but if you are certain this is the right thing for you, focus on the future and follow through on your resolve.

Instructions

  1. Make a list of all the reasons that led to your decision to break up. Writing them down will help you confront the inevitable and help strengthen your determination to proceed with the break. Remind yourself that you’ve concluded the negatives of this problematic relationship don’t outweigh the positives and that it is in your best interests to make the break.
  2. Arrange to meet face-to-face. Although you might be tempted to take the easier way out and send a text or an email, you owe it to your partner to look each other in the eye during this difficult process.
  3. Express how you feel without accusing or blaming your partner for your decision. It’s best for both of you if you allow your partner to maintain dignity. State what you admire about your partner and express gratitude for the good times you shared, suggests public health analyst Rita Watson in her article, “6 Breaking-Up Styles: Hers and His,” on the Psychology Today website. She also advises you speak directly without wavering. Let your partner know you’ve made up your mind and you’re not going to change it.
  4. Don’t allow your reflections of the past to overshadow the realizations you came to about the relationship not being viable, suggests psychologist Phil McGraw in the article, “Letting Go of Love,” found on his website. He warns against glorifying the past. Avoid the temptation to remember only the good times you once shared. Don’t allow yourself to forget your reasons for deciding to end the relationship.
  5. Consider expressing your emotional turmoil in writing. Composing a letter to your partner — without sending it — can be therapeutic, advises psychotherapist Tracy Cabot in her article, “Letting Go,” on the website LoveAdvice.com. The process of putting your feelings on paper can help you reach closure.
  6. Expect to feel a sense of loss, even though the break-up was your idea. You’ll need to give yourself time to mourn the bright future you believed you would have together.
  7. Make time to exercise; it will help alleviate the pain of your break-up. Physical exercise releases endorphins, brain chemicals that produce a sense of well-being, explains mental health author Therese J. Borchard in her article, “10Tips to Mend a Broken Heart,” on the PsycheCentral.com website. Exercise can also provide an emotional lift as you will feel empowered.
  8. Don’t sit home alone dwelling on the past. Cabot suggests that although you might need time before you’re ready for a new, serious relationship, it is beneficial to get out and start meeting new people.

Tips on Fixing a Broken Relationship

Relationships are so delicate and can break on minor issues and simple misunderstandings. Once broken, it is a die-hard task to mend the relationship and get back the same intensity of affection in the relationship. There can be visible reasons, may be a misunderstanding or communication gap, at times it can be a mistake of someone else; fragile relationships can break over any simple cause. The cause for the easy breaks in relationships is that relationships are mind products, subjective to each person.

Many relationships are not the union of best possible matches but best available pairs, or when people misconceive the partner so. Relationships start blindly by peripheral understandings and attraction; it proceeds through adjustments, forgiveness and understanding; and breakup over misunderstandings, mistakes or lack of tolerance. Getting back into the relationship, though difficult, is possible if approached the issues with the right understanding and mind to change and mend.

Understand the Reasons Behind Breakup

To resolve any issue, understanding the reasons is important. Without knowing the root cause, relationship issues cannot be repaired. It can be a past reason which is now absent or a still persisting reason. Analyze each stages of the relationship and find out at which point what has gone wrong. Once the reasons of the break up are realized, the solution may be easy. Figuring out the element that lead to the breakup helps the partners to change it and get back into the relationship. Experts say that the process of figuring out the reasons of breakup can be much effective if made mutual.

Forgiving is Magical

Once the issues are dug out, the next step is to forgive the mistakes of both the partners. If you still hold on to the mistake committed by the partner, then it may cause another breakup in the future. Understand why the partner committed such a mistake and forgive him/her forever if you wish to take the relationship a long way further. Your forgiveness may initiate a new life and new relationship between you two. If the mistake is found to have committed by you, then be ready to change entirely to not to repeat the action and let your partner to go away forever, leaving no chance of a reunion.

Renew the Commitment

Once you are back in track, renew the commitment and let your partner know the new resolutions and decisions. Once you commit to be good to your partner and also to avoid mistakes, then adhere to the commitments. Many partners get into commitments and they forget them easily. Consistency of commitments is very much required to keep the warmth of relationships ever remaining. It is rightly said that you can never change the past; but possibly the future. Realize the past mistakes and commit to not repeat them in the future.

Change Yourself

You may not be able to change the partner as you desire; but you can very well change yourself. Changing yourself is the better way of resolving the issues and renewing the problems. The changes may make you appear more appealing and accepted by the partner. You can also try to implement certain changes in the partner but if the person is willing, then the only way is to change yourself to comply with the partner. Changing oneself doesn’t mean being submissive to the partner, but following a better way to be in a more satisfying relationship.

Communication is the Keystone

Most of the issues in relationships can be resolved with right communication with the partner. It is commonly observed that slight misunderstanding or ignorable mistakes are many a times the cause for several breakups. Approach the issues in a relationship, positively and try to make each partners understand the real situation. Communication means conveying the facts and truth and also offering support, help and forgiveness each other. Talk with a mind of acceptance. Do not try to defend or resist the arguments of the partner and accuse each other for all the mistakes. Let the communication be creative, rather critical.

Summer Love Science: How Exercise and Endorphins Impact Romance

Summer Love Endorphins ThumbnailAs warm weather becomes the norm, the temperature dictates that we shed clothing and bare skin, which naturally leads to the desire to shed pounds, buff up, and look our best, especially for those in the market for a hot-weather romance. When embarking on any summertime exercise routine, it’s important to take certain precautions, however, because an increase in the heat index also ups the chance for dehydration, and while partaking of some UV rays can have health and other added sensual benefits, over-exposure to the sun’s charms can lead to detrimental consequences.

That’s why summertime exercise calls for several specific caveats:

• Drink plenty of water and consider adding a sports drink with electrolytes to your routine to stay hydrated.

• Scale back the intensity of your workout (60-70 percent of normal exertion will get you similar results since heat raises the heart rate).

• Time your workout for early morning or late evening when the temperatures are likely to be less punishing.

• Wear the right gear. Go for workout wear that wicks moisture, and ideally, blocks UV rays. Hats, sunscreen, and sunglasses should complete your summer exercise ensemble.

• Build up or break down. The human body needs to acclimate to the combination of increased temperature and increased exertion, so start slow and build up to a routine you can maintain comfortably.

Body Chemistry Heats Up

Now, if all that has given you pause, and you’re considering slacking off on your warm-weather workout, we should mention that in addition to trimming the physique and toning the muscles–which may heighten your attraction quotient–there’s one added benefit of exercise that may make the whole thing even more worthwhile: endorphins.

When we exercise, the body releases endorphins, which serve as natural communication facilitators that are able to leap the gaps that exist between our neurons and relay those oh-so-important signals up the line to the pleasure centers of the brain, creating feelings of euphoria and general well-being. That’s because the human body is wired to release natural opiates when exposed to specific sensual stimuli via a gland called the hypothalamus. Depending on the stimulus–be it a painful or pleasurable one–this remarkable gland puts out a call for endorphins to create the appropriate response, either blocking the pain, or releasing the bliss.

For exercise to put endorphin production into motion, however, the body must reach what’s called an “anaerobic state.” Think of it as a question of supply and demand. When you’re exercising aerobically, your muscles demand oxygen, which the body is able to supply. When you reach an anaerobic state, your muscles still need oxygen, but there is no longer enough to go around. The result is what’s often referred to as a “runner’s high,” which is the body’s attempt to alleviate unpleasant sensations that oxygen deprivation causes by creating a sensation of euphoria.

Why Flirting Feels Good

So, now we know that exercise can release Cupid’s arrows, but did you know that flirting with a stranger can also function as a catalyst to endorphin release? It seems that the rush you get from talking to someone exciting and unknown sets the body’s pleasure cycle in motion as well. Even if you never take the flirtation any further, the sweet thrill of the chase just makes you feel good physically as well as mentally. Since the summertime presents numerous occasions to flirt–like after-work get togethers, daytime picnics or movies and music under the stars–you’re likely to have lots of chances to test this science out for yourself.

Of course, if you really want to take this endorphin thing to a whole new level, you could always try flirting during your workout. Sure, there’s nothing new about dating someone you meet at the gym or the running track, but what could be more conducive to romance than the blissful feeling of getting “high” on the double-dose of natural joy?

 

If you’re ready to release the feel-good feelings of summer, but want some advice on where your flirting will really count, a KEEN advisor can help put you in the right place at the right time.

Earliest Contacts and the Paradigms of Relationship

“O Mankind, We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other.”

(The Quran 49:13).

It is hard for anyone to deny that Islam has captured more headlines, column inches and air time over that past 4 years than ever before. A combination of political events, acts of inhumanity and social problems involving Muslims have seen a global shift towards anti-Islamic or Islamaphobic sentiments. One only has to think of events such as the World Trade Centre attack, bombings in Spain, London, Iraq, Tunisia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Egypt, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and riots on the streets of France and Australia to appreciate how these sentiments have evolved.

As a result, the view of Muslims as a whole has darkened. Many countries are now questioning the identity and loyalty of their Muslim citizens whilst stereotypes and general opinions of ‘Islamic’ nations and their populations are fuelled by media stereotypes. Muslims living in Europe and North America are feeling alienated and misunderstood whilst those in the Muslim world are suffering due to the actions of a misguided minority within their ranks.

It would be fair to generalise that the ‘West’ and the ‘East’ seem to have become more polarized of late. The future does not look very bright. Yet, the Islamaphobic backlash, although unfortunate, is providing one community with a challenge that if met will both demonstrate its lofty intentions and raise their profile as essential voices within future world discourse. This community is that of the interculturalists.

Recent events have recalled in many people’s minds the theory penned by Samuel Huntingdon in the early 1990’s predicting that in the future there would be a “clash of civilisations.” This theory suggested that post-Cold War global divides would occur between civilisations and that there would inevitably be a clash as one tries to get the upper hand over the other. In it he states that, “a central focus of conflict for the immediate future will be between the West and several Islamic- Confucian states.”

For many the West vs. Islam element of his hypothesis seems to be coming true. However, the theory has been cited here for one reason only – to demonstrate how Western-Muslim relations could develop if the correct action is not taken soon. What we are witnessing is not a clash of civilisations. The political aspects of recent events have been presented in such a way to people that it forces them into an “either you are with us against us” mentality. The polarisation of peoples has increased the mistrust and suspicion of ‘the other’, the unknown. It is the simple fact that if the unknown element of the equation were to be removed, there is a fair chance the reverse effect could ensue. Simply stated, if the West is educated about what Islam really is and vice-versa, it would not be so easy to polarize populations.

At present what we are dealing with can be described as a “Clash of Cultures” and as all good intercultural academics and trainers know, cultures can be reconciled.

 

Those in the intercultural field stand in a privileged position of having the insight, understanding and knowledge to look at human interaction and decipher what is going wrong in terms of communication, behaviours and assumptions. The cultural clash we see today is simply an extension of this and can be overcome using the same principles. The most prominent principle, and therefore the one that shall be solely focused on, is that of ‘awareness of others’.

As a Muslim and an Englishman I constantly see bigotry from both sides of the imaginary line that are founded on ignorance. One side receives their information from British tabloids, the other from an arms length experience of the society they live in. One is fixated on the covering of women’s hair as a sign of male oppression while the other tuts at a set of loose morals. One believes the other’s mission in life is to wage war in order to reach paradise while the other is perplexed by the fact that paradise is not even on the agenda. Of course in truth none of these assumptions reflect reality.

If we are to move towards a greater understanding of one another, awareness is crucial. People need to be educated as to what is truth and what is stereotypical nonsense. Once people move beyond this basic level of knowledge there is more room to discover similarities, shared points of view and common goals of which there are plenty. Although it is true that each side may look to the other with distaste, they do also occasionally look with respect and wonder.  Muslims’ strong sense of community, spirituality and hospitality are oft cited qualities of virtue. Similarly Muslims worldwide regularly praise the West’s technological achievements, respect for equality before the law and queuing (yes queuing!). In addition, both sides also share similar principles, ideas, wants and aspirations.

And herein lies the optimism that the future is promising for Western-Islamic relations – we have more in common than we do differences. The reason for this goes back to the verse of the Quran quoted at the beginning of this article. It clearly states that man was created from the same pair (Adam and Eve), meaning mankind is ultimately one in terms of their make-up, traits, needs and desires. Yet in the same sentence it also explains that there are differences.

Few in the intercultural field would have realised that the quintessence of their training, education and research was captured in a Quranic verse some 1400 years ago. The verse tells us that we were created with differences (nations and tribes) in order for man to gain a better understanding of himself, i.e. to realise the essence of humanity.  How do we understand heat without cold or happiness without sadness? What is day without night or peace without war? We come to know the world around us through comparisons. Our fellow human beings act as mirrors. Through looking at that cross cultural reflection we appreciate who we are, what we value and how we act and most importantly the common threads that stitch the quilt of human experience together.

The intercultural field stands in an ideal position to spearhead initiatives and effective interventions. Within the current Western-Islamic state of affairs there is enormous potential to challenge the strangling discourse that is suffocating real cross cultural dialogue. The intercultural voice, which on the whole is one of understanding, tolerance and flexibility, must rise above the babble that we constantly hear. At the end of the day those with positions within the field, the reason they do what they do, is to help people understand one another whether at work or in the community. As professionals there is a responsibility to apply research and work into making a real difference to the evolution of global relations.

As stated at the beginning of this article, Western-Islamic relations pose the intercultural field with a challenge that must be overcome collectively. The initial rung up the ladder in order to achieving this is to educate people beyond stereotypes and misunderstandings. If this is successful the process of finding common ground and appreciating why we differ on certain issues will manifest naturally.The question now is how the field responds. How is research applied? What plans can it implement? Who can it collaborate with? Who is available from both the Islamic and Western mind-sets with a real appreciation and understanding of the other? How does it demonstrate its worth on the global stage? Experience of the field mixed with an eternal optimism leads me to believe that interculturalists will exceed expectations and demonstrate the invaluable nature of their endeavours.

How To Build A Good Loving Relationship by Sylvia Huang

Sylvia Huang

What you give, you receive. What you believe, you beckon.

I’m a big believer of the above two rules and have seen them manifest multiple times in my life. This basic law of attraction was at work in my relationships, my career, my studies and my personal evolution. It took me (my ego) a long time to accept that what I got is not sheer luck or misfortune but fruits of the seeds I sowed.

Coming from a broken family, I grew up learning that love is something difficult and entails more pain than reward. As I believed my relationships would end one day anyway, I erected walls around my heart to reduce the impact of the inevitable heartbreak. Ironically, the more I withheld myself from loving wholeheartedly and participating fully in my relationships, the more often I found myself heartbroken in failed relationships.

My beliefs above love and the consequent actions kept me on a downward spiral till I hit rock bottom in a divorce and depression. Climbing back up from that pit was one arduous journey but I learned my biggest lessons about love which I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.

Below are my ten commandments of building a good and loving relationship which I now follow religiously. It got me breaking free of toxic relationships and helped build new loving ones. I hope they would help you as much as they helped me.

1. Thou shalt give unconditional love

It’s easy to be in love when love means romantic dinners, exotic travels and nice gifts. Learn to love even if your partner could give you none of the aforementioned and instead requires your patience, understanding, tolerance and support.

2. Thou shalt make your partner feel s/he is your priority

Nothing expresses love more than making the person feel that s/he is important to you. No matter how busy your week is or what exciting activities you have lined up, always find time to check in with your partner and to spend quality time together. Fully focus on bonding instead of getting distracted with your social media feed or work matters.

3. Thou shalt be consistent and reliable

Strive to be a pillar of support for your partner. As we grow older, life gets increasingly complex to navigate. Make it a point to become someone your partner can always count on during difficult times. Build a strong foundation of trust by being clear on your stand on issues and honor your word and promises (no matter how small).

4. Thou shalt lift her/him up instead of bringing her/him down

Resist the temptation of saying hurtful words when your partner makes a mistake. Summon your inner Zen master and practice compassion in your response to the situation. Choose to use the occasion to strengthen the bond, over letting the incident cause a rift in the relationship.

5. Thou shalt support a joint decision with her/his interests in mind

Relationship is all about compromises and it is not always easy. When in a conflicting situation, put yourself in her/his shoes and factor in her/his interests and concerns in your decision. Make her/him feel that you empathize and are on her/his side.

6. Thou shalt respect her/his need for me-time and full self-expression

The best union is when you’re interdependent, not co-dependent. Make room for your partner to enjoy time alone and to freely express what s/he thinks and feels. This allows you and your partner to each maintain your individuality, which is paramount for the relationship to thrive.

7. Thou shalt encourage her/him to nurture her/his passion

Very often relationships fall apart because people are unhappy with their lives. By encouraging your partner to nurture her/his passion, you create the opportunities for her/him to become a happy and fulfilled individual. This ultimately contributes to a healthy and loving relationship.

8. Thou shalt accept and appreciate her/him for who s/he is right now

Avoid thinking “I’ll love her/him more when s/he becomes..”. Life is right now, not some imaginary future conjured in your mind. Accept and appreciate the imperfections of your partner and work on growing together.

9. Thou shalt ask thyself “what can I give”, not “what can I get?”

Find out how your partner would like to be loved and supported. Communicate in her/his love language as often as possible. Focus on how you can meet her/his needs and make her/his life better because you’re in it.

10. Thou shalt create many good moments together

Aim to create as many happy memories together as possible. It could be a shared moment of laughter or exchanging looks of mutual adoration. All of these add to your love tank to tap on when challenging times strike.

What are your struggles and tips on developing a solid loving relationship? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments below.

Relationships Problems Due To Family Interference

Families and relationships can either work out to be a dream come true or they can have an adverse effect on a relationship. No matter how much a couple can love each other, friction can always be caused by families getting involved. This is not to say the interference is meant in a bad way, but nonetheless sometimes parents simply cannot let a day pass without calling on you for one reason or another. It is of course not unknown for a family to not fully accept a new boyfriend or girlfriend onto the scene. Maybe there is a difference of opinion or one of you simply doesn’t click? Unfortunately, on occasions, relationships can be torn apart due to families getting involved and/or constantly expressing their views.

Of course, it is not wrong for a mother or father to want the best for their offspring, and it is natural to have a protective character, but sometimes they can appear a little overwhelming by applying unwanted and unneeded pressure. Although they might have your best interest as their priority, in the end they can afflict more damage than they offer in the way of help.

Consider some of these points if your relationship is suffering or has suffered family interference. Maybe you have separated because of your family and want to get your ex back again? Read on for further information.

1. It is important you try and secure some free and private time with your ex. Make your ex understand that although your family is important (and of course theirs are too), they should not be allowed to influence the both of you. Make an apology on behalf of your family and let your ex know you will be speaking to them regarding this issue. In turn, if it is your ex’s family that seems to have caused unwanted friction, suggest the same strategy be carried out for them aswell.

2. Allow your family to hear your feelings on the issue. Making them understand that their actions have been upsetting for you, and have caused your relationship to face difficulties may encourage them to take a back seat. Be firm but polite and kindly let them know that their interference is unfair and you will not endure it any longer.

3. Once you have spoken to your ex and your family in turn, allow your ex to know you heave dealt with the situation. Knowing you have taken it upon yourself to try and diffuse the problem will give them the peace of mind that you care about what has happened, and you can start on the road to making amends. If you want to win back your ex then they need to know that they are your precedence.

4. Make sure, that although you will deal with the issue on your side, they also need to deal with any problems from their family too (if any). Once you have both handled these areas, it will be time to come together and iron out the creases in your relationship. Maybe talk about how to avoid these outside interferences together in the future.

Getting your ex back after family have been involved of course varies on many different factors. All individuals are different and some families can be easier to deal with more than others. But if you both really love each other and want to share your futures, then there is no reason why you cannot come together and approach the families as a team.

Summer of Love: 5 Hot Date Ideas For Steamy Weather

Hot Date Ideas ThumbnailSome people don’t like the heat. They feel like it is stifling, that they can’t get anything done, and that the days and nights are just meant to laze away under the air conditioning, as far removed from the outside as possible. But then there are people who know that the heat of summer, under a brightened sun, is the best time for love, for romance, and for passion.

These are people who have seen classics like The Long Hot Summer,Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Key Largo, and Hud.  They know that summer can be a time of steamy romance, when the air is thick with love, and the heat comes as much from the physical excitement of connection as it does from the sun.

We know why this is, and we know the science of summer love. There is an increase in socialization, sure. But there is a lot more science, both obvious and not. On the literal surface, the heat makes clothes uncomfortable, and there is more skin on display, with sweatiness evoking and mimicking lust. Sunlight also releases serotonin, which makes you feel good and happy, positive about those around you, and stimulates the sex drive. Just being out is good for you.

So what to do when you’re out? You’ve found someone who makes your stomach butterfly, and who has asked you out, or the summer has reinvigorated a long-time love.  What to do? Where should you go to take advantage of the season? Here are five great date places to make your day (and night) as hot as the weather.

5 Hot Date Ideas For Summer Love

1. Outdoor restaurant/beer garden. A lot of people don’t like eating outside when it is hot, because they get uncomfortable. But on a date, you don’t want the sterility of air conditioning. Get some cold drinks and some cool eats, like a salad or oysters or a charcuterie plate, and dig in. Especially if it is a shared plate, with plenty of opportunities for hands to touch while reaching for the next bite. A few great summer cocktails should cool you down and warm you up at the same time.

2. Waterfront picnic. Most places will have a lakefront, a riverwalk, a stream, a pond–even man-made bodies of water count. There’s nothing like seeing the burst-star reflection of the setting sun on a cool body of water, while enjoying some chocolates and a nice glass of vinho verde. The heat dips with the sun, but nothing cools down between the two of you.

3. Bike ride. A long bike ride can get the body moving, and help you go to places like forest preserves or river trails, that you might not have otherwise seen in your day-to-day life. Sure, you’re sweaty, but as we discussed, that’s not a problem. And showering isn’t a bad way to get to the next portion of the date…

4. Getting ice cream. Old-fashioned? Yes. Corny and romantic? Yes. Maybe even a bit goofy. But who doesn’t love ice cream? The best part is getting a cone–walking with one hand in your lover’s and the other around the treat will evoke those youthful days of first love, and send the same dizzying thrills through your body. Even as an adult, summer is about evoking the freedom and newfound joys of youth, when the season was an adventure that you hoped would never end. Ice cream can help you recreate that frisson, that borderland between innocence and experience. And it tastes great!

5. Outdoor summer concert. One of the great joys of summer is being able to sit outdoors and spread a blanket, a picnic basket, and your favorite bottles, and bask under an impossible latticework of stars, while the music of your favorite band or the local orchestra washes over you, the sounds dancing between the flickering glow of fireflies and mixing with the peaceful murmurs of other nighttime lovers. It’s soothing and romantic. It’s grass-stained and nostalgic, and makes you long for the night to never end. In some of the notes you can hear the plaintive cry of the coming autumnal sadness, but that just makes you hug your partner even closer.

There’s no time like summer for romance. The heat of the day is no match for what’s in your heart. If you are looking for advice on summer romance, and would like the guidance of an expert at Keen, contact us today! We’d love to help your summer love.

How to handle emotions in romance?

Love is the most beautiful feeling that god has gifted to mankind. Those people who get someone whom they love and also get the reciprocation of love are the luckiest people. Life becomes beautiful in the companionship of such a loving partner. But the path of love is not always smooth and romantic.

A romantic relationship has its share of challenges that one has to go through. Since this directly concerns with the emotions and deep personal feelings, it is important that the person manages his emotions well and doesn’t lost the perspective of things in the flow of emotions. Someone loves you for support, care and strength , so you need to be emotionally stable and capable of providing support to the person for a strong relationship.

The very beginning of gaining mastery over your emotions is to admit to yourself that you have got a problem. You must ask yourself questions relating to how you would behave if your girlfriend leaves you at the present stage of life? How would you react if you find her to be cheating on you? Not being negative, but these are the actual scenarios that one may face in a relationship, and then his capability to overcome these challenges will be tested. It is better to be prepared beforehand. You should have the mentality that among the whole world and one girl, the world is important to you. You have other relationships to nurture and take care of. And you have many lovely potential partners too to look around!

In a relationship there are many situations and one such situation is that when your partner tests your reaction by throwing some tantrums, seeking to know how you will handle them. You should be prepared for such situations. Carefully try to recollect what are the things that made you feel low or discouraged in your relationship in the last one month or so.

Try to answer yourself what was the probable shortcoming in you that lead to that negative feeling creep up in you. Once you identify that, find out the ways to get your of such a negative emotions. If in the past, you have got dumped by your girlfriend(s) and you have ended up being on your knees or begging them to come back to your life, then the word of caution is , don’t do it again. Make sure that as your partner has done, you also move on with some hotter person who can calm and soothe your feelings.

Believe in yourself, you yourself are the comprehensive person that you always wanted to be You are not diffident or insecure as you presume to be , and you do not need to be someone else to attract the opposite sex for a potential love relationship. You need to throw away all the fears and self consciousness that you have harbored in yourself.

You have to believe that you are perfect and do not require any development to be a alpha human being. Developing such kind of confidence will help you abundantly in dealing with your present relationship. The belief in yourself will make you glow and your partner will be more attracted to you than ever.

Focus on yourself; you are the important person among the two of you in the relationship. Do not beg her to come back to the relationship, if you have compromised with your feelings once, remember you will keep on repeating that. Instead focus on how to improve yourself with the test of a relationship.

Reprogram Yourself to Stop Falling in Love With The Wrong Person

Love the Wrong Person ThumbnailWhen it comes to love and desire, we often think that there’s neither rhyme nor reason that governs attraction. As Emily Dickinson so aptly wrote, “The heart wants what it wants, or else it does not care.” And yet, by the time actor/director Woody Allen so famously co-opted the quote to explain the dubious beginnings of his longtime love affair with then step-daughter Soon-Yi Previn (begun while he was still romantically entangled with her mom, Mia Farrow), it was pretty clear that sometimes the heart wants something that might not actually be the best thing for it–or you.

But even more potentially damaging to chances at longtime romantic happiness is ignoring what’s going on in our heads. Many people find themselves locked into a negative cycle in which they repeatedly pursue partners who turn out to be either just plain ill-suited, or worse, downright destructive–but are seemingly clueless as to why.

If you’re one of those “unlucky in love” types, wondering if there isn’t something you can do to change the game so that the odds are in your favor, there are actually several modifications you can make in your quest for amour–but the biggest changes you will likely have to make are going to start with you. In order to find lasting love, you must examine your personal history to shed light on events that set certain patterns in motion, and then you must re-learn the rules of attraction so that you are better able to focus on more suitable candidates for healthy romance. Here are a few steps to get you started.

Know The Catalyst

Many people who seem to haplessly fall into one doomed relationship after another do so because they’ve never fully resolved the childhood traumas that shaped their psyches, especially in cases of emotional abuse or neglect. As a child, you have no control over your environment, but as an adult, not only do you have the ability to understand how you came to be the person you’ve become, but you have the power to break destructive cycles by choosing not to engage in relationships that feed negative behavior.

Easier said than done? Yes, but professional help is there if you need it, and not everyone requires years of therapy to uncover what triggers self-destructive patterns. Knowledge is power. While you can never fix what was broken in the past, once you have the explanation, you can recognize the pull towards failed romances and move forward to make healthier choices.

Look Beyond Chemistry

Ah, chemistry . . . the most infamous weapon in Cupid’s arsenal, and yet, when we’re in school, chemistry is only one of the required courses. The evidence ofpheromone-based attraction notwithstanding, a well-rounded education in love demands the study of more than one subject.

No one’s telling you that you have to date someone to whom you are not physically attracted, but if that’s all there is, unless you’re looking for short-term gratification of an “urge to merge” (nothing wrong with that–so long as you understand that’s all it’s likely to be) chances are, lust is not going to be enough for the long haul.

Refocus Your Expectations

Refining expectations is not, I repeat, not synonymous with lowering expectations, so if you’re in the habit of repeatedly trying to pair up with unrealistic or unavailable partners, there’s a good chance it’s time to start setting your sights on more appropriate targets.

Lots of people are looking for love. That’s the pool you should dive into. And here’s a hint: As tempting as it may be to “drown in love” with that mythical mermaid, or plummet to giddy depths in tandem with the daring swain beckoning you to come hither from the high diving board, sticking with someone who swims at the same pace as you do will likely be infinitely more fulfilling once you reach the deep end.

The Real Benefits of Friends With Benefits

In the most enduring romances, passion evolves. Over time, rather than burning white-hot, it smolders beneath the surface like a bed of warm coals, and flares when properly fueled and fanned.

Understanding how to build a romance based on the joy of one another’s company that’s bolstered by a shared sense of humor, like interests and mutual understanding is akin to knowing how to properly bank a fire so that it doesn’t burn out. Not every friendship will or should blossom into romance, but it’s an excellent way to start. So, if you’ve been dating yet one more lover and all-too-soon find yourself saying, “I love him/her, but I don’t like him/her” this is one lesson you should really take to heart because eventually, when love fizzles out, that dislike is going to color everything that’s left, and it’s not going to paint a pretty picture.

When it comes to love, if you keep coming up with all the wrong answers, why not let a KEEN romantic advisor teach you savvy ways to help improve your score?

Marriage, Relationships, and Muslim Youth

Every Muslim community has its handful of out-of-control youth. But these days, even the decent kids from religious families are falling into Haram when it comes to pre-marital relationships. Yes, we’re talking about those youth in the community who have pretty much been born and raised in the Islamic center. The ones whose parents try their best to guide their children to the path of Islam, and once most of the fundamentals have been engraved into the minds of these youngsters, the only hassle for these parents is to try and keep their children on the flawless path of Islam. Now the question at hand is: why are such good Muslim youth faltering when it comes to pre-marital relationships?

For starters, half these kids truly believe that it is perfectly “Halal” to be involved with their cyber boyfriend or girlfriend because it’s not in “real life”. But when these cyber relationships grow and the emotional attachment is so great that from online chatting and emails it turns into incessant texting and four-hour-long late night phone conversations in which “I love you” is said every minute, we have a slight problem.

The more alarming problem is when Muslim youngsters take such relationships to the next level and go to the extent of “meeting” each other, whether this be around school, work, cafes, or even at community functions. Everybody knows that when a non-mahram boy and girl are left alone together (without going into too many traumatizing graphic details), Shaitan is always present and suggesting new and interesting ways of doing more Haram. This is the stage when the kids do realize that what they are doing is prohibited, but because they’ve been so involved for such a long period of time now, they simply “can’t let go”. This is usually the point at which the good kids admit that they’ve gone slightly off track from their faith but believe they are still better than “those other out-of-control youth”, as their pre-marital relationships is the only area of their faith in which they falter. And besides, a bit of Haram can’t hurt if the idea is to “marry the person I love”, right?

Sometimes the youth find themselves in this situation because the person they are involved with is usually the person who they intend to marry, and they originally started speaking to him/her as it was all just to “get to know them”. Of course, within the limits of Hijab, it is possible to get to know a person in a permissible way, but as we all know that’s not the case for the majority of kids in this situation, and while being involved for “marriage purposes” is the usual excuse, the fact of the matter is that it’s actually about having the satisfaction of being in a relationship, regardless of how remote the chances are of actually marrying the other person.

A closer analysis of this sad reality will depict that on one hand, we have the kids who legitimately feel the need for a partner, someone who can provide them with emotional support, solve their problems, and give them something to look forward to each day. On the other hand, we have youth who never felt the need for a partner but unexpectedly came across the opportunity to be a part of a relationship and were sucked in before they could think twice about it. Whatever the justification, one thing is for sure – it is becoming harder for the Muslim community to keep a hold of its decent youth, and it all has to do with the fact that they are finding it harder to resist the temptations that Haram relationships have to offer.

So what’s the solution? Sending our children to single-gender or Islamic schools? Have our children engaged to some distant relative as soon as they become of age? Being tougher on them by taking away their Internet access and mobile phones? Some parents try these strategies prior to any incidents occurring so that their children are not given any “opportunities” to get involved with such relationships. Other parents implement all (if not more of) these “solutions” all at once when the unfortunate crackdown occurs and the children are confronted by their parents and family about their “personal life”. In most cases, the success rate of all these solutions is nothing more than epic failure.

Let’s do justice to ourselves. Before coming up with a magnificent solution that will solve all our problems, we need to identify what the underlying issue at hand is. For most people, the desire to have a partner and “being with someone” usually sprouts when they are in their mid-late teens, and they are not to blame. It’s a natural instinct to feel this way, and anyone who attended those elementary school health classes knows that sexual activity and “relationships” with the opposite gender are encouraged from a very young and most probably an unhealthy age.

Simply put, there is a need for the parents to address the importance of marriage at an early age for our youth. The sad policies of “You’re not going to get married until you have enough money to buy a house”, “You need to complete your undergraduate, post-graduate and then get a job before you can marry”, and “It’s impossible for us to find you a good boy/girl!” are taking our communities towards unimaginable disaster. Islam has encouraged marriage as early as possible, and yet our youth are getting the idea that they will be in their late twenties or early thirties by the time they have their first partner. Of course, this seems slightly unfair, as most people in the West have their first partner early on in the teenage life, if not even sooner!

What needs to be promoted, and especially to the religious and active teens and youth in the community, is that marriage should not be delayed until either the boy or girl are entirely “settled”. Let’s face reality here, Muslim youth who have a pretty good understanding of their faith and the logic behind its Divine laws actually look forward to marriage, because as parents often tend to overlook these days, it is in fact a part of our religion, and it is encouraged at an early age for the sole purpose of allowing us to become better believers!

We all know that marriage “secures half of your faith”, but our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) also said that when it comes to a young person who marries at the beginning of his/her youth, his/her devil moans and intensively regrets that s(he) has protected two-thirds of his/her faith from Satan! Sadly, parents are failing to realize the necessity and benefits of having today’s generation at least Nikkah-ed by the time they are in their late teens, early twenties. Each case is unique, however. So what’s essential is that our youth are given a realistic timeframe, and it is only fair for today’s young generation to know when they can expect to be permitted by their parents to enter a Halal and loving relationship.

Excessive fears of how early marriages will cope if our children haven’t completed their education, how our daughter will starve to death unless the boy she is marrying is a doctor, how our sons won’t get along with girls unless they look like supermodels, how the next generation will be completely “Westernized” if either boy or girl is unable to fluently speak in their native language are all completely bizarre and unrealistic expectations. All that is needed is a basic maturity level, and after that, parents, scholars, and community leaders have an obligation to encourage among our youth the kind of mental and emotional maturity they need in order to become successful husbands and wives.

It’s time for the Muslim community to wake up and realize that if we plan on our next generation being good Muslims, we must frankly and openly discuss the issue of marriage with our children. Times have changed, and it is extremely pressing for us to be considerate towards these emotional and physical needs of our youth, so that we may put a stop to all this Haram that we ourselves are causing them to resort to. As the Holy Prophet said, “Join your children in marriage, because thereby Allah renders their tempers good, adds to their sustenance, and increases their sense of honor.”

Falling in Love – Understand Male Psychology and Make Him Fall Deeply in Love With You

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If you’ve ever read Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, you know that men and women think differently, especially when it comes to communication, dating, and relationships. Not only do men have different ideas about romance, love, and relationships, they also operate on completely different time frames. When you’re head over heels in love with him, he may still be trying to get to know you. When you feel frustrated and are ready to move on, he may be getting ready to move the relationship forward. No matter how differently from us men operate, there is one great thing about them. As one of my married friends put it, Once a man is hooked, he is hooked! In other words, it takes a man much more time and effort to fall in love with someone, but once he believes that you are the one, there is very little turning back for him.

Getting a man to reach that in love stage, modern women face many difficulties. In the past there were very clear and socially accepted rules about dating. These rules developed based on male psychology and mens’ need to be the pursuer, to be needed, and to be in control. Women understood their passive roles in dating and allowed the men to pursue them, court them, fall in love with them, and eventually marry them. Men understood exactly what protocol to follow.

Now things can be confusing. Women can assume the role of the pursuer. They find it perfectly acceptable to initiate dates with men, chase them, confess their feelings, and move things forward. Men, on the other hand, can be quite confused about what they need to do, since women are taking over their traditional role of pursuer.

Besides dating, men can also be a bit confused about what their role is in a relationship. In the past, men were the providers while the women were mothers and wives. In the modern age, women can have it all. They can be both breadwinner and wife. This progress for women confused men about what their role really is in a relationship, since it seems that women don’t really need men anymore. All the talk about the difference between past and present is to show you that although modern women have achieved progress in in some areas, this has disrupted the old dating rules.

It may come as a surprise, but the old dating rules do have something going for them. To date successfully, modern women have to be aware of male psychology. I recommend the following strategies when it comes to dating:

* You can look alluring and enticing, but allow men to ask you out on a date. Men are most comfortable and most enthusiastic when they assume the role of pursuers.

* Keep it light and breezy at the beginning. Men are very competitive. They have a radar to detect pressure. If you come on too strong in the beginning you might send them running the other way!

* Operate in the same time frame as men. If he is slow to develop feelings towards you, don’t confess your love to him too early. We all know that communication is easier when you’re on the same page with someone. Also, by opening up slowly and in the same time frame as men, you avoid overwhelming him with your feelings and desires.

* Understand that men are slower to open up and can be more cautious than women. If you provide a secure, pressure-free, and light environment, men will open up to you. Moving too fast or demanding too much early on can make him shut down.

* Focus on the here and now. Have a good time with your man! If he always has a delightful time with you, you can be sure that he will come back for more!

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Secretes of a Happy Relationship

Relationships like marriage, romance, live together or any of similar kinds can be sustained with a happy note if some of the secret rules are followed. Relationship is completely subjective and no clear cut rules can be executed on it, yet following certain guidelines may help proceeding happily in a relationship.

Many of these, so called, rules are based on the life experience of many happy couple and also the observation of people. When two people get into relationships, many of them wish for lasting relationships. But pathetically, a good number of them go apart after a while, in search of new partners. Let us see the secrets that constitute long lasting relationships or ever remaining relationships.

Breakup and Divorce are not the Solution

When asked about the best possible way of resolving the issues in relationships or marriage, many people may comment that breakup or a divorce is the best possible method of putting an end to all the troubles in a relationships. It is the biggest mistake people commit.

The reason for increased divorce rate is analyzed as the mentality of people who even before getting into a relationship think divorce as means of solving possible issues in it. Divorce is never an option but it’s the utmost decision to be taken in life only at an inevitable situation. Do not even think about a breakup or marriage whenever you confront with minor issues in relationships. Issues are just byproducts of the happiness experienced in the relationships.

No Perfect Relationships, but Perfect Situations

No one can be considered in a perfect relationship, how happy the couple is, as happiness in a relationship is just the happiness of the situations created by the partners. No relationship, as a whole, is destined to be jovial and satisfying. There can be moments of happiness and moments of struggles.

The couple who learns the secrets of balancing both happiness and struggles wins the life and enjoys the best possible relationship and life. When in tension or issues, many people may think that they are fated to fall in to wrong relationship, and at the same time ignore the possible chances of making each moments in life happy by understanding the partner a bit more and adjusting a bit more.

Never be Afraid or Make Him/Her Afraid

Another secret of happy relationship lies in being open and frank with the partner. Do not feel afraid to express you mind to the partner and never ever make him/her afraid of you to tell out the mind. When people communicate each other many of the issues can be melted down. An issue, how ignorable it is, when kept in mind for several days, can take forms of anger, frustration, dislike etc., and get expressed in the most undesirable manners. Let the communication between the partners be a frequent element and no one should hold the words when he/she really wants to talk.

Love Defined is Respect and Care

You can just tell that you love your partner but can never express the love as it is. There is no emotion like love, but it comes as a package which includes, respect, care, share, dedication, forgiveness etc., express the emotions whenever possible to make the other person feel the intensity of your love. Do not be a miser in loving the partner and let your love be unconditional. It is rightly said that love is defined as respect and care. When the partner feels that you do not care for him/her or do not give him/her the due respect, the person may think of an alternative to you.

Always Support Each Other

Never ever leave your partner unsupported. Whatever be the opinions and ideas, know that you are the only one he/she can lean for support. When both of you are alone, you can argue among yourself on points you disagree with the other one, but in public both of you have only one mind. Holding the hands, especially when he/she is sad or broken, is helpful to convey you care for the person. Once you have decided to live together, then no questions of separation may arise, even in the opinions.

I Love Everything About You, Except…

accept your partner

Your warning light, always on, flickering occasionally, suddenly flares to a fiery hot red. This internal alarm is about to put a cold damper on your relationship. As your love progresses and you learn more and more about your mate, there will come the moment when a question must be answered.

At some point, every relationship comes to this fork in the road. Do I want this? Is this the guy for me? You love everything about him, but you have some doubts. Do you decide to invest more into the relationship or is it time to walk?

Doubt and disagreement are a natural part of partnership. This is the texture we need to keep things interesting; to learn and grow. It is rare that two lovers are completely compatible. There is always something that will disturb or irritate, whether it is a habit, interest, trait or all three.

There are probably many things you would like to change about your mate. Maybe he works too hard or loudly smacks his lips when he eats. His mother is a terror. His dog thinks your pet bunny is a tasty snack. The list might be endless. Rest assured, he has a few issues about you that he does not love.

A relationship is a beautiful dance of being in sync at times and at others, it’s we must twirl delicately around our imperfections, incompatibilities and inhumanities. Sometimes you dance a steady waltz. Other times you may explode into a fiery tango. There is a great beauty in the efforts we make to tolerate each other. This dance is the way we negotiate our love.

So what do you dislike about him? Is he a sports nut? No style? Big nose? Can’t swim? Poor taste in cinema? Can’t cook? These are the behaviors that you dislike. But are they deal breakers? Look closely at your resistance to accept your partner. Do these irritations trigger something in you and your acceptance of yourself? Ask these questions as you examine your ability to tolerate others and negotiate compromises.

If you are allowed to caterwaul in the shower, then he can leave the cap off the toothpaste. If he is obsessed with Elvis Presley, just sing along. If he wants to restore a car, you might want to hand him a wrench. These are the things we negotiate. Hopefully, together as a couple, you will find several interests that you can share.

But perhaps there are important issues that you simply cannot tolerate. Is he using drugs? Does he always borrow money from you? Is he still sleeping with his ex? If you have healthy self-esteem, you will likely kick him to the curb for these habits. The first six months are critical in making clear, clean rational decisions. What can you live with? What should you run from?

Dating is like shopping for your final pair of jeans, the pair that looks so good on you, you’ll treasure them forever. Will the style hold that long? What about the cut? You must make some tough decisions in search of your emotions. Look inside. What do you really want? Is it realistic? Is it healthy and free flowing? Will the relationship grow naturally or will it become forced? You may not be clairvoyant, but your instinct is a powerful and pure tool.

Always be aware that life is a river. Change is the only constant, the only thing that you can ever count on. You and your partner will change over time. We cannot predict the future. But how does the future, on a hunch, look to be with your mate?

What if, in the first month, he likes to have a beer with dinner? Then by the fourth month, he prefers a twelve pack. The warning light blinks. Suddenly, your most honest and true instincts will suggest your guy is a liability, not an asset.

Asking people to change rarely works well in the end. Why deprive someone of their natural rhythms? If you make your fella toss his model railroad set, he may begin to quietly resent you. We must always try to approach romance with acceptance and unconditional love.

When a warning light flares, you know to take a step back and ask the hard questions. What does your heart tell you? Are your intentions honest and pure? Are you staying in this relationship because you are too afraid to move on? Everyone grows cautious for a reason.

You have a warning system. Sometimes it emits quiet little blips. Other times it rages like an air raid siren. You will never be able to say that you love absolutely every little thing about someone. With time and growth, we learn to explore and accept each other. To say that you love almost everything about someone is a very lucky thing.