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Does size really matter? Time to break it down…

I know, I know. It’s an old, classic question but it doesn’t make it any less relevant right?
So let’s start with a bit of context…

Why does our culture make such a big deal about the size?

For years we’ve place so many unrealistic body standards on both men and women. Where size is concerned, the importance doesn’t just stem from the increased exposure of social media or all those articles you read online. In fact, porn also has a big part to play in this. We see men with oversized, monster penises — obviously not what the average size looks like! In the same vein, women are shown with large breasts, hairless vaginas, and figures that are impossible to attain without surgery. While we’re bombarded with body-pressure from all mediums telling us how and what to do to be “perfect”, it sets up expectations that are difficult, if not impossible to meet. This in turn causes an extremely problematic, toxic environment that can lead to body dissatisfaction and low self-esteem.

In modern society, penis size fuels masculinity, virility, power and dominance; it would be fair to say that the stigma around size is wrapped up in the male ego. If one isn’t well hung, then he’s less of a man. A number of studies have shown that men are, by nature, more competitive than women; and after speaking to a handful of my phallic friends, it seems that many males are concerned about whether or not they size up. These are absurd ways to consider manhood. In fact, many don’t actually know how to use their tool because they’ve been taught that being well endowed is the only thing that matters. Which brings me to my next point…

My view & personal experience

Size is definitely not a huge factor for me. In fact, I’d go as far to say that size is overrated! There are more important aspects; for example, I’d rather choose girth and stamina over length. I’ve gone from “Damn son!” (almost 8 inches) to your Average Joes (5/6 inches) to shorter, pencil-looking dicks (4 inches) — and from my experience, the sexual eye candy of a penis makes no difference. You could have a massive trouser snake and be pretty shit in bed. Also as a quick FYI – the average vagina is about 4 to 7 inches deep. So you can only put so much in when it comes to XXL anyway, it goes to show that a big dick can be limiting, after all.

Personally I found the 5/6 inchers were by far the best performers but once again, that’s not just based on size. Factors such as sexual chemistry, confidence, communication, being creative and high sex drive count for a lot. You also need to consider the type of person attached to the meat; if you’re having sex with a considerate person that can go to town on you in ways other than penetration, then trust me, size doesn’t matter! However, if your lover is selfish, lazy, unimaginative and lasts for a couple minutes during each session then yes, that’s a disaster… with a small penis! Do you get my drift here?

Anyway, bear in mind this is my own opinion — it can vary from person to person. Some women might find big dicks a turn-on but I would say the key thing is about how it’s used and where you can excel in other areas, because intercourse is just one part of sex. The overall picture encompasses so much more than this simple measure. My verdict: Bigger is not necessarily better.

Research says

A Google search on this topic returned an extensive amount of content with varied answers — there are some self-proclaimed “size queens”, some have said that there is such a thing as “too big”, and others say that size doesn’t really matter at all, as long as stamina, girth, chemistry, or oral sex skills are up there… I hear ya ladies, but I thought it would be interesting to find out what the scientists and their research had to say on this matter…

According to a study published in the British Journal of Urology, the research found that when it comes to penis size, 85 percent of women are just fine with what their partner has. In fact, the people who seem to be the most concerned with penis size were men! Around 45 percent of men felt they owned a small penis; and it is generally believed that the average penis is 6 inches long. Sadly this misleading, distorted perception has triggered anxiety and impacted self-confidence.

Taken from multiple studies, here are some quick stats on the average penis size:

Flaccid length average = 2.8 to 3.9 inches
Erect length average = 4.7 to 6.3 inches
Flaccid circumference or girth average = 3.5 to 3.9 inches
Erect circumference or girth average = around 4.7 inches


Further research conducted by Porterback Clinic and Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield and St. James’ Hospital in Leeds, found that women attached some importance to penis size; and it was only of “substantial” importance to a “clear minority” of the women. And while most of men’s worries about penis size centred on the length, about 90 percent of women actually preferred a wide penis to a long one. The data also revealed that size was much lower down the list of priorities for women.

The truth is that 75 percent of women cannot reach orgasm from penetrative sex alone. Sure, the feeling that comes with being penetrated can be enjoyable, but it rarely provides the big O. And how is that usually achieved? Clitoral stimulation — and that’s true regardless or whether you’re packing a gherkin or a firehose.

Conclusion

And there we have it! Here are the key takeaways from today’s post:

1. More men than women are bothered about penis size.
2. Small, average or large — neither are dealbreakers.
3. Variables such as girth, stamina and skill takes precedence over length.
4. Average length when erect ranges between 4.7 to 6.3 inches.
5. Great sex has less to do with penis size, and requires more than just penetration.


In the grand scheme of things, we often have warped images of ourselves, so fellas if you’re reading this, don’t let penis insecurity sabotage your potential for having confident, fulfilling and overwhelmingly hot sex. Don’t become consumed by penis size, you can be a satisfying sexual partner regardless of the size of your penis. And if you want to please your partner, just ask them what they enjoy, and how you can help them have the best time ever!

When the past becomes our present.

Old emotional wounds have many ways of inserting themselves into existing and new relationships. When this occurs, they can prevent a connection from blossoming or slowly pull at a relationship until one or both parties suffocate. Some of our deepest wounds often come from childhood, and others will make an appearance at a later point in life.

Dealing with heartbreak, betrayal, having our ideas about love questioned and our spirits bruised are distressing experiences to go through. Mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually — these past traumas have the power to greatly impact our overall character; it can affect the way we think, the way we see ourselves, and the way we see others. When emotional pain cuts us deep, it can cause repeat unhealthy behaviours and offer a recipe for toxic relationships. Sometimes without even realising, few of us will continue living our lives holding onto negative, distorted thoughts in our unconscious mind. But one thing is for sure… none of this has to be permanent.

Cute but psycho

I’d be lying if I said freeing yourself from the past was an easy process. It really isn’t. Speaking from personal experience, I spent years convinced that I was healed from my first relationship. Unfortunately, feelings of resentment and bad memories can linger long after a previous split. The reality was that I had simply swept everything under the carpet and put in place a few coping mechanisms which involved: always having my guard up, purposely starting conflicts to make myself feel better and feel more in control, never communicating or addressing the root problem, and playing the blame game. After going through a couple superficial relationships in my emotionally unavailable state, it became clear that my issues were just adding this growing ball of toxic energy. The longer I left it to manifest, the worse I became.

I was cheated on in my first relationship but didn’t find out until a year later… and it was only by chance I had discovered the secret. Around the same time, the manipulative and controlling behaviour became more apparent (dictating what I could/couldn’t wear, where I could go, who I could talk to/hang out with, etc.), our heated arguments were pretty intense, we hurled things at each other then got into physical altercations. The atmosphere was always tense and disruptive, and not just between us but for others as well. When things were good, they were amazing; when things were bad, it was hideous. Being 16 at the time, in my first relationship; I was naive and “blinded by love”. I can’t even comprehend what was going through my mind back then. All I knew was that no matter what shit we had gone through, he was never wrong in my eyes. Eventually three and a half years later, I found the courage to leave. And by no means was it an easy exit.

I swiftly got into my next relationship about 5 months after but I was just a ticking time-bomb for my next partner… and the next one after that. When I look back, I feel awful for the way I treated some of my exes. Even thinking about it now makes me cringe and feel a lot of shame. I found myself creating worst-case scenarios in my head, getting easily triggered over certain things they’d say or do. I was always feeling hypersensitive, insecure and on-edge when they wanted to have a guys night out or attend a work do. I dealt with it all by self-sabotaging. I would go down their phones to check their call logs, messages, photos, social media. I looked through their draws, cupboards — I don’t exactly know what I was looking for but I needed anything to use as ammo so I could pull them up on it and accuse them of cheating on me. I honestly think I put more effort in my search for “evidence” than I did with the actual relationship. Messed up huh?

Road to recovery

When we’re stuck in trauma, our limbic system (basically an important part of the brain) can become impaired in its ability to regulate our emotions. As a result, our mood, sleep and thought patterns can be impacted and lead to symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, loss of appetite, low sex drive and even depression. It’s essential to understand how past issues are affecting your love life so that you can address them.

No one likes feeling vulnerable, disappointed or hurt, but how we deal with past issues determines the quality of our lives, our next relationship and ultimately helps to shape ourselves. As mentioned, it’s not a straightforward or quick practice, nonetheless I guarantee that taking an opportunity for self-reflection and learning can be the gateway to experiencing real joy and happiness. If you’re seeking some guidance on how to release those burdens, I’ve compiled some mindful tips to help loosen that grip on previous situations and move forward in a much healthier way.

IT IS WHAT IT IS
For some of us, “letting it be” or “letting it go” alludes to the idea that we’re wrong or it feels like we’re allowing someone else to be right. It also means letting go of your expectations of how things should have been. The fact is, what happened was all in the past and there’s nothing you can do about it. The drama, holding on… it’s all in your own mind. As you continue feeding the memories, you make what someone said or did even bigger and more powerful in your head than it might have been in reality. Accepting what happened gives you the ability to create empowering stories and discover valuable lessons to carry with you in the future.

DO NOT PUT EVERYONE IN THE SAME CATEGORY
Your new partner should not be punished for the pain you felt from previous relationship, just because someone did you wrong in the past, it doesn’t mean that your new partner will do the same. It’s an unfair position to put them in. It’s important to communicate, be open and honest, and explain why you might have certain hangups or sore spots. And if it’s a situation where you’re clinging onto hurt and anger but struggling or refusing to let it go, then perhaps you’re not in the right frame of mind for a new relationship.

TAKE YOUR TIME TO HEAL
There’s no timeline for healing from trauma, it can take months or even years. However, it’s vital to release the sadness and let yourself process all the emotions. Use the opportunity to self-discover and work on getting your mind back in a better place.

LET IT OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM
Some will feel better after verbal communication with a friend, family member or therapist, others might prefer writing down their thoughts in a journal. Either way, the cathartic release can do wonders for your mental health. You’ll find that self-expression helps to clarify your thoughts, feelings, reduce stress and even solve problems more effectively.

DO THINGS THAT YOU ENJOY
On your road to recovery, I reccomend channeling your energy into things you enjoy. Perhaps you let go of a hobby you used to love? Maybe you want to take up something new? Just go for it. Even if it’s a bit of therapeutic shopping, brunching with friends, binging on awful reality TV shows or treating yourself to a pamper session — stick to positive environments, surround yourself with good people and focus on finding happiness and inner peace.

I always encourage learning and growing from all our experiences in life. When we’re dealing with past trauma, concentrate on becoming stronger in the process, rather than carrying the baggage around like an anchor. Don’t let it weigh you down from living and enjoying your life. The past should be used as a reference to serve and support you for the present and future. Always keep in mind:

“Scars remind us of where we have been, not where we are headed.”

Getting undressed with Riley and Damsel.

Over the last 3 months, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with a number of friendly, genuine and supportive people. The dating community on Instagram has got to be one of my best social media discoveries and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. There are so many talented writers, poets, artists, speakers and entrepreneurs — all of us on the same path to pursue our passions and leverage our skills. More recently, I’ve been chatting away with fellow writer and author of Riley’s Raunchy Reads, you must check out her content. Riley will sweep you away into an erotic world of explicit, sexual interaction and steamy hot romances. I can only describe her creative pieces as jaw-droppingly insane!

With a mutual appreciation for each other’s work, we decided to team up on a blog post with a slightly different angle. Today we’ll be “undressing” ourselves and stepping into the spotlight. If you’re looking for some quick tips, guidance and insights on the realms of dating and writing, you’ve landed in the right place! Read on for our mini Q&A…


WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WANTING TO START UP THEIR OWN BLOG?

Damsel
The first thing I’d say is to find your niche. It definitely helps with the build up of content. Figure out what you’re passionate about and just go for it! Try not to worry about getting it right or perfect either. Honestly, I look back at my old blog posts and think “ugh what is this shit?” — but over time; you’ll learn, you’ll improve and you’ll figure out what works best.

Also, don’t forget that you’re telling your story. Don’t be worried about other blogs covering the same topics as you. You must remember that it’s about your perspective, your creativity and the value that you add — already it’s unique in its own right. Be real, be honest and really embody the stuff that you’re writing about.

Finally, use social media platforms to your advantage. It helps to connect with readers and other bloggers, perhaps even for inspiration, but don’t get too caught up in it. Don’t get hung up on the follows, likes, etc. Focus on your writing first then social media after.

Riley
*Do not start a blog if you are half hearted about it or unsure, speak to friends and get their advice about your ideas that you are potentially going to upload to this blog then make the decision.

Before I started my blog Riley’s Raunchy Reads (www.rrrox.co.uk), I created a notes list in my phone as to why I wanted to start my blog. This included the following questions: – Why do you want to start a blog? What is the blog going to be about? What is your niche going to be? What content do you want to deliver or create? Do you want to use any other social platforms to promote your blog? What colour theme are you going to follow? It is going to be illustrations, free pictures from the internet or art you create yourself? I felt these questions helped me create the base of my blog.

I then reached out to my friends and we discussed my ideas and I even gave them a short snippet of my first story to give them an idea of what it was going to entail. They thought it was a great idea and really pushed me forward to take the final steps of creating an Instagram account and blog. The Instagram account was so I could promote my blog and engage with my audience. 

Tip *I always tend to have one draft in the pipeline because you do not want to be stuck without any content for a long period of time. Allow yourself enough time to brainstorm ideas and take notes. I currently have about 5 different notes on my phone that I jot notes down when ideas come to me, it’s good to get into that habit. 

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF STARTING DATING STORIES BY ME / RILEY’S RAUNCHY READS SO FAR?

Damsel
I’ve been overwhelmed by the lovely community, the engagement and positive feedback. I’ve had people messaging me saying how my experiences and situations resonate with them, I’ve had some approach me for dating advice as well those who have been very complimentary about my writing style and tone. When I realised that my work was making an impact on others, that was my highlight moment. The support and kindness truly pushes me to keep writing and sharing.

Riley
I personally would say my highlight since starting Riley’s Raunchy Reads has been the relationships I have built with the talented and inspiring writers, sex educators and business owners that I follow on my Instagram. 

The collabs that I have done so far have been so eye opening to subjects I have not been aware of, products I wouldn’t even think of and it’s just been a great overall experience with each one of them. I look forward to any collabs I do in the future, whether that be an IGTV live, story or blog post. 

I’m excited for what is to come. 

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR TOP 3 DATING TIPS YOU’D GIVE?

Damsel
Be authentic –  Of course you want to put your best foot forward, but at the same time, you must accept and embrace all of who you are. Many daters dress, think and act in a way they believe their date would like them to, and in essence, they become someone they’re not, in hopes that this alter ego will help them find their perfect match. I guarantee you’ll have a lot more enjoyment and less pressure on dates if you trust the process by being genuine from the start.

Honesty is the best policy – Not everyone will agree with me on this but when I first meet someone, I’m always upfront and honest when it comes to what I think the other person should know about me. From personal experience, there’s actually a lot of good that can come from being honest in the dating realm. The more unapologetic and brutally honest I’ve become, the less I tolerate people manipulating me, using me, or being rude to me. Sure, I might get a “bad” reputation because of it, but at the very least, I’m no doormat!

Know your non-negotiables – Before you invest time and effort in anyone, make sure you know what your deal breakers are. Ask yourself what could you not accept, compromise on, or adjust to. Smokers? Non-monogamy? Substance abuse? Deal breakers will vary from person to person, and setting these out will not only ensure your core values are aligned with your romantic partner but also provide stability and structure to the relationship.

Riley
Always be yourself – do not change for anyone. Someone will love you for you, but first ensure you are happy within yourself before trying to find that special someone.

Be honest – there is no such thing as ‘too honest’ if people can’t handle it, they aren’t for you. 

Be respectful – The one quote I will always live by is ‘treat people how you want to be treated’ – says it’s all really. 

WERE THERE ANY SITUATIONS OR ANY PARTICULAR TRIGGERS THAT MADE YOU START TAKING YOUR WRITING SERIOUSLY?

Damsel
Lockdown made me do it! I started writing at the beginning of this year after experiencing another failed relationship and a couple of disastrous dates but it was something I’d do to pass time and showcase to my close friends. Then as I found myself stuck indoors, I felt like I needed an additional activity that would stimulate my brain, so that’s where the writing came in. The guy I’m dating at the moment also gave me a little push and encouraged me to go public, he’s been pretty helpful and supportive too.

Riley
It was when I started to enjoy sex and foreplay, I thought now I understand what it feels like, how new experiences should feel. At that point I was like I’m ready to change the way I write to incorporate this into my writing. Being able to explore my writing by using fantasises, some real-life experiences and ideas in my writing gave me the confidence to be like, YES, I’m ready let’s get this ball rolling. 

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE OF WRITING SO FAR?

Damsel
In terms of going down memory lane, it was certainly not one of my favourites… but with regards to writing, I’d say “I would rather adjust to your absence than be frustrated by your presence.” was pretty satisfying. This was the failed relationship that inspired me to start the blog! The trials and tribulations, all the bullshit, the audacity… like wow. I’m shocked at myself by how much ridiculousness I tolerated. Even now when I regurgitate the story to my friends, we can’t stop laughing. I see my blog as a bit of an outlet so it was like a breath of fresh air once I got it all out of my system. Although I look back in disbelief; overall it really helped me reflect, improve my mood and gain so much perspective.

Riley
I answered this in one of my IGTV videos and I still stand by my decision. So, at first, I was obsessed with my first story Pleasure by The Fire because it was what got my juices really flowing and my excitement back for getting back into writing. I still love that story don’t get me wrong but now my favourite would be Seduction under The Stars. It has had such good feedback and I really enjoyed including character names in that story, plus who doesn’t love a school reunion crush! 

ARE THERE ANY PARTICULAR TIMES OR DAYS WHEN YOUR CREATIVE JUICES ARE AT ITS PEAK? (PUN NOT INTENDED!)

Damsel
Generally, on any given day, my juices start flowing in the evenings from 8pm onwards and I’ll find myself writing up until midnight. On occasions I’ll wake up early (around 6am) on the weekend and get a sudden burst of inspiration, from there I just pull out my laptop and start typing away!

Riley
I would say it depends on my mood and what I’ve got planned. If I’m off work and I watch something romantic on TV or read something on my Instagram like a quote or short story, I’ll think ‘Yes, that is what is missing’ and then start writing like a mad woman. I mean there have been plenty of times I’ve just been sat listening to music, especially the playlist from Fifty Shades of Grey and my creativity just appears. This is where I’ll start writing notes but if I feel like it could be a story, I grab my mac and away we go. 

We hope our readers found this post useful! And if you enjoyed our content, you can keep up to date via our Instagram pages: @datingstoriesbyme / @rrr_ox

“I had a great time, when can I see you again?”

These days you’ll need to come armed with garlic, a crucifix and a dictionary if you’ve got any chance of survival in the modern dating world. Learning the millennial language of “love” can be pretty helpful to if you want to figure out what kind relationship you’re getting yourself into — or whether it’s even one at all! With the extensive, ever-evolving list of vocabulary, phrases and acronyms, it’s no surprise that many of us feel baffled after seeing things like “TDTM” or “DSL” (all to be revealed at the end of this post!)

In this week’s blog piece, I’m focusing on one very unpleasant term. Please raise your hand if you’ve ever had a potential prospect suddenly end all contact and disappear into the ether… 🙋🏻‍♀️ Yes, that’s right people. Ghosting is what we’re about to cover… or uncover rather!

So the depressing news is that this “trend” happens more frequently than we think. In a survey conducted by dating app Plenty of Fish, among 800 single US and Canadian participants aged 18-33 — nearly 80% had fallen victim of being “dumped” by someone without any explanation. In another survey ran by Elle.com, more women reported being on the receiving end, but more women than men also admitted to being the ghoster!

I’m sitting here shaking my head yet I’m also guilty of committing this cruel act… twice in the past. Not my proudest moments and I don’t condone it. Since then, I’ve matured, improved my communication skills and learned to deal with tough situations like a decent human being.

Ghosting can happen at any point… after one date, after a few texts, even after several months of dating! For the person bearing the brunt, the aftermath can be devastating; especially if it felt like things were heading somewhere. Naturally, self-esteem is impacted, one might feel abandoned, betrayed, angry, anxious and go into a spiral of overthinking. But what drives this behaviour? I’ve provided 6 brutally honest reasons why people will opt for this exit strategy.


AVOIDANCE OF CONFRONTATION
Uncomfortable conversations. Nobody really wants to have them and very few people can handle them. Simply avoiding possible conflict and hoping the problem goes away on its own is usually a Ghoster’s easy way out.

YOU CAME ACROSS A BIT ERM… NEEDY
I mean come on! You got a little ahead of yourself there… talking about the skirting boards, the white picket fence, 3 kids, 2 dogs and your 5 year plan — all of this before the bread basket even touched the table! It was going well until the overwhelming pressure of the conversation caused them to jump into an Uber and out of your life.

YOU’RE A SIDE PIECE
Given how many people are on dating apps, it’s fairly easy for someone else to catch your eye. Other possibilities might be that they’ve returned to an ex, they’re already married or involved with someone else, and that’s a sticky situation! If they’ve abandoned you for those reasons then I’d say you dodged a bullet and got lucky!

THE CONNECTION ISN’T SERIOUS ENOUGH / THEY’RE NOT THAT INTO YOU
When a person isn’t that interested or hasn’t invested much time into the “relationship”, they may feel they don’t owe you anything, including a conversation to explain themselves.

AFTER ONE THING ONLY
The game-playing ghosts. They’ve led you on, they’ve said what you wanted to hear, they’ve gone into full blown Prince/Princess Charming mode… until they finally bedded you. With their egos boosted, it’s time to go ghost. These ones are equivalent to some kind of 15-day free trial.

YOU’RE THE ISSUE
And sometimes it’s just your attitude and behaviour. No one wants to be involved with people who are liars, disrespectful, rude, arrogant, complainers… the list of negative traits can go on. If someone feels that being direct is a waste of their time and energy, they’ll go for the obvious choice and avoid you at all costs.

How to react when you get ghosted

Firstly, let a ghost stay a ghost. Put your phone down, stop stalking their social media, stop showing up at places you know you’ll see them at. It’s not attractive and it says you need their validation, which you absolutely do not! You are worthy and you don’t need anyone’s stamp of approval. 

I know my advice will go through one ear and out of the other for some people… so if you’re tempted to get in touch with them, please think hard about what outcome you’re really looking for. If someone has ghosted you then they’ve already shown an inability to handle conflict in a healthy way. Ask yourself if it’s really worth investing time and effort in someone who is evidently emotionally unavailable.


ACRONYMS
TDTM = Talk Dirty To Me
DSL = D*** Sucking Lips (lovely!)

If you need a bit of brushing up on millennial dating lingo or you’re simply new to the dating scene, you can use my Dating Dictionary as a reference point to help navigate your way through ghastly minefield!

COVIDiares: From quranteasing to pandemic pleasing

If you’re an avid reader of my blog then you’ll know that I started COVID-eo dating a guy that I met on Hinge back around mid-March (here is the post for reference.) Nine weeks in I wrote another piece giving a quick update on how things were going and bringing to light some of my “what if” questions in advance of us (eventually) meeting face to face. It’s now been just over 3 months, so with lockdown eased up and 12 video dates later… you better believe we finally met in the flesh! Hurrah!

It’s been an interesting journey so far, particularly with the video dating aspect as that was completely new territory for me. Sharing a similar story with many others, lockdown introduced a shift in the dating landscape where users had to turn towards platforms such as FaceTime or Zoom in order to connect with potentials. While some may have found it awkward or simply put their dating lives on pause, I found the experience to be very enjoyable and fulfilling. I certainly didn’t expect to be “dating” anyone during lockdown, let alone for so many weeks! My initial thought was that perhaps I’d have a couple of video dates before it gradually fizzling out.

Recap

From the get go I noticed straight away that our conversations naturally flowed with lots of laughter. Our dates quickly became a weekly thing, we were both comfortable and I found myself feeling more at ease with him as the weeks went by. It was nice to see his personality shine through via video, I felt like I managed to get a lot more out of this method of communication as opposed to messaging or a phone call; the interactions and facial expressions made a huge difference in building this connection. Another thing I appreciated was how open we were with each other; by sharing thoughts on how our date went, what we enjoyed and what we liked about each other — it was helpful to know that we were on the same page. The most impressive part above all, was the consistent effort put in from both sides, not only did we have our once-a-week dates but there was plenty of chit chat, banter and silly games in-between. It’s fair to say that he made lockdown a little more bearable for me.

First (not video) date

Our first date took place last Tuesday and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling slightly nervous beforehand (and I’m not usually the nervous type!) No doubt it was more nerves of excitement than anything else. I mean with 3 months worth of build up and anticipation of seeing each other (especially during the last couple of weeks), the suspense was killing me slowly. In the back of my mind, I was confident that there’d be no awkwardness nor would we be any different to how we were over our Zoom calls. We were lucky to have sunshine for our park “drinkies” date (it rained for the rest of the week) so I kept my outfit fairly casual, I chucked on a t-shirt, skirt, trainers and my oversized glam sunglasses. 😎

I arrived at the meeting spot a few minutes earlier and dropped him a message… eeeek! The funniest part was when he messaged back saying he was couple of minutes away and asked me to send my location. Not long after, I noticed a little old man following Google Maps on his phone, heading directly towards me! Hahaha! Just so you know, that wasn’t him! But the next guy walking towards me definitely was! I had a quick scan of his outfit (standard procedure): casual check shirt, black jeans and vans — yeah, he got my stamp of approval for his park ensemble ✅ As he walked towards me, I couldn’t help but laugh, it felt kinda bizarre…in a positive way!

Getting our flirt on

Now I’m gonna to be straight and say that we broke the social distancing rules! I don’t think it even occurred to us because we went in for a hug and he gave me a kiss on the cheek. You know how I mentioned us being comfortable during our Zoom calls? It felt exactly the same except this time there was no laptop screen between us. We started chatting and I was tempted to link onto his arm… although on second thought, it was probably a bold move to make so early on! Didn’t want him to think I was a weirdo 🙈 Once we found a nice spot, I could feel the chemistry between us which wasn’t surprising as we’d been quite flirty during our dates. With so much eye contact, laughter and a few touchy feely moments… it seemed like we just clicked. Within an hour and a few G&Ts later, we were sat so ridiculously close together to the point where I thought “fuck it” and went in for a snuggle. At one point during our date, he was lying down on his front so I could crack his back 😂 Yeah I don’t know where that randomly came from… Anyway! Things turned up a notch as we placed a bet; basically if I lost then I had to give him a kiss (oldest trick in the book!) Firstly I’ll have you know that I won the bet. He’ll tell you otherwise because he’s a soo competitive. Either way, I wanted that kiss so was willing to take the “loss”. FYI – he’s a great kisser!

With all the fun and games going on; there was one thing we didn’t think through… public toilets! They were all bloody closed. I’m still confused about it until this day. Why do that? After dragging the poor guy around in circles, feeling confident that at least one set of toilets would be open, I was very wrong… and far from impressed. Luckily for him, he did his thing in a bush — that’s one advantage to having a penis. Unfortunately I wasn’t planning to water any plants so I made us Uber over to my sisters house, thank God she didn’t live too far and he probably thought I was such a diva at this point.

Hehe ;D

We continued on with our date at a local park and popped open the bottle prosecco we had left 🥂🍾 Up until the sun went in, we chilled, people watched, conversed and weren’t hiding the fact that we were checking each other out… a lot. Considering no restaurants or bars were open, he offered to make me dinner at his. Yeah I know what you’re thinking, and no, I didn’t think his only intention was to get me into bed.

After whipping up a meal with a glass of wine each we continued chatting. Eventually he swooped in and made the move. The kisses were fiery, I felt his hands running from my waist and up my skirt. As we continued kissing, he lifted me up and put me on the dining table. We were ready to go for it, however I wasn’t about to have sex on the table with his flatmate in the house! So we moved things into the bedroom and to be honest, for our first sex session, I had no complaints whatsoever. Them broad shoulders though, the strong facial hair, with a dominant streak and good balance of aggression and gentleness. I’d describe him as a proper manly man — in general and under the sheets. I ended up staying the night but we didn’t get much sleep. 😏

Discovering each other on an intimate level, showing each other’s bedroom tricks as well as having those cute, affectionate post-sex moments, the little kisses, the snuggles, the stroking, the spooning — it was all pleasurable. The next day we both had work so after some morning cuddles followed by intense sex I had to head off early but if we could have stayed in bed together, there’d be no question about it.

Second date?

Overall, the “first” date was memorable. Believe it or not, we’ve already had our second date involving coffee, a stroll with a few hugs and kisses. The lockdown phase put us in a position where we had to make the best out of an unusual situation. Personally speaking, I think having those 12 weeks to build a connection without the physical side of things was a blessing in disguise. I was quite guarded and slightly judgemental towards him at first but as I got to know him on a deeper level, I found him even more attractive in personality and appearance. I guess we were fortunate enough to have gotten along really well from day one, I’m particularly pleased that our virtual dates had translated in real life. From what I’ve witnessed so far, he seems like a really sound guy so I’ll have to see what happens! I promise to keep you posted folks!

Still waiting to be “swiped” off my feet…

In 2012 Tinder ushered in a new era in the history of romance and revolutionised the dating game. The introduction of the swipe left for a no and swipe right for a yes formula was quickly adopted by many other dating apps. With a mobile-first generation; the carefully put together profiles quickly lost out to photo-led profiles designed to be swiped through whilst on the go. It’s evident Tinder has racked up some impressive stats over the years — as it stands, users swipe 1.6 billion times a day across 190 countries! However, eight years since entering the market, it appears the once thriving “dependable wingmate” has gone from fringe novelty to a dating apocalypse.

As we become bound to the excitement of matches and neurochemical “rewards,” it’s no surprise that us online daters get hooked on these apps. Essentially, whenever “it’s a match” pops up on our screens, the brain releases a flurry of dopamine chemicals, giving us small bursts of happiness. While the swiping process is meant to help us discover potential romantic partners more effectively, it seems the excessive app usage and mindless swiping is weakening ties between individuals rather than fostering connections.

I’ve had the pleasure of letting Tinder, Bumble, OKCupid, POF, Hinge and Coffee Meets Bagel grace my iPhone’s home screen. I’ve also had the pleasure of deleting them… then reinstalling months later (😩) in hopes that something might actually come from it. Unfortunately it’s the same thing over and over — an exhaustive, repetitive, daily thumb-swiping exercise consisting of nothing more than three-second photo evaluations, half-hearted bio scans and a few dead-end conversations. Indeed, I’m not the only one that feels this way. According Badoo’s research with 5,000 British 18-30 year olds, 68% dislike swiping and matching based on appearances alone, claiming there’s very little going on when it comes to meaningful engagement.

So what are dating apps doing to address the low quality interactions and improve matches?

In the last couple of years, several apps started experimenting with video features. In 2018, Badoo introduced “Badoo Live” — allowing users to receive messages from interested parties while live streaming. A principle similar to Facebook Live, the feature also offers the ability to watch in playback mode. Once a match is made, users can start a live video chat with each other within the app. And with the recent growth in video dating during the pandemic, many apps capitalised on video-chat. Hinge unveiled the “Date from Home” option to facilitate safe dating as well as aid users in transitioning from message ping pong to a virtual date.

By allowing people’s real personalities to shine through, it not only solves the problems of misrepresentative photos, catfishing and delayed responses; but video could also increase your chances of having a personable connection sooner and save time and energy to focus on dates that you’re genuinely excited about. When two individuals hold face-to-face communication (whether physically present or over video call) — the use of voice, gestures, body language and facial expressions help to build stronger relationships. This particular form of exchanging personal information is known as “Dyadic Communication” — and due to its intimate nature, this practice simply cannot afford to be impersonal.

So if we’re really looking to make meaningful connections then perhaps now is the time to start embracing video within dating apps. Many of us will find the thought of recording ourselves rather daunting but we need to keep in mind that dating should also be about having fun, stepping out of our comfort zones, building confidence and utilising our time more effectively. If we can begin tweaking our profiles and incorporating video, I’m confident that the matches will be of higher quality. No doubt it will eradicate or at least reduce the snap judgements made, help us look past the heavily filtered photos and present users/ourselves in a more authentic light.

It’s worth mentioning that I’ll be trialling out a new video-only dating app called Oneder in the coming weeks. I’m looking forward to seeing what impact video-first will have from a user experience in comparison to the usual swiping apps, and of course, seeing what romantic potential it has to offer! Who knows… I might actually find “reel” love this time around – watch this space 😉

Is more less when it comes to dating?

Remember when choices were as simple as “regular latte” or “skinny latte”? These days it’s more like “decaf latte, double shot, caramel syrup, half-soy, half-oat, 180-degrees, no-foam, with a sprinkle of chocolate powder on top”. Let me tell you something… the online dating landscape is not too dissimilar! The challenge these days for many singletons, particularly where dating apps are concerned, is not just about dishonesty, but decision-making as well.

Once upon a time I found dating apps fun and interesting but after using them for a few months, the novelty quickly wore off. Now I merely see them as tedious and exhausting… it’s like an endless stream of “potentials” along with endless swiping (left), every time I open the apps. While the barrage of choice should make connections easier, it also makes us more picky. Whether we’re looking for something better or just completely overlooking, do we miss a good opportunity when it’s presented right in front of our eyes?

The paradox of choice

“Maximising” is a term coined by Barry Schwartz, a psychology professor at Swarthmore College and author of “The Paradox of Choice”. Briefly summarised, “maximisers” are those who believe the grass is always greener on the other side. This particular pool of people treat dating and relationships very much like clothing. They might try a few options before committing to the right item, perhaps they’ll stay on the look out “just in case” or if they really can’t decide, it’s possible they’ll end up with two similar garments and flit between them. The only difference is, there’s no refunds or exchanges in the dating world! Have you ever found yourself in this type of situation? I know I have… and I’m talking metaphorically and literally.

I once dated two guys at the same time… whilst also lightly entertaining three others potentials just because I could. Normally I’m someone that likes to stick with one person, at least that way they can have my full attention plus it means less faffing around. But for the sake of trying out a new strategy, I decided to run an A/B split test.

The subjects

Although the two had very different personalities, I found them equally attractive. Guy #1 was the extrovert. In a nutshell I’d describe him as extremely social, well dressed, nicely built, perfect height, super chatty, great fun, hilarious, confident but not cocky. Guy #2 was quite the opposite. Totally introverted. Had a whole lot less to say but any time he opened his mouth, there was good, intellectual substance behind his words. Slightly more mature in the mind which was a nice change in comparison to other men I’ve dated previously! A little on the short side( though that didn’t bug me too much), kinda geeky, generous, thoughtful, well put together and also had a great build!

Activity

After a couple months in, I realised it was getting a bit too much! Multi-dating is honestly so mentally and physically draining. It’s the constant upkeep of texting back and forth trying to maintain several conversations at once, managing dates to ensure there’s no clashes, getting paranoid in case one guy would see me with the other, the effort of getting dressed up to actually go out on these dates (between 3-4 times a week!) …all of this while you’re still trying to suss them out. And that’s just the dating side of my life! Your mind is always in a pickle about which one to eventually kick to the curb, not to mention date requests coming in from the other potentials! This was a mess. It was time to optimise the strategy.

Results

So I ended up getting rid of both guys… and deleted all apps from my phone. Sometimes that’s the way it needs to be. Truthfully I was getting bored and felt overwhelmed with the whole dating palaver. I couldn’t be arsed to make a choice and I definitely couldn’t be bothered to go on any more new dates. It was all unnecessary drama that I didn’t need in my life.

What I found particularly interesting about the “A/B test” was the correlation between my handling of the situation and one of the studies discussed in Schwartz’s book. It concluded that while having increased options can be beneficial to a certain point, giving people too much choice would likely cause poor decision making, feelings of dissatisfaction, regret, or we become exhausted and make no decision at all!

If you think about it, it’s not just dating where we might experience over-abundance of options. It happens in everyday life. At restaurants when looking at a menu, down each aisle during grocery shopping, choosing a Netflix film to watch, figuring out which stocks to invest in, etc. Dating apps are great in bringing you closer to someone compatible, but if you’re hitting it off with one person and still have another 78 others waiting for you to match with them; is it worth having a look through? Or do we focus on this one person and keep those as part of an “emergency stash”?
In my opinion, if you’re someone who is actually serious about making a real, long term connection then the approach needs to be adjusted to fit your objective. Here are a few of my suggestions/thoughts:

1. If you have multiple dating apps, why not stick with your preferred one? At least this will cut down your swipes and choices.

2. If you’re already dating/chatting to someone, spend the time to get to know them properly before jumping ship. Don’t be quick to judge and learn to give people the benefit of the doubt… no one is perfect!

3. We need to stop treating a people as if they’re disposable or some type of commodity. It’s only fair to base a person on his or her own merits and not in comparison to 3, 5 or 10 other people. If I’ve instantly clicked with someone and things have progressed to a second date then they definitely warrant 100% of my attention.

Love, lust or attachment?

With 80 billion cells and various chemicals in our brain, it’s no wonder why feelings and emotions are so hard to decipher. I’m sure we’ve all experienced a time when we’ve met someone and felt instantly drawn to them. It’s common to feel a variety of sensations including nervousness, excitement, an adrenaline rush, anxiety, an increased heartbeat and so on. Sometimes the “sparkle” of a new relationship in your life can be overwhelming; causing your judgements to be clouded. There’ll be a certain point where the mind starts throwing up all sorts of questions like: Should I give 100% to this individual? Do they feel the same? Is it more than just attraction? Is there potential for longterm commitment? Is this person a “nice to have” because I’m bored?


Assuming we have those questions figured out, and things develop even further… are we then entering the territory of love, lust or attachment? How do we differentiate between the three? Personally speaking, I believe I’ve felt lust before, I’ve also felt attachment (in a rather unhealthy way), and both are a type of high that are not just addictive but consume a lot of your mental space. If I were to briefly summarise the two experiences, I’d say:

LUST
Is impulsive, obsessive and surface-level; it offers immediate gratification thus short lived. When you’re lusting after someone, you’ll find yourself in fantasyland. The infatuation begins to takes over to the point where you start ignoring things… including red flags! With lust, we project what we want to see rather than the reality of the person and situation. This is exactly what I went through during a rebound.

ATTACHMENT
Is actually more about yourself than the other person, though it might not seem like it in the moment. It leaves no allowance for vulnerability. It’s convenient, pleasure seeking, requires constant reassurance and eventually drains the living soul out of you because in the end, it’s just a power struggle game. The aim is to keep the person there for as long as possible to fill a void, whether it be boredom, loneliness, etc. Unfortunately as humans, we’re wired to get attached to ideas/people/things very quickly because ultimately it’s what we think will complete us and fulfil our needs. I could go much deeper into this subject but I think I’ll save it for a rainy day!

LOVE
Well I can’t really speak on “being in love” as I don’t think I’ve experienced it in full force as such but in one of my others posts “Love, Sex & Magic”, I collaborated with a fellow blogger and discuss what I believe it to be. Whilst we’re on the subject, I wanted to highlight an interesting study led by Helen Fisher from Rutgers University on the science behind love. There are some key takeaways from her model suggesting that there are various overlaps as well as subtleties between the three ‘strands of love’, all uniquely characterised by their own set of neurotransmitters and the release of specific hormones during each stage, these are:

Lust – Testosterone and oestrogen
Attraction – Dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin
Attachment – Oxytocin and vasopressin

While love can start off with any of these three feelings, ie. people have sex first and then fall in love, some fall in love then have sex, some feel deeply attached to someone they’ve known for a while then eventually fall in love — the brain’s system can be tricky. Having sex increases dopamine in the brain and can push you over the threshold toward falling in love. With an orgasm, a flood of oxytocin and vasopressin pumps into the brain, giving you feelings of attachment. Where casual sex is concerned, as much as we like to convince ourselves otherwise, it isn’t always casual. In fact, those who engage in “hooking up”, do it to unconsciously trigger feelings of romance and attachment. The bottom line: sexual intimacy can trigger a host of powerful feelings. This is why we can become so confused internally when it comes to matters of the heart.

Fisher explains that romantic love is composed of attachment, attraction, and lust. As they emit a different combination of chemicals from the brain, it is impossible to experience real love without a blend of all three. When we do experience this love, one of the central ideas is that romantic love is a drive much stronger than the sex drive. A few signs of “romantic drive” are as follows:

1. You begin to think your love interest is unique. You also experience the inability to feel romantic passion for anyone else. This single-mindedness results from elevated levels of central dopamine, increasing attention and focus.

2. Your overall outlook in life seems significantly more positive. You’ll frequently catch yourself daydreaming about the other person. Trivial events and objects will instantly remind you of them.

3. People who are in love generally feel a powerful sense of empathy toward their partner, feeling the other person’s pain as their own and being willing to make sacrifices for the other.

4. Emotional intimacy is one the biggest factors that sets love apart from the attraction or lust you feel in the early days of dating. When you open up to your partner and become more vulnerable, it shows that you may very well be heading in the direction of love.

5. Oxytocin increases feelings of safety and calmness. When the initial nerves/anxiety are replaced with contentment, it could be a sign you’ve gone from infatuation to love. 

6. Lastly, when you’re in love, you start including your partner in all your future plans. You’ll start considering your significant other when it comes to making big life decisions simply because you want them to be there for it all.


It’s evident our human brains are a minefield; emotions are no doubt complex to decode. Nonetheless it’s important to remember that whether you’re in early stages of a relationship or happily settled down, we at times forget to prioritise ourselves. It’s easy to get wrapped up by someone and driven by forces outside of our conscious awareness, so do check in with yourself to ensure your situation isn’t having a negative impact on your mental and physical wellbeing.

The courage to forgive.

It’s easy to fall into a pit of despair, bitterness and grief when we’ve been deeply hurt. After someone has wronged us, the thought of forgiving them seems elusive. Where relationships are concerned, if we’ve been the victim of cheating, mental/physical abuse, being lied to or put up with toxic behaviour; these events will naturally stick with us due to our brain’s innate tendency to remember things that are emotionally impactful. This is why letting go, whether it’s feelings, people and/or relationships can be so difficult.

Forgiveness is no doubt one of the hardest challenges you will ever face in a relationship or post-relationship. Most of us assume that if we forgive, then the offenders are let off the hook while we unfairly suffer from their actions. We must remember that forgiving someone doesn’t mean condoning their behaviour or pretending it didn’t happen. In essence it’s about letting go of the desire to seek revenge towards the other party, eliminating negative emotions rooted from them and shedding the emotional baggage from the unpleasant incident. Unfortunately there’s no quick formula to recover from pain nor is it a linear process, but if we’re able to practice forgiveness, I guarantee that it will bring a kind of peace that will enable you to move on and live a happier, more meaningful life.

It was only 3 years ago when I truly learned how to forgive properly, since then I’ve reaped the benefits. My perspective in life, personal growth, attitude and relationships in general have improved vastly. Being able to finally get over a relationship wound that I was subconsciously holding onto for almost 10 years (!!!) instantly made me feel a huge sense of relief, freedom and strength. You just know when you’ve finally let that shit go… something instantly changes within you, it’s that kinda feeling.

Until that moment I really thought I had known how to forgive, but I hadn’t. The only thing I was doing was suppressing the memories; but through time, maturity and lots of self-reflection, it occurred to me that some of my behaviour patterns were very destructive. When it came to relationships, I struggled with communication (particularly when I was upset), I was easily triggered, I was defensive, paranoid and anxious often. When I had that moment of realisation, I knew something was going on with me deep down and I needed to fix it. Not just for future relationship but for myself.

If you’re going through a circumstance; whether you’re struggling to forgive someone, haven’t forgiven the past (and haven’t let go) or simply don’t wish to forgive, I get it. Sometimes stubbornness and ego gets in the way. And sometimes it’s just the principle! But if I can highlight just a few reasons why it’s essential to practice forgiveness, then I hope it will enable you to think or view the situation in a different light.

It helps you to recognise the pain in others
No one is born wanting to hurt others. Our life experiences shape us as we mature and learn over the years. If we can take some time to think about the person who has hurt us, we can often find clues that help to explain their behaviour. And when we’re able to do this, we can begin to see things from a bigger perspective. The person who caused us pain is just a human trying to cope with their challenges, just as we are.

It’s for your benefit
Forgiveness is not something we do for others, it’s something we do for ourselves. If you continue to feel like a victim, then you’re carrying a heavy burden. The act of forgiving allows you to drop the burden and free yourself by walking away.

You’ll build inner strength
It takes a lot of courage and mental strength to forgive someone that caused us significant pain. When we practice forgiveness, we’re releasing negative emotions that we’ve held on to. And if we can continue to maintain this powerful mindset, we’ll become more resilient as well as build greater relationships in future.

We can learn from past experiences
Whether we move on with or without the person who hurt us – be mindful of the lesson. During and after the situation, we should do our best to take a step back and learn something about ourselves. Understanding what pushes our buttons, at what point do we get sensitive, how do we handle our emotions, how do we deal with conflict. Gathering this knowledge enables us to be better equipped for the next dispute or relationship later down the line.

Improves wellbeing
Holding a grudge or holding on to any negative emotion affects the cardiovascular and nervous systems. According to a study, people who struggled to forgive had elevated blood pressure and heart rates, as well as increased muscle tension. Choosing to let go and offering forgiveness will help boost your feelings of wellness on a mental and physical level.

Forgiveness comes with many steps, and depending on the situation, it can take weeks, months, or even years to get over a painful experience. I wouldn’t want anyone to be a prisoner of someone else’s behaviour, and struggling to let go might mean that you’re the one who pays most in the long run. It’s important to remember that forgiving means to eliminate the suffering, not the wrongdoing. The offender might not deserve your pardon, but you definitely deserve to be at peace.

Red flags: some people aren’t looking for love, they’re looking for help.

If I were to sit down and have a conversation with myself say… 6 months into each of my relationships, I would not only advise on what characteristics I needed to work on as a person but firmly tell myself to open my goddamn eyes and take a good look at what’s waving right in front of me. Yes. We’re talking red flags.

Taking a chance on someone is necessary if you ever want to find a meaningful connection, no doubt any new relationship is full of challenges. As you get to know someone, there’s no telling whether things will go left or right. However, it’s difficult for the new romance to thrive if you cling on to resistance or fear. In a healthy relationship it’s important for both partners to trust and be trusted, to open up and be vulnerable with each other.

Generally dating and new relationships should be fun. As you transition from strangers to lovers, the most exciting part is learning all there is to know about someone on every level – emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. But sometimes when we’re filled with exhilaration we become blinded by those rose tinted glasses, thus end up overlooking the warning signs. From controlling behaviour to gaslighting to dishonesty; I’ve certainly experienced moments of tunnel vision in past and have been played the fool. While I’m no relationship expert, time and experience has helped me navigate my way through a lot of bullshit, enabling me spot that boundary-pushing behaviour early on. I’ve taken my learnings and would like to highlight some tactics that were used on me to cover up some serious flaws…

Catching someone in a web of lies
Oh jeez… this reminds me of my last relationship! You can read about that drama here. I think it’s fair to say that in life we all tell little white lies here and there, ie. “I’ll call you!”,“We must catch up soon!”, “Your haircut isn’t that bad!”, “I won’t be able to make it tonight, I’m feeling poorly.” These are not unheard of and have very low stake. However, if you’re catching someone fibbing time and time again, especially at the start of a relationship. My advice is to run. If they’re able to deceive you once, it makes it easier for them to lie more often. The more you catch them being dishonest, the more your trust will be tarnished. And what’s a relationship without trust? Sometimes you’ve really got to stop and wonder how honest this person actually is. What else could they be lying about? In fact, don’t even bother doing detective work, save your energy and just leave. Believe me, if you stick around… the pile of lies will post bigger problems down the road.

No life outside the relationship
There’s nothing wrong with valuing your time together, but if the person you’re seeing never mentions their friends, recent social gatherings, group activities, or anything to do with other people… it’s definitely an eyebrow raiser. I completely understand that some people suffer from social anxiety or are super introverted, that’s fair enough. Nevertheless, it’s usually a tell tale sign that the person is codependent and/or very possessive. I’ve been with a couple of guys who wanted my full attention, day in, day out. Apart from feeling like they’re draining the life and soul out of you, this behaviour displays unhealthy clinginess, a lack of self-sufficiency and insecurity. In a relationship, you shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting to do your own thing nor should you feel the need to comply with their “rules” to appease them.

They don’t introduce you to their friends, family or anyone in their life
It takes time to meet the important people in your partner’s life. But if you’ve been dating for a while and you’ve been kept at a distance from everyone in their life, then that’s an issue. Unless you’re someone’s mistress or side piece, introducing each other to friends and family is a positive step. If you’re wondering why you haven’t reached that stage yet, it could be a sign that the person doesn’t take you or the relationship seriously… or there’s something shady going on. I suggest you call them out or call it quits!

You’re beginning to justify their behaviour
Toxic people are great at creating a false positive impression to worm their way into your heart. When they’ve done something that you deem unacceptable, somehow they’ll twist your mind to make you rationalise their wrongdoings. If you find yourself thinking or saying stuff like: “Oh he’s only like that because…” then perhaps it’s time to take a step back and really listen to what your gut is telling you.

You start to question your sanity
This is what happens when you’re being gaslighted. Briefly explained, it’s when your partner challenges your perception of situations, of yourself, of your thoughts, of your feelings, of their behaviour. The worst part is when you don’t even realise you’re being manipulated! It’s a gradual build up, these people normally appear very charming at first but soon enough you’ll recognise they’re all talk and no action. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse so it’s best to shut it down as soon as possible. If you feel like you’re starting to second guess yourself more than usual, I would recommend you go in for reality check by talking to your friends or family. Get them to be brutally honest.

Be observant of their behaviour from day one

These are just some of the key red flags I wanted to draw attention to. It’s always difficult to think logically when you find yourself in the situation and in your feelings, at times we even refuse to acknowledge these actions and behaviours. If you’re beginning to wonder how you even wound up in the mess you’re in now, think about the early warning signs. I want to end this post with a quote which rings true when thinking about this topic:

“The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

– Maya Angelou