Romantic Gestures That Are Red Flags

When you are in the middle of a new courtship, or just embarking on a new relationship with someone, then everything that they do can feel like a big sweeping statement of love and affection. We all know that love is blind, however, and sometimes the actions that we might initially perceiving as positive could actually be indicators of the exact opposite. Here are some romantic gestures that are actually a red flag.

1.EARLY LOVE PROFESSION

You know when it feels right to finally say those three special words, and the fact is that when you are in a strong relationship, you tend to be ready to say it at the same time. So, if your partner all of a sudden professes their love for you really early on in the relationship, it could be a slight red flag. Sure, it’s nice to hear that someone has fallen for you, but laying it on too thick too soon might suggest that they can’t interpret your own feelings.

The first few dates are always a combination of small talk and little attempts to chip away the ice and start getting a bit more real and personal, but it always feels a bit icky when someone immediately starts to overshare. Giving too much information too soon can often be worse than being reserved and holding it back! It might be a weird sign if he seems too comfortable telling you all if his past relationship secrets etc.

2. NONSTOP CHAT

There is something magical about finally meeting that person that doesn’t feel like they have to force conversation or fill up any tiny little gap with words words and more words. If your date can’t seem to shut up, then it tells you that he isn’t comfortable sharing silence with you, which will become a huge issue if you continue to see them!

3. NEEDY

It’s a definite red flag if they want to spend every single second of their time with you when you have only just started seeing each other. You have other outlets too like your family and your friends and your hobbies, and the fact that he doesn’t seem to have any other interest besides you can be a lot of pressure!

4. OVER PROTECTIVE

It’s always nice to know that someone has your back, but if he seems like he is almost too protective of you, it can be an early indicator that he might be a bit of controlling force in a relationship. He’ll be one of those guys who is prone to snooping and checking up, all in the name of making sure that you are ‘safe’!

5. BIG PROMISES

Never trust a guy who starts to promise you big things on the first few dates. Anyone who wants to make plans about going on a grand vacation, or brings up kids, the future or even marriage is someone who clearly doesn’t know how to pace themselves in a relationship!

 

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Transgender Women Challenge Pennsylvania Law That Doesn’t Allow Name Change

Three trans women have filed a lawsuit that challenges a provision of Pennsylvania’s name change law that doesn’t allow people convicted of some felonies, such as aggravated assault, to change their names.

Alonda Talley, Chauntey Mo’Nique Porter, and Priscylla Renee Von Noaker are working with the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund and the law firm Reed Smith, which is working on the case pro bono, to build a constitutional challenge. They filed a lawsuit Wednesday to have the court declare this provision of the law unconstitutional and to enjoin the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from enforcing it.

The amendment to the law on name changes went into effect in 1998 and was designed to prevent fraud, such as to circumvent financial obligations, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The women’s complaint argues that under the Pennsylvania constitution, it is a fundamental right to control your name.

“The Pennsylvania Constitution does not allow for a system under which a person has no opportunity to show that they are seeking a name change for a non-fraudulent purpose (such as to reflect a gender transition), and a court has no opportunity to decide whether the petitioner is seeking a name change for a non-fraudulent purpose,” the complainants argue.

As a result of not being able to change their names, the women say they suffer harassment and are prevented from getting the health care they need.

Porter was convicted of aggravated assault in 2008. As a result of her not being able to change her name, she said she has experienced abuse, harassment, and humiliation from police, employers, coworkers, and service providers such as bank employees, the lawsuit explains. She said in 2017, doctors told her she didn’t qualify for a transition-related surgery because her current legal name is evidence of her not “living as a woman.”

The women also described incidents such as being forced to go into offices in person for finances and other tasks people can usually do over the phone due to the lack of name change.

It’s already fairly difficult for transgender people to change their names and gender markers regardless of whether they been convicted of a crime or face other challenges, such as immigration status. For gender markers, some states require a surgical procedure of some kind but don’t state what that procedure must be. Many transgender people can’t afford surgeries or don’t want surgeries. In this respect, many of the policies around name and gender marker changes assume that all trans people have exactly the same experiences and paths toward transitioning. Filing fees for name changes can also be expensive. In some states, transgender people have to print a notification of a name change in a local newspaper, which also costs money. These challenges also affect transgender people’s voting rights. Alonda Talley, one of the women involved in the Pennsylvania lawsuit, said her identity has been questioned when she went to exercise her voting rights.

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality’s 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey (USTS), only 11% of trans people have their name and gender that corresponds with their gender on all identity documents and records. The survey also showed that 32% of trans people who did not have IDs matching their gender presentation said they had experiences being attacked, harassed, or denied services.

Many trans people face financial barriers and some of the most marginalized transgender people are involved in the criminal justice system. The USTS survey shows 29% of respondents said they were living in poverty, which was even higher for respondents of color, and 12% of undocumented respondents had been incarcerated in the past year. Nine percent of black trans women and 7% of homeless trans people were incarcerated in the past year, respectively.

States have considerable variations in their policies on whether people convicted of crimes can change their names, according to a guide by Trans Lifeline Microgrants which was last updated in the fall of 2017. Some states don’t have any limitations at all and others target sex offenders specifically. In some cases, people convicted of crimes have to wait a decade to change their names. In Alabama, people can’t change their names if they’ve been convicted of a felony, sex offense, or a “crime of moral turpitude,” a broad term that can apply to almost any crime. In Texas, when people try to change their name, they fill out a petition and list all convictions above Class C misdemeanors. If someone has a felony, it can be pardoned or they must wait until two years after release from parole or probation, or two years after receiving a certificate of discharge from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

 

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Why Guys Don’t Jump Into Relationships Quickly

Dating is awful.

There, I said it. You probably agree and now we can finally make peace with the fact that dating is the least fun thing to do. Unfortunately, dating is how we determine whether we want to spend the rest of our lives with someone (in a progressive modern culture). At this point, I’d gladly be set up for an arranged marriage if it meant no more awkward conversations and experiences my friends and I laugh about immediately afterwards.

On the flip side, our innermost struggle comes from needing another human being to love us.

To say the least, I’ve realized that both in my bachelorhood and that of my male friends, after a long term relationship we’re usually not as quick to rush into new relationships. To be clear, casual sex or hookups are different than an emotional, committed relationship. In my own personal experiences, leaving one relationship was overwhelming and I did not want to put all my focus and attention into another relationship again. I wanted to experience being single, going out with my friends, participating in miserable social experiences like picking up someone at the bar, or swiping for the sake of swiping.

We enjoy the chase.

Men are not jumping into relationships quickly after previous ones because we enjoy the chase. That fresh feeling of the unknown. We also don’t want to feel completely vulnerable, let our guards down, or be the one to catch feelings first. I once saw a quote on Instagram that stuck with me, essentially saying “those who jump from relationship to relationship have a problem being alone. Those who choose to be alone are the ones that are secure.” I think about this quote each and every day. Being content with what I have and the relationships I’m already engaging in, whether it be professional, familial or peer, I’m not void of happiness or the need to be completed emotionally and romantically by someone else.

While I’m sure that there are many guys who truly suffer from Peter Pan syndrome, act like total scum, and give the gender a bad rap, truly, we’re not all the worst. There are many men out there who are kind, sweet and genuinely want to connect. But, on our own terms.We don’t like ultimatums, feeling pressured to define the relationship, or have forced, unnatural conversations that we both know aren’t enjoyable.

The idea of being in a relationship isn’t scary to us and we’re not afraid of commitment. However, we’re hesitant about entering something new with the wrong person. Why start another relationship when in the back of our minds failure is looming? At times the glass is half empty and this is a way for us to protect ourselves. Given the notion that it is okay for men to be “emotional” or “vulnerable” we prefer not to be. It’s unfortunately part of our code and it takes a special person to change that.

We’re trying to work through our baggage.

I also believe that guys aren’t jumping head first into new relationships because we’re trying to shake off the baggage and connection we have with our exes. The saying “the best way to get over someone is to get under someone new” is not always accurate. Aside from the very real possibility of calling out someone else’s name in the bedroom, we’re not fully invested. The loss of a relationship, especially a long term one, is like losing a loved one. It’s a mourning process, and only you can decide when to rise out of the ashes of it. Once we’ve reconciled our feelings from the previous relationship and filed them away internally, we’re back on the path to be with someone new.

My advice to those reading this and think they’ve not had great luck with the male species, it’s us, not you (for the most part). We’re complex creatures with simple needs. Show us patience, allow us to let you in on our terms and keep an open mind. Finding the right relationship is tricky and requires a lot of trial and error, but in the end it may all be worth it. Don’t give up on love if you’re falling for someone who isn’t quite ready. Your Prince Charming is out there!

What Turns Men On?

Well, it’s a good thing that you would ask this because I’m a man, and I get turned on frequently. Just be aware that men are wildly different and what turns me on may be quite different to what turns the next man on — however, let’s try and paint with broad brushes so we get the basics down. I will get straight to the point and be a bit open and blunt about it. Are we all on board?

Great! Let’s go!

Men are turned on by confident women

There is SO much misinformation about confidence in today’s society it’s unreal. When I was younger, I used to think confidence was standing my ground and not backing down. I’m afraid that’s actually arrogance. And a lot of people get these mixed up, or at least they used to.

I’ve heard countless women tell me that their potential partner didn’t like her confidence as a way to dismiss the encounter that had taken place. Sometimes people are overbearing and mistake that for confidence.

No, confidence is also the willingness to listen to differing viewpoints and take ownership when we are in the wrong. Men love confident women — perhaps some just don’t know it. Every woman I have known to be confident is awesome to be around.

That’s just not me thinking that. Confidence is universally sexy, believe me.

Yes, the Way You Look

I’m a leg man myself. Many drunk nights in my youth my friends and I spent admiring the memories we had of the girls with great legs. When faced in a social situation with women that we are attracted to, men tend to flaunt their best assets. Mine were my eyes and my height, lucky I didn’t need to do anything to flaunt those.

Men are very visual with attraction so learn what your best attractors are and flaunt them to the maximum. There’s no need to go crazy commando, just, for example, if you have attractive legs then wear skirts, etc.  Plus when you feel good about how you look, you are more confident.

I’m definitely a sucker for a woman that has long hair. The longer the better for me. I’m not entirely sure why. My wife is always cutting her hair after it gets too long, and I don’t like it. But it’s about what makes her feel good about herself, I guess.

Sometimes the sweet smell of a female body can drive me wild with passion — of course, I have to be attracted to her for other reasons first. If you’ve seen the creepy men taking a sniff of the woman as she walks past before he gets a slap on TV, yeah, that’s a thing. We like your smells.

There’s a lot to be said about the gentle nature of some women — I see my wife as the Yin to my Yang. Whilst I’m focused, determined, protective, and providing, she’s kicking her own awesomeness with being caring, loving, helpful, and nurturing. I’m not saying all women, or even most women should be like this, but I know that many of the men I know are with their wives because of their incredibly caring and nurturing side behind closed doors.

Talking it out

Nothing makes a woman more attractive than a willingness to overcome some sort of hard barrier to talk about in the relationship. Sometimes we call this “makeup sex”. Most notably after an argument that has cleared the air. But it doesn’t need to be — you may have just talked him through something really difficult to own and he’s feeling particularly vulnerable right now.

Listen to him

There’s a lot to be said about listening. There’s nothing more attractive than a woman deeply interested in what I have to say. It might be boring, I may have said it a hundred times before, but if she’s sitting there, eyes wide, taking every bit of what I am saying in — this is deeply attractive.

I’m not saying she has to be my lapdog and she should sit there like a mute, but there are times when I just want to be heard; even more enjoyable if it’s someone I’m attracted to. I’m sure you like being listened to as well, then return the favour.

Be his hero when he’s vulnerable

Men can be stoic, hard going, focused and determined much of the time, but on occasion, something will happen that will make us more vulnerable than usual. When he’s vulnerable he’s going to be looking for someone to make him feel better. Be his hero. Show him respect even when he’s feeling low, allow him to own his vulnerability without shame.

And most importantly…

Have fun whilst doing all of this. A wise lady once told me to, “be myself” and my friends tell me that this is the worst advice someone can give. But I disagree, if you’re not being your good, natural, fun and loving self then why are you even bothering doing it? Flirting with and sizing up a potential partner is supposed to be fun and exciting.

Relax, and enjoy yourself!

 

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3 Reasons Women Over 50 Have Trouble Finding Love (IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK)

Why do otherwise dauntless women in their 50’s and 60’s struggle so much when it comes to dating? Do you feel, as a mature woman, you should have your love life figured out by now? Take heart – you’re not alone and help is on the way!

Dating Expert Lisa Copeland and Margaret Manning of Sixty and Me talk about why dating in your 50’s and 60’s can be difficult. Lisa explores some of the real reasons for your struggle and has some great tips on what to do about it.

Don’t Play Mind Games With Yourself

Have you ever noticed that you almost can’t help but smile at someone who smiles at you? You probably don’t really even notice if they are attractive or not, the smile just draws you in. That’s personality at work.

Women in their 50’s and 60’s often worry that they won’t measure up to a man’s standards. “This just isn’t true”, according to Lisa, “Men fall in love with who a woman really is, while women tend to fall in love with a man’s potential.” The truth is; if you have a great personality and positive energy, men will love you for it.

You Are More Than Your Body

We all know our bodies change as we age. Do you worry that your wrinkles, grey hair, or thick waist makes you unlovable? Many women feel like they simply have too many flaws to be attractive to anyone.

Want some good news? While you may be comparing your body to what it was in your 20’s, the men you are meeting now can’t do that because they don’t know what you looked like then. Relax, have fun, and know that he will love you for who you are right this very minute.

Never forget just how amazing you really are!

You’ve Got To Have A Plan

Would you leave on an extended trip without knowing what to take and where you want to end up? Dating is no different than any other complex undertaking in your life. If you want to be successful, you have to have a plan.

“You can’t just flounder around, not really knowing what you want,” says Lisa, “the most important part of your plan is to be super clear about the type of man you want to end up with”. Lisa also suggests you have 2–3 different ways to meet men, other than online. Baby steps are your best friends in this process since they help you see your accomplishments as you go along.

Rejection is Not About You

Do you hesitate to approach a man because he might say “no”? Being turned down can be a hard pill to swallow. Take heart, there is a trick that helps sweeten the bitterness of rejection.

“A man who says “no” isn’t rejecting you,” Lisa assures us, “you just don’t fit the picture of what he wants”. When you think about it, you do the same thing to men, don’t you? In fact, since men tend to be the one to initiate contact the most, they are given the brush off much more often than we are.

Pay It Forward With Online Dating Etiquette

Speaking of rejection, have you thought about the way you refuse men who don’t match your ideal picture? With the surge in online dating, our manners have perhaps slipped a little. Hiding behind our keyboard, we often say things we simply wouldn’t in a face–to–face situation.

Good manners are important in women of all ages and women in their 50’s and 60’s are no exception. Be polite, thank the man for his interest and decline gently. Your courtesy could be extended to the next person he talks to and may eventually come back to you.

Even if it doesn’t, it costs nothing to be nice.

 

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What I Learned About My Husband That Ruined Our Five Year Marriage

Another one from one of my female followers!

It was gradual at first, one red flag, then two.

We were the picture-perfect couple, so bright and shiny on the outside, the ones everyone wanted to be like.

It looked like we had it all, the car, the home, the life. He was the successful sports person, overcoming feats no one thought possible and I was the rock that stood beside him. The one who was always there, supporting him, praising him. But behind closed doors, things are not always what they seem.

I thought he was the love of my life, till death do us part, through sickness and in health. We said these vows in front of hundreds of our friends and family. I thought we would travel the world, have children, support each other as we built our empire. How little did I know that once I had served my purpose I would get kicked to the curb and replaced by a newer version that could give him the next leg up in life.

My world came crashing down two years ago today. I thought the man I had married was kind, caring, generous, selfless. However, this was all a rouse, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It has taken me a long time to come to terms with what has happened and what I endured over the almost five years of our marriage.

It all started when I was 18, the world was my oyster, I had a great job, lots of friends, a loving supportive family and was having the time of my life. Then I met him. He swept me off my feet, filled me with compliments, showered me with gifts and affection, made me feel safe and loved. Our whirlwind romance continued for the next 18 months when we got engaged. He pulled out all the stops. I felt like the luckiest woman alive. Our wedding then followed, an extravagant affair, the party of the year. 300 of our closest family and friends laughed, danced and drank the night away. There were emotional speeches, and an endless array of kisses and laughter and to top it off I was spoilt with my own fireworks display (lucky right!). We were going to have the greatest love story ever. I was on an emotional high that felt like a drug cocktail as potent as cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy, all rolled into one dose.

Over the next few years we traveled, moved, built houses, bought cars and he continued to thrive and flourish in his sporting career. Everyone thought we were perfect. I, on the other hand, was living in a state of anxiety, depression, and hopelessness.

It was only gradual at first, one red flag, then two. The love-bombing and idealization phase of our relationship was over. The gaslighting and devaluation had begun.

He had started to withdraw, sometimes affection sometimes compliments, but mainly time (which he knew was a trigger for me). He would start to blame me, we would fight, he would get nasty, say things he knew would cut deep. He would accuse me of having no life, of having no friends when this was the roadmap he had drawn for me over the past five years. He had alienated me from my friends and family, always giving reasons why I should cut them off or saying things like “why do you care, they don’t do anything for us”.

His interest in his perception to the outside world and the image he displayed became the most important thing. While to the public he would praise me as his rock, would thank me for always supporting him, things were not as they seemed. He had me hook, line and sinker. I was his, I craved his love and affection, he had made me so emotionally reliant on him that my happiness was drawn from his success. My friends were really his friends. I had lost all sense of self.

Then the infidelity started. Sneakily at first but over time he didn’t even try to hide it. When I would question messages, photos, fake online profiles he would say I was crazy, that I was making things up, I was overreacting (another trigger point for me). We would fight, he would apologize then drip feed me compliments to keep me coming back. He knew just the things to break me but knew just the things to keep me running back. To have the person, who you love more than anything, make you feel so low is the most hurtful and painful thing someone can endure.

Family tried to intervene, they could see how toxic things had become, could see the pain I was enduring. I started counseling, alone at first, and then in one final stint to try and save our marriage I asked him to come along. He attended three sessions, the therapist saw through the crocodile tears and called him on it. He didn’t return after that.

Our marriage was over. It didn’t abruptly end one day, the pain was drawn out for a further few months until I told him to leave our home. I was now truly alone, alone in the home we had built to start a family in.

The discarding phase was the most painful and brutal. It was public and it was mortifying. I was kicked to the curb and very swiftly replaced by a more successful, shinier model. Someone who could serve a new purpose of helping him get ahead in life. Money and power were always his key drivers and he had found someone that could accelerate that. Even when separated, he tried to keep the power, control the narrative, lying to anyone who would listen about the reasons we separated, alienating and shifting the blame to his family. Anything and anyone was fair game if it kept up the exterior persona.

As I reflect on our relationship (and after reading the book – Power, Surviving and Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse) I realized, holy crap, I was married to a narcissist. It’s sometimes not until you remove yourself from a situation that you truly see the red flags, triggers and defining moments.

I wish I had the gift of hindsight, I wish all the people who had wanted to speak up had done so earlier, I wish I had taken back control of my life earlier. Don’t get me wrong, I was not perfect in this situation, I did things I am not proud of. I was in survival mode, protection mode.

To this day, he has still taken no ownership over his actions, apologized to me – not that I expect it – or his family for the immense pain and suffering he has caused them. I reflect on the good times now with a sense of sadness, in the moment, they felt so real, so pure but I will never truly know if he meant them, or if it was all just a plot to make me his puppet.

Whilst I would not wish such pain and suffering upon my worst enemy (or the newer model), I know that I have come out the side a better person. I am finally content with who I am as a person, I have grown through this experience, know who I am, what I want, what I deserve and what I am capable of. I have realized how strong I really am, how much I have to give and how much I deserve to get in return. I have become a better, happier more content version of myself.

I am in a relationship with a man I adore, who treats me with the utmost respect and admiration, I am standing on my own two feet for the first time in my adult life and I’m taking back control. It has taken a lot of dark days, tears, anger and self-doubt to get to this point and writing this article is the final chapter. He did not come out on top. He did not win.

I hope this helps anyone who is currently sitting at home not knowing what to do about their current relationship, whether what they are going through is normal if the grass is greener on the other side. Take my word, through all the rain, there is a rainbow with a pot of gold at the end. It may take weeks, months, years to reach it. But I promise you, it’s worth it.

 

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Girl on Girl: The Lesbian Obsession With Straight Women

Here’s one from one of my female followers.

At this point, it’s as cliche as U-Hauling and flannel shirts. It’s a storyline on “Orange is the New Black,” the plot of a teen show on MTV, and the premise of millions of questions posted to advice forums across the internet. Whether predatory or pining, some lesbians live their love life like Sisyphus, doomed to spend eternity rolling a boulder uphill, only to watch it roll back down, and try again.

Female friendship, independent of sexuality, is intense. It’s a relationship with someone who celebrates you, supports you, and fosters growth without the mess that is dating and sex. In a society where platonic love is undervalued, it’s not a surprise when those lines get blurred and someone ends up falling in love with their straight best friend. We project that mentality on the relationships we see in the media. Karlie Kloss and Taylor Swift, Gayle and Oprah — we, as a whole, have a hard time celebrating deep platonic friendships, so romance becomes the only explanation and the next logical step. And then it gets messy. If you are gay, bisexual, or queer, you have probably ended up falling for a straight girl. It’s a lesbian rite-of-passage. Sometimes, it’s the beginning of long-term partnership, but more often than not, it usually ends in heartbreak on both sides, and even the end of a friendship.

And then there are the girls who go out of their way to chase after straight girls, trading in unrequited love for straight up lust. Somehow, despite being all female, certain elements of lesbian culture can be deeply rooted in traditional gender constructs. Straight women are seen as conquests and the girls that chase after them boast about it over Coors Light at The Cubbyhole. In a time where female empowerment is so important and so celebrated, it’s absurd to me that women can still objectify other women for their own sexual validation. As a lesbian, I’ve been on the receiving end of straight dudes telling me that they could turn me on a weekly basis. Everyone has. It’s creepy and uncomfortable and it’s the reason why, despite being out for over a decade, I’m still not comfortable being affectionate with my girlfriend in straight bars. No one wants to attract that kind of attention, so what does it mean for the queer community when we project that same mentality onto straight women?

It’s easy to understand the appeal. It’s great for the ego when you’re someone’s “exception to the rule” and we, as humans, are attracted to challenges like a moth to a flame. At the same time, is it really that fun to sleep with someone where attraction isn’t fully matched? And hasn’t every ’90s teenage rom-com taught us that there is nothing sexy about someone’s first time? Add in the “first time with a woman” thing and you’ll find your way to third base interrupted by a straight girl gushing about how weird it is that you have boobs. And to be clear, women are NOT blessed with a full-fledged knowledge of how to have sex with other women. You put anyone under that pressure for the first time and it’s like trying to watch someone navigate the New York City subway system with no map until you finally give up and Uber home.

A lot of these scenarios are born out of a vulnerability. If you’ve reached your mid-twenties, you’ve probably slept with someone that you didn’t mean to when you were feeling particularly raw. They’ve always been persistent and you’re a couple drinks in and your self-esteem could use a lift. But, to be that person, you’re treading the lines of consent and taking advantage of someone’s emotional vulnerability. If you were a straight male, that kind of behavior usually comes with a fedora.

I celebrate sexual fluidity. I identify as queer over identifying as a lesbian, even if Ryan Gosling couldn’t even get it. I don’t believe that there are hard and fast rules to sexuality, but people need time to marinate and figure themselves out. Sexuality is complicated and no one should be chased or manipulated based on theirs. More importantly, women aren’t conquests and should definitely not be seen as such in a community based on loving women.

By: Morgan Cohn

 

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