The Gift of The Magi – By O. Henry – Part 2

At 7 o’clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.

Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit of saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: “Please God, make him think I am still pretty.”

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two–and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.

Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.

Della wriggled off the table and went for him.

“Jim, darling,” she cried, “don’t look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn’t have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It’ll grow out again–you won’t mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!’ Jim, and let’s be happy. You don’t know what a nice– what a beautiful, nice gift I’ve got for you.”

“You’ve cut off your hair?” asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.

“Cut it off and sold it,” said Della. “Don’t you like me just as well, anyhow? I’m me without my hair, ain’t I?”

Jim looked about the room curiously.

“You say your hair is gone?” he said, with an air almost of idiocy.

“You needn’t look for it,” said Della. “It’s sold, I tell you–sold and gone, too. It’s Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered,” she went on with sudden serious sweetness, “but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?”

Out of his trance, Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year–what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.

Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

“Don’t make any mistake, Dell,” he said, “about me. I don’t think there’s anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you’ll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first.”

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The Combs–the set of combs, side, and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoiseshell, with jeweled rims–just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.

But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length, she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: “My hair grows so fast, Jim!”

And then Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, “Oh, oh!”

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.

“Isn’t it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You’ll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it.”

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head, and smiled.

“Dell,” said he, “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ’em a while. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.”

The magi, as you know, were wise men–wonderfully wise men–who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

 

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The Gift of the Magi – By O. Henry – Part 1

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.

In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name “Mr. James Dillingham Young.”

The “Dillingham” had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called “Jim” and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.

Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling–something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s gold watch that had been his father’s and his grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: “Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds.” One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the “Sofronie.”

“Will you buy my hair?” asked Della.

“I buy hair,” said Madame. “Take yer hat off and let’s have a sight at the looks of it.”

Down rippled the brown cascade.

“Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the mass with a practiced hand.

“Give it to me quick,” said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim’s present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation–as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim’s. It was like him. Quietness and value–the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch, Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends–a mammoth task.

Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.

“If Jim doesn’t kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at me, he’ll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do–oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty-seven cents?”

 

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Here’s How To Bring Up The Future To Your Partner In A Non-Scary Way

Undefined relationships or “just seeing where things go” can be all fun and games until you’re a few months in, wondering, “What is this?” or “What are we doing?” Even if you’re enjoying each other’s company, there’s still a chance you might ultimately want different things. Because of this, bringing up the future with the person you’re dating can be daunting AF. But talking about the future doesn’t necessarily have to be scary. For one, examining the bigger picture of why you’re scared can help you gain perspective on the situation. According to Dr. Alexandra Solomon, a licensed clinical psychologist and relationship expert, some of your fear might stem from the way young people have been socialized to approach dating.

“The current dating climate tends to skew toward a vibe that is low accountability, low vulnerability, and high ambiguity,” Solomon tells Elite Daily. This causes people to shy away from asking important questions, including whether or not your partner sees a future with you. “People tend to have this question on the tip of their tongue for a long time before they take the risk of asking the question,” Solomon says.

That being said, there is no perfect time to ask the other person about the future. When you find you’re biting your tongue about what you want and where you see the relationship going? That’s when you should have the conversation.

Simona Pilolla / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images

“This is especially true if the reason you’re suppressing the urge is that you are afraid of coming across as ‘drama’ or ‘high-maintenance’ or ‘needy,'” Solomon says. “If you stay silent when you want to speak, you’re teaching yourself to settle for ambiguity when you want clarity.” Holding your tongue can also stir up feelings of resentment.

Not only will it be helpful to clear the air before any bitterness kicks in, but chances are, your partner might also be nervous about asking the “future” question. “Keep in mind that if you’re sitting with this question, the other person is likely sitting with it, too,” Solomon says.

She recommends picking a time when you’re both relaxed and feeling present enough to talk. One concrete example of how you can start is: “I think you’re such a wonderful person, and I’m really enjoying the time we’re spending together. Can we talk about where this is going?” Framing it in this way invites vulnerability and collaboration, Solomon explains. Approaching the other person in a positive and curious way can go over so much better than saying something accusatory or stress-inducing, like, “I guess I have to bring up our relationship status since you don’t want to,” or “All my friends what to know what’s up with us.”

If your partner does see a future together, you can get the ball rolling on “defining the relationship.” If they say that they don’t, Solomon says, “Your job is to assess the degree to which the other person is in their integrity.” For example, your partner might say they’re enjoying your time together, but they need to approach the next level of your relationship slowly because of trauma, their current stage of life, or the self-growth that needs to take place. Or your partner might say they simply don’t see a future with you because they’re just having fun.

“In the first example, the person is in their integrity,” Solomon continues. “They are honest about enjoying what you’re building, they are taking responsibility, and they are wanting to make sure the situation feels tenable to you. In the second situation, there’s low accountability and no space for empathy. The consequence of continuing to see someone in the second scenario is self-abandonment.”

If you do decide to continue dating this person even if they don’t want to define their relationship with you, Solomon recommends asking yourself, “What beliefs do you carry that allow you to accept less than what you want or need?”

Dean Mitchell/E+/Getty Images

Even if the other person says they don’t know whether they see a future together, you can still find nuance in their answer. An “IDK” that translates to “Stop asking about the future and take what I’m offering you,” is different from an “IDK” that translates to, “I’m speaking my truth, but tell me what you want and need from a romantic relationship right now.” If your partner means the latter, Solomon says “Their transparency and honesty might help you feel calm, connected, and ready to remain for a while in a space of exploration, connection, and possibility.”

Apart from taking the time to talk, listen and see what’s up on your partner’s end. Again, don’t forget to examine your own feelings. That includes the bigger picture, like the state of your current relationship, but also the smaller (but still very important) picture, like your true desires. Forget what the “low-accountability, low-vulnerability, high-ambiguity culture” has told you: What do you want out of the situation? It’s easy to get caught up in whether the other person likes you, but don’t forget to advocate for what you want, too.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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25 Funny Instagram Captions To Use After A Breakup That Show You’re OK

If your Instagram looked like #relationshipgoals up until your recent breakup, you might feel compelled to share the news of your split with your followers. (If Miley Cyrus can do it, why can’t you, right?) But if long, vulnerable captions aren’t your style, you might want to opt for funny Instagram captions to use after your breakup to convey that you’re newly single and going to be just fine.

If you’re not exactly feeling super funny today, don’t worry. This list has got you covered. Whether you want to just go with a hilarious Lizzo quote that shows how fabulous you are or you want to get some people sliding in your DMs as soon as humanly possible, this list is filled to the brim with options for every mood.

Rather than blowing up your group chat trying to come up with the best caption, let this list do all of the heavy lifting for you. Read each one of them and copy and paste whichever feels the truest to how you’re feeling onto your next Instagram post. Are you ready for this?

Summery young woman smiling and texting on cute bicycle in sunny city

Shutterstock

“My DMs are open for sliding. #letthegamesbegin”

This is a not-so-subtle and hilarious way to announce that you’re back on the market. Get ready for your followers who have been silently thirsting after you to pop out of the woodwork.

“Does anyone have Tyler Cameron’s number? Asking for a friend (that friend is me).”

Or sub in Travis Scott, Kristen Stewart, etc…

“You coulda had a bad b*tch, non-committal.”

As if this list would be complete without at least one Lizzo quote. If you want to send your ex a hilarious but also majorly passive-aggressive message, I’d go with this one for sure.

“no ring, no prob”

Pair this with the most DGAF picture you have for maximum LOLs.

“🎼 AND IIIIIIII-IIIII-IIII WILL ALWAAYS LOVE MEEEEE 🎼”

Give your own single-person spin on the Whitney Houston classic.

“PSA: I’m back on the market.”

I mean, the public really deserves to know this information. So, why not announce it PSA-style?

“I am Beyoncé always.”

Michael Scott has gifted the world with plenty of great quotes, but this may be one of his best. Quote the GOAT in your caption to let people know that you’re thriving on your own.

“FYI, Grandma you can stop asking how [ex’s name] is doing.”

Again, this is a little petty. But sometimes being a little petty is funny.

“Realized I’ll probs never find a love like the one I have for pizza & am totally cool with that.”

If you’re a pizza lover, go with this caption to let people know you’ve still got your bae.

“You used to be my cup of tea, but now I sip Champagne.”

I saw this on a t-shirt once and am just still not over it. So petty. So hilarious. So great.

“Made like Elsa and decided to let it go.”

Why not throw a little Frozen reference in there?

“Like Halsey, it turns out I’m bad at love… but I’m good at taking shots so who’s down to meet me at [insert fave bar here]?”

If you’re trying to party, go with this caption. Invite your friends out for a night of celebrating your newfound single status.

If someone is dishing out compliments, experts say it may be a sign they're into you.

Shutterstock

“thank u, next-ing & thriving”

Nothing like a good old-fashioned Ariana tribute.

“I’m good on my own.”

You came into this world alone and you’ll leave it alone, so being single is only natural. Let people know you’re back to being solo and loving it.

“Back together with my Day 1 (me) & we’re happier than ever.”

Just wait for the praise-hands emoji comments to roll in.

“We (are) on a break!”

Obvs, we had to throw a Ross/Rachel tribute in there for those of you who are, in fact, on a break.

“Who wants to help me come up with a fire Tinder bio?”

This is funny but it also shows you’re actively moving on.

“Back to doin’ what I do best: me.”

A little spicy.

“Hot take: There is no greater joy in life than sleeping sprawled out starfish-style in the middle of your bed.”

Have you ever tried doing this? It’s truly one of the greatest spoils of being single.

“singlin’ & minglin'”

You’re not just single and “ready” to mingle, let everyone know you’re out there actively mingling.

“Being a ‘relationship person’ never really quite felt on brand, anyway.”

This is a pretty cheeky way to announce that you’re really embracing and loving the single life.

“Single until I find a human I love more than chicken fingers.”

This will likely be never and I totally get that.

“Still not sure why I’d want a [BF/GF] when no human could ever be as loyal (or gorgeous or smart or cool) as my dog.”

True.

“Imagine waking up in the morning and getting to do WHATEVER YOU WANT without taking ANYONE ELSE into consideration… That’s pretty much every day of my life now, so I’d just like to publicly congratulate myself on that here.”

Ah, nothing like a good, old-fashioned congratulatory post.

OK, now take your pick and show the world just how fine you really are.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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8 Fundamental Ways Being Cheated on Changes You

For the worse … and for the better.

Catching your husband or wife cheating on you changes everything about your relationship. How could it not?

“The psychology of infidelity is actually quite complex, much more than the current moralistic conversation about it where people are ‘good’, ‘bad’ or ‘flawed’, therefore dismissed as damaged goods attempts to dispel the cliché myth that ‘once a cheater always a cheater.’”

If you want to fix your broken relationship and save your marriage, it is possible. And the path back to a healthy relationship begins with each partner seeking to understand both the cheating spouse’s reasons for having an affair, as well as the ways in which the betrayed husband or wife has been changed forever as a result.

By taking such an approach, couples can reach a place of healing — and even redemption — with insight and wisdom, regardless of whether or not they ultimately stay together.

The ways infidelity changes you depend not only on who you and your spouse were before the affair, but who you are both committed to becoming once it’s out in the open.

No matter what circumstances led to the affair, no one in its wake will be left unscathed. Yes, that goes for the cheating wife or husband, as well.

There are always reasons, not excuses, why men and women cheat.

If you have been betrayed by your spouse, you’re painfully aware of the many ways their infidelity has changed you already.

But if you are the betrayer, you may not have thought through full impact your actions would have on your spouse and your family, let alone the lasting consequences you’ll face throughout your own life.

The effects of infidelity run the gamut from emotional to physical to neurological. The agony of a broken heart and broken trust isn’t only in your head — it lives and breathes in your body, too.

Here are 8 ways catching your husband or wife cheating fundamentally changes you on an emotional, physical, and neurological level.

1. Your self-esteem and self-worth are shattered

You wonder why you weren’t “good enough” and why someone else was “better”.

Because your self-esteem is destroyed, you start looking for things you may have done to cause your cheating wife or husband to stray. Surely, you believe, it must have been something you did or didn’t do.

2. You feel stupid

You start wondering how you didn’t see the affair coming, and how you can ever trust your own instincts again.

3. You lose your ability to trust

The affair is always in the back of your mind. Even if you stay together, your trust isn’t as unencumbered and naturally given as it once was.

4. You’re afraid to love again

The prospect of either falling in love again with someone else or staying with your spouse is frightening. You never want to give your power to someone again.

Because you’re afraid to let your guard down, the world becomes a less happy and promising place in which to live. Holding onto the notion of love is a challenge because you now associate it with unbearable pain.

5. Your brain takes a beating

Neuroscience has shown that the rejection from infidelity has both short and long-term consequences to brain chemistry.

Since feelings of love activate the release of dopamine in the brain, causing “a pleasurable experience similar to the euphoria associated with the use of cocaine or alcohol”, being cut off by the dagger of infidelity may impact neural pathways in similar ways.

6. You experience physical pain

The emotional experience becomes integrated into the physical experience, and you hurt … everywhere.

7. You can’t stop obsessing

Studies show that women are more prone to rumination than men, constantly replaying all the possible causes, scenarios, and consequences of the affair.

They are also more inclined than men to feel somehow responsible for trouble within romantic relationships in general.

8. Your eyes are opened

Despite how infidelity changes you negatively, it also affords you clarity after the shock and anger are mitigated. You begin to see what you may have ignored, and learn how you make choices in mates.

Research has show that this is likely to lead you to make better choices in future relationships.

According to Craig Morris, research associate at Binghamton University and lead author of the study:

“Our thesis is that the woman who ‘loses’ her mate to another woman will go through a period of post-relationship grief and betrayal, but come out of the experience with higher mating intelligence that allows her to better detect cues in future mates that may indicate low mate value. Hence, in the long-term, she ‘wins … The ‘other woman,’ conversely, is now in a relationship with a partner who has a demonstrated history of deception and, likely, infidelity. Thus, in the long-term, she ‘loses.'”

Ultimately, how your partner’s infidelity changes you is, of course, your decision.

There are plenty of individuals and marriages that heal and become stronger and more vital than they were before.

That’s not to say, obviously, that infidelity is a viable consideration for marital improvement and personal growth, but recognizing the many ways infidelity can change you will help both spouses recover from the painful aftermath of an affair.

And, hopefully, greater awareness upfront will take the consideration of infidelity off the table altogether.

 

Is Spending Too Much Time Together In A Relationship A Bad Sign? Experts Say Maybe

When you’re in a relationship, it’s easy to lose track of the time you spend with your partner. Whether you’re spending the night at their place all the time, or taking way too many work-from-home days to spend hours in bed with them, it can feel like time doesn’t even exist anymore. So, in this couples’ vortex, is there such a thing as spending too much time together in a relationship? Honestly, it’s confusing, but according to experts, spending some time apart might help you find your answer.

The thing is, relationships are exciting and fun, and there’s nothing wrong with spending ample amounts of time with your significant other as you continue to get to know each other. But there is a line between spending time together and spending all your time together. In order to understand where that line is, it’s important to understand that every couple is different. “First, it’s important to note that ‘too much time’ can look different from relationship to relationship,” Kali Rogers, CEO, and founder of Blush Online Life Coaching, tells Elite Daily. “Some people are simply more extroverted than others, some become codependent too quickly, and others simply don’t know how to create appropriate boundaries. So while in one relationship, seeing each other every day is typical and just fine, in others that would be way too much too soon.”

However, it is totally possible for a couple to be spending too much time together, even though it might not seem like it at first. “If two partners have adequate boundaries, resilience, and interdependence — then too much time probably doesn’t exist,” Rogers says. “There are plenty of couples who work together, live together, and have a family together — and arbitrarily saying that dynamic is unhealthy is short-sighted. The key to determining if too much time is a bad sign is to measure the number of time couples spend arguing together, and how they feel once they do get some separation. If couples feel lost, unstable, or depressed when apart, that’s a sign of codependency.”

Dating. Young couple in love holding hands in summer park outdoor. Back view.

Shutterstock

So really, the best way to determine if you are spending too much time together is to spend some time apart. Can you handle it? If so, you’re probably good, as Rogers says. If not, it might be time to address the issue.

Unfortunately, if you and your partner are codependent, it can present a whole different set of issues. “The reason that time can sometimes contribute to the toxicity of a relationship typically stems from codependency,” she explains. “Instead of tapping into one’s own resilience to combat daily problems, they lean too heavily on someone else for support or solutions. This creates excess strain on the relationship, and a toxic cycle can develop quickly. People become the worst version of themselves and don’t have enough separation in order to gain perspective.”

A codependent relationship is probably not one you want to be in. Psychologist Erika Martinez told Elite Daily that in codependent relationships, “the dependent relies on the codependent to take care of, support, fix, and generally enable him or her. In some cases, the dependent really can’t take care of themselves, and in others, it’s a state of learned helplessness,” she explained. “The codependent does the enabling and grows accustomed to being the one that people (including the dependent) turn to for help. Thus, codependent’s sense of self-worth and self-esteem are often tied to their ability to fix things, be proactive, help others, people-please, etc.”

If this is where you see your relationship headed, consider seeking outside help. Martinez suggested researching “CoDependents Anonymous (CoDA) support groups that meet regularly and many people find helpful.” She also suggested going to therapy, on your own or as a couple, to “[help] to change these interpersonal dynamics for the better.”

On the other hand, if your relationship shows no signs of codependency, and you’re still worried you’re spending too much time together, Rogers advises you quit worrying! “Try not to compare time in your relationship to time on others’ relationships,” she says. “People are wired differently, and time spent together should not be the only marker of progress.” Rather than look at how much time you spend with your partner, try reflecting on how your partner makes you feel. “How do you feel when you are apart? Are you a better person in this relationship? Focus on those questions instead of the number of minutes you two are together, and I believe you will have clearer answers about the state of your relationship.”

There is no one perfect relationship formula, but there is such a thing as spending too much time with your partner when it leads to an unhealthy relationship in the long run. Reflect on the time spent with your partner, how you feel without them, and go from there. You deserve a happy and healthy relationship, regardless of how much time you spend together.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Does Your Ex Still Think About You? How To Find Out — And Reconnect After A Breakup

Do they still care about you?

After a breakup, it seems like you and your ex have already gone your separate ways.

Or, maybe your ex never even knew you to begin with.

So, you can’t help but wonder if, on the other side of this icy wall of silence, does your ex ever even think about you at all?

Cutting straight to the chase, yes, your ex most likely still thinks about you.

If you’ve shared a part of your life with someone, they aren’t going to completely forget that you ever existed.

They will think back to your time together and may even remember all the positive experiences that the two of you have had.

Yes, there may be pain and hurt associated with all of that, but they certainly do still think of you.

But, do they still care or even love you?

I know that you’re probably not just wondering if your ex happens to have thoughts about you — you want to know if they still feel something for you.

Do they miss you the way that you miss them?

The truth is that, yes, if they are being honest, they probably do still feel some emotions toward you.

They may even regret that the breakup happened that ended your relationship.

And they may feel a lot of hurt and heartbreak, still.

But they probably also know, if they are being honest with themselves, that there were positive moments that the two of you shared together — and they probably miss those times.

In fact, they are hiding the pain behind an emotional armor.

Granted, they may not let their mind veer in those directions. They may be so addicted to the story that they tell themselves about the hurt that they experienced that they just don’t let themselves acknowledge that pain.

But, you can rest assured that your ex does have feelings for you.

They may just be hidden behind pain, hurt, frustration, anger, or any other emotions that may still be lingering from the breakup.

How do you get through their emotional armor, then?

If you want to know how to get your ex back and connect again so you can explore what might be possible for the two of you, you are going to need to meet them where they are at, emotionally.

Yes, the two of you have your history.

And yes, there may be hurt and pain that is still lingering there.

But, just because there was love once doesn’t mean they want to get back together. You also have to see things from their point of view and be willing to relate to them with understanding and compassion.

Once they are able to see that you are willing to meet them where they are at emotionally, they’ll be much more likely to release the pain and hurt that they are holding on to.

And once they are able to do this, they’ll be receptive to talking to you again.

It starts by connecting on an emotional level.

You need to get past the complex feelings that both of you are probably experiencing.

And, of course, they may not be in a place in their life where they are able or willing to explore what might be possible between the two of you.

But you’ll never know for certain unless you’re willing to set aside pride and be emotionally honest and vulnerable.

Here’s an important piece of dating advice you need to heed if you want your ex back.

When you break up with someone, it doesn’t always mean you’re done for good.

Instead, take a chance and open yourself up to resolving the pain from the past.

You just never know what you might experience as a result.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

‘Is 55 Too Old to Go on Tinder?’ What Dating Looks Like for the Middle-Aged

Here’s an interesting contribution from one of my readers!

I’ve been fielding a lot of questions about dating apps lately. There are 2 a.m. texts like: “Is 55 too old to go on Tinder?” And existential laments like: “I thought I was just leafing through photos but it turns out I was swiping yes, yes, yes, when I wanted to say maybe, maybe, maybe. Isn’t there any room for ambiguity? Not even an option to ‘save for later?”

All good questions, though I don’t have the answers. I have no experience with Tinder or any of the swiping apps—I only made it to the browser-based era of online dating. But as the first person in my friend group to divorce, nearly 10 years ago, I’m the prime confidante for questions too embarrassing to ask the happily coupled.

But I might be relieved of those duties now that we finally have an elder stateswoman of mid-life dating: Candace Bushnell, creator of Sex and the City—the book and series that tackled all the uncomfortable dilemmas of 30-something single women in the 1990s—is back with a new book and upcoming Netflix series that asks, Is There Still Sex in the City? And while she doesn’t bring back Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, or Samantha, it feels a bit like we’re at brunch with middle-aged versions of those archetypes, and they’re still talking about love and sex because, well, of course.

The book, part memoir, part fiction, is a guide to the Ides of 50, a stage of life when kids depart (along with most of the local estrogen), marriages teeter, and normally accommodating women stop being so accommodating. And because things are way more complicated now, they may also find themselves trying to figure out how to swipe maybe on a 27-year-old programmer from Connecticut.

Much like in the original SATC, Bushnell and her friends experience every romantic possibility so we don’t have to—from being courted by cubs (young men who pursue older women) to dating wealthy septuagenarians who think 59 is a bit old for them. She writes about re-dating an ex decades later and a laser procedure called the MonaLisa Touch that is supposed to rejuvenate a woman’s sex life like Viagra, except that it hurts and is almost never covered by insurance. You can hear Sarah Jessica Parker’s voice in Bushnell’s as she asks a new set of Carrie-esque questions: “Are -middle-aged women now catnip for younger men?” “Was Tinder an app for people that hated themselves?”

Bushnell, now 60, also touches on poignant aspects of what she calls “middle-aged madness”: the death of a parent, the isolation of divorce, the ache of realizing that even the most gorgeous among us will eventually become invisible.

Until recently, when we saw women in some midlife drama, it usually involved Diane Keaton in a gauzy romance set against a tasteful backdrop. No one was getting ghosted on Bumble at 49 with absolutely no explanation.

A slew of recent movies gets at the lighter side of midlife madness. Wine Country, directed by Amy Poehler and released this past spring, sees a group of old friends travel to Napa for a 50th birthday only to discover that no one escapes middle age unscathed. It has some hilarious moments, but it’s no Sideways, the 2004 Oscar-winning Napa road-trip film that was not only funny but also piercing and sad. I hate to say it, but many male midlife crisis films are often less earnest and take more fruitful risks, and we need more of that in stories about women.

And that brings me to the next beat in the 50-plus women genre: Otherhood, a good-hearted Netflix film that debuts this month. It’s about three friends, played by Patricia Arquette, Angela Bassett, and Felicity Huffman, who must rekindle their identities, separate from their roles as mothers, now that their children are adults. Arquette tells TIME she cherished the opportunity to play a mom at this stage: “I haven’t had a lot of chances to do material where the leads are all women, talking about friendship and parenting with a female director and producer.” (Director Cindy Chupack won an Emmy for her work on Sex and the City.) But Arquette really lights up when she talks about something apart from her role as a mom—her work pushing for the Equal Rights Amendment. And that’s the problem with the film: we already know these three mom archetypes too well. This is in contrast to Gloria Bell, released earlier this year and starring Julianne Moore, which gets at the complexities of existing in the in-between of young and old, a parent but not so needed, attractive but with sexual irrelevance in view.

Otherhood was also overshadowed by news of Huffman’s bout of real-life middle-aged madness when she admitted to paying $15,000 to get her daughter into college with faked achievements. The irony is that the real-life story might be a more powerful tale about mothers who need to separate from their children. It made us cringe, in part because we’ve all done things—albeit less egregious things—to help our kids, only to realize later we’d gone too far. It can be easier to see the truth in extremes.

I welcome Bushnell’s new series, so long as it’s brave enough to take us to those outer edges of female longing, insecurity, vanity, brilliance and connection. That was, after all, the beauty of the original. The SATC women were not subtle creatures. Most of us don’t have 600 pairs of shoes, nor have we left a man at the altar, but we viscerally understood Carrie’s self-destructive obsession with both the shoes and the man. And while it’s common for us to choose one of the four characters as our avatar, in many ways we are all of them at once. The challenge for the new incarnation is to be as open and complex about post-menopausal life as the last one was about everything that comes before.

Bushnell and her co-creators would do well to take a page from Season 2 of BBC’s Fleabag, which features a now Emmy-nominated guest spot from Kristin Scott Thomas. Her character gives a raw and riveting soliloquy about female aging and the liberation that comes with it. Afterward, young Fleabag, on the receiving end, says she’d been told menopause was horrendous. Thomas answers with a wink: “It is horrendous. But then it’s magnificent.”

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Why You’re Failing At Online Dating (And The One Trick That Attracts Love)

One change can make all the difference.

You may be surprised to find out why online dating sites aren’t working for you. It’s not creeps sexting you pictures of their junk, it’s not gold-diggers out for free meals, it’s not married people secretly looking for a little action on the side, and it’s not scammers or catfish preying on lonely people in an attempt to extort money.

I’ve heard all the horror stories in my work as a relationship coach. Despite the dark side of looking for love with online dating, the reality might shock you even more because it’s unexpected.

What’s the real reason online dating isn’t working for you?

The truth is no matter what your experience or back story, the main reason dating sites don’t work for the majority of people is simple: it’s ineffective or poorly developed profiles. That’s the shock of it.

Many of the struggles are self-inflicted. Now, if that sentence offends you at all, that may be a clue for you to pay special attention. I didn’t say it’s all your fault or that you somehow deserve to suffer; on the contrary, I do this work because everyone deserves to feel more loved than they’ve felt before — and that includes you.

The reality is, one-third of all new marriages began with an online date, so there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that online dating does work. But here’s the other interesting statistic: only about 20 percent of online daters say it’s working for them, which is defined by whether they’re dating, in a relationship, engaged, or married as a result.

If you do the quick and simple math there, that means that 80 percent of online daters are not getting the result they think they’re paying for on those sites. Too many really great people are getting frustrated and starting to doubt themselves because they might not be great writers or understand one other critical distinction that makes all the difference.

Let me explain.

Your dating profile is an advertisement. That’s because its job is to get attention, cause engagement, pique curiosity, create a favorable impression and generate a response. If your profile fails at any single one of those jobs, you fail. Game over. No click? No date. No intrigue? No sale.

The difference between a good ad and a bad ad is simple. A good ad works and gets a response, which is the intended result; a bad ad gets ignored and is a tremendous waste of time, money, and resources.

Remember, we’re talking about 80 percent of millions of people. There are a lot of great catches slipping through those nets every day and I want to change that.

The specific problem with most dating profiles is that they lack a cohesive and coherent message, so it’s no surprise that potential partners lose the thread or check out early.

That’s an automatic fail. If someone can’t get a “take away,” they will tend to “go away.”

Rather than offering crystal clarity about what the writer brings to the table for their partner, instead, they focus on self-serving, pointless, and unconvincing recitations of their own demands. That sounds more like a ransom letter than a love note to the partner you haven’t yet met, doesn’t it?

Is it any wonder that’s not working? If it wouldn’t work with you, why do you think someone else might be intrigued by that approach? 

With all due respect, do you think the fact that you’re a guy who loves sports or a woman who loves jeans and a cute little black cocktail dress really makes you stand out from the crowd? Come on! You can’t really expect to get attention if your profile blends in and sounds like every other profile, can you?

Your dating profile is failing — just like 80 percent of them do — because it’s missing some key ingredients that people need in order to see you as a viable, potential partner.

The bottom line? There’s no reason to throw away good money on dating sites when you can throw away your old, ineffective dating profile instead. What have you got to lose but your own frustration or loneliness?

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Why You Should Get Married First And Fall In Love Later

Successful marriage don’t necessarily start with love … they end with it.

Hellen Chen, the self-proclaimed Matchmaker of the Century, thinks we’re all spending too much time dating and hoping to fall in love.

Chen believes dating is a recipe for heartbreak, and marriage should come first. if you really want to get married, she says, you should simply commit to marriage and let romance happen later.

Strange as it may seem, she may just be on to something.

Why get married before falling in love?

If you spend too much time dating too many people, her theory goes, you’re bound to get crushed rather than fall in love.

Chen suggests that only once you have someone to come home to will you experience the freedom you’ve never known before.

“Before you build a house,” Chen says, “you need a piece of land. How the land looks is not important. The most important point is to find the land first before you can build a house.”

It’s the barrier separating two single people that she feels poses the greatest problems. If you just get rid of that by getting married, well, apparently, problem solved.

It’s not that she’s expecting you to book a chapel on the first date, but her message is clear: Stop nitpicking every date to death in order to find reasons not to commit. Stop wasting years and years in relationship limbo, cohabitating with someone you’re not sure about.

If you want a happy relationship, you have to settle to some degree, Chen asserts, so stop all this nonsense and just get married already.

Before you dismiss Chen as some out-of-touch relic, remember that what she’s advocating isn’t much different from what others have said before.

In her book “Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough” (and the notoriously polarizing viral article of the same name she published in The Atlantic), Lori Gottlieb warned us that we’d live to regret the day we let that nice guy with the receding hairline or questionable spelling get snapped up by some other woman who was willing to overlook such superficial flaws. If you find something wrong with everyone, she advised, you’ll end up with fewer and fewer men to choose from.

She made her point, reached a lot of people, and perhaps humbled more than a few women into solid marriages they might otherwise have missed. (Did Gottlieb herself ever settle? Word on the street, says Melanie Notkin in her book “Otherhood: Modern Women Finding A New Kind of Happiness,” is that she has not.)

In his book, “The Paradox Of Choice: Why More Is Less,” psychologist Barry Schwartz explains his own theory that too many options tend to confuse people, breed anxiety, and lead to a kind of paralysis when it comes to making decisions. An abundance, or even a perceived abundance, of partner choices, may actually prevent you from choosing just one. After all, a better partner might be just around the corner.

And Dan Slater, author of “Love in the Time of Algorithms: What Technology Does to Meeting and Mating,”; believes online dating even poses a threat to monogamy or at least happy monogamy. If you know there are other potential mates out there, he posits, why would you put up with characteristics you don’t like in one person?

Anyone who watched “Love Is Blind” is well aware Chen’s approach can go better than in your wildest dreams — or quickly bring you to crashing down to a brutal reality.

But putting up with every one of your partner’s flaws is exactly what you must do, says Chen, as that is a partner’s job!

She makes it clear that this is precisely what you’re signing up for, but the payoff is worth every last quirk.

Either you marry someone now and start creating a home and a life, or continue to pointlessly date and end up “homeless and loveless” (Chen’s words, not mine!).

Strange as it may seem, here are three reasons why getting married first and “dating” each other after might make sense.

1. All marriages require serious compromise.

Anyone who wants a specific thing must make some compromises to get it, whether it’s something material like a fancy apartment, or something more spiritual like a spouse. And this isn’t even just about marriage.

If you want marriage more than anything else, you can make that happen, provided you’re willing to do away with the impossible standards and endless dealbreakers you’ve clung to in your search for Mr. Perfect (who doesn’t exist, by the way). In other words, you must have the willpower to commit first and then love second.

After all, it’s only (fairly) recently that we began demanding the whole package — true love with our intellectual match, perfect partner, and best friend forever.

As Stephanie Coontz taught us in “Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage,” for most of recorded history, love was a pretty fickle reason to get married. Marriage was more about creating a family unit and a stable life, which is why today, with so many couples marrying for love alone, so many of us are leaving in droves.

2. Arranged marriages may last longer.

You know where I’m going here, right? Because what Chen is essentially telling you to do is perform your own arranged marriage. And you can decide to do it now. If what you want is a committed, long-term bond, then maybe this is the way to go.

It’s been estimated that more than half of the world’s marriages were arranged.

While the divorce rate, as you probably know, is roughly 42-45% percent in the U.S., guess how many divorces result from arranged marriages? Four percent.

In India, approximately 90% of all marriages are arranged, with only 1% ending in divorce.

That’s not necessarily because people are happier outside of the U.S. or that they don’t suffer the same emotions or experiences that all couples do, but it may mean those who enter into arranged marriages do so with expectations that this is it, no matter what.

They kind of say, “He’ll do,” and let the bond form over time. Then, love hopefully grows. Certainly, that doesn’t happen in all cases, but perhaps it does in more than you realize.

But what about the concern that many countries where arranged marriages occur have a history of oppressing women?

Have women historically been treated as chattel, a bartering chip for securing land, power, and influence? You bet.

Do I like the idea of women not being able to choose? Of course not.

As an unwed woman currently in a relationship and living in a first-world country where I have the privilege of indulging my lack of interest in getting married, I realize that advocating this position comes from a place of privilege others are not as fortunate to have.

While we all want to feel loved and connected, we don’t all need or want to get married, nor should we ever be forced or pressured to.

But if getting married is a huge priority for you, well, Chen’s way may make sense.

3. Any successful relationship is something you must work hard at.

Here’s where our cultural expectations get the best of us.

We fall under this spell from a fairly young age, believing we should just have something magical — true, everlasting love. We think it’s our God-given right and fairy tale romance should happen. Then, we’re so beside ourselves when it doesn’t happen the way Disney said it would.

In what other area of your life would you expect something like that to just materialize because you’re entitled to it?

You don’t assume you “deserve” a CEO position if you’ve never held an office job, right? You don’t just walk into a company with no relevant experience and say, “I’ll take that job up there in the corner office.” When they deny you, you stomp out in a huff and complain there are no jobs out there.

Of course, you wouldn’t do that, but that’s exactly what many men and women do when it comes to relationships. I realize corporate hierarchy is a limping analogy, but you do want the job, so to speak. And if you want to live a married life, you have to start with what’s available and commit to making the most of your life.

So I’ll admit, the idea of “dating” the person you married is appealing.

It’s enough to make me wonder if we waste all the good stuff while we’re courting and then bore ourselves to tears after we exchange vows.

Chen may have found the secret to marriage. Imagine if the good stuff wasn’t the appetizer, but the main meal.

Think of how differently your romantic life would be if you could enjoy all the fun of dating without wondering where things are going — because you’re already there.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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