Ah. 2017. I’ll spare you all of the “New Year, New You” introductory pretense and cut right to the chase:
If you want to make over your love life by next year at this time, listen up; I’ve got something to say. I have been writing about dating & relationships for a very long time. Can you believe I didn’t run out of advice? Or get carpal tunnel?
We’ve made it this far, y’all! I’ve got another self-help dating book on the way for early 2017, and for now, I have 17 Commandments for your love life for 2017. Without further ado:
And have a happy, healthy, successful, sexy, fabulous, love life in 2017!
This past Saturday night, as I was waiting for one of my girlfriends to pick me up for a holiday party, I started thinking deeply about the magic of the holiday season.
As I put on my red dress, red lipstick, and grabbed a bottle of red wine for the host, I thought about the feelings of hope that many of us experience in our love lives at this time. I pondered my own ideas of the miracles and magic that I currently-and historically- hope for at this time of year. And I switched on my iPhone camera with the strong desire to achieve the night's perfect selfie. Ya know, that ideal balance between "cool girl" and "All I want for Christmas is you".
No doubt there are a lot of expectations and "pressures" that come with the holiday season. No exceptions are made when it comes to dating, relationships, and marriage.
If we are single we think that maybe "the one who got away" will come back-friend us on Facebook- and, ya know, sweep us off our feet by the time the ball drops on the 31rst. Or maybe we will lock eyes with a special someone over that bowl of spiked eggnog. Instead of encountering a bunch of singles who are darting their eyes around the room as we are trying to make conversation with them.
If we are coupled, we think maybe this is the year we will be invited to come to dinner with the family, back to our partner's hometown etc. Or we think that maybe this is the time he will finally pop the question. Will there be a sparkly ring waiting for me under the Christmas tree?
If we are married, it doesn't end there. We wonder if our partner will help us cook, or clean, or not run out of the room and leave us alone when Aunt Sally is going off on another one of her painful tangents.....
The problem with all this wondering is that we are focused on what we are getting or not getting. We are failing to realize the true magic of the season: The joy of giving. Giving for the sake of giving without expecting anything in return.
When it comes to love, it can feel risky to give and give with no guarantee that it will come back to you. But that's where you have to take a leap of faith. That's where you have to be unsure of where you are going but decide to go anyway. The journey to a real long-lasting love does not come with GPS. But if you keep your eyes open, there are signs that can help you along the way.
If you are looking for a sign: This is it! In the spirit of giving, I have decided that I am going to to answer your most pressing love questions from now through Jan.1, 2017.
Just because I want to help you. And help you figure out what lights up your soul. I invite you to take the opportunity to send me an email at Rachel@RachelRusso.com and have your question answered before year's end. The only catch: Your email must be 250 words or less. 'Cause I might have some more holiday parties to attend!
In the meantime, I wish you faith, hope, love, and happiness during this most precious season. Be well and enjoy whatever it is that lights up your soul.
So I got a text from my ex the other day.
He saw something on TV that reminded him of me. It was about the show Married at First Sight and the couples who got divorced and now have fans wanting to date them.
He remembered when-right before we started dating-FYI network was considering me to be on the show.
"If you got married at first sight, would you be divorced now?" he asked.
"Nope. I'd still be married....." I quickly replied.
I went on to give him my most personal thoughts on divorce.
Just in case he's still considering me for marriage. #ToBeContinued
" I am old-school, you know. I can make it work. Divorce is one of those things that I think is fine for other people, but whoever I marry is going to be stuck with me forevs."
Take note, Baby Cakes!
"I believe you," he said.
In this moment, I do too! I truly believe that my future husband and I will be married "til death do us part". Granted, I have never been married, but I do have lots of experience witnessing the challenges others who are married struggle with. And, well, a master's degree in Marriage & Family Therapy.
I know myself. I know my strengths and weaknesses for working on some of those challenges, I know my views on the spiritual purpose of marriage. I know that unless there was abuse or some extremely- extreme difficulty, I will probably stay married forever. In fact, the idea of forever is the whole point to me. It is what makes the institution so appealing to me in the first place. When divorce is not an option, you either work things out or stay miserable.
I don't know about you, but misery never looked good on me.....
Now I want to clarify, I don't think my view is for everyone. I don't think I am better or worse than anyone for having this view. There are plenty of people who are probably better off getting divorced. Marriage isn't for everyone!
So what are my professional opinions on divorce and what to do if it all comes crashing down?
Well, I'll be on TV, today, Thursday, December 15th at 3:00PM on the Brooklyn Savvy show on NYClife Network - Cablevision Ch 22 - Comcast Ch 25 - Over the air 25.1 - RCN 25 - Time Warner Cable 25/10 - Verizon Fios 25- on a panel about divorce. Check it out if you can. If not stay tuned for when it will air online.
In the meantime, please know that I am no stranger to dishing out my thoughts about divorce or dating after divorce. You can view a past Brooklyn Savvy episode where I spoke about the effect of divorce on children.
You can also shoot me an email at Rachel@RachelRusso,com with your thoughts on marriage, divorce, or Donald Trump.
Just kidding about Donald Trump.
Let's keep it real!
Dating is hard enough. Sigh. Seriously, its not all the rainbows-and-butterflies-everythings-coming-up-roses-Hollywood-bullshit you've been dreaming of.
When most people commit to being in a relationship, they expect it to be relatively easy. Pop psychology tells us that if we have to work too hard in a relationship, it probably isn't meant to be. The common notion is that relationships should flow naturally and that many problems make for incompatibility. While this seems logical and may be ideal for the average person, it isn't always realistic. I'm from the school of thought that says there will inevitably be challenges for even the most well-meaning partners.
People have their differences. Gender and personality differences, communication and attachment style difference, and cultural and family backgrounds that are different--to name a few. If people are real-and especially really real- there will be eventual conflict. There has to be! Its how we work through conflict that makes a difference between a healthy and unhealthy relationship.
The first step to working through conflict is being aware of conflict as conflict--no matter how big or small. Sometimes one partner doesn't see something as a problem, because the other isn't being upfront and totally clear about the degree to which the issue bothers them.
I've seen one "silly" thing-that is actually not so silly when you think about it-that has been coming up a lot lately.
And that is different views on how "public" the couple wants to go with their relationship. Since the beginning of time, there were couples who disagreed on the aspects of their relationship they wish to share with friends, family, and community vs. those they want to keep private. Nothing has brought this conflict out more than social media.
A lot of couples struggle with this. Whether you are single or in a relationship, it is something to think about. How would you handle such an issue?
Check out my advice to a husband currently struggling with the idea of whether it is okay to be posted everywhere on Facebook in my just published-He Said/She Said article with Relationship Rx.
As we begin the magical holiday season, it seems that love is in the air and anything is possible.
While I won't deny a miracle on 34th street, tell a child that there is no Santa Claus, or stop believing that even the most seemingly undate-able person could be kissing someone under the mistletoe, I will expose some relationship myths. Here are seven widely-accepted beliefs that studies and my professional experience show simply aren't true.
1. There's only one person in The Universe for you. While it is romantic to believe in "The One", the truth is that there is more than one person in the entire world that you could have a happy and successful romantic relationship with.
2. Opposites attract. My twelve years as a matchmaker and dating & relationship coach have reinforced a notion that I learned way back when in my days as a psychology student at Rutgers University: Birds of a feather flock together! In the long run, the couples who make it are those with similar values, beliefs, and worldviews.
3. Passionate love gets stronger the longer that you are together. Nope. Sorry. Love changes its form in time. The butterflies that are there in the beginning will (hopefully!) be there as the relationship progresses, but the passion does not generally get more intense with time. It is associated with the mystery and novelty of a relationship in its early stages.
4. You should never go to bed mad. This popular strategy for handling relationship conflict is actually counterproductive, because people need time to "cool off" to truly resolve things in a satisfactory way. The brain can not find adequate and creative solutions when triggered. Anger, sadness, and frustration cloud judgment. There's nothing like a fresh perspective in the AM.
5. Men and women are equally impacted by relationship conflict. While both sexes are bothered by conflict in romantic relationships, women hold on to the issue, their desire to analyze it, and emotions around it much longer. Men have an easier time letting go, as they were socialized to just move on. Women, on the other hand, were taught to talk about with relationship drama with their mom, best friend, stranger sitting next to them at the nail salon, etc.....
6. Women are more romantic than men. Studies show it is actually men who believe in things like love at first sight or love healing all.
7. Time heals all. While it may seem like you can mend anything from a fractured relationship to a broken heart in time, it is important to realize that time is not on your side unless you are being proactive about solving your relationship problems. Otherwise, you too, can be one of those people still stuck on an ex--ten years later.
If you always do what you always done, you'll always have what you've got. And in order to do something different, you've got to give up these myths.