Illustration by Nat Cunningham.Illustration by Nat Cunningham.

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Getting Over A Breakup At Bootcamp | 04.25.17

The methods of coping with a breakup differ for every heartbroken person. It could involve splurging on self-care or going for a rebound. Not that there are perfect ways to deal with the end of the relationship, but one way to do it may be at bootcamp. That’s what Amy Chan thought of when she created Renew, a retreat designed to mend broken hearts away from home.

Of course, while meditation and daily diets of quinoa can be done at home, the prospect of being triggered by a text or song on the radio is not possible at this breakup bootcamp. With a program designed to help people detach themselves from their past relationship and get in touch with themselves, Chan has created a business out of broken hearts. After the man she thought she would marry cheated with a coworker, she told Glamour that she spiraled into “depression, broke out in panic attacks, and had thoughts of suicide.” To help herself get over this pain, the business of Renew came to mind. She wanted to create a safe space for other people who were experiencing the same kind of aches.

The retreat’s mission centers on positivity, spirituality, and surrounding yourself constantly with their energy. It’s not cheap, though. Moving on using the help of Mother Nature and meditation costs $1500 for a room and $1000 for a shared room for a weekend on a farm in Hudson Valley, New York. The perks of the getaway include a psychology consultant, relationship coach, healthy meals, meditation, yoga, and alpaca petting. While every moment on the farm may look fit for Instagram, participants are required to check-in digital devices from the beginning.

Chan admits that starting this business is what really got her over her breakup. Renew allowed her to research deeper into the psychology of breakups and mourning, “but what really has helped me through my own breakups has been learning tools to self-soothe, reframe, and forgive, and how to channel negative energy into positive,” she said. These may be perfect words that nobody wants to hear right after a breakup when everything in life seems to be going wrong.

To Chan, breakups are an opportunity to grow and surround yourself with positive people. The idea of going on a retreat as a form of introspection post-breakup at least sounds ideal. While petting alpacas on a farm or sleeping in a yurt may not be a preferred method of moving on, it seems to have helped Chan cope while on a budget at home and distract herself enough to start a business.

The Right Amount Of Matches | 04.20.17

It has already become a universal fact that while we may want to feel like we’re the only person someone is talking to, we probably aren’t. We live in the age of dating where it has become acceptable to speak to multiple interests at once, but experts are now jumping in to suggest how many is too much. If you open your dating app, there may be many matches happening at once, but while you may be interested in only some, that may detract attention from other matches.

But how many is too many? Well, the truth is, it’s all up to you. Samantha Burns, a millennial dating expert, told Refinery29 that she encourages people to casually date as many people as possible, as long as you can give each person your full attention. Each person is different when it comes to the amount of matches one can handle. Burns does suggest that if you can barely remember which person you told a story to, that’s probably a sign that you need to let some people go.

Based on a Tinder survey conducted this year, there has been no correlation between wanting to settle down and whether or not someone will choose to date on- or offline. In fact, with those who date online, only nine percent will find it hard to be in a committed relationship due to the overwhelming choices in the online dating space. Meanwhile, 30 percent of men and 18 percent of women who choose not to use dating sites and apps will find it hard to be in a committed relationship for the same reason of wondering what else is out there.

Burns maintains that it would be ideal to limit the amount of people you will casually date to just three. By doing this, your attention won’t be diverted to so many others and you can keep track of which one has already heard your go-to date spiel.

Being Single Is Expensive | 04.18.17

Choosing to not spend another night home alone and, instead, finding someone to be a homebody with is an excruciating process. Unfortunately, until we find that special person, that process will involve dating. As all single people know, dating is getting expensive. In a new study conducted by Match surveying 5,500 unmarried Americans, the average single person spent $1,596 in 2016.

If you’re lucky enough to live in a populated city with plenty of choices, then the average gets higher. In Washington, D.C., a single person will spend $1,788, while New Yorkers will spend $2,069. This average brings together the cost of appearance (clothes, manicures, haircuts), dating membership fees, entrance fees and tabs.

When splitting the genders, men will spend an average of $1,855 while women average $1,423 yearly. Women, particularly millennials, have been increasingly splitting the bill on dates, with 78% of women in the survey expressing that they did not want to feel obligated or feel they owed the other person a second date. Half of the men in the survey believed they should pay for the date, while 36% of women agreed.

For many, this average is close to spending one month of rent. Dayana Yochim, a finance specialist, told the Washington Post that this average may not be that bad if your search for that special someone is a priority. In that case, consider this expense as more of an investment. Yochim speaks of other ways to lower the cost of dating, such as choosing to spend money on more experiences than things, which eventually provide more happiness in the end.

Love Potions Could Be Coming Sooner Than You Think | 04.12.17

Love potions are a recurring theme in fairy tales. As schoolchildren, Shakespearean fantasies fooled us into believing special elixirs could make you fall in love with the next person you see. In Aladdin, the genie could grant three wishes, but there was an exception to the rule: he couldn’t make someone fall in love with you. However, these fictional serums and supplements may soon become a reality. Within the next decade, neuroscientists could potentially develop drugs that can fool our minds into being in love with someone.

At Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute, researchers have been looking into the neuroscience of love, which is already a complex thing to understand as someone who is simply looking for it. Scientists understand how the brain functions when someone is in love. They’ve seen that certain hormones are essential for long-term love, and oxytocin pops up in the brain of someone who is newly in love. Researcher and neuroethicist Anders Sandberg has found that these new romance pills can artificially recreate those functions in your brain.

Ideally, Sandberg says that two people in a relationship would take these drugs together to boost those initial feelings of attraction and romance. Essentially, two people have already established that they love each other, but would like to keep that spark going. The drugs would do just that.

Still, of course, there are many ethical concerns as to what kind of couples should take the love drugs. Should a couple whose marriage is on the rocks be able to take these drugs, or is it more ethical to let the relationship run its course and end naturally? Is it even a good idea to interfere with love in the first place? Some scientists argue that we already do interfere with love by trying to save a relationship through therapy or a forced romantic getaway.

According to Sandberg, a relationship already destined to be over couldn’t be saved by drugs anyway. These love drugs would be best for couples who are already solid and in love. While the ethical concerns of this “modern love potion” are hard to ignore, they certainly raise valid questions about our emotions and relationships.

Dating & Infidelity In The Swiping Culture | 04.05.17

With more choices comes more uncertainty. Tech has democratized the dating world and there’s no looking back. In his book Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari wrote that “you’re carrying a 24/7 singles bar in your pocket,” which impacts the way in which we approach dating. If we’ve got choices available, we wonder if our current relationship could be replaced in an instant swipe.

During a TED talk, anthropologist Helen Fisher and Esther Perel discussed with the ways in which tech has enhanced and detracted from human connection in the dating world. “The swiping culture lures us with infinite possibilities, but it also exerts a subtle tyranny,” Fisher said. There is a ready set of alternatives for the people we currently associate with. It’s just a matter of us wanting to trade in those people for a “better set”–and with our phones, there’s faster ways to do so. There’s a higher case of FOMO that would go around and the possibilities that could occur. But of course, there’s no such thing as FOMO if what you’ve got now is going well.

There’s also the opportunity to try to have it both ways. Tech has also affected infidelity and its ease of access. In Perel’s book, The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity, she discusses the possibilities of pursuing other people all while sitting next to your partner in bed. The internet has made sex “accessible, affordable, and anonymous,” as the late researcher Al Cooper pointed out in his book Sex and the Internet.

By hiding behind a screen, the ability to be anonymous creates a false sense of bravery for people who stray to cheat. With social media, there are many ways to even interpret what cheating may be defined as. Is liking someone else’s photo on Instagram cheating? Is sending a direct message over Snapchat cheating? In a world where people’s value may be taken from social media, it’s harder to set strict definitions as to how infidelity can be pursued today.

Fisher and Perel also discuss the toll this can all take on our health. While dating and love have caused emotional stress before our generation, a lack of empathy can increase when we become so dependent on our phones for connection.

What It Means To Have A “Type” | 03.30.17

When scrolling through the mental Rolodex of those you’ve dated, it may be eerie to find that all your exes seem similar in some way. They may all have the same educational background, religious beliefs, level of attractiveness, or the ability to slide into DMs a certain way. A new study from UC Davis has found that people often date people that share similar physical or personality attributes.

When it comes to a person’s qualities, researchers found that it all usually comes down to location. Who someone dates largely depends on where they live. The people who live in a certain city tend to share similar educational backgrounds, religious beliefs, or values. It’s not just because people go for those specific qualities, but most of those who share these qualities tend to come from a certain geographical area which is pretty convenient.

The study’s author, Paul Eastwick, stated, “Do people have a type? Yes. But sometimes it reflects your personal desirability and sometimes it reflects where you live.” Their research looked at 1,000 heterosexual relationships and found that people’s past partners shared similar attributes. There was also a relationship not just with education or religion but also in the field of work or place of college that the people were in. “People were no more or less likely to select educated, intelligent, or religious partners,” Eastwick said.  As far as physical attributes, people often seduce those that are just as attractive as them–as the saying goes, water seeks its own level.

Asking For Someone’s Phone Number Is Over | 03.24.17

The “phone number” is over.

We’ve come to the point in modern dating where asking for someone’s number is now considered passé. The days of exchanging numbers as the first step of communication are over.

These days, it’s more of an exchange of Twitter or Instagram handles. Afterall, “sliding into DMs” is a slick move that has already become part of our language with the advent of social media. David Marcus, who’s in charge of Facebook Messenger, predicted that the phone number would be one of the trends that would be over in 2016. People are more likely to initiate or keep up communication through liking Instagram photos or commenting on Facebook photos.

I don’t remember the last time that I wanted to speak on the phone with someone just to catch up. If I want to know how someone’s doing, I’ll check their tweets or Facebook or occasionally comment on what they’re up to. Research from 2015 showed that 62% of teens share their social media handle when they first meet someone. Eighty-three perfect of them also felt closer in their relationships with friends, if only superficially.

While getting someone’s number may give you a door for communication, it doesn’t give an open door to their life. With social media, anyone can search what anyone’s been up to without having to make a phone call. The constant updates also make it easy to maintain steady relationships with someone we may no longer be close with as before. It’s worth noting that the identity they portray online may be curated and not always be the truth.

Gone are the days of hopelessly waiting by the phone. Now, it’s all about refreshing our notifications to see if they even added you as they said they would.

How Do You Know You’ve Been Zombied | 03.21.17

By now, majority of us know what ghosting is, whether it’s happened to us or by us. But there’s a new act of pettiness in dating, rooted from ghosting, that’s being coined as “zombied.”

Say I’m casually texting someone and even arrange plans to meet. A few days go by, and no response. I double check the message to see if it was delivered, and it was. (Even worse, if the other person’s petty then the read receipts on.) A week later, I have willed myself to forget them–that is until…

Weeks or even months later, they text back. I’ve been zombied.

Getting zombied refers to past lovers or exes choosing to pop up in our DMs or texts at random times after ghosting, essentially coming back from the dead. Here’s evidence of a zombie making their round:

My ghost from the summer (!!!) keeps trying to text his way back in. Not gonna work, buddy. 🙈

A post shared by Lisa Bonos (@lisabonos) on

Ghosting or getting zombied are phenomenons that seem to be popping up even more so with DMs and texts being major forms of communication or flirting when dating. The other person could be feeling lonely or have seen your latest Instagram that reminded them of you.

While it may be best to ignore the zombie, it’s also important for them to be aware of their behavior. As dating coach Francesca Hogi said to the Washington Post, “I think it gives [people] permission to say: ‘Hey, the risk is very low. She’s not going to curse me out on the phone and hurt my feelings. She’s just going to ignore my text message.'” Word of advice: just because they want to talk to you, doesn’t give them the entitlement to re-enter your life.

Ideal Self  Vs. True Self | 03.14.17

There’s no question that being in a relationship means being comfortable with the other person–being comfortable means being your true self. But, a new study suggests that while we may want to be our true (or authentic) self with our partner, being our ideal self makes for a more successful relationship.

A study from the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin revealed that the key to a healthy relationship is when partners are able to be their best selves around one another. A partnership is stronger when those involved are their most aspirational versions.

Researchers asked participants in the study about their “true selves,” “ideal selves,” and their relationships, and how often they put forward each version with a significant other. They then had to rate how comfortable they felt being their true self versus how “artificial” they felt. Overall, the participants who felt like their “ideal selves” around their partner also felt their relationship to be authentic compared to those who felt artificial.

Christian Jarrett, who directed this study, pointed out how the results were compatible with the “Michaelangelo phenomenon.” A partner in a relationship should always help the other person try to be their best self, just like how a sculptor would chip away parts of a stone to reveal the statue’s true form.

“This is the finding that we tend to make more progress toward our ideal selves when our partner has the same traits that we aspire to have ourselves, through encouragement or acting by example,” Jarrett writes. In a relationship, we’d all like to strive to be our best selves with or without the other person, but having a partner with those traits seems to help.

The Bad Side Of De-Friending | 03.02.17

It’s pretty clear that we may not know every single “friend” who pops up on our Facebook feed. To keep peace of mind or simply clean up our Facebook stream, those we don’t know are the first to go. When it comes to people we do know, it may be different. De-friending or unfollowing someone we may no longer be close with can have negative consequences, especially if our motive to unfollow is to signal to the person that you two are no longer “friends.”

Grainne Kirwan, psychologist in cyber-psychology, notes that unfollowing someone is a “hasty and emotion-based response to a stressful event, which may turn a difficult relationship phase into a non-salvageable one.” It may be a petty move to unfollow with the sole purpose of getting that person’s attention and wanting them to realize they’re no longer important or worth following. Doing this could prolong the feelings we were trying to avoid. Through social media, we’ve become so accustomed to knowing what everyone is doing and when and where, that suddenly losing that knowledge, especially about someone we care or once cared about, may be a shock.

Unfollowing causes us to over think about what they did or we did wrong, especially in break-ups or fights with friends. David Baker at Lancaster University says, “Blocking causes us to ruminate about what the other person might be doing, or how they might have reacted to us blocking them…This could increase the likelihood of us feeling depressed.”

While clicking “unfollow” on someone we were once close with may feel like sweet revenge, there are better ways to end the online relationship to avoid any negative consequences. Larry Rosen, who specializes in the psychology of technology, recommends mutually deciding to unfollow each other on social media. When a relationship ends on a sour note, more stress chemicals are released into our brain. Having a discussion as to why not to track each other’s lives on social media any longer may lead to better mental health.

Discussing why you’re unfollowing someone because of a broken relationship can save you further heartache. You won’t have to burn bridges because of a swift unfollow, and maybe there is an opportunity for a better relationship in the future. Open communication may lead to a healed heart and knowing you’ve said all you had to say.

Hire a Tinder Swiper | 02.21.17

While it is true that most millennials are tired of swiping left or right on Tinder (but are thoroughly addicted), it’s now possible to leave the swiping to someone else. There are now services available to users of matchmaking apps who would rather not spend time trying to swipe, but still want to find love. For a fee, you can now hire someone to swipe for you.

Available only in London for now, Fantastic Services is offering a new service where someone will go through customers’ Tinder apps and swipe to eliminate people who aren’t to the customers’ liking. The service will sit down with the customer to understand and learn their preferences in matches. These customers can then pay the service for a range of swipes from 500-5,000. The service also includes initiating and getting the conversation going.

If trusting another person to swipe for you isn’t good enough, then turn to math. Vice has reported on hackers who have made it possible to automatically find matches on Tinder and Happn using fixed algorithms. These hackers, mostly hetero men, have created algorithms that use facial recognition to find matches that the user would find attractive all based on previous likings. It would then send an automatic pickup line to all matches, which would then lead to a conversation conducted by a bot, essentially.

This algorithm makes it harder, especially for hetero women who already have to look out for bots and outright creepy messages on apps like Tinder and Happn. With a computer automatically determining a user’s preferences in people, it seems to be another form of subtle manipulation created by men’s specific hetero desires.

When matchmaking apps first appeared, the world was already in the palm of our hands and love could be more readily available. As these apps have evolved, so have its users’ mindsets; services and hackers could now be choosing people for us. Now I have to worry about being catfished by a robot.

Here’s How You’re Supposed To Say Sorry | 02.09.17

It’s easy to say sorry. We may do it an inordinate amount that the word loses its meaning. If we accidentally bump into a stranger, “sorry” may slip out of our mouth. When it comes to people we love, though, it isn’t always as easy. The New York Times recently reported on the right way to say sorry, because we all know how hard it is to admit we’ve done wrong.

Apologies are essential to our health. Holding a grudge or feeling bitter about someone does not exactly do our bodies and mental health any good. In the report, Jane E. Brody says, “a sincere apology can be powerful medicine with surprising value for the giver as well as the recipient.” Having the courage to apologize to someone is more difficult when we expect nothing in return, especially from someone we care about.

Psychologist, Dr. Harriet Lerner, notes that rationalizing after an apology is never going to work. It will not satisfy either party once the apology has been said. Having a “but” tacked on to the end completely negates the entire point. By extending the apology and inserting too much of our personal feelings, it will undo the apology. Don’t be passive aggressive when you’re looking for forgiveness. Dr. Lerner’s best advice is to keep it short.

Then there’s the half-hearted apology, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” By wording the apology in such way, the blame is then put on the victim; it’s as if the person in the wrong isn’t really sorry at all.

It’s also not the other person’s place to forgive the offender. Telling someone to forgive our wrongdoings right after apologizing is not ideal. Give it time. Everyone heals at their own pace. Besides, you may have to prove yourself worthy of forgiveness.

Dr. Lerner points out that it takes maturity to not be defensive. It’s not easy to admit defeat, no matter how much we thought we were right. Apologizing to someone makes us vulnerable and sometimes we won’t even be forgiven. When the tables have turned, we all know how good it feels to hear the words “I’m sorry.” – Jessica Jacolbe

We’re Tired Of Dating Apps, But We Aren’t Quitters | 02.07.17

Being single can mean restless nights reluctantly swiping right on our phones. The reason may be to find love, but one survey shows that logging on to dating apps has become a force of habit. Each year, Match releases the results of its Singles in America survey and the past year’s results show most people’s addiction to online dating.

Online dating is a tricky game that leads to a vicious cycle (kind of like love). It’s possible to reconcile from this addiction since dating apps are designed like games; swipe left if I don’t like, and right if I do. It takes a second, but the survey showed that dating apps aren’t giving us all the satisfaction we need. We’re tired of it. We have easy instant access to movies and food using our phones. Now, give me love! Stat!

The survey results show 15% of 5,509 people who are single are addicted to using dating apps. Millennials, especially, are 125% more likely to feel addicted to those apps than other generations. There isn’t any false hope in our era of “modern dating.” Last year, 40% of single people dated someone they met online while 24% met someone through a friend.

Our generation of millennials seem to burn out more quickly on dating apps than other generations. We are 65% more likely to consider ourselves lonely. Then there’s 22% who say that technology has made it more difficult to meet people in real life and have genuine connections. If technology may not be making our lives easier, then why are we still on it?

The survey results reveal a common case of FOMO. It showed that 57% of singles don’t want to miss out. Though it’s not like if we quit social media then we’re more likely to meet just as many people we would have online. People who dated using apps were 333% more likely to go on first dates.

Yes, we’re tired, but it looks like we’re not giving up. The mere thought of braving this scary new world alone for the rest of our lives is enough for us to keep opening those dreaded dating apps. – Jessica Jacolbe

Loneliness Is Hurting Us On A Deeper Level | 02.01.17

It is only human for us to want to feel a sense of belonging. Part of the reasons humans have lasted this long is because being part of groups is necessary for survival. However, there is a hidden epidemic that is spreading. Social isolation is becoming one of the biggest social risk factors, and it’s reaching toxic levels.

Loneliness is not just affecting people psychologically, but it is increasingly creating more biological effects. Just like after a breakup, being lonely can literally break our hearts. Social isolation is associated with high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as increasing the chance of dying by 26%.

At UCLA, genetics researcher Steve Cole, has been studying how loneliness can be detrimental to our health. Through a 14-participant study in 2007, Cole found out how being alone is affecting our bodies down to the cellular level. For people who felt lonely, genes that create a inflammatory responses are programmed to much higher levels. By being at higher levels, there is a great rate for other chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and others.

The other discovery made by Cole is how blocks of genes are less likely to respond to viral infections. The body’s response to loneliness is the same as its response to other chronic stresses, such as low socioeconomic status or post-traumatic stress.

Social isolation is a vicious cycle where the more we’re prone to it, the more we seek it. The more lonely we are, the more likely we are to feel threatened by outside factors, and in turn, seek more isolation. – Jessica Jacolbe

Women Hate Valentine’s Day | 01.31.17

It’s true. Women hate Valentine’s Day.

Immediately after the Santa decorations and holiday lights are put back in boxes, the candy hearts and chocolate boxes are on the shelves. A sea of red and pink decorations signal Valentine’s Day is ashore. But it turns out, women aren’t exactly jumping for joy at the sight of cupid at the drugstore.

In a survey reported by Refinery29, 44% of women did not have any expectations or plans for Valentine’s Day. Of the women in relationships, 41% actually dread it. Isn’t a day that celebrates love a day to look forward to? It’s only natural to dread holidays or events that come with expectations on how to act or feel.

From ads we can’t avoid to our friends photos tagged “relationship goals,” there’s pressure on Valentine’s Day and how love should be looked perceived. Part of this comes from a very singular hetero-normative view of relationships in media and the way “peak love” should look on Valentine’s Day.

In the survey, 43% don’t really want to “shake it up” in the bedroom, while 35% of women are just looking forward to cuddling. Then there are 34% who just want to watch some TV.

The survey also points to another issue that women have with Valentine’s Day. Twenty-three percent hated having to shave their bodies for their partners while 11% wanted to skip the lingerie. Having to please a partner at the expense of personal desires just to show you love them shouldn’t be the point of Valentine’s Day.

There is more than one way to celebrate love, and more than one day to do so. If you choose to skip out on the expected festivities of the holiday, at least you’ll have plenty of women who agree with you. – Jessica Jacolbe

Revenge Is As Sweet As They Say | 01.27.17

There is an adrenaline rush in sending out a late-night text or sub-tweet, lashing out at someone who did you dirty. While a sense of accomplishment comes with garnering revenge, that quick spat of aggression really is as sweet as they say. As for the repercussions? They don’t match up to the temporary high of revenge, which has been scientifically proven in a new study in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

David Chester and C. Nathan DeWall found that in cases where people have felt ostracized or rejected, these feelings can lead to the need for an instant “mood repair” in whatever means possible. BPS Research Digest explained how Chester and DeWall’s research tested people’s response to rejection. In a study of 156 participants who were asked to write personal essays, one group received negative feedback that was conducted by the researchers. Those who received bad marks were encouraged to seek retaliation if they wanted by sticking pins into a voodoo doll. This act of aggression increased those participants’ moods and even rated a higher level of satisfaction than those who received good marks.

In a follow-up study, participants were given a placebo that they were told had side-effects wherein their moods could not be altered. They would then play a computer-based game that would result in the participants feeling ignored and rejected. In a chance to take revenge in the face of these results by sending loud blasts on other participants’ headphones, those who took the mood-stabilizing placebo did not enthusiastically do so. When told there would be no satisfaction after supposedly taking revenge, they decided it would be no use to be aggressive.

The researches prove that revenge indeed does make us a bit happier, if only for a minute. But when looking at our actions long-term, there isn’t much consideration; the relief of anger is not always healthy either. Chester and DeWall suggest that alternatives such as reflection and meditation may be better suited for our moods and well-being instead of sub-tweeting at 3 AM. (Or try to move on.) – Jessica Jacolbe

Fall Back In Love Using ‘Love Regulation’ | 01.25.17

The quick and immeasurable feeling of falling in love happens, and sometimes we ourselves aren’t even aware. According to a study done by Sandra J. E. Langeslag and Jan W. van Strien, people experience feelings of love uncontrollably, but there’s a way “to change the intensity of current feelings of romantic love” with the “use of behavioral and cognitive strategies.” If you feel as if the love in your relationship is dwindling or isn’t as great as it once was, this study suggests that it may be time to enforce “love regulation.” By regulating your love, you can enhance romance and help you fall more in love.

By doing the following techniques, you can intensify the love between you and your partner:

  • Making small changes such as taking the time to say “I love you” before your partner leaves or when they arrive.
  • Smile. Smiling can release dopamine that is naturally contagious enough to make your partner feel happy too.
  • Thinking positive thoughts rather than focusing on your partner’s faults or flaws.
  • Make an effort to spark intimacy and make both of you feel sexy.
  • Don’t be petty. (Don’t be too petty.) No need to stress about that little thing he did that one time.
  • Go on small adventures and do something new together. A lot is to be learned and appreciated about the other person when you’re both exploring something new.
  • Just like at the beginning of the relationship, ask questions. Keep asking questions. Inquire and be curious about the other person and keep learning more about them.

In the study, it was found that people who had just broken up with their partner were able to benefit from controlling their feelings through love regulation. Those who conducted the study wanted to “focus on the intensity of infatuation and attachment” which often comes in to play in the beginning of a relationship and can help making it last. – Jessica Jacolbe

This Is Why It’s Hard To Get Over A Breakup | 01.19.17

Spending most of our time with someone, and almost sharing a life with them, is like no other. Being in a relationship affects our identity, how we behave, and the way our bodies react. Therefore when a relationship ends, it takes a toll on our life, and it seems as though the misery will never end. Unpacking everything that happened during the relationship affects our mental state and biological rhythms. As psychologist Grace Larson discovered, having studied the aftermath of breakups at the University of Arizona, there is no easy way to get over an ex. Larson put together a series of studies that examined the ways in which breakups are difficult to get over.

A couple essentially becomes a unit, where the people involved begin thinking in terms of “we.” One’s psychological boundaries become blurred with the other person’s and identities tend to merge. In a study done by Erica Slotter at Villanova University, students who broke up within a six-month period didn’t have such a clear sense of who they were immediately after. Larson notes, “over the remaining weeks in the study…the more confused they were about their identity, the more they showed signs of depression.”

Our health tends to take a hit after a breakup, not just in terms of consuming too much ice cream. Larson refers to a study done by David Sbarra and Cindy Hazan at the University of Arizona that showed that physical symptoms of a breakup are similar to that of an infant being separated from a caregiver, with those symptoms including “physical agitation, disrupted sleep, irregular appetite, and so on.” Tossing and turning at night isn’t just due to one’s own misery; sharing a bed with someone, or no longer sharing a bed with someone, affects our circadian rhythm.

Of course, more committed relationships are much harder to get over. Commitment is essential to any relationship, and as Larson writes, “feeling deeply attached to the person and automatically incorporating them into your thoughts about the future” can create conflict during a breakup. Giving up that relationship also means giving up plans on certain plans for the future. “This kind of large scale mental revision is confusing, draining, and difficult,” she continues. Satisfaction in one’s life immediately drops and affects our state of mind, post-breakup. It’s not easy, but Larson notes that having compassion for one’s self is key to not taking it as hard. – Jessica Jacolbe

The Myth of Romance Is Ruining Your Health | 01.13.17

The myth dates back to Greek mythology: Each one of us is missing our other half, and it’s our life’s mission to find the person who will complete us and make us whole. It’s not just a romantic line dating originally from Jerry Maguire. Or Cinderella. Or Plato’s Symposium. It has long been conditioned into our minds that romantic love is out there and must be found. One clinical tutor at the University of Hull, Susanne Vosmer, brings up the point that this myth may be affecting our health long-term.

With the evolution of dating, there became faster and easier ways to find validation virtually. If for only a minute, we can find a match that can feed into this myth that society has imparted on us. When it comes to the real world, however, people may find it harder to adapt to the reality of human emotion and love. Vosmer accounts for a rise in internet addictions and online infidelity.

Through having to deal with situations in our real life as opposed to our virtual lives, this search for ideal love has been linked to emotional stress and mental and physical health. Lovesickness has been documented as having physical symptoms that affect our well-being through obsessive thoughts about a desirable person or object. “Lovesickness is a disease that permeates medical literature since the time of Hippocrates, and may still have a place in modern medicine in the form of somatoform disorder, bipolar disorder, or erotomania,” Nancy Dzaja states, in the study. (Vosmer does note that there is an absence of long-term studies where people can be evaluated over time, but the myth of love we are meant to believe does “constitute our selves.”)

The concept of finding some type of romantic love that may not exist is bound to cause some type of stress, especially when it has been ingrained in our minds since we were able to comprehend what love is. However, even though it is a myth, we continue to believe in it. Vosmer argues that it is this fictional type of love we see in movies that affects us, and love and acts of love vary. To keep having happier and healthier lives, it may be this hope for love that keeps it going but not in striving for a universal and stereotypical happiness. – Jessica Jacolbe

Facebook Tracks When You Fall In Love (Online) | 01.10.17

Facebook may know our relationship status, or when we’re falling love, before we do. The company has revealed it can predict when two people will become “Facebook official” based on frequency of posts and status updates.

In the weeks leading up to a couple sharing publicly that they are in a relationship, Facebook tracks the courtship along the way. Let’s look at our quantifiable courtship in modern dating, shall we? All the data collected includes how many times a profile is visited by the other person, messages exchanged, posts shared on each other’s timelines, and online interactions.

By tracking this information, Facebook is able to follow the same trends in the 100 days before being official. “We observe a peak of 1.67 posts per day 12 days before the relationship begins, and a lowest point of 1.53 posts per day 85 days into the relationship,” Facebook says. Once they have become Facebook official, the number of posts fall presumably to spend more time together offline and the courtship has ended. During this time, status updates and interactions between the couple feature more positive words such as “love,” “nice,” and “happy.”

While the company claims that all its research is anonymized data, the consequences of doing so is still pretty creepy in the way it tracks our lives. When we may want to keep a relationship secret, our Facebook overlords know what is going on by being able to spot such trends. If it hasn’t already, Facebook can build databases tracking interactions and relationships to be able to target advertisements for us. One recommendation to prevent Facebook’s tracking of our lives is to lead the data off by doing random posts on other timelines and share false relationship statuses once in awhile. (Just make sure the person you’re tagging as being in a fake relationship with is in on it too.) – Jessica Jacolbe

Our Parents May Be To Blame As To Why Our Partners Drive Us Mad | 12.21.2016

It’s not that we’re trying to avoid trouble in relationships, it’s that we may be built to actively seek it out. “We believe we’re seeking happiness in love, but what we’re really after is familiarity,” philosopher Alain de Botton writes. While we do look for a partner who will make us happy, subconsciously we also look for someone who will frustrate us. Like many other things, it may be the fault of the parental figures from our childhood.

According to The School of Life, “In order to prove exciting and attractive, the partner we pick must re-evoke many of the feelings we once had among parental figures.” This doesn’t necessarily mean the happy aspects of childhood, but it also comes with the frustrating parts of love or how we perceived it.

Here are some lessons we learned from The School of Life as to why we seek partners who drive us mad:

  1. “These feelings, though they may include tenderness and satisfaction, are also likely to feature a more troubling range of emotions.”
  2. “We can find ourselves rejecting certain candidates in adulthood, not so much because they’re wrong as because they feel a little bit too right…they’re not going to make us suffer in the ways we need to suffer in order to feel that love is real.”
  3. “Occasionally a relationship pays tribute to a parent’s failings in a slightly different way. We act towards our partner as our parent once acted towards us…We may shout at their failures or complain of their inadequate performance in the eyes of the world.”
  4. “Just below the conscious radar, it is the failings that lure us in.”
  5. “It can be helpful to actively try to compare past and present. For example, reflect on how a parent made us feel and then audit how we often feel around a partner.”
  6. “A less dramatic but still hopeful strategy is to try to deal more successfully with our compulsions within an existing relationship.”
  7. “The failings we’re most attracted to become those we’re least set up to deal with.”

We don’t just inherit an attraction to the love we were surrounded by as a child, but also how we responded to that environment–this may include panic or terror or projection, and thus becomes the response in a relationship.

Rather than sulking or stay silent, it may help to encounter the situation and act responsibly by looking at ourselves. While our partners’ faults may be troubling, they may also be just as compelling.– Jessica Jacolbe

Uber Employees Are Allegedly Spying On Their Exes | 12.15.2016

While we may be in control of what we post on social media about ourselves, not all of our information that we don’t share may be safe after all. Uber employees have been reportedly using the driving service app to track down and spy on ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, and former spouses. Using the company’s “Heaven View” tool, former called “God View,” employees are able to track the movements and locations of customers. This has led employees to spy on “high-profile politicians, celebrities, and even personal acquaintances of Uber employees.” One investigator said that even Beyoncé was being tracked.

All this is according to a testimony by former forensic investigator, Samuel Ward Spangenberg, who is now suing Uber for alleging age discrimination and whistle-blower retaliation. After claiming that the company had plenty of security issues, he was fired 11 months later. Spangenberg’s court declaration stated that the company “did not have a regard for data protection…Uber collected data regarding every ride a user requested, their username, the location the ride was requested from, the name of the customer, and a myriad of other data that the user may or may not know they were providing to Uber by requesting a ride.”

The revelation of the “God View” tool used by employees was discovered in 2014 by BuzzFeed  when an Uber general manager mentioned that he used it to track one reporter’s location. Even after a trip is done, Uber still collects a customer’s location information.

In a statement by Uber, the company says, “We have hundreds of security and privacy experts working around the clock to protect our data. This includes enforcing to authorized employees solely for purposes of their job responsibilities, and all potential violations are quickly and thoroughly investigated.” All of this has been happening without permission which is just one of Uber’s many ethical breaches. – Jessica Jacolbe

IKEA Wants To Solve Your Relationship Problems  | 12.13.2016

IKEA may be the only place I have ever heard a couple argue about which shade of pink will go well with the living room walls and the couch. I heard them argue in the showroom, and by the time we all made it to checkout, they were madly in love again. It’s not always that a couple makes it to the checkout counter of IKEA with their relationship in tact, but IKEA wants to help–at least online. Their new campaign, “Retail Therapy,” aims to help its customers shop their way into a better relationship.

IKEA’s new ad campaign features the store’s most popular products renamed into Sweden’s most-Googled relationship questions. The corresponding product to the question is IKEA’s answer to your problem. If you’re “too shy to ask someone out,” try this apron and bake your relationship into existence. If your “girlfriend won’t do the dishes,” there’s always a dishwasher. If you want to find a way to “say I’m not interested,” here’s a garlic press. If “he doesn’t text you back,” then of course, he just hasn’t charged his phone; there’s a USB charger for that.

The ad agency that created this new campaign, Åkestam Holst, spent a year studying family dynamics in Sweden. They used IKEA to explore relationship longevity, divorce, and even father-daughter relationships. They then turned the Internet’s most troubling relationship questions into products.

If these products don’t solve your relationship issues, maybe you and your significant other can try to assemble IKEA furniture as therapy or couple’s counseling. – Jessica Jacolbe

People Will Stay In An Unhappy Relationship To Avoid Loss | 12.07.2016

No one likes to lose. Studies prove that we’d rather put more money on the table to avoid losing. This comes from our inherent aversion to losing in that there is more pain in a loss than there is pleasure in a gain. (Winning feels good, and losing sucks.) In economics, this is called the “sunk cost fallacy,” and psychologists have conducted a study that directly applies this fallacy to relationships.

Current Psychology conducted a study revealing that people are more likely to stay in an unhappy relationship despite it not being the best decision. In one hypothetical situation, people were asked if they would stay in an unhappy marriage or leave. The results show that most would stay in the relationship if there was plenty of money and effort invested into it, in other words, the sunk cost. In another hypothetical situation where time (length of the relationship) was the sunk cost, results show that people were more likely to stay if there was plenty of time invested into it.

It’s like if we watched a movie and fond out halfway through that it’s the most boring thing we’ve ever watched, but we stay anyway because we paid for the ticket, parking, and spent 30 minutes in the theater. In business, sunk cost fallacy is applied when there has been a large chunk of time and money invested in a project that it might as well be completed. It’s not the best choice, and it leaves us with less time, money, and happiness.

Whether in business or in love, plenty of emotion is involved in a decision which can create a loss of clarity in the process. By facing the facts that there has been a loss and admitting that there have been mistakes or poor investments can lead to a more stable mind in the next decision. One possible solution found in business is to pretend that overnight, someone sold your stock and replaced it with cash. The next morning, would you buy back the stock for the same price or spend the money elsewhere? In most cases, people would not buy the stock back. In relationships, it could help to sort out priorities and what comes first in personal happiness; to stay in the unhappy relationship or spend the time elsewhere. – Jessica Jacolbe

Your Next Relationship May Not Make You Happier | 11.30.2016

Moving on isn’t as easy as simply saying “on to the next one.” Whether weeks or months, when a relationship is over, there’s usually a mourning period. It feels as if every aspect of our lives is affected, and our happiness plummets. What keeps many of us going is the light at the end of the tunnel, or the light from the prospect of another relationship. Right? German psychiatrist Adelheid Kastner disagrees. She says the relationship we’re desperately trying to get over may have ruined our chances at finding happiness, because instead of letting go of our exes, we should be letting go of the “romantic ideals and fantasies”  we believed in while in the relationship.

To understand why, we return to our favorite subject: modern dating. In the past, if there was someone who was at least open to marriage, then just that would make them the perfect person. Today, we’ve got a plethora of options to explore. We’ve got time to swipe right or left and be picky about who we want to spend most of our time with, perhaps even the rest of our lives.

However, Kastner says while we assume the next partner will make us happy, “it’s very possible you find anyone able to do that.” “These days, many people find it easier to separate from their partner than to separate from their romantic ideals and fantasies,” she says.

Kastner advises that a successful relationship would require adaptability. In order to make a relationship work, instead of quickly replacing our partner, the couple must work through those issues. There are still legitimate reasons to break-up though. She clarifies that the cause of a break-up should not be in finding happiness in the next partner, but rather be “happier” on one’s own. – Jessica Jacolbe

There’s “Typically” Some Commitment When Texting / 11.04.2016

At the intersection of technology and relationships is a void filled with anxiety.

The Journal of Sex Research released a study indicating how sexting can just about determine a relationship. When it comes to a person’s motive in sexting, they are either determined to pursue a close relationship or simply teasing the other person into having sex. (Sounds about right.)

A little summary:

“The study of 459 unmarried, heterosexual undergraduate students found that low levels of attachment avoidance and high levels of fear of negative evaluation were associated with sexting behaviors. In other words, sexting was more common among students who felt more secure in their relationship and also more common among students who were concerned with how their relationship partner evaluated them.”

With the rise of technology in modern dating though, sexting today could just be a form of foreplay, says Rob Weisskirch of California State University of Monterey Bay. In regards to the study, Weisskirch indicated that “Sexting typically occurs when there is some degree of commitment in a relationship.”

Weisskirch adds that sexting is completely normal now and part of a healthy modern relationship. A couple who sexts together, stays together. – Jessica Jacolbe

Love Remains The Same Despite Technology | 11.1.2016

Helen Fisher, an anthropologist who has long researched the evolution of human emotion, reveals in her TED Talk that love remains unchanged despite the introduction of technology. The systems in our brain in charge of mating and reproduction also control our emotions which have always been the same. Fisher says, “They lie in the most primitive parts of the brain, linked with energy, focus, craving, motivation, wanting and drive. In this case, the drive to win life’s greatest prize: a mating partner. They evolved over 4.4 million years ago among our first ancestors, and they’re not going to change if you swipe left or right on Tinder.”

The way we court and date, however, has evolved and interfered with how we acquire and understand love. We analyze emojis and constantly refresh our latest Instagram post to see if he, she, or they have liked it. But all this, according to Fisher, is actually not dramatically changing love itself.

As the Chief Scientific Advisor for, she notes that dating sites shouldn’t be called “dating sites” at all but rather, “introducing sites.” Technology has changed the way we meet people, but when it comes down to finally seeing the person face to face, trying to impress or read them, that’s where it’s remained the same as the past 10,000 years.

With this new way of meeting people, comes the problem of “cognitive overload.” There are simply too many “mates” to choose from. When at one point in human history, people were limited to their own communities and friend groups, now we have access to thousands of people on our phones; this then increases our standards for what type of person we are looking for. Fisher has called this new form of courtship as “slow love.” For better or for worse, we are capable of finding someone who fulfills our specific wants and needs. “In an age where we have too many choices, we have very little fear of pregnancy and disease and we’ve got no feeling of shame for sex before marriage. I think people are taking their time to love,” Fisher points out.

Fisher goes on to say that we have entered into a marriage revolution, moving towards a society that values egalitarian relationships. Expectations of specific genders have shifted. It isn’t technology that hasn’t affected love so much as how women have entered the job market around the world. Women have become almost as equally as powerful as men, which is what changes the dynamic of modern love and relationships.

“Love and attachment will prevail, technology cannot change it…Any understanding of human relationships must take into account one of the most powerful determinants of human behavior: the unquenchable, adaptable and primordial human drive to love,” Fisher says. Best known as the expert on love, it is nice to hear Fisher say that is in fact still possible for love to exist “long term.” It’s also comforting to hear that a powerful force such as love has remained unchanged since the beginning of time. – Jessica Jacolbe

Here’s Why We Sulk In Relationships | 10.27.2016

At times, it seems as if love is one of the most highly misinterpreted languages. To really understand the language of love, it’s important to consider the psychology behind it. In relationships, silence can be one of the loudest modes of communication. There are times when sulking is disguised as the silent treatment. Sulking gets us nowhere and only increases frustration all around. So, why do we do it?

First, we don’t do it with just anybody, but with somebody. According to The School of Life, we believe a “true lover” will understand us intuitively and immediately. When proven wrong, we sulk. When looking at the psychology behind sulking in relationships, it turns out that the solution is, as always, communication.

Here are seven major keys we pulled from The School of Life in regards the psychology behind sulking:

  1. A common misconception in relationships is that “a lover understands us without needing to speak too much” which can “give rise to a hugely troubling dynamic.”
  2. “The view that a good lover must intuitively understand us is, over time, one of the most dangerous suppositions responsible for a catastrophic outbreak of sulking.”
  3. “We don’t just sulk with anyone. We reserve our sulks for people we believe should understand us but happen on a given occasion not to.”
  4. “We implicitly believe a true lover, someone really worthy of our affection, would naturally be able to read our intentions through our outer casing and into the caverns of our burned and pained souls.”
  5. “Part of becoming an adult must surely be to believe that we cannot fairly expect others to read our minds.”
  6. Having a healthy relationship with someone deviant of sulking requires “a lot of patiently articulated verbal indications of our desires and intentions.”
  7. “Even in very successful relationships, there’s only a tiny amount that a lover should ever be expected to know about their beloved without it having been explained in language.”

I’m constantly reminded of one of my favorite pieces of advice when it comes to love and relationships which is, “use your words.” Words matter. Share those feels, especially with someone you truly  care about. – Jessica Jacolbe

Being Single Could Now Be Considered A Disability | 10.26.2016

Just when I thought being single would be detriment to my social life and personal well being, it turns out that it could also be considered a disability. The Telegraph reports that the World Health Organization is now classifying anyone without a sexual partner as infertile. “The lack of sexual relationships which could achieve conception, could be considered an equal disability,” Telegraph reports. That’s right: Being single could now be classified as a disability.

This new health standard set by the World Health Organization means medical equality when it comes to who may qualify for IVF treatment. People of any sexual orientation or relationship status will now be considered as high priority as families. In regards to access to alternative methods of reproduction, such as IVF treatment, this hasn’t always been the case. In the past, people who have struggled to conceive not because of medical reasons but because of lack of sexual relationships did not have have access to the public funds that support IVF treatment–that’s now changed.

When it comes to finding a plus one to weddings, being the third wheel at outings, or finding yourself too lonely when Netflix asks if you’re still watching, being single may just seem like an impairment to our egos based on societal standards. It is important to note, however, that the ADA defines a disability as a “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.” The new classification of infertility by the WHO, when it comes to a disability, creates new rights and equality to reproduce, which is a major part of life. Jessica Jacolbe

Woman Caught Boyfriend Cheating Through Pokémon Go | 7.13.2016

As if constantly checking updates wasn’t already a distraction and spoiler of love lives, Pokémon Go now exists. Using the mobile game, one woman discovered that her boyfriend was cheating on her.

Pokémon Go, released on July 5, is a virtual scavenger hunt that allows players to capture creatures (a.k.a pokémon) at various real-life locations. With the game doubling as a social network, every capture is then recorded due to a geolocation feature.

Evan Scribner’s (possibly now ex) girlfriend noticed that he, a Sunnyvale, Queens resident, had caught a pokémon “while at my ex’s house.” When Scribner didn’t have a good excuse as to why he was hunting for pokémon in his ex-girlfriend’s neighborhood, she left and “hasn’t contacted me back since then,” Scribner told the New York Post.

Not all hope is lost, though! Love seems to be budding elsewhere thanks to Pokémon Go. Some players have ended up going on dates while playing the game. “I’ve never met a stranger and felt so connected. It’s like you shared the same childhood,” one man told Wall Street Journal.

Now the question is, has our social lives changed for better or for worse? – Jessica Jacolbe

Restaurants Are Tired Of Your Tinder Dates | 6.20.2016

The hours spent asking introductory questions, including the relentless “why are you still single?” one, are crucial for a relationship, but still tiresome. But, you know who also finds those conversations exhausting? The owners of the restaurant you’re having them at.

The new age of dating has impacted the restaurant industry, and in a negative way. The Washington Post reports that your first date that seems to be going well is really not so great for business. With the advent of online dating, the dating routine has shifted. In the “classic era” of dating, a date may have consisted of a dinner and a movie. Remember that? Since then, it’s turned into a swift right swipe and drinks.

The most important thing you can do during drinks is talk, according to Helen Fisher, a Match advisor and biological anthropologist. This is, however, the worst thing you can do for the restaurant. While you’re busy gazing into each other’s eyes, dissecting what the other person is saying, the bartender is waiting for you to order your next drink or a meal. Restaurants rather you order a meal and then leave, in a reasonable time, to make room for more customers. On Tinder dates though, people seem to keep talking while still on their first beer from happy hour.

Chris McNeal of Bar Dupont has seen every type of Tinder date. He has seen couples stay an hour after closing time. There are the “non-closers” who keep drinking water after they’ve paid the bill. Then there are those who end up making out while other customers can’t help but stare.

Fast Company reports that Tinder generates over 1.3 million dates per week. This impacts the way restaurants work during happy hour and how their layout is designed. Some restaurants have installed more tables for two near the bar to make room for patrons who actually want to eat dinner and rack up a decent bill. Every table is a piece of real estate, so it may be best to pay your rent for the amount of time you plan on staying. –Jessica Jacolbe

A Woman Sends ‘Game of Thrones’ Spoilers To Cheating Ex-Boyfriend | 6.16.2016

Just how cold can revenge be served? If your ex cheated on you, then it’s the perfect time to test the limits. One woman was creative and found one way to get back at her cheating, now ex-boyfriend.

After becoming addicted to Game of Thrones through the suggestion of his ex-girlfriend, Reddit user, Khaleesiscorned, took to the website to find solace and advice for his recent troubles. Here’s what he had to say:

“TL;DR : I cheated on my ex during our relationship and she found out shortly after we broke up. She’s blocked me on everything, but briefly unblocks me every Monday to send me Game Of Thrones spoilers before I can watch. How can I get her to stop?”

The internet, however, felt no sympathy and praised the woman who left him. This tactic belongs in the playbook of a Game of Thrones character. –Jessica Jacolbe

Guys Are Seeking Reimbursement For Dates Via Venmo | 6.14.2016

“Who’s paying?” is an age old question that reaches back into the depths of chivalry, which is a dark past of wage inequality between the sexes. However, in this post-modern dating world, technology has added another operation to the already complicated dating equation.

Last month, the New York Post reported on how “cheap bros” are getting away with not paying for the entire date. The piece interviewed three young women who woke up one morning to find a Venmo payment request for a date from the night before.

It’s a pretty slick move, though of course greatly petty. Hitting “request” on the app and demanding your money doesn’t necessarily require previous communication, which the financial expert in the New York Post advises couples do. Communicating on Venmo has the premise of monetary demand which is not what I’d like to wake up to nor prompt my financial stress.

With chivalry sometimes comes the unwise assumption that in a heterosexual relationship, the guy may be earning more and will therefore pay for the date. As Alexandra Schwartz suggests in The New Yorker, the reason that a guy may seek reimbursement for a date is because he didn’t get his money’s worth.

Beginning my day by finding out a guy wants a reimbursement for last night’s date would only make me question if last night was a date or not. Who would’ve thought that thinking so would make me “old fashion.” –Jessica Jacolbe