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Posted on October 1, 2019

Tinder VS Nurture: has online dating exposed human nature?

Dating

Throughout my years of attempting to navigate the bewildering world of modern romance, I’ve had many aversions towards online dating and widely used apps such as Tinder and Plenty of Fish.

Without delving straight into it or coming across as deeply judgmental, I will simply say that for the good part of the first few years Tinder surfaced into today’s dating world, I was under the impression that they were reserved for singletons who had a hard time managing to secure dates in real life – to be perfectly fair, I have no doubt in my mind that many of us shared a similar sentiment at one point or another.

It is not untrue that the growing popularity of Tinder and online dating has positively impacted the calendars of not only the socially awkward types who could never work up the courage to ask someone out on a date face-to-face. But also the calendars of individuals who simply do not have the time to meet a potential partner in ‘traditional’ ways.

Even with that in mind, I can’t help but wonder if the pros of helping those who might just have an overwhelming fear of facing rejection could possibly outweigh the cons of replacing the instant chemistry, emotional connection and sexual tension that could only be detected in the presence of a human being towards whom we have an attraction for.

I recently had an epiphany about modern relationships which made me question a lot of my views surrounding them. It came about because I recognised that I was gradually turning into a cynic about love, sex and relationships. As someone who has always had a very positive – and possibly even naive outlook – on everything that falls within the scope of love and dating (we were all Charlotte Yorks at some stage in life), I found it disheartening to see myself develop an attitude that is the antithesis of what I’ve always stood for.

This forced me to look deeper into common behaviours within modern dating and recurring patterns that I’ve been seen both in myself and the failed relationships of others. It made me question the dreadful future a lot of singletons of today and Tinder users may be heading towards.

It forced me to question whether the existence of Tinder and online dating and the increased accessibility we have to each other is a large part of the reason why men and women alike are less attracted to the idea of settling down and are instead moving more towards being sexually liberated about whom we explore our carnal desires with.

Did the burning desire to freely explore our sexual choices always exist within us and are dating apps simply revealing what we’ve always subconsciously wanted or can we hold online dating at all accountable for the fact that less and less millennials are getting married?

tinder or marriage

It’s a loaded question that has many layers, not only because there are other factors that need to be taken into consideration, but particularly because it brings in the conversation of monogamy and its biological implications. It suggests monogamy is simply a social construct that goes against human nature – an argument for which there is a lot of evidence, but a discussion for another day.

The topic at hand is the classic ‘egg or the chicken’ debate. Did the desire to be sexually free birth a large number of dating apps or did the large number of dating apps birth a generation in which the the average age of brides and grooms continue to rise?

Before we can attempt to look at this objectively, we need to look at the facts. The internet was only made widely accessible about three decades ago. In retrospect, that isn’t a very long time to fully understand or even attempt to grasp the full repercussions of having such an advanced technology be so readily available. One of the first popular dating sites came about nearly 25 years ago, and following the likes of Ashley Madison and Seeking Arrangement, it led to a lot of negative connotations.

To the contrary, the first marriage records date back to the 19th Century in Ireland and much earlier in the U.S. So how can we truly know the impact of online dating on the human psyche and the evolution of marriage? Thy say social media addiction activates the same areas of the brain as taking a class A drug, now that alone should be enough to startle us.

According to the Central Statistics Office, there were 20, 389 opposite sex marriages in Ireland in 2018, a drop from 21,262 recorded from the previous year. The average age of brides and grooms last year were 34.4 years and 36.4 years respectively.

Granted, there are a considerable number of reasons for this and I am in no way shape or form suggesting that online dating alone is the reason why the average age of grooms in opposite-sex marriage was at the highest to date last year. But it does make you question what role dating technology currently plays and the impact it will continue to have in coming years. After all, for those who do get hitched, one in four couples end up going their separate way.

Now that’s something to think about.

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Posted on April 23, 2019

Dating women in their 20s VS dating women in their 30s

Dating

Yes, you read that correctly and no, I haven’t started swimming in a new dating pool…

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I guess I should address the second burning question some of you might have: what brings such an intriguing debate to a blog that typically explores topics surrounding dating and relationships from the perspective of a black female from a small town on the Emerald Isle?

The answer is pretty simple.

In my days of interrogating men of varying backgrounds and interests (as you do) there was something startling about their views that I took notice of fairly quickly. The majority of men I would have had heated discussions with about the dynamics of male/female relationships all shared a common denominator: a staggering number of them had similar sentiments about dating women of a certain generation.

Years ago, this topic would have not peaked my interest in the slightest. But now that I am gradually moving into a new age bracket, I’ve naturally developed a growing curiosity towards it. But rather than discussing the development of my dating life throughout my twenties, I thought the best way to tackle this would be to get an honest opinion from someone whom I have often turned to for genuine dating advice.

Without further ado, here is an anonymous blog contribution from a 30-something year old Irish male who will share his thoughts on the matter 🙂

So I have been asked to write down some of my thoughts on dating and my observations on the scene. I myself am no shining example of a human but I would stick myself somewhere in the middle of that list. 

On to the topic at hand, the first thing is finding a woman to date: do you do it old school and analogue or digital? Nowadays we are spoiled with options.Trying to get a date growing up was scary as hell but also fun. You could walk up to a girl and start talking, be polite or maybe a bit cheeky, whichever works and then ask for her number. You would try your best not to sweat, panic or mumble while she more than often was actually quite sound and understanding. Regardless of whether or not they were interested, they respected the effort. 

Well that’s all in the past and as we all know digital communication has taken over everything, and now single again in my mid-thirties I was left with the challenge of getting to know this new form of interaction. Tinder seemed like the most logical starting point so I set about doing my research into how it works to get myself off on the right foot.  

As most of you know …

The first option beyond which gender you would like to match with is age, which is exactly what is being discussed in this blog. So what are the differences between dating women of varying ages from the point of view of a 35-year-old man. After a number of dates with “women” (girls) in their mid-twenties I learned something awesome. I experienced something of what it would be like to be an old rich guy who got a divorce and now has his new trophy girlfriend. I was literally able to have map out holidays, redecorated the front room, plan out the next day in work all in my head while also keeping up with the conversation at hand. Needless to say, the idea of banter did not exist. For me this is a must.

The next age range was roughly 27 to 32. But I will skip this one for now and focus on 32 plus. 

What can I say, sophisticated, witty, well-dressed are just some of the observations any man with a half an eye could make. The sad truth is that I noticed there was a desperation to the dates. Sometimes it came across as knowing what they want, but often I had the impression that they were like that guy in the night club at half two in the morning just trying to chat everyone up because he’s panicking at the idea of going home alone again. I get it, I have been to too many weddings over the last couple of years and they are like the bouncer of our lives telling us to drink up and go home, and most likely alone if it is that late. 

I think these were the first generation of women who truly had close to the opportunities men had and along with this were also sold a lie. 

Like everyone in the 80’s/90’s was sold the lie that if you got a degree you could do anything. Women of the same age were told they can have it all. Has anyone had it all? With the ever-increasing acceptance of social behaviours and career opportunities I think some of this generation thought they could simply focus on career and then pick up a man once they had achieved what they wanted. Now with the unfair situation of the ticking biological clock the pressure is on and how can a healthy relationship develop in this constraint while also trying to hold down a career and figure out a mortgage.

So (my favourite word and greatest indicator of my lack of intellect), to the remaining group…

I could focus on the positives of which there are many or I could focus on the negatives. But the truth of the matter is it is not the difference in age, it’s the difference in narrative that they were sold. I found this generation to be fully aware of the impossible challenge of having it all. They understood that finding an acceptable partner to try and make a life with is not a past time but a job in itself and every jobs require sacrifices. Unlike the generation before them they knew what they wanted and how to get it. Surely this is the narrative that should be sold, to men included, you cannot have it all but if you are lucky, work hard, choose wisely maybe you can get what is important to you.

Until next time,

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Posted on January 11, 2018

7 simple ways to be more body positive

Confidence

It’s nearly mid-January and I’m only getting around to writing my first blog post of 2018. Shame on me is what I would normally say to that. But since this blog post is all about promoting positivity, I’m going to refrain from the usual self-bashing and instead, embrace the fact that I’m finally getting around to writing my first blog post of 2018! 🙂

The reason why I’ve decided to touch on the subject of positive body image is because a lot of people tend to be a bit  conscious of their body around this time of year. The excess drinking and eating that can come from the holiday season eventually takes its toll on our bodies and these changes can affect our self-esteem.

It also doesn’t help that we live in a technology driven world that is relentlessly feeding us with flawless images that don’t depict reality. It is easier now than ever before to develop a dysphoria around your image and feel disconnected with your body because of all these ‘ideals’ created by society.

I am no stranger to this at all. But for some reason, I have fallen in love with the normally dreaded changes that my body undergoes over the Christmas period. I have come to realise that the healthy habits that I have been practicing over the past couple of months have helped foster positive body image in myself and I now love parts about my body that I disliked before.

While the journey through self-acceptance and having positive body image varies from person to person, the end goal is usually the same. The tips that I plan to share with you today will likely not work over night, but if you stick them out you will eventually see changes in how you view your body!

So without further ado, here are 7 simple ways you can be more body positive 🙂

1. Don’t forget that food is fuel

A lot of the time, I think having a positive body image starts from having a healthy relationship with food. All too often, people forget that the foods we consume have a functional purpose for our bodies. Food should not be a  punishment, nor should it be a reward. It is the fuel necessary to help us function on a day-to-day basis. The sooner we realise that the quicker we will be on our way to having a healthy relationship with the foods we consume and how they make us feel about ourselves.

 2. Have some fun with exercise

The image driven society that we are currently living in can pressure women and men alike to unnecessarily hit the gym several times a week. I will admit that there was a time when I was an unhealthy avid gym goer. My reasons for going to the gym were seldom driven by desire, instead I felt that I had to go. Exercise should never feel like a chore and if it does, you need to stop immediately and find a form of exercise that you enjoy.  Ever since I discovered TRX, I’ve found myself going to the gym less excessively. I now go when I can and because it is enjoyable, not because I feel I have to.

3. Adjust your thinking, wording & phrasing

The words you use to describe yourself play a huge role in how you ultimately feel. That’s why one of the ways to promote positive body image involve adjusting the way you speak and think. For instance, instead of saying ‘I am fat,’ use the words ‘I have fat,’ because you do and you’re supposed to. Among many things, fat provides the body with insulation to prevent heat loss. So instead of punishing yourself for having something it’s supposed to have, adjust your thinking – embrace it, squeeze it, kiss it and then thank your body for doing what it’s doing! 🙂

4. Take your focus away from your flaws 

Listening to our inner critic is easy. Nit-picking, self-doubt and fixating on our flaws is something most of us can probably do in our sleep. As we’ve already established, negative words and thoughts have a huge impact on how we view ourselves. Instead of focusing on your shortcomings, direct your attention towards the things you do like about your body and think about why. For example I like my love handles because they make me more squeezeable and fun to hug – you see? you can easily turn a negative to a positive! 🙂

5. Stay off the ‘gram!

 

Staying off Instagram is probably one of the best things you can do for restoring positive body image. The diet culture promoted on IG is unrealistic and in a lot of cases, incredibly damaging.  While it is no secret that the image focused app is flooded with false expectations of what the ‘perfect’ ass, legs and overall beach body should look like, viewing these images still plant a seed in your mind. The more time you spend endlessly scrolling through these types of images, the more Instagram feeds them to you and you end up developing a complex you shouldn’t have. If you’re serious about having positive body image, take a break from the ‘gram.

6. Protect your energy 

Much like the foods we consume have an effect on us physiologically, the things and people who consume our energy can affect us psychologically. Your energy is as valuable to your body image as the foods that you consume. Always protect your energy and be aware of the people you surround yourself with.

7. Remember you are loved regardless of your looks

If anything at all, remember that your friends and family love you just as you are. Their love for you is not contingent on the number you see on a scale. Whether you’re curvy, skinny, tall or short, they love you regardless. It is clear from looking at the different body shapes and sizes around you that beauty does not fit into one mould. Diversity should be celebrated and not crtiticised.

If you have a any tips for promoting positive body image then I would love to hear from you! Feel free to tweet me @FilomenaKaguako 🙂

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Posted on October 5, 2017

12 things my 40-year-old self would tell me now

Uncovered

They say hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I reckon foresight is even more useful

Farrah Storr, Editor-in-Chief, Cosmopolitan

A little over a year ago I wrote a blog called 12 things I would tell my 20-year-old self. If you haven’t read it yet, please know that I was an absolute brat back then. Part of me cringes at the thought of it now because I feel that I’ve  come such a long way to being the woman I am today and I think it is important for each of us to look back and remind ourselves of our progress and the ways in which our past experiences have helped us grow into the strong individuals we’ve become.

While I do feel that I have matured in the last seven years, I believe there is always room for improvement and as much as I’ve enjoyed my life to date, something in me is telling me that some of my best days are yet to come.

So today’s blog post is going to be about the things that I hope an older and wiser me – either reflecting on a rocking chair in a nursing home or exchanging kisses with a loving husband – would tell me now.

1. You will be someone’s queen the second you stop being daddy’s little princess.

2. Don’t let your pride get in the way of your friendships, you need people more than you think.

3. Every flaw on your body tells a story  and you will grow to love them sooner than you think.

4. Positive affirmations will get you there quicker.

5. Some day you’ll lose the anxiety of not carrying a mirror with you everywhere you go. 

6. You never grew those ‘child-bearing’ hips you’ve always longed for, but it didn’t make you infertile, did it?

7. Your small frame doesn’t make you any less of a woman. Women’s bodies come in many different forms and sizes. 

8. PCOS won’t defne you.

9. You will let someone love you someday and that person will add to your happiness.

10. Allowing yourself to feel angry from time to time doesn’t make you that ‘angry black woman,’ never conceal those feelings.

11. Good on you for not following the crowd, even when the pressure was on. You stayed at home, you followed your dreams and look how much it’s paid off?

12. Dick isn’t everything. 

Are there any things you hope an older and wiser you would advise you on now? If so, feel free to tweet me @FilomenaKaguako 🙂

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Posted on November 17, 2014

10 signs you’re a hopeless romantic

Dating

 audrey

I’ve often been told that I’m a hopeless romantic. Although I don’t think I’m one, I do have a fair idea of why someone might call me that. For starters, I am a bit of dreamer: whether it’s to do with my career or my relationships, my mind often wanders to places where most people’s minds don’t.

Secondly, I find it hard to let go. Now, I don’t mean that in the psycho ex kind of way. What I mean by that is I am someone who is very keen (to put it nicely) on getting to the bottom of things and I usually don’t rest until I do.

Lastly, I expect people to go out of their way for me – I know, this is starting to sound bad. But hear me out before you judge: the only reason I would expect that from anyone is because I’d be willing to do the same for them – see, I’m not that crazy after all! 🙂

So in a way, I understand why someone would translate those things into me being a hopeless romantic – even though I disagree – there could be some truth in it. I guess it all comes down to what you actually define as a ‘hopeless romantic.’

tit1

Is it someone who is simply in love with the idea of being in love? (definitely not me) or someone who’s always open-minded about the next relationship even though the previous one went disastrously? (again, not me!)

I think it goes a lot deeper than that.  For me, it is a combination of different attitudes and  behaviours  that make someone a hopeless romantic, not just one or two things.

And if you tick more than just a few of these boxes, then you’re probably not far off from being one yourself:

1. You expect grand gestures: After a fight, you expect to see the words ‘I’m sorry’ written in the sky (but a bouquet of flowers followed by a beautifully wrapped gift as an apology is a close second).

2. You compare your relationship to Allie and Noah: For some reason, you think your love life is comparable to the bickering love birds in The Notebook.

noah

3. You’re in love with the idea of being in love: You admire teens who think they’re in love, you reminisce on the days when YOU were in love and you just adore couples who have been together for years.

4. You strongly believe that PDA: In your eyes, it isn’t official until you’ve practiced PDA regularly.

5. There isn’t a single romcom you haven’t watched: Your capacity for watching romantic comedies is beyond human, can you even think of a romcom you haven’t seen?

6. You think the Eiffel tower and Big Ben make a perfect couple: The more you think of it, the more it makes sense – right?

paris

7. You fantasise about being in a long term relationship with your crush: Sometimes you get more joy in daydreaming about being with your crush than actually spending time in your waking life – sad, but true.

8. You know every single word to ‘I will always love you’ – backwards: This is pretty much says it all.

9. You believe in ‘The One’: Although there is no evidence of it in the present, you feel strangely positive about you and your friends ending up with that perfect somebody.

10. More thought has gone into your wedding day than your career: At this stage, you probably won’t even need a wedding planner for your big day. You’ve been dreaming about being a blushing bride since the day you could pick out your favourite dress.

Have you ever been called a hopeless romantic? If so, I’d love to hear why! 🙂

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Posted on September 2, 2014

12 mistakes women make with men

Dating

mistakes women make with men

After giving it plenty of time and consideration, I’ve decided to finally unleash my inner Carrie Bradshaw. She wasn’t exactly an expert when it came to men and frankly, neither am I.

However, I do have some very interesting stories that pretty much go from one extreme to another  – that’s putting it lightly.

Also, after hearing stories from female friends as well as other women, I think it’s fair to say we’ve all made one or two of these mistakes at least once in our lives of being ‘young and naive.’

1. Confusing sex with love
Most of the time, sex is sex – nothing more, nothing less.

2. Getting too attached
Being invited over should never EVER translate to leaving your toothbrush at his – even if you did stay the night.

3. Overanalysing
The thinking: the constant and endless thinking that’s enough to put us in a straight jacket. Maybe, just maybe, the words ‘okay then,’ really just mean ‘okay then’.

12 mistakes women make with men 3

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4. Not making them work for it
Don’t just give it to any Tom, Dick or Harry who comes along, make them work for it – make them earn what they want.

5. Making them work too hard
The opposite applies too. Push them too far off the edge and they just might stay there! I guess the key here is just to find the right balance (let me know when you’ve found it!)

6. Opening up too soon
This pretty much sends them running to the hills. No poems, no love letters, no confessions – just don’t do it.

7. Putting them up on a pedestal
No good can ever come of putting your man, lover or crush up on a pedestal.

8. Emasculating them
I’m all for girl power and the whole women rule the world jazz, but let’s be honest; men like to set the pace. Sometimes, leaving the ball in their court will show you whether or not he’s really interested.

12 mistakes women make with men 2

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9. Expecting them to change
Change comes from within so don’t hold your breath if you think he’s going to give up one of his ‘bad habits’ before he’s ready. We think they’re going to change and they think we won’t – what a beautiful world we live in!

10. Becoming someone else
Women who change themselves for men are only setting themselves out for disappointment. Especially since the truth always comes out in the end.

11. Being too available
Nobody wants an eager beaver; it’s never a good look either on a woman or a man for that matter.

12. Expecting too much
At this stage, I’ve realised that sometimes it’s better to just count the blessings that are already there than to complain about the things that aren’t!

So there you have it, 12 mistakes women make with men straight from the horses mouth ( I kid!) but I can’t say I’m not guilty here! Feel free to share any thoughts you might have down below 🙂

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