Beliefnet
Make Your Relationship Work

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Contrary to what most women think, men are capable of expressing affection towards one another.  We just don’t express affection the way women do. Which is to say, we don’t blubber and squeal and embrace like a pair of zombie Care Bears turning on one another. Men don’t giggle and shriek “Ommagaw yurrr mai bestust freng eversies!” We’re more reserved. Men don’t parade their feelings. Our hearts are not lawn sprinklers. So don’t judge bros because they aren’t as open with each other as you are with your girlfriends. Men don’t do ostentatious displays of emotion. Women could learn a thing or two from the men and their lives, and turn down the volume.

In fact, men have various ways of showing each other their manly devotion. We share our beer. The same goes for any snacks that come in bags or can be served in bowls. This might seem like basic politeness, but it is a subtle form of personal fondness dating back to the cavemen. Ancient man use to bond by sharing their prized toenails with one another, which is why Frito corn chips are shaped the way they are. That is a totally true statement of Scientific Fact™. In order to preserve the integrity of the man tribe, ancient man invented other ways of reinforcing friendly relationships. Farting, whooping, and an early version of the wave anthropologists call “sitting and standing, then sitting again and standing” were all ways cavemen communicated that they were all cavebros.

Another way that men show affection for one another is the game “two for flinching,” where one dude fake lunges at another dude, and if that dude “flinches,” he is subjected to a punch in the arm. This game was invented during Biblical times by Cain and Abel, who were Atlantean velociraptor ranchers. Legend has it that it was because of a game of “two for flinching” that Cain went OJ Simpson on his brother. Which is why, to this day, when one bro punches another bro in the arm, enough force should be applied to inflict pain, but not leave a bruise. Or, at least, a giant, purple-gray bruise.

Men also hug. That’s true. I’m man enough to admit I have hugged my male friends. But it’s not a hug in the way that women think of a hug. Men are misers with their hugs, and women are spendthrifts. And from what I can tell, women know only one way to hug -with all their heart. Men, on the other hand, have varying tiers of hug. It should be noted that when men hug, their tummies should never touch. That’s just a basic rule.

First and foremost, there’s the “arm around the shoulder” hug, a basic hug reserved for new friends, and drinking buddies. In regards to the latter, it’s a hug that also has a functional purpose, which is to stand up right when drunk. Most male hugs are either hugs of greeting or farewell. Hugs of greeting are shorter than hugs of farewell, which I call “Viking Hugs.” In both cases, the hugs are punctuated with no more than three backslaps. These backslaps are required when greeting a fellow pal, because they also have a function – making sure the other guy isn’t armed. It’s a ritualistic frisking that dates back to more barbaric times when a friend could turn into a foe after one too many skull goblets full of mead.

There is the more casual man hug known as the “gangster” hug. These hugs begin as a handshake that turn into a half-hug and backslap with the one hand that isn’t being clasped. These hugs are reserved for good friends who don’t always pay off their debts. The “gangster” hug can also be used to seal a deal. The “apology hug” is yet another way men hug. This variation on the theme starts off with both men throwing their arms open, which is probably another ancient way of showing no one is armed. Then the two men briefly hug, and administer two backslaps. Only two. This hug settles an argument or dispute, and is usually performed in front of other dudes.

None of the hugs mentioned above should last more than two to three seconds tops. If two men hug for more than that, it means one of three things. One, they’re dating. But that’s a romantic hug, and not really a “man hug.” Gay men can man hug, but the above rules still apply, give or take a few seconds. Two, they’re brothers. Brothers can hug each other for longer. Men who are shipping off to combat can hug anyone for as long as they want. Veterans can hug other veterans for as long as they want as well.

I hope I’ve cleared up any stereotypes that men are unfeeling golems made out of hamburger meat. Men are capable of being affectionate with one another, in their own way.

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There comes a point in every relationship when two people become so infatuated and comfortable with each other that they must screw it all up…this point is better known as “Meeting The Parents” (or marriage). Meeting your SO’s parents (Significant Other: for those who haven’t caught on to the acronym craze of the 21st century)  is such a common and awkward experience that not only was a movie  made about it (Meet The Parents), but it became an instant classic and even had a sequel (Meet the Fockers).  So considering that we all must face this terrible bump in the road at some point, we’ve decided to provide you the golden list of no-no’s  for meeting your girlfriend’s parents…

No-No #5: DO NOT become best friends with Jim Beam

Nothing can make a worse impression than whiskey on your breath and a stumble in your step. First, Mom and Dad can probably drink you under the table. So, don’t try to impress them with your tank-like drinking skills because unfortunately, they won’t be impressed. They’ll only think you’re a mumbling, belligerent moron who they cannot get away from their daughter fast enough. And you’ll smell bad because no amount of AXE body spray can cover the stench of belligerence. So don’t do it. It smells bad and tastes worse – ask your girlfriend if you don’t believe me.

No-No #4: Belch the ABC’s

Your best buds might think that’s awesome while sitting around the TV watching Monday Night Football. Her parents? Not so much. They want to hear about the positive and respectable aspects of your life – your hopes and your dreams. Perhaps they want to hear about your family. But what I can absolutely assure you is that they don’t want to smell the aroma of your Mexican flavored lunch in their faces as you burp your way through digestion.

No-No #3: Order the filet mignon

One word: rude. No matter how wealthy, generous or eccentric her parents are, they WILL notice if you order the most expensive thing on the menu. Not only will they notice but they will bring it up to their daughter who will in turn bring it up to you. So, in order to avoid the convoluted drama, avoid the $$$$ meal. For one night you can suffer with…God forbid…the chicken.

No-No #2: “Babe, remember when we were in bed and you…”

Stop. Right. There. Her parents do not want to hear about their daughter’s skills in between the sheets. And they don’t want to hear about yours either. Your sex life with their daughter is none of their business. No matter how cool her parent’s seem to be – there are no parents “cool” enough to wow over their daughters flexibility and creativity in the sack.

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No-No #1: Hitting on Mom…

…No matter how hot or cougar-ish she is. This is the easiest way to make Dad hate you immediately. This is also the easiest way to get broken up with. So, unless you want out (or your girlfriend is Rumer Willis because, lets face it, Demi is hot), stay away from your girlfriend’s Mom. Who ever tells you that hooking up with Mom-aged woman is acceptable is lying to you. They are in denial. It’s not cool and don’t let anyone tell you that it is. Trust me, you’re girlfriend will agree.

Are you waking up excited? Do you look forward to the task at hand? If so then congratulations, you are following your passion and you are better off than 90% of people who works at a soul-sucking job.

If you’re not waking up excited, and you do work at a soul-sucking job, then don’t fret.

There is a solution.

First realize that if you are not doing something you feel excited about, then no one is telling you to keep doing it. You have the right to say no and find something else you want to pursue.

Realize that it’s okay to say no.

But before you make that decision you need to make it with a good conscience. Are you making this decision solely because you wholeheartedly do not feel passionate about it?

Loads of people are passionate about what they do, but they just let their own small mindedness or laziness kill the drive to pursue it any further. You do not want to become a part of that crowd. You want to give it all for your something you really want.

Don’t just give up on working out and your dream physique, just because things get a little tough. Realize anything worth getting won’t be easy. So if you can truly tell yourself that you are not quitting because of laziness nor lack of motivation, then you are good.

Most people think that working is a chore. It’s a means to an end and you’ll get your reward in the future.

It doesn’t have to be like that.

We tend to turn the joy of physical exercise where we freely express our bodies, into a series of checklist and strict planning, while breaking a sweat on metal bars and high-tech rat wheels.

We turn the expressions of words and forming of meaningful pieces, into yet another generic article set for a deadline date.

We forget the joy of walking outside on a wonderful sunny day, and turn it into another time-consuming chore for daily groceries.

When is the last time you did something and felt the excitement? You just wanted to get started; get your head down and grind. No fulfillment. No restrictive task. No manuscript to follow. Just pure expression in the art.

You see everything is an art nowadays. You’re job. You’re workout. When you’re in the kitchen fixing something up for lunch. However, for the average person, it reaches a point where we replace the pure joy of expressing ourselves through the art with mundane checklist, task and comparisons.

Ever had a moment when you were a kid, you just got a new bike and you just love riding it. You would go anywhere with it. The freedom to roam, the freedom to go anywhere you wanted to. You were in the moment and enjoying it. However one day you see another kid with a cooler bike. You start to compare your bike to his. You pass judgment on it. It’s not as cool. It’s not as fast. It doesn’t have 5 gears. Now you don’t really use the bike to roam around anymore. You use it for your mundane paper routes. You use it because it’s faster to get down to the groceries store with it, then without. You’ve replaced all the initial joy of riding a bike with mundane tasks and judgment.

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Liberation from routines and mundane tasks

After the realization of how my approach affected the things I was pursuing, I had to do a radical change of thought. Before I saw working out as a means to get that killer physique and become strong. While that is still a goal I wish to achieve; I no longer see it as the purpose. The purpose of me hitting the weights is an act of expression. Is the act of moving my body with joy and creativity.

Does that mean I don’t have a workout plan and just, wing it?

No.

I do have a workout plan (A 3-day-split to be precise) but I do not let myself get bounded to it. I switch exercises frequently so it doesn’t get boring. I stick to exercises I love doing. I don’t judge myself when I didn’t lift as much as I could the other day. I don’t compare my physique to the next man. I don’t view working out as mundane task nor a means to get my dream physique, that is just a bonus from the art of expressing ones body.

Tediousness comes from the desire for routines and planning. When we go by our day and know exactly what’s coming at us.

When we allow ourselves to get fixated into routines, our natural excitement dies like a fire without oxygen. To feed our natural excitement we must allow openness. We must allow curiosity to try and discover new things. We must be present and not wander in the past or future. Only the application of these 3 elements can we allow excitement back into our existence.

Fueling our excitement

So now it’s time to embark on bold and exciting adventures, reach terrains which have been untainted for centuries — Not quite.

You see fueling our excitement isn’t just all about doing what’s bold and unexpected. It’s without a doubt a huge part of it. But you must also seek openness, curiousness and being present.

Excitement encapsulates:

  • Standing at the edge.
  • Discovering the unknown.
  • Brand new ideas.
  • Being in the moment.
  • Finding beauty in the unexceptional.
  • Outsourcing what is not your passion.
  • Embracing uncertainty.

When I was going out for a night of fun. I knew that I wanted to meet women. That was the reason for me to take deliberate action to go out. However, once I was out, that was forgotten. I was having fun and expressing myself. I was following the flow of things and enjoying the moment. The whole meeting women part was then subsequently taken cared of.  It was exciting. Know that what you at first seek out for may change during the course. Your original goal is merely a direction and not an end destination. When you go forward you need to frequently adjust your course.

We all start with petty goals. Like I want to be with 100 woman or I want to earn x amount of cash. Don’t avoid petty goals. That is what gets us started in the first place.

But be aware that while going through the process of trying to achieve it, you will gain knowledge. You will change as a person, and so will your direction and how you approach it.

Be in the moment. Be present in the journey and don’t be focused solely on the end goal.

Taking an unknown path is frightening; But in the unknown lies breakthroughs. In breakthroughs lies knowledge. The seek for knowledge is the spark for excitement. Be open to excitement and the random opportunities that will present themselves to you, if you just paid attention.

Excitement is now; not later. You have the choice.

Digest this piece of knowledge. Let it sink in. Then strive to cultivate it and begin to wake up excited. Share your thoughts below.

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While a good handful of relationships end in flames, there’s those that end with a mutual agreement to move on from each other.  In some cases both parties recognize that they don’t belong together and decide they may be better just as friends. This brings up the age old question: After all is said and done, is it possible to still be friends with an ex?  By defining what is and isn’t appropriate, we’re going to try to get you past that awkward stage and into the comfortable friend zone .

DO: Give Yourself Some Space

Out of all of our tips this is the most important “DO”.  It will provide you the strength to follow the rest of the rules.  Upon the initial break-up, don’t try to be chummy right away; it just won’t work.  Every piece of your relationship will be so fresh in your mind that you’ll have a difficult time sitting next to them without giving them a kiss, or trying to hold their hand.  Save yourself the twist of the knife and give yourself time to get over them.  The more time you dedicate to recreating your life post-break up, the more of a chance you’ll have at remaining friends.  Distance yourself, and politely turn down their attempts to see you.   Focus on YOU right now and don’t worry about them!  They’ll still be there when you’re done finding your way.

DON’T: Feel Hurt When They Move On Too

While it’s most likely a bad idea to talk about the new relationship with your ex, don’t be hurt when you find out they’ve started dating somebody else.  Remember that there were good reasons that you two broke up, it was not a spur of the moment decision. Don’t draw conclusions or start a nasty rumor about their new person; keep your opinions to yourself.  If you share the same group of friends, don’t try to alienate them because that will drive away the friendship you’ve been working at.  Suck it up, and take one for the team!  Who knows, you might even like their new interest! (Crazy, I know.)  It seems to work for Bruce Willis and Demi Moore!

DO: Keep Them Posted

Just because you two stopped having sex doesn’t mean that you stopped caring for each other.  In fact,  maintaining a friendship shows that you’re both mature enough to acknowledge the qualities you liked about each other from day one.  When the time is right, hang out with them again!  The best way would most likely be in a group of mutual friends, and then as you get more comfortable with each other in the friend zone you can move on to hanging out alone.  Just be yourself, and remember why you liked them as a person to begin with.  When you have exciting news in your life don’t be afraid to share it with them:  they’ll appreciate that you still value what they have to say.

DON’T: Make A Move

Make sure you never make a move on them.  I repeat: DO. NOT. HIT. ON. THEM! It’s one thing to be friendly, but you don’t want things to fall back into a bitter relationship again. Even if you do get back together the chances of it working out are slim to none.  Never forget that the two of you broke up for a reason, and that reason didn’t just go away because you’re friends again.  Not to mention, the second break-up is usually even messier than the first one and will kill any chance at friendship…if their ever was one.  So do yourself a favor and accept the friendship for what it is…a friendship. There’s other fish in the sea. So grab a pole, some bait, and start fishin’!