Jan 30, 2010

Q & A - I Feel Like the Third Wheel in My Relationship

Q. Dear Alannah,

I have a few problems in my relationship that I'd like to share with you. So I have been with my boyfriend for nearly 3 months, and although that isn't too long, it was like love at first sight. We met at church, and he caught my eye right away. I am his first real girlfriend, and he is my second boyfriend.

Here are my issues:

1) I have trust issues in my current relationship because of my last relationship, which ended badly. My first boyfriend cheated on me with his best friend, who was a girl. Now, with my current boyfriend, I tend to have jealousy issues and have a hard time believing some of the things he says, and this also has to do with the fact that he is a big-time flirt. He also happens to flirt with his best friend, who is also a girl. (You see where this is going, right?) I have a hard time dealing with this, mainly because of what happened with my ex and his friend. I also had a bad first impression of my current boyfriend's friend, mainly because she's overprotective of him, and had told me that if I ever hurt him, she'll hunt me down. When I told him about this, he defended her, even though she was the one who threatened me!

2) He told me that he loved me, and that he has never felt this way before, and even wrote a full page letter to me, telling me he loved me and all of his feelings. As soon as I told him about the issues that were bothering me, though, he said that he was so stupid to tell me that he loved me, and that he doesn't know what love is? Now, he's been acting moody lately, and that's strange because he's usually a carefree guy. He's usually the type to joke around a lot, but lately he's been getting all worked up with everything I say.

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Jan 29, 2010

Food for Thought: Has the Internet Improved Dating Intimacy, or Destroyed It?

You've probably heard this several times before, but today I'll be giving my perspective on it, and that is the effect that the internet has had on dating and intimacy.  Since the internet boom of the late 90's, socializing and connecting with others has never been the same.  In the blink of an eye, you can connect with someone halfway across the world, share thoughts, data, information, and, above all, foster a feeling of intimacy that phones and the pen-pal system of decades past could never do.  You can email, chat, video chat, and more, and with the formation of social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter (and before that, Asian Avenue and Friendster), you could now "hang out" online and talk to all of your friends at once without ever stepping foot out of your bedroom.

One of the biggest changes to dating, however, that the internet brought about was internet dating sites, such as Match.com, True.com, eHarmony.com, and Plentyoffish.com.  This has revolutionized dating and the ways in which people meet potential dates.  No longer were bars and clubs the go-to location to meet a crop of fresh faces you could potentially date (or hook up with) - here was an all-new, untapped pool of seemingly endless possibilities, a way to meet people locally and even internationally, a way to learn (limited) information about someone and "screen" potentials without ever even needing to contact them.  The way we met, got to know, and kept in touch with others would never be the same.

Of course, with this new venue for meeting others, a whole new crop of problems also arose...creeps and pervs quickly found their way online, and fully took advantage of this new medium for subversive purposes.  Deceptive types (male and female) misrepresented themselves online with false/misleading information, false photos, and many more deceptive methods via the internet in order to lure dates.  People now had to use precaution when venturing out into cyberspace.

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Jan 25, 2010

Best Date Spots: New York City

New York, New York!  The Big Apple, Gotham City, the "Capital of the World".  One of the most well-known and influential cities in the world, New York City is the quintessential urban melting pot, with over 170 different spoken languages and a culture and flavor all it's own that makes it unmatched in uniqueness and influence out of all other major U.S. cities.  One of the leading cities in fashion, music, finance, and just about every other major industry, New York is overflowing with places to go and sights to see...the number of things to do and places to visit here are almost too many to count, so this will be the first of a few posts that will cover the Best Date Spots in NYC - expect more in the future!  If you know of some spots that you love in New York and would like to see featured here, let me know, and I may cover it in a future post!

1) Times Square - The most famous few blocks of city street in the world, Times Square is best seen at night, when the numerous large displays, screens, lights and advertisements that span the buildings of the city blocks are lit up and on full display against the night sky.  From restaurants, to shops, to clubs and more, Times Square has it all and is a must-see for anyone visiting New York for the first time.  Great places to see/things to do here include:



a) Broadway - For my first visit to New York, I caught Les Miserables here and loved it.  Whether you and your date are theater buffs or not, catching a show here in this world-famous theater district is an incomparable experience you won't soon forget. The numerous long-running shows on Broadway include Wicked, Chicago, Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera.  Check ahead before visiting NYC to see which shows are currently running and get tickets in advance - new shows sell out very quickly!




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Jan 23, 2010

Q & A - Progression of a Relationship

Q. Dear Alannah,

My girlfriend, Jenny, has been away in China for 6 months for work, and is coming back at the end of this month.  I'm really excited for her to be back, and can't wait!

Everything has been good between us. During the time she was away, we would talk almost every day and spend at least 2 hours a day on the phone or webcam-ing, keeping the long-distance dream alive. Recently, though, I've really started to miss her...this made me wonder, "Did I not miss her before?" That's an issue I've been frustrated with.

Anyhow, here's the big one. When she comes back, what's going to happen with us? Do I love her?  I think I do! I promised myself when my ex-girlfriend cheated on me in my last relationship that I wouldn't fall in love so easily again. But, Jenny is AMAZING! I accidentally told her I loved her a few days ago over the phone...she usually calls me early in the morning and one morning, I was talking to her and sleepily said, "Awww, I love you so much, Jenny..." And she replied, " I love you, too!"

Of course I had wanted to tell her this in a more romantic way - in person - once she had gotten back from overseas, so I was a bit embarrassed.  Anyhow, one of the reasons I had stopped myself from telling her that I loved her and had stopped myself from really committing to her (talking to her about the future and stuff), is because she had never had a boyfriend before, until me...I'm afraid she is going to wonder what else is out there...I'm just afraid of commitment in general!

Do I talk to her about the future and whatever? What do I do? Is it implied that if I have a relationship with her that she wants to get married and all that?

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Jan 20, 2010

When Is Metro TOO Metro?

1) Guyliner.

2) When you take longer to get ready than your girl, and she spends over two hours getting ready.

3) When your pants are so tight, they give Pete Wentz a run for his money.

4) When you freak out because there's no spa service at your hotel, and you're only staying for two days.

5) When you have the salesperson at Neiman's on speed-dial.

6) When your girlfriend and her friends ask you for fashion advice.

7) When your closet is coordinated according to season, designer, and color, and your girlfriend has closet-envy.

8) When you're seriously considering electrolysis to make time every morning for all your "other" grooming needs.

9) When you wouldn't be caught dead in last year's Versace loafers.

10) When the idea of camping or hiking sounds like your idea of hell.

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Jan 18, 2010

Style Files: January '10 Men

For Winter 2010, men's fashion continues to carry on some of the stronger trends from last year, with a fresh update in the form of new colors and more comfortable outerwear trends that transition easily from night-out to casual weekend looks. Personalize your look with accessories (such as a unique piece of jewelry, cuff links or a belt) that will make the look all your own.

1) Suits. Men's suiting trends for Winter 2010 continue to go the way of finer tailoring and classic fabrics and patterns. Besides the fact that men's suiting trends don't change often, this is a strong, flattering style that has staying power and will be around for the next few seasons. Choose either a fitted blazer over jeans for a relaxed, casual look, or a suit with streamlined details for work or play.


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Jan 16, 2010

Q & A - How Do I Tell Her I Love Her?

Q. Dear Alannah,

I've been dating my girlfriend for over 6 months now, and I feel like I'm really starting to fall in love with her. I haven't told her yet, though, because I think she still thinks about her ex from time to time. I want to tell her how I feel (that I love her), but don't know if I should yet. Is it too soon, and could I scare her off? What do you think I should do?

Sincerely,

Dan

A. Dear Dan,

Is your main concern here whether or not your girlfriend still has feelings for her ex-boyfriend, that she won't say "I love you" back if you say it, or both? You can never really predict how someone will react once you tell them the "L" word, but that's no reason to stop you from saying it. You only live once, so, (at the risk of sounding like a hopeless romantic) why not take the chance to tell someone while you still can?

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Jan 13, 2010

Q & A - No More Man-Whore?

Q. Dear Alannah,

I just recently started dating a guy, and he has a past as being a bit of a man-whore. He knows I'm not the type of girl who gets around, and I wonder if he can actually change from his former ways and have a real relationship, or will just end up getting bored. I'm a virgin, and although I'm not waiting for marriage to have sex, I'm not willing to just "give it up for nothing" if I know this relationship will be short-lived. (I am 26, which I know is a bit old for being a virgin, but I'm not a prude; it just hasn't worked out in the past with other guys I've dated.) The furthest I've gone sexually is really only to second base. My question is, could a relationship with a more experienced guy actually work out? (He's 30 years old, by the way.)

Sincerely,

Lisa

A. Dear Lisa,

It could work out; nothing's impossible, and people can definitely change. However, there are a few things you'll definitely need to take into consideration first. For instance, how long ago was this guy's "player" past? Has he ever had a long-term relationship? If yes, how long ago was it and how long was the relationship? If most of his "long-term" relationships last no longer than 2-3 months and his player past was pretty recent, I'd say to be extra careful with this guy; he may not have gotten his "wild oats" stage out of his system just yet (if he ever does for sure), sorry to say. However, if it has been awhile since his player days and he says that that's behind him (and he has at least 1 or 2 relationships that have lasted longer than a year), he may just be commitment-worthy.

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Jan 11, 2010

Style Files: January '10 Women

With temperatures officially freezing outside, bundling up in proper winter weather gear is a must when walking out the door. Luckily, with the New Year comes lots of sexy new styles that'll both keep you warm and keep heads turning in the months ahead! ;)

1) Outerwear. For outerwear, the "snow bunny" look is back in full swing, with many extremely comfortable looks taking the forefront this season that'll keep you warm and smokin' hot as temperatures drop outside!

a) Shaggy coats and jackets. One part rocker chic and one part bohemian, the shaggy coats and jackets popular this season scream "sexy" and "sassy", and are effortless to wear. Whether paired with your 9-to-5 work ensemble or weekend outfit, this piece easily adds sexy flair to any outfit.



Eva Herzigova in a shaggy feather coat.



Shaggy coats by various designers.

b) Fur. Fun and decadent, the resurgence of fur this season in women's fashion has brought many variations of the centuries-old outerwear, in short, long, cropped, dyed, and belted varieties that keep the look fresh. If you're against wearing the real thing, faux fur is also widely available in just as many variations, and looks great over just about everything.



Fur on the runways at Lanvin, Roberto Cavalli, and Marni.



Juicy Couture Faux Fur Jacket with Bracelet Sleeves, $398 at shopbop.com

c) Blanket coats. The ultimate in comfort, blanket coats are the perfect solution for those who won't forgo comfort in the name of fashion, yet don't want to give up their stylish edge, either. Infinitely more flattering than a Snuggie yet almost just as comfortable, blanket coats keep you warm and stylish this season, in the perfect hybrid between blanket and outerwear.



Blanket coats on the runways at Comme des Garçons, Kenzo & Chloé.

2) Leather clothing. Once conjuring up images of dominatrixes in whips, chains, and S&M gear, leather clothing has now hit mainstream fashion, but has lost none of the edge. Pair some leather pants with a sequined top when hitting the clubs, or a leather dress for your Friday night date outfit for the right mix of edge and sex appeal.





Heather Marks in various leather looks in Spanish Vogue.




Forever 21 Faux Leather Vest, $27.80 at Forever 21

3) "The Female Dandy". For 2010, expect to see a resurgence in the menswear trends of seasons past, with pantsuits and tailored suiting trends re-entering women's fashion. Although originating from menswear, this look is definitely feminine, with tailored cuts that accentuate the female body and draw attention to those feminine curves.

To get this look, look for two-piece suits with pants or skirts, high collars, ruffle or bow blouses, waist coats, tailored vests, frock coats, tail coats, and other suiting pieces with a definitive British influence. It's the perfect blend of sass and sophistication that will last way on into the new year!







Menswear-inspired looks on the runway at Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2010.



bebe Portfolio Collection Short Sleeved Jacket, $129 at bebe

4) Over-the-knee/thigh-high boots. One of the best and most daring trends in footwear this season, over-the-knee and thigh-high boots push the limits of propriety with a look that can't be ignored. Simple in design yet infinitely sexy, over-the-knee and thigh-high boots work well with many looks, and take your outfit from ho-hum to sexy vamp in seconds!



Steve Madden "Xenonn" Over the Knee Boot, $149.95 at Nordstrom

5) Hair trends. 2010 brings a plethora of sexy new hair styles that flatter most and are easy to attain. With all of the different looks the New Year ushers in, there's sure to be something for everyone.

a) Braids. 2009 was all about the braids, and this year, this trend continues with a slight twist - the plaits that were so popular this past year return this season with long side braids showing up on the locks of fashionistas everywhere. This low-key, low-maintenance trend is loosely plaited on the side, and shows off one of your sexiest body parts, the nape of your neck.





Side-braided looks backstage at Alexander Wang Spring 2010

b) Long, straight hair inspired by the '70's. Natural and flattering, this look is retro and sophisticated all at once. Try it with either a center or side part, and leave the ends slightly curly/wavy for the best effect.



c) Wavy hair inspired by the 40's. This is a very classic look, and is a throwback to the "Dick Tracy" era of dames and pin-ups. It's a classy, confident, and sexy look that has "bombshell" written all over it. The waves should be firm, but not curly, worn with an off-center or side-part (not a center part), and paired with classic make-up and styling for the best effect.



Milla Jovovich in gorgeous '40's inspired waves.

Sources:

- fashionising.com
- style.com
- millionlooks.com

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Jan 8, 2010

Q & A - Is It Normal To Fantasize About Other Girls?

Q. Dear Alannah,

So, here's the problem...I've been with my girlfriend for almost three years. We live together, so we see each other practically every day. Things have gotten pretty dull with us, but I still love her regardless. Lately, though, I can't help fantasizing and thinking about other girls...it's not that I want to cheat or anything. I haven't and won't (I hope). It seems we've been lacking excitement in our relationship, though, and thinking about such things is exciting and makes me curious.

Is this normal, and how do I get rid of this?

Sincerely,

Not a Cheater

A. Dear Non-Cheater,

The first thing you need to realize is that fantasizing about other people occasionally is normal in a relationship - even happy couples can fantasize now and then, especially if the relationship is long-term. The thing that distinguishes "normal" from "out of the ordinary" is if you are considering acting on these fantasies, and if they are getting in the way of your intimacy with your girlfriend. Do you feel you would rather fantasize about other people than actually be with your girlfriend intimately? If so, you may have a problem. You would need to reassess whether or not you are truly happy in this relationship, or are just staying out of comfort or convenience.

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Jan 6, 2010

For the Ladies: How to Improve Your Relationship Skills (Part II)

In my previous post, I mentioned for the gals some tips on how to improve your relationship skills. Today, I'll be continuing my post with more tips on how to improve your relationship skills and increase your desirability as an awesome catch!

4) Assertiveness. Don't be afraid to put your foot down. Just like how guys complain that women only go for the bad boys, many women also complain that men only go for the bitchy girls. Looks aside, it's oftentimes the "I won't put up with any bullsh-t" attitude that attracts men to these women, not the selfish, demanding behavior; they know what they will and will not put up with, and aren't afraid to let the guy they're dating know it.

You don't have to go to the extreme of turning into a "bitch" in order to get the same results, either; being a nice person does not mean you need to let someone walk all over you. If he steps out of line, call him out; no matter if it's in a romantic relationship, or any other kind of relationship, people will respect you more when you set your boundaries. Ways to assert yourself when dating someone include:

a) Hold him to his promises. It's best to establish this early on in a relationship, because it's easier to prevent bad behavior than it is to rectify it. (I'm not saying it's not possible to "reverse" bad behavior in an established, long-term relationship, but, if possible, use these tips from the beginning so that the guy you're dating knows what your expectations are, and there won't be any confusion.)

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Jan 4, 2010

For the Ladies: How to Improve Your Relationship Skills (Part I)

For New Year's, resolutions for self-improvement are usually one of the first things on everyone's minds. For many, finding love (or improving the relationship you already have) may be at the top of the list. Of course, before finding Mr./Ms. Right, you should first improve yourself to be the best possible catch you can be in order reel in your ideal mate.

For the gals, in the New Year, why not add some goals to your list that will help improve your relationship skills and increase your desirability as an awesome catch? Whether you're single or already attached, working on your relationship skills benefits both current and future relationships. Use the tips below to help further develop your skills and improve on a current, established bond, or prepare for one that may be right around the corner - you never know what changes the New Year will bring ;)

[Note: The tips below are for romantic relationships, but the majority could be applied to other types of relationships, as well.]

1) Communication. Communication is one of the most important parts of any relationship; developing your skills in this area is important in maintaining a successful and healthy relationship. It helps resolve problems that are bound to arise. Some tips to help you improve your communication skills with your significant other are:

a) Work on interactive listening. Communication isn't just knowing how to express yourself well, it's 50% - if not more - knowing how to listen well to what the other person is saying. Learning how to improve your interactive listening skills can dramatically improve your communication skills, and is useful not only in romantic relationships, but also in friendships, business relationships, and many other areas of life.

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