BY AUDRIE FORD
Love can suck, but only if you don’t play it smart.
Many young people are starting to grow stagnate in their love lives, according to a 2014 report from the Pew Research Center.
Specifically, young people aren’t getting married and may never. The Pew report predicted 25 percent of millennials will never get married.
The top three reasons why young people said they weren’t likely to settle down:finances, feeling too young and not finding what they wanted in prospective partners.
In a world full of flashy pictures and instant messages, a genuine human connection can sometimes be hard to come by.
I myself have been tempted to call it quits on the dating scene. I haven’t dated since I was a young teenager. To be frank, my experience with relationships left me jaded.
Just when I thought I knew a person, the person changed and became someone to whom I could ever be seriously attracted. After an uninteresting face-to-face conversation with a person who had been chatty in text messages, I wanted to toss in the towel.
Both of these situations could have been avoided if I had met with the person in different settings, gotten to know their families or extended a phone conversation so they wouldn’t have time to plan or edit their response like they could in a text.
Effective communication in a relationship isn’t always easy to establish. Sometimes, building trust takes time and serious effort.
“You have to learn about the other person’s communication style and how it works with your own or how it conflicts with your own,” social worker Ashley Knox wrote.
Any couple in it for the long haul must be ready to talk about even the touchiest of subjects. Don’t avoid anything that could damage your ability to connect with your partner.
“In adult relationships, this behavior only avoided the hard issues that people have to work through for the relationship to be healthy and to grow,” writer Daniel Evans said of his own experiences.
He realized that communication, even if it meant writing things down because they couldn’t be articulated, was critical to a lasting commitment.
When that first rush of butterflies settles in your stomach, remember that it takes more than a pretty face to make a relationship last.
Love should never feel like a hit and run. It should be built on mutual interests, memories and a selfless desire to be there for one another. Without strong foundations, love stories never withstand the hard test of time.
When planning to pursue a romance, remember the few golden rules of relationships: Learn to communicate with a partner, don’t insist on always having your own way and work to build something that is based on mutual respect.
A relationship should be a give-take, not a push-pull exchange.
Ford makes a bad cynic because she cries every time she watches “The Notebook.”
BY S. PAUL BRYAN
Romantic love and prize fights are truly, undeniably, one and the same. You want unbridled excitement and thrills? You’re guaranteed these heightened levels of stimulation in both.
Are you desirous for a front row seat to a theater of passion, courage, strength and hope? You’ll surely (and sorely) get it at these two venues.
How about pain, heartache, fear and tragedy? Get yourself involved in either romantic love or a prize fight and the inevitability of feeling these truths is unavoidable.
In the ‘honeymoon” stage of a relationship, both parties are winners. The new lovebirds look healthy, talk a big game and are full of pride, optimism and confidence — not unlike boxers attending the pre-fight weigh-in/press conference.
Both the lovers and the prize fighters truly believe victory, wealth and happiness are in their immediate future … but slow down that boastful confidence, here comes the sound of the bell.
Ding. Ding. The fight, and the relationship, have begun.
The first few rounds of a fight are for feeling your opponent out and settling in to your style, your game plan. A romantic relationship is no different.
Your lover makes eyes at another but immediately squeezes your hand tight to reassure you. You get an unexpected offer from another suitor, but (reluctantly?) turn it down.
Maybe a sharp jab lands, some light bruising and fatigue, but a seemingly smooth “dance” has commenced. Keep your guard up, though, because the middle rounds are quickly upon you.
Your “better half” starts to show true colors. Who knew she was racist? No one warned me about his laziness. A stinging left hook to the liver lands flush, taking the fighter’s breath away.
When did she start dressing so slutty? Was he always into weird porn? Pop, broken nose, blood starts pouring. Matters have taken a turn for the worse, for both the lovers and the gloved combatants. The difference begins to blur.
The final rounds come and the situation is desperate. He slept with your best friend. A powerful right hook crushes the left temple. She secretly went to dinner with her ex-boyfriend. A a jaw-breaking right uppercut follows a beautifully timed jab.
Were you ready for this, either of you? Two capable scrappers, for reasons unknown even to themselves, continue their assault.
The fight, the relationship, is now over.
In as grueling a contest as had ever been witnessed, both the lovers and the boxers are done. Motions are slower, wearier, more those of a badly beaten human than a prideful pugilist or once (over)confident lover.
Friends, I’ve been in far too many romantic relationships and more fisticuffs than I’m comfortable saying.
When people close to me ask, “Why don’t you try settling down again?” or when a perfectly fine young lady shows interest, I always respond confidently with absolutely no hesitation … I’ve hung up my gloves.
Bryan is a father, writer, contrarian, et al… and, believe it or not, a hopeless romantic.