How to Date Someone Who’s Out of Your League | Sidnaz Blog

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Hey, did your phone just ding? It sounded like a match. Congrats! But oh, what’s this? The match is someone super hot you swiped right on with the assumption they’d never actually swipe right back?

It’s all fun and games when you’re maniacally swiping late at night, approving every cool-looking person who appears on the screen, but it gets more serious when you remember they’re real people who can—and just might—like you back. It’s a blessing and a curse to go out with someone who is drop-dead gorgeous or has an ultra-cool job. On the one hand, it’s a dream come true…but on the other, it can be a mortifying reminder of your own insecurities. Here’s how to get ready for a date with someone you think is out of your league.

Know how to hype yourself up

The key here is that you need to remember that they swiped right or agreed to go on this date because they saw something worthwhile in you. That alone should have you feeling great, no matter what it is about this other person that is making you so nervous.

“If someone agreed to the date and they’re not ghosting you, they most likely don’t think there’s a ‘league’ issue,” said Hannah May, a 26-year-old Chicagoan who describes herself as a lifestyle blogger and amateur dater.

“Remember that you have a lot to offer,” she said. “You need to focus on yourself and work on yourself before dating, period, or you’re not going to get anything out of it.”

Type out a list of all the cool, wonderful things about you. Ask a few trusted friends to contribute to what we’re sure is an already-lengthy list of your terrific attributes. Read that list. Internalize it. You’re fun! You’re attractive! The out-of-your-leaguer thought so when they agreed to meet up, so ask yourself why you’re experiencing self-doubt.

If the nasty internal monologue is the result of, say, put-downs from an ex, remember that those insults came from a place of hurt or maybe even projection, likely at a rough time as the relationship was disintegrating. Don’t let the negative, warped opinion of someone whose association with you was negative impact the way you see and project yourself going forward. You’re a lot cooler than you think you are, and you deserve to date someone awesome.

Role play from a better perspective

What would you tell a friend in this situation? Imagine that a beloved, lifelong pal came to you and said they were nervous for a date with someone hotter or more established than they are. You’d bug out, right? You’d—gently—tear them to bits for being so hard on themselves.

We all have people who love us, from family members to friends. Think about how hurt your mom or brother would be to hear you negatively comparing yourself to someone else. When you do this, you’re implying your own friends and loved ones have bad taste, you know. And they don’t!

Suggest meeting in neutral ground

If this person is a big-shot in the movie industry, don’t go to a Hollywood hot spot. If they’re a publishing powerhouse, don’t go to the bookstore. If you feel they have a slammin’ body, avoid the beach. Essentially, don’t go somewhere that is going to exacerbate the feelings of inadequacy you’re already experiencing and give them a leg up, even if they don’t realize you’re perceiving them to have the edge on you here. Instead, suggest a date location that is more neutral and doesn’t lend itself as a highlight to whatever you see as the incredible attribute in them that is making you so nervous.

Try to be reasonable

Have you ever seen the cover of a tabloid? If you have—and we know you have—then you know that even the hottest, most accomplished people in the world go through breakups. Ask yourself why that might be. Is it possible that being attractive or talented isn’t the only thing that matters in a relationship?

You already know that looks, awards, accolades, and clout get people far, but in order for anyone to have fulfilling relationships, they have to have substance, too.

Consider this: There is more to the person you’re about to meet up with than their angelic bone structure or high-paying job. Moreover, whatever else there is to them might actually suck. To put it plainly, you might not like them. If they were as perfect as you’re envisioning them to be, would they not already be securely snatched up by some equally-fancy person?

May pointed to advice that her cousin gave her: “Instead of worrying about if they like you, worry about if you like them. This mindset shift also helps with any jitters or anxiety.”

Don’t overcorrect here and go into the date thinking they’re damaged goods or anything, but be reasonable. A hot bod does not a perfect mate make.

Recognize your insecurity without taking it out on the other person

Look, you’re feeling nervous and insecure. That’s fine; it happens to everyone. But don’t take out your feeling of inadequacy on this person, who is probably perfectly nice and normal and likely has no idea you think they occupy some unreachable level of greatness. As we’ve established, they agreed to hang out with you for a reason. They think you’re interesting and attractive. This is almost certainly not a romcom-style joke where they’re going on a pity date with you, but even if it were, that would only be further proof they suck and are not the one for you.

“I’ve wasted so much time in my life overthinking texts and what to say and I feel like those situations never work out,” said May, who advises against worrying so damn much. “If someone’s for you, you won’t have to overthink your interactions or be left feeling confused.”

Don’t go into this defensively or expecting the worst. Give yourself a stern talking-to, go on the date, figure out if you have anything in common, and go from there like you would with anyone else. Whatever hangups you have are totally your own; this person has no idea that you don’t think you’re good-looking or you feel like you’re not advancing in your career. They just want to learn about you, so let them. Allow them and yourself to be surprised.

 



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How to Take a Perfect Selfie | Sidnaz Blog

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Why does it seem like everyone you follow on Instagram knows exactly how to pose and find their light to get the best selfie or photo? Realistically, you know they probably took dozens—or hundreds—of snaps to get the one they posted, but it feels like they all know some cheat codes you don’t.

Well, the cheat codes are right here, babe. This is how you get the perfect shot.

D.I.Y. selfies are the way to go

We’ve all been there. The outfit is fire. The makeup is on point. The venue is achingly cool. Your followers, you reason, simply must know you were there and looking hot to boot. You hand your phone to your friend, expecting them to work a little magic, and after they take a bunch of photos and hand the phone back to you… the shots all suck. You look awful! Now what?

You know yourself and your angles better than anyone, so if you really want a killer pic that’ll rack up the likes, you can always just do it yourself. Phones have had front-facing cameras for a decade now. It’s time to embrace selfies if you haven’t yet, the opinions and secondhand embarrassment of other people in the room be damned.

“Selfies are my favorite!” said Nivine Jay, a Los Angeles woman who has nearly 54,000 followers on the app, many of whom quickly double tap whatever she posts. And “whatever she posts” tends to be selfies.

She went on, “You want to find a well-lit window, stand in front of it, slightly part your lips, and click away. Try to look directly at sunlight if you can. Your eyes will get a little watery, but trust me: the photo will be worth it!”

Practice makes perfect

Here’s a hot tip: You don’t have to post every picture you take. Some of them can just be for practice! Some may be destined for the deleted folder! That’s fine.

“Don’t be afraid to try different poses out and slightly turn your face in different ways to find out which looks best,” said Jay. “You want to feel confident and comfortable.”

Tatiana Katkova, a photographer based in New York, said, “If you feel insecure taking photos, you can just practice doing some poses at home in front of the mirror so you can feel more confident and know your angles.”

Pose, baby! Pose! (But watch the hands.)

Midwest-based photographer Bryan Hempstead tells Lifehacker that body language is the key to a solid shot, “so just try to relax as best as you can.

“As far as the shot goes, try and keep the camera straight and not at a harsh angle. Don’t cut off appendages like ankles or knees. Turn on the grid setting on your camera or phone to practice framing your shot and try not to have anything—like a horizon or tree—intersect heads.”

He also mentioned that “most people don’t know what to do with their hands in the moment.” That’s definitely true, whether you’re selfie-ing or someone is taking your picture.

“Just to keep it basic, you can throw them in your pocket, put a hand on your hip, or cross your arms and grab your waist or grab onto your jacket. Have fun and play around with it,” he said. Remember you can take as many photos as you want; no one has to know how many you rejected in your quest to find The One.

Katkova added, “I’d recommend a pose in motion. Walk away from the person who’s taking a photo, look back at the camera and smile. It’s easy and always looks cute.”

Get a second opinion (or more)

Before you hit “post,” consider hitting “send”—to a few friends you trust to be brutally honest and/or hype you up appropriately.

Jay said she has “an ongoing group chat” with her best friends where they all send their most recent selfies for judgement and support. They “make sure it gets approval by everyone” before they post, and that’s not a bad idea. If you just spent 15 minutes snapping pics of yourself, analyzing those intently, and messing with filters—not to mention standing in bright light that’s probably giving you a few spots in your vision—your perception of the pics can be warped. A fresh set of eyes or two can be really helpful here.

Call for backup

You can’t do everything yourself. Sometimes, it really is helpful to have a friend take your photos, hype you up, direct your poses, and generally make you feel less awkward.

“I work a lot with people [who] aren’t used to being in front of the camera and aren’t super confident,” explained Hempstead. “The best advice I can give is if you don’t feel confident or cool, have the photographer put on some music you like to help create a safe, fun space. Have someone tell jokes or do something funny behind the camera to help alleviate the pressure off of you. Candid laughter beats a forced smile any day.”

He suggested taking your pics in an outfit you like or while listening a song you love for an added confidence boost.

Have fun!

Yes, you’re on a mission to get likes, comments, and the sweet, sweet seratonin rush that comes with strangers’ approval of your face, but take a step back here. Remember, you’re lovely just how you are. Even if your makeup isn’t perfect or you don’t look like your idealized version of yourself, you’re still a cutie who deserves to document that outfit, that face, that day—whatever!

Jay reminds you to have fun with it. “We are all our own harshest critics. Any photo you take is going to turn out beautiful as long as the lighting is good!”

Katkova pointed out that it’s not just important to have fun for your own benefit; enjoying yourself enhances the shot, too. “When you’re taking a photo for Instagram, you should always keep in mind that people like to see the energy and emotions,” she said. “So if you’re having fun and smiling, it always catches people’s attention.”

“Try not to be so hard on yourself,” added Hempstead. “Don’t wait until you have lost weight, fixed your teeth, or put on makeup. Just take photos, create memories, and have a good time. I promise you will enjoy looking back on these in the future.”



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How to Know You’re Ready to Get a Place With Your Partner | Sidnaz Blog

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Moving in together can be an exciting time for any couple, but it can also turn into a disaster. If you’re still in the honeymoon stage or just in a major hurry to split rent and save money, you might be willing to skip through the checklist of ways to know you’re ready for this big step. But we’re still going to list them for you.

Talk about what’s important, especially finances

For this piece, Lifehacker spoke to licensed Compass real estate salesperson Chelsea Hale and reviewed legal documents from a young woman who currently has an order of protection against the partner with whom she lived for a few years. Both of them said the same thing: Before you even look at a new place, talk. Then, talk some more. Specifically, talk about finances, and make sure you do it privately and in a comfortable setting.

“By the time they meet with me, I don’t want to be involved at all with them deciding who is paying what,” said Hale. “So, before they come to me, they need to decide, ‘Okay, X partner is paying X amount, and Y partner is paying Y amount.’”

Hale said it’s imperative that individuals be honest about their income and come to conclusions about whether they’ll attempt a 50/50 split on the rent and utilities or divvy costs in ratios that make more sense based on how much they both earn. If one partner is making triple what the other makes, it isn’t unheard of for that partner to pay more in rent.

If that suggestion causes an argument, it’s time to seriously consider whether the union is a real partnership. Disagreements at the outset of the home hunt can point to larger issues that will more than likely crop up once you’re settled in.

The young woman with the protective order—who is due in court later this month in a legal battle for custody of her emotional support animal—agreed, suggesting rent-splitting lovebirds should look at their potential cohabitation through an “equity lens” rather than an “equality lens.”

Her partner, she explained, makes double what she makes but expected her to split the rent almost equally. After that partner, she said, had a few explosively violent episodes in the home and even physically accosted her at one point, she announced her decision to move out. The partner retained a lawyer to gain custody of the emotional support animal and advised the young woman that she should have waited to break up until she was in a better financial position.

The partner also added, the woman said, that she also should have “negotiated” more on her portion of the rent when they first moved in.

Be realistic and think about how to protect yourself

The young woman with the protective order, who Lifehacker isn’t naming due to the ongoing legal battle, said she didn’t see any red flags about her partner’s potential for violent outbursts or financially-decimating retribution tactics. A person who is going to be a terror to live with probably won’t make that evident before you actually move in together, so you need to be extra sure—to the best of your ability, at least—that they’re someone with whom you can coexist. And even still, that assuredness doesn’t always guarantee you’re side-stepping a landmine.

Of course, not every partner is a monster-in-waiting. Plenty of people, likely including your beloved, are totally chill and normal, but you still have to think about your own needs—and an escape plan you’ll hopefully never have to use.

The court-bound young woman urged any potential movers-in to be sure they’d still be able to survive independently before splitting a home and costs with a partner. Even if you never end up having to break a lease, move out, or determine who gets which household items in a contentious split, it’s comforting to know that if you ever had to, you could. Never allow yourself to be stuck in an uncomfortable or unsafe situation just to save money or because you don’t have the resources to extricate yourself. If your partner cares about you, they’ll understand if you want to delay a move-in until you’ve amassed enough money or general assuredness to ensure your safety and wellbeing in the event you find yourself on your own.

Don’t let concerns about being lonely or having to temporarily live somewhere less-than-ideal dissuade you if the cohabitation situation goes south, either. The young woman said she delayed breaking up with her partner after the first violent outburst because she was worried, “Oh, shit, I’ll have to move home.” Living with your parents or finding a few roommates isn’t the end of the world, and it’s certainly not as bad as living somewhere dangerous or miserable.

Hale also pointed out that when looking for a home, each person should be honest about their own unique needs, “especially given this post-COVID world [wherein] a lot of people are working in a hybrid-method office.” Ask yourself, she said, whether you need separate offices or personal space. No matter how much you adore someone, you could find yourself fighting with them if you spend every hour of the day next to them, especially when you’re trying to work. Advocate for yourself during the decision-making process, not least of all because a lack of fulfillment of your needs could end up negatively impacting the relationship itself. Plus, you’re still your own person, even if you’re taking a major unifying step with your partner. You still deserve to have your needs met.

Be ready to compromise

Once you’ve identified any red flags and had the big money talk, you still have more work to do before you ever set foot in a realtor’s office.

“If you’re both working from home, is it going to cause fights?” Hale suggested asking yourself. In that case, “It would be better for you to sacrifice the neighborhood to have a little bit more space. The first thing to ask yourself is, ‘What are the priorities for my lifestyle?’”

By the time you decide to move in together, you should be pretty aware of your partner’s general likes and dislikes. Ideally, you should have common goals and interests, too, and even if you do, don’t be surprised to find that you disagree on a few fundamentals when it comes to where you want to live. One of you might prefer a small apartment on a busy city street and the other might be more inclined to head to the ‘burbs. Both parties, Hale said, should recognize that they’ll need to compromise on something.

If you’re both committed to two very separate lifestyles, pause for a minute. Say you really do want to live in a bustling urban environment and your partner is unwavering in their commitment to, like, Long Island—if you both stick to your guns, you could break up, but that might not be the worst scenario. Sometimes, it takes a serious conversation about moving forward to realize why you shouldn’t. If you don’t think you’d be happy away from your favorite place, you probably wouldn’t be, and it’s okay to admit that. Sometimes, you want different things. Don’t nuke your own life and dreams in the service of someone else’s and consider that a run-of-the-mill “compromise.”

In every part of your relationship, you need to communicate clearly and honestly, while prioritizing yourself and nurturing the union and your shared goals. If you’re skipping over that part because your current lease is expiring or you want to jump into a phase of the relationship you see as more stable, reconsider. You have options.

If you’re ready—really ready—after all those longs talks and self-reflection, practice compromising and mutual problem-solving by both agreeing on which realtor to call. Go on. Test it out.

 

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How to Get a Baby to Like You | Sidnaz Blog

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If you’re like me, then you have consciously made the decision to avoid all people under the age of 25. However, sometimes you get stuck in a room with a tiny baby that just wants to cry and drool and who can sense that your biggest fear is them pooping on you.

Luckily, we are smart adults and can easily outsmart a dumb baby into liking us. After all, babies know literally nothing, and we know at least something, so let’s get them to smile and giggle and love us unconditionally.

First, get them to recognize your face. Babies can easily recognize contrast, so put on some thick-rimmed glasses (or better yet, sunglasses) to help them identify who you are. If you are able, growing a beard also helps them recognize your face. While we’re on the topic of contrast, wear some clothes they can appreciate—black and white for infants, and bright primary colors for toddlers. They also like anything that rattles or makes noise, so add some jangly jewelry that you can easily snap off and let them shake around.

Then bring some items that will establish you as the bringer of fun. An empty box is a great, safe thing they want to play with that inexplicably is not fun to us grown ups. If there’s a friendly dog around, bring them over and let the baby chase them or pet their fur, just make sure they don’t hurt each other. You can also park them in front of a mirror so they think they have another baby to play with (Wow! Babies are dumb!). This will work until the baby is about 18 months old.

And if all else fails, just play peek-a-boo. It’ll keep them happy and not crying until they poop. By then, you should be able to leave quickly.

 

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TikTok's 'Dehydration Check' Is Silly and | Sidnaz Blog

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TikTok is a fantastic place to discover new things to worry about, or new ways to worry about old things. The latest is the “dehydration check,” in which you pinch the skin on your knuckle. If the skin stays wrinkled for a few seconds, that’s (supposedly) your sign to grab a glass of water.

Read more…

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What to Do When You See Your Ex on a Date | Sidnaz Blog

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It’s officially a post-vax slutty summer, which means people are out and about. Everyone is going on dates and having fun, and that includes your ex. (Sorry!) But what happens if you run into them? Well, here’s what you should do.

First, don’t panic when you see your ex on a date

It sucks so much to see your ex with someone new. It really does, especially if they look like they’re having a good time. Like, really? How dare they move on from you and do it publicly? Well, they do dare. And to be honest, they have the right to go out there and be happy. It might hurt, though, especially if you two stopped going out and having fun toward the end of the relationship.

If you see your ex out and about, frolicking and enjoying the company of a new partner, try to remember that it’s OK. Take a few deep breaths and assess the situation. Did they see you? Is it too late to avert your eyes and walk away? If they did see you and it is too late, stay calm.

“I immediately diverted my eyes away from my ex and his date to avoid making eye contact. I tried to tuck myself in behind my own date as we walked by but I’m sure he saw me,” recalled Lucy B., a 26-year-old who saw an ex she once thought was “the love of [her] life” while he was outdoor-dining with a new woman and she herself was on a date with a new boyfriend. “I’m not a nail biter so it was interesting that my first instinct was to bite my thumb nail, which caught the attention of my now-boyfriend. I played it off and lied—but it was definitely a panicked knee-jerk reaction.”

Don’t do that. No one in this situation is in the wrong. You’re allowed to be out and so is your ex. You broke up for a reason. Keep that in mind. Don’t romanticize the relationship or let yourself feel jealous or lonely just because you see them enjoying time with someone new.

If you can, find the humor in it

“If you cared about them, be gracious and kind. If you ended on good terms, then be nice about it. Maybe send over a drink for them and their new date or say hello, depending on the environment,” suggested Brent K., a 33-year-old in Salt Lake City who has run into exes a variety of times, but most notably when he saw his ex-fiancée out with his former best friend.

When Brent was out with a new woman, the duo saw her ex on a date with someone new. He followed his own advice and sent over a round of drinks.

Alexis Marika, a 29-year-old in New York City, agreed that it’s a good idea to find the humor in the situation and said she “laughed about it” when she saw a former fling while she was out at the opera.

“In the city, there’s a good chance you’re gonna run into someone. I always try to be the bigger person and either shrug it off or just embrace it,” she said.

Try your best not to get petty

Resist the urge to cause a scene, even if the relationship ended badly.

“Ultimately, how you handle the situation will leave a lasting impression on them,” Brent said. “Do you want them to miss you and remember you for how good of a person you were or do you want them to be happy it’s over? If you choose kindness and care, you’ll do your part in leaving the world a better place. Remember, just because your relationship ended doesn’t mean you both don’t deserve to find happiness.”

Marika pointed out that some of her ex encounters have happened while she was at work as a server. On one occasion, the same ex she saw at the opera came into her restaurant and she asked a coworker to serve him out of fear he would cause a scene.

“I also served a different ex while he was on a date,” she revealed. “I was just my normal self and he never made eye contact with me. Frankly, I was confused, like he genuinely thought I’d make a scene at the restaurant three years later. But yeah, I guess he just wanted to pretend I didn’t exist.”

Pretending the other person doesn’t exist is good advice if you feel yourself getting sassy or confrontational, as is avoiding contact altogether. Marika had a great approach when she deputized another server to handle her first ex’s table and her second ex had a similarly great approach when he ignored her. Do whatever works for you to make sure the situation stays chill.

Dip out as soon as possible though

Look, using humor, acting friendly, or feigning amnesia will only get you so far. In some cases, depending on how your relationship went and how much you’re still hurting, you might not be able to brush off seeing your ex out on a date.

You’re allowed to leave. You don’t have to prove anything to yourself or your ex by staying in a situation that is upsetting you or making you uncomfortable.

“Do what I did: Get the hell out of there!” said Andy Jenkins, a 25-year-old grad student in Dallas who once saw her ex-boyfriend walk into the bar she was in. He was holding hands with another woman.

She went on, “Absolutely do not put yourself through the awkwardness—and probably pain—of seeing your ex with someone else. This was an ex I broke up with and it was still difficult to see them and there is just not much you can glean from hanging around and watching them on a date, at least not in most cases. My best advice is to do a literal army crawl and barrel roll out of there if you need to. Save yourself the pain!”

“If it didn’t end on good terms, ignore them. If you can’t do that, just leave,” added Brent, a real voice of reason here.

Your ex has already proven there are plenty of other fish in the sea as far as dating is concerned. You can prove there are plenty of other bars or restaurants to go to as far as ex-free locations are concerned. Remember to put yourself and your wellbeing first. And when you get to the next bar, maybe order a stiff drink.

 

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How to Reignite Your Sexual Flame After Having a Baby | Sidnaz Blog

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Congrats on the new baby! Forget whether or not you’re prepared to raise a whole human being from infancy into adulthood. The real question is, Are you ready to get laid again?

For new parents, that might not seem like the most top-of-mind question. After all, there’s a lot going on in their lives. But sex is important, even if it feels impossible to imagine doing it again, both emotionally and physically, right after birth.

You can reignite the sexual spark, even if you’re feeling unattractive, leaking milk, wearing adult diapers, or monitoring a wailing newborn on the baby cam. Here’s how.

Give yourself time to adjust

If you were actively trying to get pregnant before you, well, got pregnant, sex was probably a big part of your routine. You might have scheduled sack sessions around an ovulation tracker or just played the odds by trying to get it in as often as possible. With a baby to watch out for now, the frequency with which you’ll actually get to bang might decrease, but the habit of scheduling your lovemaking might come in handy.

The first thing you need to schedule is time off. We spoke to two new moms about their post-birth experiences—one of who is a nurse who dispensed valuable medical and parenting advice. They both explained they were told to wait six weeks after the baby came out of their vaginas to let their partners put anything in their vaginas. You have to heal! Sure, you can mess around without p-in-v insertion, but you might not have the time, energy, or desire. That’s okay. If your partner is pushing you, communicate clearly and firmly that you’re not ready.

“Right after giving birth is the most insane rush of hormones that no one prepares you for. It was like having menopause, hot flashes, and an aggressive period at the same time,” said Lexis C., a critical care nurse with a one-year-old child. “My libido did not exist for the next three months. I was so focused on keeping this human I just birthed alive, not to mention being much too exhausted to think about having sex with my husband.”

On the other hand, Katherine Young, a 29-year-old business owner whose child is two years old, admitted she and her husband got back to business a little earlier than the doctors recommended.

“The baby had some fluid in his lungs that he choked on multiple times and we almost lost him three times in the first 10 days, so sex was the absolute farthest thing from my mind. Plus you’re exhausted and everything is blubber and you’re sore, and your world is rocked,” she recalled. “However, they say not to have sex for six weeks after. It was week four and I was healed and I really couldn’t wait to just have that intimacy with my husband, so we had sex at four weeks after. I felt like a rockstar. I was back to my pre-baby weight—which felt slim at that point after carrying a human—my swelling was gone, my husband was this sexy super-dad, and I was just feeling it.”

But what if you’re not “just feeling it”?

Embrace your new body and feelings

“Be kind to yourself. Remember that your body just grew a human from cells. Organs moved and rearranged themselves to make room for this critter to grow. Your body will not bounce back in one week,” advised Lexis, who was shocked by how much her breasts grew after her pregnancy and decided to capitalize on this voluptuous surprise by buying some lacy lingerie she and her husband could enjoy together. (“They do not last forever, and you will miss them,” she lamented of her briefly-enlarged boobs.)

“Our bodies, our minds, our priorities, and our entire lives change when we step into motherhood,” added Young. “Just as it took nine months of pregnancy to bring you to motherhood, it can take time to get back to feeling like yourself and you will never be that person again anyway. You may get your pre-baby body back or return to a pre-baby weight, but you’re forever changed, and I think that’s something beautiful to lean into and embrace.”

Those changes are normal, but under-discussed, according to Irene Fehr, a sex and intimacy coach who has written extensively on the topic. She told Lifehacker, “We don’t normalize what happens to women—the confusion, new responsibilities, new mental load, identity shift, hormonal changes, mommy brain, her body not being her own—to name a few. In that silence, I see women naturally disconnect from their partners. In that silence, both people make up stories about each other’s needs and desires, and that leads the couple into trouble.”

Dads, listen up, because this goes for you, too.

“Speaking from a hetero marriage perspective, if my husband can’t marvel at the miracle my body just performed, I don’t think he is worthy of intimacy from me,” Young said when asked what advice she had for couples whose non-birthing partner might be less interested in post-birth sex.

If you found yourself reading this because you’re not attracted to your partner after they gave birth, Young recommended looking inward and figuring out what’s really going on. You were pretty darn into them ten or so months ago, right? Is the new disinterest purely physical, emotional, or a mix of the two? Talk it out together.

Temper expectations

Lexis and Young both said they had active and exciting sex lives before their babies came along, but things understandably changed once they got pregnant. Every couple’s experience is different. For instance, Lexis had no libido during her pregnancy while Young was put off by the feeling that her unborn child was somehow “present,” but persisted because her husband was still pretty randy.

“The intimacy changed in that it shifted from an ‘us’ thing to a ‘me taking care of my husband’ type of thing,” she said. “Sex felt like something to check off my daily to-do list when pregnant, for sure.”

She also noted that after the baby came, she wasn’t just dealing with physical limitations or concerns about her body image, but mental hangups, too. Emotional changes are totally normal and you don’t have to feel bad about them, but understand that you might not look at your partner the same way once you become parents. Young had moments of seeing her husband as an attractive “super-dad” juxtaposed with times when she was turned off by her perception that he was contributing less than she was.

“Life got busier; you have this whole other human around 24/7. There are resentments that seeped in,” she said. “I’m definitely the ‘default’ parent in my home and I would resent my husband because he would get his full night’s sleep and wake up wanting sex and I’d be, like, in the trenches, up all night, with sex being the farthest thing from my mind. I felt he wasn’t doing his fair share of responsibilities, and it was unattractive to me.”

Communication is important here. Young and her husband worked that out together. If you’re going to co-parent a child, communication and teamwork are elemental, so add sex to the list of things you need to be open and honest about.

Once they sorted their shared parenting duties out, they got back to business—but not as frequently as they did before they became a mom and dad.

Lexis agreed, saying, “Be honest with your partner. They can’t feel or understand what you are feeling if you do not help them to understand. Seek out help if you need it.”

You need to anticipate that not only will your emotions be haywire, your body be changing, and your mind may be on the baby and other responsibilities, but you might not get back to your pre-baby baby-making routine, like, ever.

“Many compare themselves to their ‘old’ self before the baby, and now see a sexually broken woman. Too often, she carries this burden silently, trying to figure this out on her own,” said Fehr, who pointed out that this problem doesn’t only affect heterosexual couples, but any couple where one partner has given birth and the other hasn’t.

Her advice is in line with Young and Lexis: You need to communicate. Creeping resentment—about household duties, a lack of sex, or anything else—is a silent relationship killer.

“If you have not spoken about the issue for a while, recognize that there are probably pent up feelings about this,” she said. “There is probably resentment from not having felt heard, understood, and important to each other for that extended period of time. So it’s important to go into the conversation from a place of understanding and compassion: ‘We’re both confused and struggling through this, and it’s hard for both of us.’ The key thing is to be vulnerable with each other, and approach the conversation with openness and curiosity.”

Prioritize sex—and yourselves

Parenting is a pretty selfless act. In fact, it might be the most selfless act. But you know how it is: You can’t pour from an empty cup. You still need to prioritize yourself and your relationship, live a full life, and make sure you’re doing well.

“I’m not above scheduling sex a bit—if that’s what you have to do to get back on the horse, go for it,” Young said. “Carve out 20 minutes a few times a week and just get down to business. The endorphins will probably help both of your moods and help you remain happy and feeling connected, which is the best gift you can give your child: happy connected parents.”

Lexis mentioned ultrasound therapy that helped her with her swelling and recommended talking to a doula if you’re feeling uncomfortable about anything related to the birth or your experiences afterward. She also advised that you shouldn’t be put off by changes to the way you used to have sex. If you didn’t use lubricant before, for instance, but find your post-baby body is dryer than it once was, she said her best advice is “get over it” and “buy the lube!”

Try not to make excuses. Remember your partner is just that: your partner. They care about you enough to have a child with you and bodily or lifestyle changes won’t destroy that. Do whatever it takes to get back into bed—if and when you’re ready.

Fehr recommended setting aside time to reconnect to pleasure generally, not just sexual pleasure. She suggested drawing a bubble bath, taking a long walk with nowhere to be, or doing other forms of self-care.

“This allows a woman to come back into herself and to find her grounding,” Fehr said. “It’s a way to help her get control over her life and not just be a vehicle for others.”

Sit with that for a minute: You’re not just a vehicle for others.

Your new baby is going to depend on you for a long, long time, so you need to create space for yourself, sexually and otherwise. During pregnancy, Young said sex became an act of service for her husband, but after pregnancy life becomes an act of service for the baby. Make sure you communicate and get back into mutually pleasurable intimacy so both partners can be happy and fulfilled. You’ve got a big job ahead of you, and you’ll need all the pleasure and joy you can get whenever you can get it.

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How to Throw a Dog-Friendly Barbecue | Sidnaz Blog

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The Fourth of July is always a tough holiday for dog owners, but this year will be a real doozy. On top of the usual fireworks, rowdy drunk people, and other dogs, this year’s gatherings have an extra complication: Nobody knows how to act.

People joke about forgetting how to interact with other human beings during the pandemic, but the thousands of dogs that were adopted in the past 16 months may have never learned in the first place. Putting a bunch of dogs in a new environment with unfamiliar people—at least some of whom will be drinking, hollering, and shooting off fireworks—is potentially dangerous. If you’re hosting this year, here’s how to prepare so nobody has to spend July 4 at the emergency vet.

Trust no one and no dog

Your guests are responsible for controlling their pets, but a little basic dog-proofing will ease everyone’s mind. As the host, it’s easiest and safest to assume that every dog in attendance will be poorly trained and plan accordingly. This isn’t a value judgement—owning a dog is really hard, and it’s been even harder this year. It’s just common sense: The more distance you can put between the dogs and the food, the better.

No fence, no dogs—no exceptions

Lots of dogs go missing on July 4 weekend, usually because they get freaked out and bolt—and their owners may be too drunk to notice. If your guests are bringing dogs, your yard needs to be fully fenced, period. Tie-ups and pens are just too easy to escape.

You should also provide an indoor space for stressed-out, overstimulated dogs to hang out in. Choose a room that’s quiet, secure, and located away from the main footpath, so they don’t freak out every time someone walks to the bathroom. If you’re worried about floor damage, pick up some pee pads ahead of time.

Understand poison risk

Barbecues are full of things that dogs desperately want to eat and absolutely should not. Human food is obviously the biggest risk, but it’s far from the only one. If you have a garden, check to see if any of your plants are toxic to pets and secure the ones that are.

Another often-overlooked poison vector: Bug spray. Citronella products are toxic to dogs and don’t even work anyway, so run some extension cords and set up box fans instead. It’s okay for people to use effective repellent on themselves if fans won’t cut it—just have guests do the spraying far away from the dogs, and make sure the bottles are kept someplace secure.

Be prepared to break up a fight

Every dog owner should know what aggression looks like for their dog so they can leave the situation at the first sign. But if dogs start fighting at your party and they’re not responding to commands, you should know what to do.

This video from the Top Dog Tips YouTube channel explains a few techniques for separating fighting dogs:

The goal is to separate the dogs without putting yourself or others in danger, so start with these more hands-off techniques:

  • Distract them with loud noises, like clapping and raised voice commands.
  • Throw water on them if there’s a bucket or cooler nearby.
  • Force a barrier between them, like a folding chair, patio umbrella, or large piece of cardboard or wood.

If all else fails, try the wheelbarrow method. You’ll need two responsible, ideally sober, adults: Each grabs a dog by the hind legs and pulls backwards to separate them. Whatever you do, stay calm and never stick your hand in between fighting dogs. Even if you miraculously manage to avoid getting bitten (which you won’t, to be clear), you’ll just rile them up further.

Keep things low-key

Speaking of responsible, sober adults, it’s important to remember that wasted owners can’t supervise their dogs. Well-behaved dogs may just get into a little too much human food, which isn’t ideal—but if they’re not well-trained, they might get up to much worse.

A good old-fashioned rager is no place for dogs, so keep the vibes laid back. Stock up on non-alcoholic beverages, don’t invite people who party a little too hard, and be ready to 86 anyone who’s getting too rowdy—especially if they brought their dog.

  

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Dogs Shouldn’t Eat Hot Dogs, and Other Pet-Unsafe Barbecue | Sidnaz Blog

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For most dogs, human food is the ultimate forbidden fruit, which makes backyard barbecue season tricky for their owners. If you’re heading to a Fourth of July party with your pup in tow, you probably already know to keep them away from the fruit salad (grapes) and the burger toppings (raw onions). But there are other hazards you may not encounter outside of a barbecue, and you should know what they are.

Bones, skewers, and other choking hazards

The biggest danger to dogs at a cookout isn’t poisoning—it’s choking. According to the ASPCA, bones from ribs and chicken wings, corn cobs, and discarded wooden skewers are all exactly the right size and shape to cause serious problems. They’re also the kind of things people leave out without a second thought. To curious pups, abandoned plates piled with bones, sticks, and corn look like an all-you-can-eat buffet, so keep yours away from food waste.

Too much salt and fat

Dogs can’t tolerate as much salt and fat as humans can, which puts most of the cookout menu off-limits:

  • Chips, pretzels, and other salty snacks have way too much sodium.
  • Greasy grill grates, plates, and utensil (which dogs simply love to lick clean) are loaded with fat.
  • Hot dogs are too salty, too fatty, and a potential choking hazard.

Quantity is the real threat here. A few chips or one single bite of a hot dog won’t make your dog sick right away, but if they’re cute and shameless, they can easily beg their way into consuming dangerous amounts of salt and fat from well-meaning partygoers.

The grill itself

Greasy grates and utensils aren’t the only part of the grill that’s dangerous for dogs. There’s the obvious burn risk, and charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid are also super toxic if ingested. (They may not be quite as tempting as actual food—or a puddle of congealed grease—but dogs have eaten weirder stuff before.) Plus, if a dog gets a little too interested in the grill, they could accidentally knock it over, sending hot coals right onto the grass.

Caffeine and alcohol

This one is obvious, but it bears repeating, especially for a booze-centric holiday like July 4: Everyone’s favorite legal drugs are very bad for dogs, in pretty much any quantity. Both caffeine and alcohol can cause everything from vomiting to seizures, depending on the dog and how much they drink. Don’t let your dog cruise the table for empty beer or soda cans, and definitely don’t give them a sip of yours—there’s nothing funny about a sick dog.

Ultimately, the only way to keep your dog safe at a barbecue is to watch them like a hawk. Even well-trained dogs can lose their minds when delicious snacks are involved; don’t assume that your perfect angel will remain so when confronted with a smorgasbord of tempting smells. Bring some kibble and treats, keep them in your sight at all times, and be prepared to leave early if it’s all too much.

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How to Stop Looking at Your Ex’s Social Media | Sidnaz Blog

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After a breakup, you might find yourself compelled to look at your ex’s Instagram (or Facebook or Venmo or LinkedIn…). Ideally, you’ll see them doing badly and you might feel victorious, although you know that’s not true: Most people don’t post their low moments online.

You’re more likely to see them doing well—or pretending to—and that can hurt. Plus, you shouldn’t be trying to “win” against them, anyway; you should be trying to heal and move on for your own benefit. So, it’s time to stop creeping on your ex. Here are a few things to try.

Why you should block your ex on social media

Here’s the hard truth: Not only do you not need to see that person’s posts, but they don’t need to see yours. If you’re holding off on blocking your ex because you think you want them to be able to see you thriving or looking good, get real with yourself. You’re making excuses to put off cutting them out of your life.

In the immortal words of Real Housewives of Atlanta’s Cynthia Bailey, “Delete. Erase. Unfollow. Whatever.” Get them off of your social feeds.

Of course, this most basic step is not a guarantee you won’t go looking for their profile again. Kelsey Weekman, who writes about internet culture, social media, and Gen Z for Verizon Media, pointed out to Lifehacker that after a performative or symbolic blocking, plenty of people shift to using their burner or secondary accounts to creep an ex. She cited a TikTok trend in which creators admit to doing just that, among other “toxic” post-breakup behaviors. You’re not alone.

Call for backup to break your creeping habit

Weekman suggested looking into apps that will block you from using social media altogether, but she also noted your own friends can perform a similar duty.

Katherine, a 29-year-old in the Upper Midwest who declined to reveal her last name because she doesn’t want her blocked exes to be able to get any new information about her, said her friends helped her break her creeping habit. For the first two weeks after her breakup, she said, she was checking her ex-boyfriend’s Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook at least once a day and sometimes more.

“It was just so weird to not be in contact with him and knowing what he’s doing all the time. I felt like looking at his socials filled the void of texting him,” she said. “I also was worried I’d see photos of him with other girls.”

That combination of loneliness and anxiety compelled her to check his accounts so often that she even did it when she was out with her friends, one of whom finally snapped while they were at a diner, forcing Katherine to block him on the spot. She said that was “definitely helpful.”

Make a decision, and hold yourself accountable

Breaking any habit requires self-determination. Your friends can tell you to leave an ex alone, stop biting your nails, or quit smoking, and you can buy products that aid in helping you end those behaviors. Still, in the same way you could just skip your nicotine gum and sneak a cig without your accountability pals, you can circumvent a block and fall right back into your bad creeping habit.

You have to make the decision to stop. Recognize it’s not good for you to focus on that other person instead of yourself. You broke up for a reason. There were problems in the relationship. You gave them enough of your time and energy. The moment has come for you to stop heaping your attention on them and turn it inward instead.

Besides, it’s really not going to be good for you when they get a new partner and you stop comparing your handling of the breakup to theirs and start comparing yourself to the new person.

“You have to decide you want to stop talking to the person yourself. You have to say, ‘I’m going to do what I’m going to do to finally feel better,’” said Weekman, who has been studying “the breakup side of TikTok” and how the recently single turn their healing into performance or publicly embrace toxicity by encouraging one another to lurk on exes’ profiles. “If you’re really over them, then you’ll block them.”

Don’t beat yourself up

But what about when you’re not really over them—not yet, anyway?

While you have to hold yourself accountable, buckle down, and stop the nasty cycle of searching their profile for new follows or clues about the identity of your inevitable successor, you also need to remember healing takes time and is different for everyone. Give yourself some grace. If you look at their Insta, even after a streak of not peeking, don’t feel too bad.

Or, as Weekman suggested, use the icky feeling as a barrier against doing it again.

“Shame can be a really good motivator, but it’s never going to make you feel better,” she said. So yes, admit you messed up, but don’t dwell on it.

Katherine agreed, saying, “It’s easier said than done, of course, but try not to feel guilty because we literally all do it. Everyone creeps on their exes.”

Then, she brought us back to square one: “But if it’s getting unhealthy or hurting you, block them, for sure.” What are you waiting for?

 

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