Happy ever after, takes work!

As a romance writer I spend a great deal of time studying relationships and in my opinion there has been a sad decline in the number of people who really find their own happily ever after. 

There’s too much of a sense of emergency about relationships now. Films, books, songs all sing the praises of instant gratification rather than long term happiness, but forever is a perfectly achievable aim. With a bit of common sense and a willingness to work anyone can find their lifelong partner.

1. The first rule is to stop rushing headlong into instant gratification. There is considerably more to life than sex, especially as you get older.

2. Be honest about how you feel about the person. Do you like who they are? How they live their life? How they treat other people?

3. This is the most important rule, TALK!!!! Find out what they want from life. What their thoughts and opinions are, their morals, interests, desires. Once you know, be honest, are they actually compatible with your own?

4. Once you’ve got your partner don’t take them for granted. All relationships require time and attention to thrive.

5. Be supportive and interested in all aspects of their life. 

6. Make the effort with their family and friends.

7. Be an active part of their life, join in with hobbies and interests or at the very least ask about them .

8. Remember to say I love you . Tell them regularly why they are important to you. Compliment them, do things you know will make them happy for no other reason than their pleasure .

There is no huge secret to having a successful relationship and the same rules could equally be applied to friends and family . People need to be appreciated, wanted for themselves and not for what they have. Give it a try and be happy x

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Be a positive cyber friend 

Since the escalation of social media people can now speak to people from all backgrounds, anywhere in the world. It should be an amazing opportunity to exchange ideas and reach out the hand of friendship. Instead far too many people are using it as a way to spread vile hateful abuse. There is no excuse for this kind of behaviour. It’s not clever, it’s not funny or a bit of a laugh. Be very clear, it’s abuse! Pure and simple. Nothing more or less than bullying. Just because someone has posted a picture or comment doesn’t give you the right to say something deliberately hurtful and nasty. It’s not any nicer than it would be said to their face, just because you typed it.

So what should you consider before making comments on posts?

1. Would you be happy if someone made the same comment to you? If I couldn’t justify making the same comment to someone’s face I would never type it.

2. Sarcasm doesn’t translate well via text.- if it’s a joke make sure the recipient knows it’s a joke.

3. People have cultural and religious differences. consider the other person’s feelings first before commenting .

4. Just because someone has posted 100 selfies, doesn’t mean they don’t have insecurities about their looks. 

5. Don’t put private information on public forums.

6. If you think something should be discussed between you and the other person only, don’t post your thoughts somewhere that’s open to public opinion.

7. If you don’t like or agree with something ,you don’t have to comment . You can just scroll down.

If you try to remember to treat people the way you would if you met  them in real life then you shouldn’t encounter any problems . It only takes consideration and kindness to be a good friend. Have fun and spread happiness , it makes a better day for everyone. 

Stop prejudice – we are all the same under the skin.

Across the world there has been a phenomenal number of atrocities committed in the name of religion, politics and just plain and simple prejudice. None of it is acceptable. There is never an excuse for hurting some one either verbally or physically just because they are different from yourself.

Most people reading this will probably be thinking that they would never behave in such a way but by being complicit we are all culpable . For a moment I want you to read through the following list and honestly consider how many of the things you have done.

1. Crossed the road to avoid someone who looks different.

2. Made assumptions about someone based on their colour, religion or sexual orientation.

3. Used a derogatory term .

4. Ignored derogatory comments made by friends and family.

5. Ignored the problem when someone is being hassled because of there colour, religion, sexual orientation, nationality .

6. Participated in harassment .

7. Thought that the harassment was acceptable .

If you have answered yes to any of these things then it’s time to change. Division and lack of tolerance creates hate. Reach out, get to know the people in your community , you may be pleasantly surprised to discover you have more in common than you expect . Even if you don’t, understanding and acceptance removes fear. Don’t let evil win. It’s time to take back the control and use kindness and understanding to regain peace.

Step children -#allyouneedislove

Since today is not only my wedding anniversary it is also the anniversary of my amazing step daughters entering my life, I want to share my experience on negotiating the troubled waters of step families.

1. Remember that they are a separate individual with their own hopes and dreams, which may or may not include you. – it’s easy when you fall in love to imagine that everyone will be happy for you and it will all just fall into place. Nothing could be further from the truth. Children require every bit as much time and effort in developing relationships as adults do.

2. You have to be willing to give them unconditional love, no matter what they say or do. They are not mini lodgers or a burden. They are an important and integral part of your family. In my opinion if you cannot do this you should not continue the relationship. It’s not enough for any child to just be put up with.

3. Be interested in their life, find interests you can share. Shared memories build a lasting bond.

4. Never insult, belittle or compete with their natural parent. You have to build your own place in their life.

5. The most important of all, enjoy their company. You have chosen to be part of a package deal so embrace it. Do family things, appreciate what they bring to your relationship and above all love them.

For anyone starting out, it’s hard sometimes and frustrating, but I can say without a shadow of a doubt it’s worth it. My step children have brought as much joy to my life as my own have and I wouldn’t be without a single one.

Toxic relationship-are you sure you’re not the toxic one?

The term toxic relationship has become very popular in the media of late, with all the onus placed on you as the innocent victim and your partner as the toxic influence. But in reality a toxic relationship is partially caused by both parties, excluding domestic abuse.

For every action there is a reaction. Since most of us rarely examine our own behaviour it ismore than possible that our own behaviour is causing the toxicity problem.

1. Start by contemplating the beginning of the relationship, was it good? Be really honest here because a lot of relationships are based purely on physical attraction, which may not lead to anything permanent.- if it was good, what was good about it?

2. Think about your own behaviour. How much effort did you put in to your appearance? How much effort did you put in to participating in things they like? Interest shown in job, hobbies, friends and family?

3. How much of that do you still do?

4. Do you treat them with respect? 

5. What kind of tone do you use towards them? Once friction has begun it’s very easy to get in a routine of belittling, bullying, sarcasm and generally disregarding the other person’s thoughts and feelings.

6. Are you genuinely committed to the relationship or do you have one foot already out of the door?

7. Are you faithful or cheating?

8. Are you violent? No matter what the justification there is no acceptable time for violence in a relationship.

9. What contributes to the deterioration of your relationship? Ie alcohol, specific friends etc.

10. This is the hardest and most crucial question. Do you actually care? Do you want to change?

Some relationships just don’t work. People change, drift apart, allow life  to get in the way. Whilst others fail through bad habits and lack of effort. If you want yours to last it’s time for a relationship MOT. Note your faults and remove your own toxic behaviour before it’s too late.

Remember respect. #debatewithlove

Since I try not to write anything political on my blog, I have deliberately avoided posting anything about the UK referendum. However a worrying trend in people’s attitudes has become very apparent. 

It is never acceptable to ignore, bully or browbeat people into abiding by your opinion regardless of the situation. In all things it is important to remember we are lucky enough to be born in a country with freedom of speech, thought and action. But with freedom comes responsibility and that responsibility includes treating  others with respect .

If you’re unclear what that actually involves, ask yourself honestly if you do the following things:

1. Accept that others are entitled to an opinion which may not be the same as yours .

2. Listen to the other person’s opinion without shouting them down or belittling them.

3. Make the effort to find out the facts of the debate from a wide range of unbiased sources.

4. Consider if your own opinions are clouded by personal prejudice.

5. Remember that personal relationships are always more important than any difference of opinion .

If we all remember to treat others with respect, then relationships improve and the quality of debate is also improves . It doesn’t take much, only time, consideration and respect , surely that’s not much to ask .