Life’s too short to always feel shafted. If you’re not getting what you want out of your life, it’s time to change things! Let’s put your effort where it matters.

Is your life a profitable business or a non-profit? In business, everything requires a return on investment (ROI). Unless they’re required otherwise by law, companies don’t do anything without the intention of making money. Companies hire a person in so much as that person can complete a task that pays for their salary and makes the company a profit.

I know! Some jobs subsidize others, but this isn’t ECON101. We’re in Adulting701, and we’re talking about life.

Why is it that we don’t apply a similar philosophy of an ROI on our personal lives? We keep people around who suck our souls. We repeat bad habits that harm our health. We avoid opportunities to challenge ourselves and grow. We stay with the same, old tried and true to the detriment of our dreams.

That is not a business or personal model for success.

Spend time with other awesome people.

As we age, we collect people in our lives and keep them at all cost. We’re loyal and faithful and sometimes caring to a fault. Everyone has their down days and who doesn’t want to live up to Bill Withers’ standard when he sang, “Lean on me when you’re not strong, and I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on.” Aside from ending in a preposition, those are noble words by which to live.

See what I did there?

In 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey talked about emotional bank accounts. Everyone has an emotional bank account, and the people in our lives are either making a deposit or making a withdrawal from our emotional bank account.

The more people withdraw from our emotional bank account, the lower our ROI. If they deduct or even deplete our emotional bank account, our ROI can be negative. That’s not okay. We want people who add more than they take so that we can be all or more than we can be. It’s fair to remember, that we’re either adding to or taking from others’ emotional bank accounts, too.

Keep people around you who make you better and whom you can help be better.

Risk living for your dream or stay stuck in a nightmare.

Les Brown said, “The graveyard is the richest place on earth because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled.” Will you take your biggest and best asset to the grave with you?

Are you staying with a job because you have family responsibilities? Are you not stretching towards your dream because you think you’re too old, too young, not the right gender, don’t have enough experience, blah, blah, blah?

You know what they say about excuses, right?

For the longest time, I wanted to be financially and geographically independent by helping people with their money. That’s making a long story short. However, one of my mental hurdles was thinking that I was too young. Who would listen to me in my 20s? Who would listen to me in my 30s? Even when I started this venture, I wondered who would listen to me in my 40s?

When I started doing what I wanted, I began networking with others who were doing the same. Many of them were younger than me. Because I’m a master of self-doubt, I started to think I’m too old. If I listened to my internal dialogue, I had one year in which I was the optimal age to do what I wanted to do.

Mel Robbins says we’d be committed to an institution if other people could hear our internal dialogue. So, I stopped listening to my fears and insecurities and started listening to my faith and possibilities. While nothing is inevitable, I’m happier than ever and can’t wait to wake up every day to continue working on my dream.

If you aren’t excited to wake up more days than not, is it because you’re living a nightmare? If you’re living a nightmare or even a drama, what value are you getting from it?

Don’t love the one you’re with, rather be with the one you love.

“Love the One You’re With” is a badass tune, but it’s bad advice. There’s a good chance we get one life and, as we’ve learned over the last couple of decades, we can have full and happy lives alone. We don’t need someone else to make us happy and, if we think we do, there’s a problem.

If we “need” someone in our lives to make us happy, then we have more needs than love. Plus, it’s not fair to put that kind of responsibility on someone.

Only when we can love ourselves fully, completely alone, and for who we are can we receive true love. It feels unfair, but it’s true, and any relationship we stay in because we need to will be mediocre at best and, in economic terms, that’s stagnation.

Our resources are limited. We only have so much time. We only have so much energy. We can only give so much without getting something in return. What is your ROI in every area of your life and how can you get a better return?

When you figure out that formula, you’ll have more abundance than you thought possible.

We would love to hear your thoughts about your personal ROI in the #Adulting Facebook community! Hope to see you there!

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Stop obsessing about the “perfect” relationship or partner. You want to find love with a person, not an idea.

It seems perfect. True love.

But then, somehow, it all went wrong.

Maybe you desperately want it to work still. So you make excuses and find reasons to stick around. You love someone and you’re sure you’ve found the perfect one.

When you’re in this place, there’s a good chance you’re not in love with an actual person. Instead, you’re probably in love with an idea.

The idea of love.

We like to think we’re in love. The romance. The allure of the perfect soulmate. Someone who understands us. But the truth is that, in many cases, this is an idea of love. We think we know what love means, and then we try to mold the situation (and a partner) to fit that.

Or, rather than really seeing your mate as a person, you see the “potential.” You’re in love with an idea of what the perfect romance would be, and you try to make it fit.

Here are some of the signs that you’re more in love with the idea of a person and your relationship than you are in love with the actual person:

1. You envision a future with a changed mate.

Is it all about potential when you look at your lover? If all you see is the possibility that s/he will change and turn into your ideal, you’re not in love with them.

You’re in love with an idea of them. You fantasize about how it will be different when your s.o. finally finishes school or decides that camping is really fun. Perhaps you think about all the great Broadway plays you’ll see once your lover has developed a refined taste.

When you love a person, you respect their differences and that they might not like the same things – and it’s ok. You can both enjoy your activities without the need for the other. Loving someone is about accepting that they may never come to a basketball game with you or follow the profession you think they should.

2. You live more in the future than in the present.

This goes hand-in-hand with the first sign that you’re in love with an idea and not a person.

Instead of paying attention to the present and working on yourself and your relationship, you live in the future. Your future memories and fantasies are what matter most to you.

Yes, you need to plan for the future with your s.o. But you can’t live there. Especially if your constant fantasizing about what will happen makes you grumpy that the present doesn’t live up to that ideal. You need to work on yourself and your relationship.

Living in the future puts the focus on trying to make your mate into someone else, rather than helping you become a complete person in a healthy relationship today.

3. You constantly compare your relationship to other couples.

Every couple is different. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

You run into trouble, though, when you compare your relationship to what you see from other couples. When you idolize a couple for their “perfect” relationship, and you want to do things just like they do, you’re on dangerous ground.

Rather than looking at the relationship and working on it in a way that makes you and your lover both happy, you constantly wish it could be something else.

Looking at the public face of other couples is dangerous. Mainly because what looks so perfect on social media might not actually be. You like the idea of what this couple has built, and aren’t really interested in the person you’re with.

When you compare your relationship to other couples, you spend too much time looking outside, to what others are doing. Instead, you should be looking at your mate, seeing a person, and focusing on whether or not this relationship makes sense.

4. On paper, it’s perfect.

Sometimes we look at someone and, instead of seeing them for who they are, we check boxes.

Athletic? Check.

Pretty eyes? Check.

A business major? Check.

Maybe you even share a lot of interests. You both like the same music and movies. You have similar religious backgrounds. It seems like the perfect match.

And maybe it is.

But when you focus on how “perfect” all these “qualifications” make your partner, you aren’t actually seeing a person. Instead, you’re seeing a collection of characteristics that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to present to your mom.

You’re in love with an idea. The idea that you have this great match, your parents will approve, and you’ll be proud to go to all the dinners and parties with this person on your arm.

Unfortunately, just because someone seems perfect on paper, that’s not always the case. None of us are perfect, and you need to look through the traits and see the person. Sometimes, even with the surface compatibility, you’re not actually good for each other on a deeper level.

5. You find yourself changing to meet their expectations.

Maybe instead of expecting your mate to change, you start changing yourself.

Your s.o. is perfect on paper, and things are a little rocky right now. You don’t want to lose the ideal, so you decide to make some changes. If you change to meet your lover’s ideal, then things will smooth out, they will love you more, and it will be perfect forever.

Nope, nope, nope.

We can all improve as people. Progress is about being a little better each day. But that doesn’t mean you have to change the core of who you are just to please your lover and get them to stick around.

If you are with someone who places contingencies on their affection, and they want you to change into someone else, it’s not really love. And you are more in love with an idea of not being alone than in being with this person.

Not too long ago, someone who knows I’m just not having any more children said this to me: “If you find the one, you’ll want to give him a child if he really wants one.”

Um, no.

If I find “the one” he will respect that I don’t want any more children. In fact, if someone really wants children, it’s clear I’m not the one for him. We aren’t compatible.

Sticking around and trying to change who you are and what you want out of life just to be in a “perfect” relationship isn’t love.

Don’t settle for an idea.

Don’t fall prey to the idea that you need to have someone. This is what leads us to being in love with an idea instead of a person.

Instead of trying to find someone, anyone, to fill a hole in your life, start by figuring out who you are and enjoying life on your own. Once you are happy with yourself, you are more likely to attract others who are happy with themselves – including potential partners.

Look for people, and look at them as people, rather than fantasies or ideas. In the long run, you’ll have more rewarding relationships.

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Feeling like a stranger in a strange land? It can be hard to start over in a new city. But part of the fun is making new connections and finding a new crew.

When my husband and I moved from Indianapolis to Denver a couple years ago, I left behind a solid core of friends that made up the bulk of my social life. I was sad to leave them, but confident I could do the same thing I’d done when changing schools as a child or moving out of state for college – maintain my old friendships and start some new ones.

While I had no problems staying in touch with my friends from Indiana, making new relationships was so much harder than I ever expected. Not only did I lack any kind of social base to start from, but I had just left an office job to start my career as a freelance writer. You don’t realize how important the workplace can be as a social tool until your only office mates are a husband and two dogs.

It took some time, but eventually, I was able to meet some great people and form lasting friendships. Here are some of the methods I tried, and how well they might work for you.

MeetUp.

MeetUp is one of the best tools to find new friends with similar interests, and almost every major city has an active MeetUp community.

MeetUp is a haven for groups based on every kind of interest imaginable. I’ve joined book clubs, art journal groups and card-game nights. Many of these have hundreds of members, so don’t expect to see the same faces every time. But if you attend the same event frequently enough, you’re bound to make some connections that stick.

Go to two or three events before you decide you don’t like a group. It can take time to get out of your comfort zone and feel at ease around total strangers, but since most MeetUp groups are based on a specific activity you’ll always have something in common.

Make sure to look at the age range of the groups you’re interested in. I once joined a movie MeetUp without realizing I was the youngest person there. I went a couple times, but ultimately decided I couldn’t make close friendships with people close to my parent’s age.

Bumble.

This tip is only for the ladies. The dating app, Bumble has a feature where women can look for other women to be friends with. When you download the app, choose the BFF setting when prompted. You’ll only see profiles of other women who want to find a new shopping buddy or movie companion.

Bumble starts by showing you a series of photos. Like many dating apps, you swipe right on the prospects you like and left on the ones you don’t. At first, I swiped right on almost everyone, but I quickly realized I wanted to be more selective.

Almost half of the girls I saw said they loved drinking wine and going to brunch – but doesn’t everyone? I decided to swipe left on anyone who had such a generic profile. I swiped right on girls who said they loved comic books, playing with their dog or reading detective novels. I wasn’t trying to be judgemental, but it’s easier to make a connection when you have something in common.

I met a couple cool girls through the app, but staying in touch on a long-term basis proved harder. That’s not an indictment of the service, but you’ll need to invest some time and energy into the app if you want it to pay off long term.

Volunteer.

When you’re in a new city, it can be hard to get the lay of the land. What events are cool? Which museums are worth going to? Where can you find the best ice cream?

Volunteering for local events is one way to have fun, explore, and make friends in a new city in the process. Most volunteer spots last several hours, so you’ll have time to chat and get to know people. Plus, you often get free swag or privileged access.

If you hear about a local event that sounds interesting, but you don’t want to go alone, contact the organizers to see if they need volunteers.

Sports leagues.

Joining a local bowling league is the best way I’ve made friends in Denver. We played one game a week for six weeks, meeting at the same time and place consistently. Having a regular time to hang out proved to be the key to making a new group of friends. When you sporadically attend functions, you don’t get the consistency that’s required to solidify new friendships. Seeing the same people once a week made it easier to develop actual relationships.

We started planning other activities together pretty quickly, like going to the movies, attending musicals and going on short hikes. Eventually we started watching “Game of Thrones” together every Sunday and later transitioned into a weekly trivia group when our bowling season ended.

Every city has local sports leagues you can join and participate in. Most people won’t care if you’re unathletic, as long as you have a positive attitude and a cursory knowledge of the sport. Often, groups go out afterward for drinks or dinner, giving you another opportunity to establish roots.

Moving to a new city is the perfect chance to find new friends and reinvent your life with people who you can enjoy time with.

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Are you in a sort-of relationship without wanting to commit? Not sure what to call it? You, my friend, are in a situationship.

There is no doubt that I love the single life.

But sometimes I find myself spending time with one person enough that things start moving into “boyfriend-like” territory. But I don’t actually want a boyfriend. And I certainly don’t want anyone moving in.

What are you supposed to do with that?

Luckily, a friend of mine came to the rescue.

This perfectly describes some of my recent interactions. It’s that weird place where you are kinda seeing each other. You’re more than dating, but one or both of you are unwilling to totally commit. It’s beyond friends with benefits, but you’re not going to take it to the next level. At least for now.

So, are you in a situationship? Let’s take a look at some of the indications that you are involved in this type of pseudo-relationship:

You don’t want to label it.

The first sign that you’re in a situationship is that you don’t want to label it. When people ask if you’re dating, you say things like, “Sort of.” You don’t want to call your … person … a boyfriend or girlfriend.

If you do come up with a label, it’s sorta lame. I sometimes refer to the subject of my situationship my “not-boyfriend.” The idea is to avoid actually committing full-on, leaving room for other dating experiences, should they come up.

You aren’t actually dating anyone else.

Have you reverted to the easiest situation? Is it easier to just hang with your not-girlfriend than go on a date with someone new?

A hallmark of a situationship is that you claim to be “free” to go out with other people, but you don’t actually do it very often. You’re basically exclusive, but you don’t feel a level of commitment that comes with true exclusivity.

If a better opportunity presented itself, you would totally bounce.

You aren’t going on dates anyway.

Forget dating other people. You aren’t even going on dates in your situationship. Instead, you hang around the house, much like a long-time couple. You might even sleep over at each other’s places sometimes. Netflix and chill is basically the order of the day and you rarely make an effort to go on a real date.

You still fly solo at events.

Family function? You go by yourself. Holiday party? Ditto.

While you might bring your situationship buddy along to some things, you’re still not “there” yet in terms of making them a permanent fixture in your life and bringing them along to all the events.

When making vacation plans, you’re not really interested in ensuring that you have company; you’re perfectly happy alone. While you don’t mind traveling with them, you’re not interested in doing it all the time.

Your friends and family might not be aware there’s someone.

By the way, do the people who know you best have any idea that there’s a Thing happening? Maybe your closest friends and family members know that “something” is going on, but they haven’t actually met your situationship person.

Or, maybe they have met the person, but only on occasion. You certainly aren’t arranging double dates with your brother and sister-in-law or planning fun couples hikes with your BFF and their squeeze over the weekend. Sometimes there’s a casual “this is so-and-so” when you do bring them along to something. You don’t make plans to do things with the couples.

Instead, you mostly try to keep your worlds from colliding. You don’t want your situationship to be part of the rest of your life. Or, at least, you’re trying to put it off as long as humanly possible.

Your Facebook status remains resolutely single.

You’re not even willing to elevate the status to “it’s complicated,” although for some people in a situationship that is an option.

You do have pictures of yourself with your situationship person, but they are relatively innocuous. They show you having fun, but they aren’t that much different from the pictures you take with your friends. You certainly don’t post all the pictures you might have of the two of you together.

Maybe you refer to yourself as “mostly single” (as I do), or you find some other way to subtly clue people into the fact that you are kinda sorta maybe seeing someone in a way that looks similar to a relationship, but you really aren’t doing the relationship thing.

Your future plans don’t take the other person into account.

Sure, sometimes you talk about the future or daydream about things you’ll do together. But, really, your future plans don’t really account for the other person. You make plans that could have room for the other person, but it’s not really your primary concern.

You just aren’t making long-term future plans together. When you think of your future, it’s attractive to you whether or not your buddy has a place in it.

Is a situationship a bad thing?

A lot of what I read about situationships seem to imply that they are bad things. However, I’m not sure it’s an awful thing to be involved in a situationship.

When you’re looking for a degree of stable companionship with someone you enjoy, but you don’t want to move in together or get married or do whatever it is that committed couples do today, a situationship can be just the thing.

The biggest risk is that you are content with the situation, while the other person starts developing stronger feelings and different expectations. What happens when the other person starts thinking about a future together and wants to level up to a real relationship? At that point, you need a Come to Jesus and figure out what’s next. That next might even be taking the plunge and committing.

If one of you is not happy with the situationship, but the other is just fine living in this pseudo-relationship indefinitely, it’s time to end it. The other person needs a chance to develop a relationship along the lines of what they want.

However, if you’re both cool with the situationship, there’s no point in messing up something you both enjoy. It doesn’t matter what those around you say. Figure out what’s working for you, and then go for it.

Are you in a situationship? How’s it working out for you? Let us know what you think about this new relationship category in the #Adulting Facebook community.

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Do you think sex has become a chore? It doesn’t have to be that way. Spice up your love life by learning how to have sex your way.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Show Notes

Bez Stone joins Harlan and Miranda to challenge long-standing misconceptions about women’s bodies and teaches a revolutionary method of sexual fulfillment that works for women. Basically, everything you learned about sex is wrong, wrong, wrong.

We talk about what you can do to learn how to enjoy your body and sex more, based on your personal preferences. It gets a little awkward in places, but, hey, it’s all part of the process.

A Stanford-educated writer and certified Sex Coach, Bez is an emerging authority in women’s sex and sexuality. She is sought after nationally by couples, women, and groups, and has helped thousands of people reclaim sexual connection.

Please visit her website, www.bezstone.com, for more information and to watch her TEDx talk on Feminine Orgasm. You can also follow her on Instagram (www.instagram.com/bez.stone) or find her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/bez.r.stone)

Watch the video, recorded live, above, or listen to just the audio using the player below. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast!

Hosted byHarlan L. Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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Don’t believe the hype. You really can be friends with members of the opposite sex. You just need to see other people as, you know, people.

The best way to support Adulting.tv is to subscribe and leave us an honest review. Thank you!

Is it really possible to be friends with the opposite sex?

Believe it or not, we think it is. Otherwise, how would our relationship work for this podcast?

In this week’s episode, we look at society’s expectations for our friendships based on gender stereotypes. We also tackle the issue of being attracted to your opposite-sex friends.

 

Concepts

  • A look at the differences in how men and women see their opposite-sex friends.
  • Changing perspectives on being friends with the opposite sex.
  • Gender as a social construct and not a binary.
  • How to focus less on biology and more on human connections.
  • Tips for managing being friends with the opposite sex and your S.O.
  • Moving on after you acknowledge (at least to yourself) that there is some level of attraction.
  • What it’s like to have a bestie of the opposite sex.

It’s a little awkward with the Do Nows this week. Do you really need to go on a quest to be friends with the opposite sex? Does it really matter. We encourage you to look at your list of friends and see if there are some experiences and people you want to connect with. No matter who you connect with, consider joining a local organization where you can meet new people.

This week’s listener question tackles the issue of trying to explain to your parents that you just aren’t interested in your opposite-sex bestie.

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Resources

Opposite-sex besties.

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Want to keep it tight with your crew? It takes effort. But it’s totally worth it.

Developing good relationships is the primary reason we’re on earth.

Human contact is essential for both your mental and physical health. In fact, studies show that those with strong emotional ties are healthier and live longer than those without.

But building those bonds takes time and effort. Even if you consider yourself a good person, it can be hard to maintain relationships, especially as work and other commitments take more of your time.

As you build your squad, here’s how you can develop relationships meant to last:

Learn to listen.

You probably already think of yourself as a decent listener.

But consider this: Do you actually listen when your friend is or partner is talking? Or do you think of what you’re going to say in response? Do you really hear them? Or are you judging what they’re saying?

Hearing is easy, but listening is hard.

It’s hard to listen mindfully, without wondering how long it’ll be before you can say something. But listening is vital to developing a good relationship, no matter if it’s with a boss or the cashier at your favorite donut shop.

“I don’t necessarily have to agree with what’s being said, but acknowledgment goes a long way towards building those important relationships,” said Elle Martinez, author of Jumpstart Your Marriage & Your Money.

Listening is like meditation. It requires focusing on one singular object and bringing your mind back to that focus when it starts to drift. It’s one of the hardest skills to master, especially if you’ve spent most of your life half-heartedly paying attention to your friends.

Stay in touch.

How many relationships lose traction because one of you fails to keep in touch? Keeping track of people is hard, but it’s made so much easier now with the advent of Facebook and other forms of social media.

Try to stay in touch, even if it’s as simple as sending a text or message saying you’re thinking of them and hope they’re doing well. I even created a recurring calendar reminder to call my grandmother. I always forget to call her, so I set it for a time when I know I’ll be free. I also keep a stack of blank greeting cards handy so I can send close friends and family personal cards when it’s their birthday.

It takes little time to send them out, but means the world to get a hand-written note in the mail. Relationships are like cars. They need regular tuneups to function or they’ll die.

Bring up problems early.

I have a theory: the best friends I have are the ones I’ve had some sort of disagreement with. If I’m willing to bring up a difficult subject with you, it means we’re good friends.

But it’s never easy to bring up something with a close friend. I hate confrontation, and most people agree with me. Fortunately, every time I’ve brought something up, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of the other person. It’s always led to a closer relationship, and I’ve never regretted it.

I usually feel uncomfortable doing this in person or over the phone, so I try to write it out. I can take my time writing out my grievances and I know that I won’t say something hastily I’ll regret later. Plus, then the other person has the option to respond in print or in person.

When you have a problem you want to discuss, try bringing it up with a neutral party first. A third-person can provide a different perspective and tell you if you’re actually in the wrong. I usually discuss friend issues with my husband first, since he can tell me if I’m being unreasonable.

Give feedback.

What most people are looking for is acknowledgment in this world. That’s why many of us seek validation through likes and hearts on social media.

Give that to your loved ones by commenting on their recent career news or by supporting their side business. Odd as it sounds, developing good relationships in today’s world includes participating on social media with them.

If your friend just started dating someone new, text her a few weeks in to ask her how it’s going. She’ll love to hear that you care about her relationship. Bring it up if you see her in person. One of the characteristics that differentiates a strong relationship from a weak one is if you bring up things that are important to your friend before they have to. That shows real commitment and dedication.

Every interaction you have, try to mention or ask something that the other person cares about. They’ll be delighted that you remember and care so much.

Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Make your people feel good and they’ll never forget it.

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Independence. Fire. Ambition. An alpha female sounds great. If you want to keep it great long-term, follow these tips.

For centuries, women have been told that “proper” females are demure.

Our concept of “traditional” roles are stuck on a binary that is largely a social construct. Rather than looking at individuals and preferences, we have this idea that men are providers and protectors, while women are nurturers and managers.

Today, though, with an increase in women as breadwinners and the growing social acceptability of the idea of those who identify as female becoming a little more aggressive, we’re seeing the rise of the alpha female.

Do you want to date an alpha female?

The alpha female is a woman who is confident and assertive. She usually has a career that she prioritizes (maybe even over you sometimes). She has ambition and drive. In many cases, an alpha female is at home being considered a woman, and doesn’t mind dressing up and being “girly” sometimes.

The alpha female looks like what we consider a “traditional” or stereotypical woman, but she doesn’t act that way. She’s ready to take charge and enjoy her life. Whether you’re a woman or a man, or identify as someone else altogether, the truth is that dating an alpha female can be challenging — especially if you’re mired in ideas of what a “lady” should be.

Before you start to date an alpha female, here five things you should probably know:

You need to have your own interests.

It’s fun to do things together. But sometimes work calls and things need doing. Sometimes an alpha female just wants to go do something alone or with a different group of friends.

For some, this feels like being ignored. This doesn’t mean she’s lost interest. It means she has other things to do right now. The emotional and mental stress of trying to reassure you can become overwhelming and annoying.

When you have your own interests, it helps a lot. An alpha female is her own person, and much of the time, she likes a partner who is their own person. When you have your interests, you can entertain yourself and you are less likely to get jealous when your partner is engrossed in a big project or goes out to lunch with a friend.

That goes a long way with an alpha female who wants her own space sometimes, and who is driven to the point where she wants to accomplish her goals before turning her attention to you. But realize that once that attention is turned your way, it’s most likely going to be all for you.

Make decisions.

After making a ton of decisions throughout the day, an alpha female might not want to decide where to go for dinner. Making another decision, or trying to people for another minute (if your alpha is also an introvert), can feel exhausting.

Instead, be ready to make decisions. If your partner says she doesn’t care what you have for dinner, don’t press her for a decision. At the very least, narrow it down to two or three options.

You can also suggest activities for the both of you. She might want to do something with you, but not have to make the plans. Of course, I know there are days I’m tired, done with decisions and just want to chill at home. In those cases, I’ll more than happily tell a partner I just want to watch an action/adventure/comedy and lay in his arms on the couch.

Try not to feel threatened.

I’m cis and straight. I “look” like I should be “normal” (read: “stereotypical”). However, many men I date feel uncomfortable with me once they start talking to me. I’m opinionated and happy to share my opinion. I make a pretty decent living, and mostly get to do what I want, when I want.

For some men who go out with me, especially now that I live in a culturally conservative area, it’s off-putting. They get upset when I try to pay for my own meal (and especially theirs). And they really don’t know what to do when I start talking about politics and money.

If you decide to date an alpha female, try not to feel threatened. If I ask someone on a date, I expect to pay. And if a dude lets me do it without getting all weird, I take it as an indication that he’s “man enough” (whatever that means) to actually appreciate a strong, independent woman.

One thing I’ve noticed: Many “traditional” men think it’s great that I have energy, life, and ambition. At first. Later, they feel threatened when they aren’t the center of my universe. It gets worse if I actually make more money than them.

Don’t feel threatened by your partner. She loves what she does. And if you’re not always the first thing she does, you’ll be happier if you can avoid jealousy, do your own thing sometimes, and appreciate her for who she really is, rather than wishing she was just a little more “traditional.”

Help out.

Not gonna lie. Even though I try to do everything, I really can’t. One thing that helped me recently was that I had a friend help out. He was kind enough to take my car to get an oil change while I worked. He ran a couple errands for me.

He was in between jobs and driving for Lyft, and thought he could make my life easier. And he did.

If you have spare time, help out. In any partnership, both partners need to do their share, depending on what that is. Don’t worry; many alpha females feel like they need to pitch in. They’ll pull their own weight – although it might be in different ways than you’re used to seeing.

When you date an alpha female, one of the best things you can do to show you care is make life easier by helping out.

Know when to back off.

When I get stressed and feel like I need to get stuff done, there’s nothing that helps, other than getting the shit done. Hugs and kisses are all very well, but they won’t get the job done. So I like a nice hug, and then leave me alone.

It’s not rejection. It’s just that I need to focus. For many alpha females, the fact that you’re there takes focus away from what needs doing. You don’t need to feel threatened. If your partner is stressed, ask if she wants to be held, or if she just needs you to go away for a while so she can focus intensely and get whatever is causing the stress out of the way.

This works out really well if you aren’t threatened by her independence and if you have your own interests. You can disappear for a couple hours with your friends or your hobby and when you get back, she’ll be less stressed, and ready to focus on you.

What do you think? How do you handle your relationships with people who might be considered “difficult” by traditional standards? Let us know in the #Adulting community on Facebook.

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Looking for more quality time with your S.O.? Start a business together. Just make sure you’re really cut out for a shared business.

Many moons ago, actually 495 moons ago, my husband and I decided that we were done with our W-2s.

We were tired of working for someone else, seeking other people’s seemingly impossible approval, and letting someone else dictate our income and quality of life. So, we started our own business and haven’t looked back.

If you’re thinking of working with your life partner or spouse, you may want to know that it’s pretty awesome. It’s not just me who thinks that, as you’ll see. Others think it, as well. Here are some of the myriad of reasons to work with your partner.

You can spend more time together.

I’ll start with the most nauseous reason first. The first and primary reason we started a business together is because we want to spend more time together. We happen to like each other, so, why not spend more time together?

With traveling to and from work, preparing for work, working and sleeping, we were only seeing each other a few hours a day. We were living for the weekends, but the weekends were too infrequent and too short. So, we made an employment change.

Plus, rather than text each other all day from separate locations, we can now just look up across the table.

Masterminding.

There’s something special about growing something special with your best friend. This is usually why couples make babies. Growing a business isn’t too unlike raising children. They both take patience, perseverance, creativity, money, and love.

Holly Porter Johnson of the ClubThrifty.com says, “Working with your partner is awesome because you get to dream together! I love coming up with new ideas and bringing them to fruition with my husband by my side. There is no greater joy than growing something together and becoming successful as a team.”

We couldn’t agree more. Working with your life partner is a great way to boost all your ideas and make the most of life and business.

Dividing and conquering.

Even though it’s your own business, you still often must meet the expectations of others. Sometimes those expectations come with deadlines and sometimes they come with demands. In these circumstances, we divide and conquer.

Mrs. Frugalwoods of Frugalwoods.com says, “By dividing and conquering—and focusing on our individual strengths—as partners (in love and money), we excel at creating genuine, relatable content that not only expands our brands, but also deepens our relationship.”

We both understand our business and both have a vested interest in its success. Either of us can take the helm when necessary and we work well together the rest of the time. This makes for happier clients, better service, and a stronger bond.

Motivate each other.

Building a business is hard, but it’s easier when you build one with someone else. Getting out of bed is hard, but it’s easier to get out of bed when the person next to you is getting out of bed, too.

There are times when you just don’t wanna. Usually, we don’t have that feeling at the same time. So, when one needs a pick-me-up, the other’s there and vice versa. When it’s hard to see the bright side, the other is there to shine the light.

Working with your life partner is great when you have built-in support.

Complement each other.

There are some things he’s good at doing and there are other things I’m good at doing. This, like dividing and conquering, let’s us take advantage of each of our strengths.

Personally, my husband is great with coming up with a million good ideas. He fails on the execution of those ideas. I struggle with ideas and am good with execution.

Likewise, he’s good with technology and I’m good with words. So, with the foundation of our business being an online blog, he keeps the lights on and I keep them coming back for more.

Save cost-of-working costs.

The reason many families have multiple cars is because each family member has a different job. That’s more cars, more gas and more car insurance. When you’re a home-based business of two that shares a bed, you really only need one car.

Working with your life partner cuts down on other costs, too.

Aside from our public speaking, most of our business is behind a laptop. Therefore, we don’t need as many “work clothes,” packed lunches, and Tupperware or contracted services such as a cleaning person or personal chef. We had a personal chef for a year while we were building out business and both working a W-2.

Now we have the time to take care of these things.

Lunch dates.

Even though fewer people do work lunches anymore, some business partners have the occasional lunch date. When you work with your partner, every lunch (and breakfast and dinner) is a true-blue lunch date.

Usually, we eat lunch while we watch an inspirational talk or video on YouTube, but it’s more special watching these with your someone special than watching them alone. Likewise, when we’re inspired we have someone with whom to be inspired.

Not only are these lunch dates good quality time, but they’re also a relaxing time to brainstorm solutions to struggles we’re having. As Mrs. 1500 of 1500Days.com says, “The Mister and I have a pretty solid relationship. He’s my best friend, and I know that he has my back with anything. That part’s really important.”

If you’re considering working with your life partner, know that it’s a work relationship that can work.

It may not be for everyone, but the from the other co-working couples we know and our own personal experience, it’s pretty lit.

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Don’t assume that working with your life partner is all sunshine and rainbows. It’s not for everyone, so make sure it’s right for you before you get too far in.

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Do you want to work with your significant other? From working in a “regular” job, to potentially starting a business with your life partner, does it make sense?

It sounds like the perfect recipe for bliss. You get to work with your partner, seeing them every day? Business and pleasure FTW.

Except it’s not always rainbows and unicorns. Sometimes things get a little dicey when you mix business and pleasure with your life partner.

Concepts

  • The good side of working with your life partner.
  • Tips for spending more quality time with each other when you work together.
  • Challenges of working with someone you have a relationship with.
  • Is it possible to see each other too much?
  • The realities of the power dynamics once you start mixing business and pleasure.
  • What happens if you break up?
  • The importance of honesty and open communication in this situation.
  • How to talk about money, risks, and other issues that come with working together.
  • Why you need to get away from each other sometimes.

This week’s DO NOWS are all about trying to decide if you should work with your life partner. Look at whether it makes sense to run a business together, or work in the same department at your 9-to-5. If you already have a business together, review your roles and responsibilities. It might be time to change things up.

Finally, mixing business and pleasure sounds fun, but sometimes you just need pleasure for your relationship to work. Go have a date.

Our listener question deals with trying to figure out how to convince your S.O. to start a business with you. We look at whether or not it really makes sense, and how you can decide if it’s the right step for you to take.

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