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Love Like a Pro: Relationship experts share advice for every stage of the game

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Relationships and dating are hard—social media is isolating, and pressure to be in a relationship is reinforced this time of year. That’s why twin brothers Jonathan and David Bennett started Double Trust Dating, a company that helps people improve their social skills, which are foundational to success in dating and relationships.

“Charisma, con dence, charm—people think you’re born with it but it’s like any skill that you can improve and develop with practice,” Jonathan said. David points out that love and relationships are an important aspect of life, and they’re worth investing in. They should know: both brothers are certi ed relationship and life coaches.

Photos: Stef Streb

Whether you’re single and looking or in a long-term relationship, sharing your life with someone takes work. Here are some tips from the Bennett brothers for all stages of relationships.

Dating

(614): What’s the best way to approach dating?

Jonathan: First, be open. We have a checklist mentality […] we have a long list of things we want in a partner. Looking based on that list doesn’t usually lead to love, it leads to a lot of first dates and dissatisfaction. Love is a feeling, and a lot of loves and crushes don’t meet those checklists. When you “swipe right” and give people who don’t match that list a chance, you’re more likely to find that deep connection.

David: Second, be approachable. Brush up on your social skills and talk to people throughout your day. So many of us are closed o —we’re on our phones or have headphones on.

(614): How do I meet people?

David: While online dating can be helpful, it’s more e ective to meet people in the real world. What leads to falling in love is interacting. Get out! Go to your regular hangouts and interact. Go to new places that present social opportunities. Look for things that reflect what you enjoy and your values; it’s easier to talk and connect when you have things in common. There are a lot of opportunities such as religious services, clubs and trivia nights.

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Committed Relationships

(614): What should I do in the beginning of a committed relationship?

Jonathan: Balance chemistry with core values. Be proactive and ask questions about goals, milestones and what constitutes monogamy. Know that you may have more chemistry with someone that seems like an odd match, and little chemistry with someone who seems perfect on paper. Be careful of outside noise such as “my mom and friends love him but I’m not sure.”

(614): How can I start my marriage off right?

David: There’s a dopamine high for a few weeks after the wedding but then things go back to normal. The brain chemicals of passion last two to three years, then couples have to confront the reality of the relationship. Know that your relationship always requires work, and keep things fresh. Also, keep working on yourself and maintain other relationships.

(614): How can I keep my relationship strong when I have kids?

Jonathan: Prioritize the romantic relationship. If it becomes all about the kids, the romance dies. “Kids come first” can translate into, “I don’t matter.” People feel guilty prioritizing sex and romance, but you need to give time to the relationship— and to yourself.

(614): We’ve hit a rough patch. What now?

David: Continual honest and authentic communication—no topic is o limits. The things we default to when we’re not communicating [such as] passive aggressive communication, expecting someone to read your mind, the silent treatment lead to anger and aggressive communication.

Moving On

(614): How do I get out of a relationship unscathed?

David: Again, communication. Many times breakups are bad because there was a lack of communication and the breakup is out of the blue, even though it seems obvious to the other person. If you’re honest throughout the relationship, the breakup is less of a shock.

Jonathan: Keep the breakup as private and amicable as possible. Keep it o social media, and take time to process your emotions. The emotional center of the brain where love comes from is the same place hatred comes from—that’s why you can feel love and deep hatred for someone at the same time.

(614): How do I start over after a breakup?

Jonathan: Be single and enjoy it! Not feeling like you need someone right now leads to better relationships later. Take at least a few weeks to process the breakup and reconnect with people. Jumping in too fast can cloud your decision-making.

David: When you’re ready to start dating, brush up on your dating and flirting skills since you haven’t used them in awhile. Don’t be afraid to fail and laugh at the bad parts. Get help if needed—there’s a stigma around seeking help

with dating, but we join a gym to work on our health so why not seek the same support for relationships?

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Lifestyle

Celebrate National Lash Day with Deka Grandview

Regina Fox

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I'm not sure if my eyes are pretty enough to have a song written about them (cough cough Bette Davis), but I'm one step close with these new eyelash extensions!

Before my service at Deka Lash in Grandview, lash extensions were but an enigma to me. What even are eyelash extensions? How do they stay put? Are they heavy? Will they make me look like 2012 Snooki?

Click here to enter to win a FREE set of TruXpress lashes ($180 value) from Deka!

Well, the jury (me) is back with answers to all these questions (no, I don't look like 2012 Snooki) and more.

Columbus franchise owner Krista Guagenti greeted me upon arrival and began my consultation. After browsing photos of the different offerings—natural, wispy, cat eye, doll eye—I settled on a combination of natural and cat eye to achieve a longer, fuller look with subtle length added to the ends.

I was able to fully customize my extensions right down to the level of curl I desired, and as a first time customer, it really help reassure me that I'd be leaving the studio with my dream lashes.

I also opted for the TrueXpress method, which delivers a fresh, natural look in half the time using Deka Lash's multi-lash fans, rather than placing a single extension on each individual lash. So, instead of a two hour appointment, it only lasted about an hour—perfect for busy holiday schedules.

Speaking of the appointment, it was time to begin.

I kicked back in a strange-looking, yet shockingly-comfortable chair and my lash artist Naomi cleaned and measured my natural lashes. Shortly after, she began placing the TrueXpress fans using a proprietary adhesive.

Naomi shared that most of her clients fall asleep during their appointments (there's a fuzzy blanket you can bundle up with), and I see why! There was no irritation (I was even wearing contacts), no harsh smells, and no discomfort. If it weren't for us chatting, I could've easily dozed off as she gingerly adhered my extensions.

Then, after about an hour or so, Naomi handed me a mirror, and my pretty new eyelashes were staring back at me. They were long, full, and flirty, but felt no different than my normal lashes.

I was then briefed on the do's and don'ts of eyelash extensions:

Do

  • Keep lash line clean
  • Remove eyeliner, eye shadow, and mascara at the end of the night with a makeup wipe

Don't

  • Get lash extensions wet for 24 hours
  • Use saunas, steam rooms, or tanning beds for 48 hours
  • Use cleaners, makeup removers, or moisturizers that contain oil or solvents
  • Rub eyes or pull extensions off
  • Manually curl or perm your eyelashes

I followed all the aftercare steps, and have even avoided getting them wet while showering and washing my face. I can't be sure if that's helped the longevity, but I've only lost a few lashes since my appointment six days ago, so it certainly hasn't hurt!

Deka Lash was founded on the idea that all women should feel confident and beautiful, and that's exactly how I left feeling. Not only have they allowed me to go makeup free, I'm loving the little boost of assuredness my curly little extensions are give me from sun up to sun down.

Deka Lash is located at 1017 W 5th Ave, Columbus. To learn more, visit dekalash.com.

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When it’s right to swipe right: Examining apps as the modern matchmaker

Mitch Hooper

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Illustration by Sarah Moore

When you start digging into dating apps, you’ll find mixed reactions. One Google search result will show that a study from Stanford University found online dating has become the most popular way for folks to meet. And if you scroll down a little more, our very own Ohio State University published findings that compulsive dating app users tend to be more lonely. You win some, you lose some.

The truth is you get out what you put in when it comes to dating apps. For all the arguments against them, you can’t deny the convenience they afford our busy lives. You can start the week without a date and by Friday find yourself sipping a cocktail across from a new face. And for all the arguments for these apps, your entire idea of a potential partner can be based on a few photos and icebreaker conversation starters. In other words, you truly don’t know the person until you meet the person.

Dating apps in the modern age have taken to algorithms, much like streaming services today. Instead of suggesting music in your Spotify playlist and new Netflix recommendations, it’s new faces that you might be interested in based on how you complete your profile. But that’s just half the battle. Once you connect with someone, it’s up to you to navigate these waters and land yourself a date. We’re here to help, and we talked with a couple Columbusites who use various apps about what to expect.

Two dating apps that are currently popular are Hinge and Bumble. There are many similarities between the two apps; both will ask you to fill out your profile with the gender you identify with and your sexual preferences, along with photos of yourself. Then, you’ll answer questions that serve as icebreaker conversation starters with potential matches. These conversation starters are one of the key features of both apps, as they are creative and a good basis for getting to know someone with little information. Options can range from “First round is on me if...” or “A shower thought I recently had.” This is a good place to let your personality shine. Users advise that you keep it light, clever, and avoid referencing The Office.

“I’m a diehard Office fan, but if that’s all you can put in your profile about you, I already know you don’t have a personality beyond that,” said K. Coleman, a 24-year-old female user of dating apps. “I don’t care what you are watching on Netflix.”

Bumble differentiates itself from Hinge by serving as the Sadie Hawkins of dating apps, where women always initiate the conversation. It also utilizes the popular swipe feature where users simply swipe left to pass on someone and swipe right to say, “I’m interested!” Should you find success swiping, Bumble also features an “away” setting—kind of a pause button—which takes your profile off the market until you reactivate. For Spencer Swonger, a 29-year-old male, this feature can be less than ideal.

“What I didn’t know is when you come out of away mode, every person you matched with gets a notification like, ‘Hey, this person is back on Bumble,’ which to me sucks,” he said. “Even if I’m just casually doing it, I don’t want every person I’ve talked to to be like, ‘Oh, this guy is looking again.’”

On the other hand, Hinge takes more of a “ball is in your court” approach, where if someone likes your page, you can invite them to start a conversation. If someone comes across your feed and you are not interested, simply hit the “X” option and move right along. There’s also the “most compatible” feature, which looks at your history of likes and passes and how you interact on the app, and connects you with someone the algorithm thinks you’d really like. Additionally, your profile will eventually find its way into other users’ most compatible stream.

Swonger and Coleman both say Hinge and Bumble are the dating apps where they find themselves spending most of their time. Both picked them up after putting down Tinder, one of the most popular dating apps to date. Apps such as Tinder and its predecessor Grindr, a place for members of the LGBTQ+ community to connect for dates and meet-ups, introduced the swipe feature. Though Tinder is flooded with users, it’s gained something of a hook-up app connotation, and that is why Swonger and Coleman said they moved on from it.

“I did Tinder for maybe a week, maybe two,” Swonger explained. “With the other two, I have a lot more success meeting up with people or meeting people who are actually interested.”

Coleman said her preferred app is Bumble, because it empowers her to make connections with people that interest her. “You have to talk to them first, so it weeds out the creepy interactions, which is always nice for women,” Coleman explained. “I like the role-reversal in Bumble. While I think that men hold a significant power in the dating world, I don’t think they hold all of it.”

When it comes to actually holding a conversation on these apps, Coleman and Swonger agree: don’t play games. Swonger says he tries to keep his usage of the app to late in the day for up to 30 minutes at a time. If he connects with someone, he’ll strike up a conversation and see where it goes. Coleman echoed those sentiments and said she recognizes that when someone takes awhile to respond that you shouldn’t read into it too much, rather consider the hectic and busy lives we all lead. It’s worth remembering that these dating apps are built out of convenience, which looks different for everyone.

Swonger’s success on the apps has led him on as many as four dates a week. For him, the idea is to try to set something up in the physical world and get out of messaging mode. It’s also how he recommends new users utilize the apps. With the high volume of users on each app, the chances of meeting someone new are virtually endless. In his mind, it’s better to meet and get to know each other and then decide what—if anything— comes next.

“I actually just ran into a girl I went on a date with while I was out on another date and got a sour text from her the next day,” Swonger recalled. “But if I’m still on the dating app and haven’t deleted my profile, clearly I’m still out there.”

And that’s a good point to close this out: even with all his success, Swonger is still swiping away on these apps. The same can be said for Coleman. Both have found dates through the app and both are still searching. Rome wasn’t built overnight, and neither will a long-lasting relationship. Keep swiping, Columbus. Who knows who you may find?

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Lifestyle

Relationships Remixed: A primer on non-traditional relationships

Linda Lee Baird

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Illustration by Sarah Moore

It’s an understatement to say that assumptions and experiences in dating, love, and relationships have changed over the past few years. Between the proliferation of apps designed to find you anything from a quick hookup to a life partner, to expanding definitions of what relationships can look like and more acceptance around non-traditional approaches to love and dating, the way we find and experience love today is unique to this moment in history.

No matter how we choose to define ourselves and our own relationships, even if they are traditional, it’s helpful to understand ways that others are approaching things. As attitudes and types of relationships continue to evolve, one thing has become clear: “love” looks a little bit different for everybody. And however you define it for yourself—or choose not to—there’s a community in Columbus ready to support you.

To learn more about relationships outside of the traditional model, (614) reached out to experts at The Columbus Space for Alternative Self- Expression, designed as “a safe gathering place where adults can find education and support in exploring their authentic self,” and Mozaic, a resource center for transgender and gender non-conforming people of color. Staff from both organizations spoke about some of the many different ways people in Columbus are practicing relationships.

“It’s just part of being human that you are going to have an experience as a sexual being. We wanted to provide a space that allowed for that, and that educated people and gave them resources to find out about themselves,” said Trina “Brat_Sheba” Gardinier, Co-Director of The Columbus Space. In that vein, The Columbus Space provides a venue for people to learn, discuss, and explore types of relationships and intimacy that don’t t into the typical monogamous mold. Giving people room to explore their sexuality within an accepting community is important to the founders.

“A lot of people’s view of sexuality is somewhat unhealthy, because as a society we don’t promote very healthy sexuality,” said Andrew “Barak” Gardiner, Trina’s husband and Columbus Space co-director. The Gardiners are seeking to change that through their classes and work at The Space, which is open to adults over the age of 19.

The big takeaway from these interviews is that in all relationships— traditional or otherwise—communication is key. “[This] is about a shift in the way we understand, in the way that we do relationships,” said LuSter Singleton, Community Outreach Coordinator at Mozaic. That means asking questions while respecting boundaries. (Pro tip: asking someone their preferred pronouns is considered respectful; asking a transgender person whether they’ve had surgery is not.) It also means that the terms of any relationship are decided by the people involved—and only the people involved.

“Nobody can determine what your relationship is except for you. You get to make that decision. No one else gets to tell you what your relationship is called, or how you need to run that relationship,” Trina explained.

The Gardiners said they’ve seen a lot change in the past five years, noting that people are much more open today about being in open or polyamorous relationships. “I think that the openness that we’re experiencing from the younger generation is amazing, and it’s really blazing a path through what it means to be in a relationship,” Trina said.

Mikalya Robinson, Prevention Assistance Program Intervention Navigator at Mozaic, summed it up well: “We want to get people to understand that love is love.”

The Columbus Space for Alternative Self Expression is located at 180 Outerbelt St. Learn more at columbusspace.com. Mozaic is located at 2228 Summit St. Learn more at www.mozaicohio.org.

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