Celebrating love and commitment on an island

Last weekend Jan and I celebrated our wedding anniversary. We took a trip to the beautiful Danish island of Bornholm.

It was my first time there and I wasn’t disappointed. Beautiful scenery, tons of history, great food and the time to relax and re-connect, and forget about our busy work lives.

I feel very blessed and thankful to have met Jan. Let’s just say that prior to meeting him, I’d had a chequered love life. I’d had my fair share of draining and dysfunctional relationships and got to the point where I knew enough was enough.

I couldn’t keep getting involved with men who were emotionally unavailable, or domineering bullies or psychologically abusive, or just plain confused, insecure and needy. Like a true people pleaser I had tried to help them all, to the detriment of my wellbeing and self-esteem.

Starting to love myself more opened up space in my life for healthy connections. I stopped dating and began to think about what I really wanted in a relationship and what sort of partner I wanted. I wrote a Wish List. And when I least expected it, Jan walked into a Dublin pub and into my life.

Read more

How social media harms your relationships

social media harms relationships

Whenever I visit family and friends in the UK, I like to do a digital detox. No internet, no social media, no emails. Bliss.

I’ve found it so beneficial that I often have a mini detox most weekends too.

My detoxes always make me realise that our digital devices can be a tad too intrusive in our lives. Sure, they can help us reach out to a massive amount of people and open up worlds of information, but they also eat into a lot of time as well. Hours can be lost on Facebook or Twitter if we’re not careful.

I know that social media helps us to connect with people, but it can also severely affect our day-to-day connection with the people closest to us.

Looking at our phones instead of talking to each other

How often have you seen people sitting at a restaurant table together or in a bar completely focused on checking their phones rather than talking to one another? How many couples feel ignored because their partners are engrossed in something on their iPad or laptop? How many of your friends on Facebook are actual friends? Probably less than half? Maybe not even that many?

Isn’t it all a bit, well, crazy?

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the internet. I love being able to easily keep in touch with my friends in other countries. I love how it helps me do my job. It offers a wealth of knowledge and information. But most technology has a down side and in the case of social media, there’s a dark side too.

Read more

Let’s take some (but not all) of the romance out of Valentine’s Day

I love you - greetings cards by K.J. Hutchings

Yes, it’s THAT time of year again – Valentine’s Day is only a few days away and I bet the shops near you are bursting with cards, chocolates and cuddly toys.

Whether or not you buy into the celebration, you can’t easily ignore its popularity. Some argue it’s commercialism at its worst, and others simply think it’s fun.

Valentine’s Day is sometimes hard for singletons

For singletons, it can be a mixed bag. You might feel as though you are suddenly surrounded by loved-up couples, making you feel lonely and unloved (or even nauseous). On the up side, you save money on chocolates and flowers :-).

Read more

Love alone does not make a good relationship

love alone is not enough - k.j. hutchings

There’s seems to be an enduring romantic notion that good relationships just happen and you don’t need to work at them.

That love alone should be enough to make things work. That a good relationship should be effortless and any signs of trouble mean the relationship isn’t worth saving because it’s not “right” and so the only option is to end it and search for the truly perfect relationship.

There is no perfect relationship

Most of us know deep down the notion of perfection is wrong, and that all relationships need nurturing. We know there is no perfect relationship because we are not perfect. Even couples who consider themselves ‘soul mates’ need to work at it.

We’re different to our partner in many ways, we have different views. We can’t read their minds (thank goodness), we all carry around a lot of emotional baggage, and have hang ups and faults…

Read more