Online And Offline Privacy In Relationships

84d871b3660ba1a997d2c2f0af156252.jpgThere’s often that mindset when we don’t hear or see about something, that if you didn’t post it, then it didn’t happen. Which seems silly, as, before the time of Facebook, life was simpler in that sense. No one needed to know what you ate on Friday afternoon after work or where you were on Christmas day or the holiday in Greece when you were swimming in the ocean. I feel that there’s such a huge importance in maintaining privacy in relationships. There’s a certain line for what you decide to post online or share offline, which goes for anything.

If you post too many photos with your partner, is it truly for yourselves, or is it simply to show others? I always find that there’s a line you need to draw when it comes to posting about your personal life, especially when it comes to relationships. Similarly to the way that it wouldn’t be safe to constantly post photos of your children online, it’s not healthy to constantly post photos of your other half. Privacy is such a treasure especially in a day and age where privacy is now a luxury.

Spending time with someone means being present, and less time using a phone on a date. Being with someone means that you don’t need to have validation online on Social media or offline in person with other people. It means that you are both content and happy with who you are as individuals.  A relationship that lives online is not realistic because it doesn’t show the reality of relationships. You may have heard of the term ‘goals’, and truth be told, there is no relationship that is perfect.

No one can strive for someone else’s relationship because each one is different and special to their own. Love cannot be defined by an image. Online privacy means not having or feeling the need to share everything or too much to everyone else. It means leaving your personal life personal and only sharing a small snapshot of what you want. It means leaving the intimate moments for offline and not needing to let everyone know where you went, what you ate, what you bought, what you received or how you’re doing.

Oversharing is not healthy and can be detrimental to any relationship. Mr Penguin and I like to go for long walks and are not fond of oversharing online because it feels as if it’s not needed. There are moments we want to keep between ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with sharing, but everything requires balance. This also includes sharing about your career, life, travel, holidays and relationships. Privacy is respecting you and others. It’s not seeking any validation, but enjoying those moments for yourself. Living in the moment and being truly present is the most important thing when we’re living in our everyday life.

Art by Yelena Bryksenkova

The Benefits Of Being Friends Before Dating

198f6678df2bfa6cb420d02293378f42.jpgThe process of becoming friends makes me think of old school romance. It’s slow and steady, rather than dating now, which has become more fast-paced with technology and social media. Friendship is a time where you learn about one another, see each other’s silly sides, comfort one another when you’re upset and ask questions to get to know each other. There isn’t the romantic aspect in it, and it feels natural and steady. There are many benefits of being friends before you start dating.

You get to see a different side of them. Sure, they’re still the same person, but being friends first allows you to see how they handle certain situations and how they treat you when you’re just friends.

The focus isn’t on any romantic aspect. You learn their story and when you’re just friends there’s this certain kind of humour that doesn’t pass a line. You grow a level of respect towards one another, in knowing not to do anything that would make one another uncomfortable.

Some people grow more attractive over time. Of course, Mr Penguin has always been attractive to me, but when you’re friends you don’t obsess over their appearances too much. Once you do start dating, you see their beautiful characteristics shining out more and more.

He knows what makes you happy and sad. When you’re good friends first, the person already knows a lot of things about you. You know one another’s stories, memories and views towards certain things.

There is already an element of trust created. Talking, sharing things and spending time hanging out means you already have a level of trust with the friend. Once you start dating, that trust can grow stronger and stronger.

You have a similar sense of humour. I find that there’s this pressure when dating, that sometimes causes some people to not be completely themselves at first. That’s not always the case, but generally speaking. However, when you’re friends first, you can joke about the silliest things.

Taking the time to truly get to know someone. Friendship takes time, and sometimes going straight into dating can seem more fast paced. Although, there’s nothing wrong if it’s the right time, but sometimes dating is about timing.

There is already an attraction there. No matter who we’re friends with, we’re friends with them because there’s something we’re attracted to about them. We’re friends with someone because we like them.

Communication comes more naturally. Communication is definitely something that gets better and better over time. When you’re first friends with someone, you’re more direct and honest right from the beginning, compared to if you started first dating someone.

Art by Naomi Wilkinson

A Conversation On The Puppy Love Stage

6187e59597399.560d68d1e9f48.jpgA period of time where you feel a strong sense of infatuation is called the puppy love stage. It starts in the beginning of a new relationship and can make you feel on top of the world. It makes you feel that nothing could go wrong and everything is perfect. You only see the good in your partner, and you yourself is also weary of not showing your own flaws straight away. As they say, it’s when the puppy love stage ends, that’s when the true relationship starts. That’s when the realisation that no one is perfect, and both people need to compromise.

Remember that feeling of butterflies you get at the beginning of a relationship? Every time you saw the person, your heart beats a little faster and you don’t see anything wrong with the person. The reality is that this stage is short lived. It’s a wonderful period of time that we look back at sweetly, but it usually lasts for a year. Love isn’t perfect, and everyone has their own flaws. It’s the ability and willingness to work through the hard times and enjoy the good times together that make it all worth it. It’s normal to argue when you disagree or have your alone time.

Just as we try to make a good first impression, it’s the same in the beginning of any relationship. We want to present our best selves to the person. However, no one is able to act this way for long, until we discover a person’s habits, attitudes, views and perspectives towards different things. Perhaps we might find out that they’re a messy person or that they don’t like doing the bed.

There’s  a misconception that a relationship should feel like puppy love all the time. There’s this fairy tale world that we are given through movies, books and music. Many people feel if a relationship ended then it wasn’t meant to be. Sometimes that may be the case. However, a relationship is both sides wanting and willing to change, grow and learn. It’s when you’ve seen each other at your best and worst, but still, love one another, and am willing to work through the good and bad.

Even though I mention that the puppy love stage passes, that doesn’t mean that after many years with your other half you lose the feelings of butterflies. It simply means that you’ve both gone beyond the introduction, and know each other in depth. You’ve been through more experiences and lessons together. The reason why it’s normal to argue and have disagreements is because they test whether we want to fight for the relationship to make it work. It means loving them more and more each day.

There are many that are together for a long time, and can still look at one another the way they do when they had puppy love. In a way, we start to not have to show it outwardly as much. It’s something that’s felt within and in private moments. I remember in the beginning of my relationship, we took heaps of photos together and would post them on social media. After that year, we took less pictures. There’s something about puppy love that people can feel. Picture a new couple holding hands, smiling, blushing and laughing awkwardly and sweetly.

Art by Oamul

Love Is Looking Beyond The Surface

d600679597399.560d68d3d6c1b.jpgWhen we just meet someone, naturally our first impression is a visual one. We notice the way they smile, their eyes, how they hold themselves or what they’re wearing. It’s normal to notice these things first, before really getting to know someone. Sometimes first impressions can be accurate, and sometimes they’re not. Most often, it’s when we really take the time to get to know someone, then we truly see who they are as a person. You may have heard how you might have a first impression of someone as attractive, but perhaps after you get to know them, you realise that they are an unkind person with a bad attitude, and they start looking more unattractive.

You may have met someone beautiful, and they do indeed have a beautiful heart. Someone you may have met, without thinking about their physicalities so much, but the more you get to know them, the more you see their beauty inside and out. Everyone is different, and we’re all attracted to different aspects of a person. In a superficial world, where we hear news about celebrities who marry, and then divorce, doesn’t that instantly prove that love is beyond looks? These are certain actors that we may view as handsome, and actresses we view as beautiful. But, at the end of the day, they’re just another human.

Love is powerful because it reminds us to look at someone with our heart instead of our eyes. It shines every good and bad of someone and makes us attracted to one’s personality in the long term. An interesting thing is when I got to know Mr Penguin, I always found him handsome. However, over the years I see him as a really kind hearted person who is more and more beautiful as each day goes by. Those are the aspects that are invisible because they’re not instantly visible. They take the time to realise and see. That’s why when people say don’t judge others, they really mean it.

Love isn’t making your life seem perfect online (or offline). It’s those quiet gestures, special moments and wonderful experiences you have. It’s the ability to grow together and let go of the bad and invite the good. Imagine if you had a baby one day, you would never hold your baby and judge him or her for their appearances. That love is the kind that instantly sees how beautiful and pure your baby is. How much you want him or her to grow up to be healthy, kind and good.

Art by Oamul

Can Women And Men Just Be Friends?

567d710200b2c0896c31e291ad099e2f.jpgThat is the question. I wrote about it here a few years ago, and I still have a similar feeling towards whether women and men can just be friends. It definitely depends on the person themselves, the situation and their personality. There are genuine people where there is no attraction more than just being a friend. I like to think of it as the Hermione and Harry friendship. There are people where it might be ambiguous if they may have feelings for you, and then there are friends who end up falling in love with one another.

They can be just friends if it’s similar on both sides, where each person has no feelings whatsoever. They don’t do anything that would be romantic or lead towards something. The friendship could be a brother-sister like relationship or someone that we know we’d never want to spend the rest of our lives with (which sounds harsh, but that’s how you’re able to just be friends). On the other hand, being friends with someone means that you like them. It means you’re attracted to certain qualities of the person. It doesn’t always mean that you’ll end up falling for them.

In my case, I was friends first with Mr Penguin, and over time we knew that we’re meant to be together. Which is why a part of me thinks no, men and women can’t be just friends because feelings will get in the way. On the other hand, there are certain people that you could never imagine having any other kind of feeling for, and know that you’re safe to be just friends with them. There may be friends that you have a certain distance with, or don’t go into too much depth and detail.

It’s important to state that there’s such a difference between being a naturally friendly, kind and polite person or being a flirtatious person. I am possibly one of the least flirtatious people I know because I talk to everyone in a general friendly manner. I also think that’s important regardless to if you’re in a relationship or not. However, sometimes being friendly can be mistaken as being flirty. What are your thoughts? Can women and men just be friends?

Art by Oamul