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

Don’t Waste Time With People Who Bring You Down

41d61567ace5eace116deb3d2ca93eb8.jpgWhen I met Mr Penguin, it was one of the first times I felt truly close to a friend in many ways. There are only a few people in my life that I consider close to me, as I’m someone who is content with just having 1-3 friends.  As someone that spends a lot of time in my own company, I really value the quality of friendship, rather than quantity. There is a desire to get to know someone if I know that it’s going to be something long term, meaningful and deeper than just knowing them. Over the years, I’m better at distancing myself with those I don’t feel are a positive light in my life.

It’s very important to surround yourself with people who are there to support you, be honest with you and raise you up. They don’t judge you but they’re there for you when you need it most. From experience, having a friend in your life that only complains, talks about their own life and aren’t very kind is extremely damaging to your mind. No one can be positive all the time, but those who are negative all the time can really affect one’s peaceful state. There’s truth in that we can’t please everybody, or be friends with everybody. Which is why, if someone you don’t really know says something unkind to you, don’t waste time caring about it.

People who truly care for you don’t need to see or even talk to you every day. But, when you go through a particularly good or bad period in your life, they make an effort to be there. Making friends with someone who is emotionally draining is not healthy. The sort of people from my experience is those that constantly gossip and talk about others. It’s exhausting to listen to and incredibly negative. The people you surround yourself with can influence you even if it’s in a minor way. We all give off energy. Surround yourself with positive energy, and you will feel far happier in your life. Make friends with people who want the best for you.

Art by Mirdinara

The Common Myths About Relationships

31275951b0b6aa007b55f6506e19e5eaThere are several myths about relationships and dating that you may have heard of before. One thing that is very important to remember is that every relationship is different. However, the main basis of a healthy relationship includes communication, trust, honesty and love. In terms of long distance relationships, it’s common to hear others say that it won’t work. The reality is that it can work, but it’s best to have an end goal, in order to feel and know that it’s not forever. There are other myths, such as the idea that you need to always have something to say, otherwise a relationship will fall out. I thought I’d share some here.

A relationship is more likely to work if you rarely argue. I’m always surprised when I hear of a relationship where the couple say they only argue once a year. Of course, every relationship is different, and this is possible. But, it’s completely natural to argue, because no one agrees the same with everything.

When you don’t talk, the passion will fade. Being with someone doesn’t mean you always have to be talking. You can spend time alone, with friends, together and it doesn’t mean when you’re together you have to be talking. It’s important to have balance. Sometimes just watching a movie or walking together in the quiet shows that you’re comfortable just being by each other’s side.

Opposites attract one another. To some extent that is true, and from another perspective, it’s often more likely to work if you both have similar values, beliefs and a few things you both enjoy and like. It’s good to have differences because we’re all individuals with different interest.

Once you fall in love everything will be perfect. Every person goes through a puppy love stage, but with any relationship, it takes effort, time and energy. Although it can seem perfect in movies, it’s the imperfections that make every relationship special and unique.

You don’t need to change yourself. It doesn’t mean you should change yourself completely, but being in a relationship takes compromising and improving. There are things that we need to change about ourselves to improve, in order to make a relationship work. It might be a bad habit, an attitude towards something or how we deal with certain situations.

They will know how you’re feeling. True and False. When you’re with someone long enough, you can both sense when something isn’t right. It’s important to voice how you’re feeling. That’s what part of communicating is. No one can read some one’s mind. It also shows your honesty and openness, rather than hiding those feelings.

You have to do everything together. It’s great to do things together often, but not all the time. You could cook together, watch a movie, go for a walk, sit at a cafe or go to an event together. But, having your own space and alone time is just as important.

A happy relationship means having common interests. When you have some common interests, it can be great in certain aspects of each of your lifestyle. However, it doesn’t dictate a happy relationship. There will be some things you both like doing, and some things you both do in your own time.

Art by Ji min Yoon

 

There’s A First Time For Everything

eeff2958191f065a0c336eb9bfbc7cc8.jpgWhen you learn, experience or find out something new, that’s when you know that there’s a first time for everything. It happens in our personal life, relationships, travel, school, work and so on. Imagine seeing yourself as a baby, taking the first steps to learn how to walk. In terms of relationships, there’s a first time for everything. From the first time you hold hands, have a 3 hour conversation on the phone, the first kiss, the first time you travel together, the first time you cook together, the first argument or the first time you have a laughing fit together.

When I think back to those moments, it’s such a sweet feeling. Yet, the more time you spend with someone you love, just doing the most simple things can give you the greatest joy. The first time for anything is special, memorable and precious. It’s something you treasure, and there are certain things you remember distinctively from that memory. Whether it’s the colour of clothing, the weather that day, how you were feeling or the food you were eating. The more you get to know someone, and go past those first times, that’s when you really start to get to know someone in depth.

Think of the moments you first met a friend and got to know them. Perhaps after the first time you meet someone, you spend more time after to talk.  Many people talk about first impressions, and how important they are. They will only ever happen once. In a way, they are how someone initially remembers us. However, I find that sometimes our first impression may be right (or wrong!) or may change our minds once we get to know someone more and more. Most people naturally show more of their personality as you get to know them.

First impressions also remind us why it’s important to not judge a book by a cover, but then it’s also a natural process of guessing what a person might be like. If you have a natural click with them, laugh at one another’s jokes and feel comfortable, you can feel that many new things you experience (whether with a friend or loved one) can be really enjoyable. There’s an endless list of first times for everything, and as they say “You learn something new everyday.” It shows that no matter how old we are, we’ll always be experiencing something for the first time.

Art by Lubi

Old School Romance Vs Modern Dating

8bcb060db0994afa623c3c4d2bcb2669.jpgI recently watched a video here, from the channel Off the Great Wall. I thought it was very interesting and made me think about how much dating has changed in the last ten years. I recently had a class at uni, where we discussed how much social media and technology is apparent in our daily lives. It makes us realise how often we check out phones for the smallest things, or how long we spend time on the internet on a day to day basis. When they talk about missing the mystery aspect, it makes us remember how important it is to leave certain things unknown, in order for the person to take time to genuinely know more about this person.

Several years ago, I still had a Sony Ericsson Flip phone with buttons you click. Computers already had messenger on Facebook and Skype to chat. On one hand it’s convenient to have these especially when you’re in a long distance relationship. Although, when we lived together, we rarely used our phones when we’re out together. In the past we would write snail mail to one another and send gifts. In our modern dating world, life is far more fast paced and quick. When I wrote about Traditional Love Vs Hookup Culture here, one of the things I feel is that many people in our generation feel that love should always feel good. However, love means both side committing and working through the good and the bad.

The video talks about how it was simpler back in the day, where dating was much more innocent. Remember the days where we’d call the persons home phone number? Going the extra mile was natural back then, whereas today it’s often seen as desperate or too cheesy. Old school dating doesn’t exist the way it used to. Most people might meet each other online or chat online before getting to know one another in person. They mentioned awkward silences, which I find are really wonderful because they make getting to know someone, feel more real. When we use technology, we can’t really truly experience those moments.

A lot of people are able to meet or talk to people online now. There is that sense that we lose that art of knowing someone on a personal level in person. Whenever someone asks how I met my boyfriend, I tell them that I met him at church. The first reaction is usually “That’s so sweet!” When my boyfriend and I talk about dating now, we feel like it’s extremely fast paced in our generation. Especially, because we took it quite slowly in our relationship. Love is not something to be thrown away, whereas now there are apps and media telling you you can meet someone here, here and here.

Watching older films always reminds me of how our parents generation and in the past, dating required effort from both sides. There was more time spent to truly know someone in person. If you didn’t see each other everyday, then it was fine. The small things are worked through together. I wrote about When People Use Their Phones On A Date With You here, because it was a conversation my boyfriend and I had. We don’t use our phones unless we need to, but it made us feel sad whenever we were on dates, and couples were constantly on their phones.

Old school romance doesn’t need to let everyone know. Whether it’s on social media or in person, there isn’t a need to share photos or need validation from anybody. There isn’t anything wrong to share photos together, but you don’t feel the need to post a kissing or hugging photo every week. Love is often private and secretely felt. The ‘Dating Game’ has changed hugely since just the 90s, and early 00s when we didn’t have smartphones and you had to place a phone call on a wired phone to your loved one. Physical attraction can only be felt in person, and there really is no substitute to face-to-face meeting someone.

Taking things slowly was very normal in old school dating. I can’t count the amount of times in the past someone would say that that is cheesy, or don’t do that. But, when we both took those gestures of writing a card or giving a gift, it felt good. In modern dating, there is too much of an idea of keeping your cool and your identity in a way. In the online world, there is such an easy way of ignoring, deleting or unfollowing someone, when in real life you wouldn’t ignore what someone said to you in person, or walk out as they are talking.

Remember to find time to express your love, whether it’s through a letter, in person or an email. When we were long distance for two years, those were a few of the ways to really express our love for one another. Dating now doesn’t mean you need to make it official online, in order to be truly dating. However, in our culture of ‘if you don’t post it, it didn’t happen’, more people are willing to show more of their lives. Sometimes it’s important to leave some things as a mystery, and remind ourselves the importance of taking time to truly get to know someone.

Art by Naomi Wilkinson

What I’ve Learned From Living With My Boyfriend

6a0120a5f0e3de970c013480aac562970c.jpgLiving in Sydney was a different experience to what I was used to, as a country girl at heart. Although, I’d previously lived in central city in Auckland for two years, it’s always been a big little city to me. Being able to live with your other half is so wonderful, especially for those who have been in a long distance relationship. You may of heard that sometimes living with a friend can make or break the relationship, because people can sometimes be different to live with than to hang out with. Then there’s each of us with different habits, ways of living and doing different things in our spare time. Everyone will have their moments of ups and downs, but communication is definitely key when living with anybody.

We have our specific side of the bed. Did this ever happen when you were at home, and somehow you’d always have a specific seat you sat at the dinner table, the special cup you’d use and the seat in the lounge area? I think it’s something that’s done out of habit.

Long days are worth it when you can come home. No matter if you have a good or bad day, it’s a sweet feeling knowing you can go home and give your loved one a hug and a kiss. You can talk about what you both did during the day, and share any exciting stories.

Home is where we can be completely ourselves. As much as we should always be ourselves, when you’re at home, it’s your private space to be as loose, silly, talkative, sleepy and tired and just be completely yourself. You can wear your sweatpants all day, dance around and sing in the shower without a care.

Conversations and silences are both important. To be able to be with a friend or a partner where you can cherish the silences with ease, is something precious in a noisy world. When you can be completely comfortable with having nothing to say, and listen to one another when you do speak, that’s something.

Compromise is important to learn. Being able to both compromise is important, if one or the other person wants to do something. Thinking of the other person and being considerate should be in any relationship. No one will always agree on everything, but being able to come to an agreement for certain things is sometimes needed.

You will both have your own habits. I feel like everyone has their own little interesting habits. When you live with someone, that’s when you really notice them. For example, I spend a long time brushing my teeth, and I have to pick up my hairs off the floor after drying it.

Developing couple language is the norm. If you spend a lot of time talking with one another, it’s natural to start making up words or developing your own language. There are certain words you might replace, or use only in public.

We spend time to do our own thing. If you think of when you lived with your family, then you know that everyone usually does their own thing. Space is important. It’s mostly when you go out that you make quality time to spend together. At home, it’s the simple things like cooking, watching a movie or talking.

Art by Marta Antelo

 

Things I’ve Learned From A Long Distance Relationship

jimin-yoon9-550x778.jpgMy experience of LDR’s started when I was in a 2 year long distance relationship out of the 4 years, and now Mr Penguin and I are back into long distance. It’s going to be really hard at times, and the things that can make it work out include: keeping yourself busy, having strong trust and communication, being honest, staying true to yourselves, keeping the love and accepting that it will be difficult at times. As someone who sees some of my family once a year, it can be comforting to think of it that way. In the sense that you won’t see your other half often, but you can count down to the moment you do see them.

Communication and trust is everything. Having a well balanced level of communication is key for any relationship. It’s important to voice out your honest feelings, tell each other about your week and talk the way you would if you were in person. The moment we lose touch with a friend, is often the moment we drift apart from them. Having trust means that we don’t worry or predict anything negative to happen, but we have confidence in one another.

It’s important to both have your own routine. Relationships are a significant aspect of our lives, but the relationship we have with ourselves and others are also important. You will both spend a lot of time interacting with different people, which can be good to have that way of finding your own feet and walk your own journey. It makes you both more secure in yourself and not rely on one another so much.

Misunderstandings are much more easily resolved in person. Through online, things can be misinterpreted or not as easily expressed compared to in person. You don’t have the physical element of seeing someones actions, body language and facial expressions. This is one of the hard parts of LDR’s, but it also means that you are willing to use that time to clear any misunderstandings, rather than letting them bottle up.

You will miss the physical element. The simple act of a hug, holding hands, walking side by side, laughing together and watching a movie. The physical part of a relationship is one of the instant expression of your affection to one another. The pro in distance is that your emotional connection will be more expressed, but the con is that you often miss the feeling of their touch.

There will be hard times to go through. Many people will tell you that it’s hard when you mention long distance. There’s no way of putting it lightly, but they’re right, it is. As much as you know that already, there will be moments where you both are trying to figure out how to make it work. You might go through the hard times, by figuring out a plan and staying positive.

If it’s meant to be, then it will work out. Life is unpredictable, but I think that if things are meant to be, it works out for the best. Everything happens for a reason. Think of the moments you worry about something, but somehow it always works out. If you know you are compatible and love one another deeply, then you will put in the effort to make it work.

You need to be realistic about the future. If the distance is going to be inconsistent and unpredictable, then it can feel like it will never end. If you don’t know when you can be finally together, it can make one feel doubtful. However, if you can both work towards a goal and make promises that are realistic, it can be motivating. Perhaps it might be a year distance or 5 years distance. The best thing about a time frame, is that you can plan for it.

You may do things you wouldn’t normally do if you were in person. You might write snail mail to one another, send little gifts or go out of your way to do things you may not usually do so. When we meet people in person, we don’t think about needing to be consistent in keeping in touch. However, with distance you often have skype chats to keep each other up to date.

It can make you emotionally stronger. Long distance is worth it in the long run, if you can imagine this person in your future. It makes you stronger in the sense that you know you can go through it together. You become more patient and understanding, and are willing to wait until the day you can finally be reunited.

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Art by Ji min Yoon | Photo: My first day in Sydney :)