Category Archives: love

6 RELATIONSHIP MYTHS – How to find / maintain a great relationship

There are many reasons why great relationships may seem elusive. Believing the myths we’ve been sold by films / novels / romantic philosophies will lead us down a disappointing road. Let’s clear up some relationship myths so we can spend our valuable time and energy on what really matters and not on trying to find or cultivate these ‘romantic’ notions that don’t exist.

MYTH: Great couples never argue

There will always be disagreements – you are not the same person. You are there to learn from each other. The question is HOW you disagree. You can disagree and still be open to listening. You can disagree and not shout. You can disagree and still respect each other. You can disagree and not get defensive. These are all possible, but not all easy. They each take practice and require us to address our own negative behaviour patterns. What do you need to improve so that your disagreements become constructive rather than destructive?

MYTH: Great couples always feel passionately in love

To love someone deeply and be passionately ‘in love’ are two different things. Yes, sometimes they coincide but they never coexist continuously.  Deep love can be continuous and present throughout all kinds of other feelings which come and go in a relationship. The passionate ‘in love’ feeling is very common at the start of a relationship, sometimes while the deep love is developing, sometimes just on it’s own. Eventually that heady cocktail of hormones subsides and if deep love hasn’t formed underneath that, the relationship usually ends. People who continuously seek the passionate ‘in love’ feeling will be destined go from short relationship to short relationship. Great couples accept that deep love is far more important and also put effort and energy into creating moments of passion within the relationship without worrying when they’re not there.

MYTH: Great couples know the needs and feelings of the other without having to say it

Fortunately, as babies, our caregivers were able to guess (with excellent accuracy) our needs and feelings before we were able to speak. They knew when we were hungry, tired, ill, upset, happy, etc. Our needs where quite simple back then. Unfortunately some of us haven’t yet fully accepted that as adults our needs and feelings are a hell of a lot more complicated than when we were infants. That means it is VITAL to communicate clearly and openly in relationships. If you need something, say it. If you want something, ask. If you feel an emotion which is affecting your actions/ decisions, tell your partner. It might be sad and painful to accept that the person we love and have chosen to spend our life with, is not able to know what we need and feel all the time but it is absolutely necessary. The sooner we realise this the sooner we start communicating openly and having our needs met and feelings understood. 

MYTH: Great couples are only attracted to each other

Humans are attracted to other humans whether we are in a relationship or not. Sure, when you’re in a relationship you might notice it less, you may even deny it to yourself (and your partner) but you will be attracted to other people. There is NO problem with that. The problem arrises either when you believe that being attracted to someone else means something it doesn’t – you don’t love your partner enough, or they’re not ‘the one’ etc. Or when you can’t just accept that the attraction is there and then just leave it, but choose to act on it. Those are the two main problems with the attraction to other people, not the attraction itself.

MYTH: Great relationships are easy and natural

Humans are incredibly complex animals. We live in an amazing environment we have created for ourselves. But so much of it is not ‘natural’. Monogamous behaviours are indeed natural for our species but lifetime monogamy is not necessarily supported by our biology. That being said, it’s absolutely possible when you understand human psychology. That’s because when it comes to decision-making, we are the masters of our own destiny. If you decide that what you want is to have a lifelong relationship with someone then you absolutely can. What you must accept though, is that it’s not going to be easy. Just like working in a ‘job’ is also not ‘natural’ and living in big cities is not ‘natural’ etc. Just because something isn’t natural doesn’t mean it’s not possible or even fun and enjoyable. Our lives, now more that ever before are about our choices. Relationships are no different. Make the choice, make the commitment and then learn and grow. Learning isn’t easy, growing isn’t easy (remember growing pains?) but that’s part of the beauty of being human.

MYTH: Great relationships are made up of two halves of a whole

There is not one single person on this planet who is going to complete you. You need to be a whole and complete person by yourself in order to have a happy and fulfilling relationship. That means you’ve also got to accept that your partner is a whole and complete person without you. You choose to be together, not out of necessity, but out of joy. It doesn’t mean that you won’t compliment each other in many ways. Maybe you see the ways you differ and so your relationship leaves room for learning and growth, but it’s not that you’re incomplete without them. It also means there are other people – family, friends – who will also contribute important things to your life so you are not reliant on just one other person.

In so many ways, what we chose to believe about relationships and our willingness to grow as individuals will determine their success. Being accepting and aware of the truth about ourselves and others is a great place to start.


I just celebrated my 5 year anniversary with my half Spanish half Colombian boyfriend. When you consider that I am half British and half Cypriot, that’s an interesting mix of nationalities, although I know many more exotic couples than we are! So I wanted to share, in a light-hearted way, some of the pros and cons of falling in love with someone from a different country.

I don’t really like the word foreigner. It is, of course, a relative term and I am as much a foreigner to someone else as they are to me. Or more specifically in this case, I was the ‘extranjera’. I wasn’t even looking for a boyfriend, but that night in a bar in Madrid, I met such a special man that I welcomed him into my life for the long run. So let’s start with the pros.

  • Learning another language – I had been in Spain for almost a year when we met but my Spanish still left a lot to be desired! Google translate was the 3rd wheel on all our first dates and it was hilarious. There’s no better motivation to get good at a language quickly than when you are desperate to communicate with the person you’re falling in love with.
  • Gene diversity – this might sound like a joke but there is actually scientific evidence that gene diversity is linked to disease resistance. Good news for our future babies!
  • Open mind – living in another country will certainly open your mind but actually sharing your life with someone from another country will involve you day to day in another way of living so being open-minded is the only way it will work for both people!
  • More tolerant – learning about another culture from someone you love is bound to make you more tolerant and understanding of other people’s views and beliefs. You will realise that often there is no ‘right’ way to do things, rather, different ways. Part of the fun of a multi-cultural relationship is combining your two lifestyles and making a hybrid that is even better than either of the originals.
  • Know yourself better – the combination of opening your mind and becoming more tolerant inevitably leads to some self reflection. I cannot express how grateful I am to have learned so much about myself and to have questioned things I considered to be ‘right’, ‘normal’ and ‘good’. You get much closer to some kind of ‘truth’. It is so liberating to free yourself of your ‘home’ culture and to create your own life together with your partner, it’s like a fresh start.

I could only think of 3 cons which is a good sign!

  • Argument fails – the first time I tried to argue in Spanish was such a fail! You take it for granted being able to express yourself in your own language. It’s also when you realise how your brain doesn’t function quite the same when emotions are running high. The words didn’t come and I ended up reverting back to English even though I knew he didn’t understand. That also taught me about my lack of self-control in arguments so in the end it was actually useful. Even if you are quite advanced in the other language, if you don’t share the same first language as your partner then some misunderstandings are inevitable. There will be some mis-translations and even just some cultural differences in how you express emotions. It’s definitely a learning process.
  • Food differences – eating habits can differ greatly from country to country. We don’t realise how important our eating habits are to us until we can’t eat what we want when we want. But again, you keep an open mind and learn to adapt. In Spain the biggest meal of the day is usually lunch, with dinner being a lighter meal. Of course that is the other way around in the UK and I wanted my huge plate of pasta in the evening. I did get used to the Spanish way of eating though and learned to thoroughly enjoy my big bowl of plant-based pasta in the afternoon. It actually makes more sense to have the bigger meal for lunch!
  • Timing – this was a tricky one. It takes a bit of adapting to relax your concept of punctuality. That is a must if you live in Spain. However it’s a whole other level when you’re trying to navigate that in a relationship. I had to learn that ‘ya llego’ (literal translation – I’m arriving now) actually means ‘I’m on my way and I’ll be arriving in 10-20 minutes’. In the end there was some meeting in the middle on this one!


In the end, these cons just reaffirm my points about becoming more tolerant and openminded. So it’s really all positives! I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, it’s just a bit of fun 🙂

HOW TO KNOW IF YOU’RE WITH ‘THE ONE’ – Soulmates or best mates?

Looking for that one special person who will complete you, love you unconditionally, make you happy for the rest of your life? Before finding someone else we first have to be a whole, content person on our own, we have to genuinely love ourselves and commit to honouring and respecting ourselves for the rest of our lives. This is real life after all, not a Disney film, so what does love look like for modern day princes and princesses?

Here’s the thing… I don’t believe in ‘the one’, I certainly don’t believe in soulmates but, my goodness, do I believe in love. I actually think believing in the ‘romantic’ idea of true love and living happily ever after, will more than likely prevent real romance from blossoming in a long-term relationship. Having unrealistic expectations of fairy-tale love will only lead to an unattractive sense of entitlement and ultimately, disappointment.

I think there are many people out there who we could be happy in a relationship so it’s about recognising when we meet someone who is special to us and deciding to commit to building a relationship with that person. After all, what could be more endearing than two imperfect people, who are not ‘destined’ to be together, making a commitment to grow together, to learn from each other, to bring out the best in each other, to forgive each other.

That is not to say we can make it work with anyone. If there is something I have learned through my own experience and watching some of my closest friends go through it, it’s that as much as you might want a relationship to work with someone, if they are not willing to change, you will never change them. That can shake your confidence in your own judgment, you thought they were ‘the one’, but it didn’t work out. Sometimes it is about situations, circumstance and timing as well as the person.

There are two things which I think are so important in making the right decision for a long-term partner. First of all we have to love ourselves and be clear about how we should be treated and the high level of physical and emotional respect that we deserve. If we have that clear from the beginning then we won’t waste time with people who won’t be a good partner for us long-term, no matter how fun, talented, good-looking or generous they are. Respect must come first.

Secondly, I think it’s about recognising real commitment. Real commitment isn’t about a getting a ring or a changing your second name. It’s about the willingness to resolve problems in the relationship, it’s about listening, admitting when you’re wrong, it’s about forgiving and moving forward. It’s making time for the person you love and giving them your undivided attention. All of this needs to work both ways. Everything we expect in a relationship we must be willing to give.

What I realise is that when you find someone you love, who loves you back in the same way, who is also your best friend and who is as committed to building a future with you as you are with them, you’re onto a good thing. There is no guarantee that is will be forever, only a consistent recommitting to each other everyday will make that possible, not one day of repeated vows at an alter. I’ve been with my boyfriend for nearly 5 years and I know we are both in it for the long haul. I don’t need a proposal or a promise, I know from his actions every day. He is absolutely my best friend and he has shown me a depth of romantic love that I never even knew existed. We have given everything to each other and to our relationship even, and especially, in the hard times. I have let myself be completely vulnerable and now I understand that is the only way to truly love. We have to trust them with our whole heart. I don’t believe in doing anything in life half-heartedly and certainly not love.