What do the gifts your other half gets you for Christmas really say about your relationship? Welcome paroxysms of angst and doubt into your life with my handy guide to what his presents may (or may not) mean for your romantic future...
Arousal and desire would have evolved to promote the most successful mating strategy. So if having a novel sexual partner produced the greatest number of offspring who survive to procreate, then sexual desire and arousal should be greatest in these situations.
Christmas is my favourite time of year for dating. There's something about twinkly lights, hot mulled cider and enjoying a glass of red in a cosy corner in the pub by a crackling fire that sets the mood for romance.
This week gay marriage laws have come into effect around Scotland, allowing same-sex couples across the nation to be able to get married. No, not a civil partnership, a full on, completely equal, legal marriage, and I couldn't be more grateful.
As we wave the dregs of the last 12 months down the plughole and prepare to celebrate Christmas, I've realised that a huge amount of positives have come out of the negatives that I've endured... So I thought I'd write them down and share them - if nothing else, because I can refer back and chivvy myself up if things start going wonky again in 2015.
The most important thing I want to teach you is that you don't have to write long essays to get a reply. You'll be contacting lots of people every day, so sending long messages can really zap your energy and motivation. If they are popular they won't have time to read everything anyway, so short messages will get their attention.
I'm fairly certain that most of my single friends think that since I'm a newlywed, there is nothing I could possibly want- don't I have it all? Besides the pair of over the knee boots I've been eyeing for months, yes, at least when it comes to matters of the heart I feel pretty satisfied to say the least.
Christmas is traditionally a time for families to be together. This can heighten emotions, especially loneliness if you are single as the focus is on happy families at this time of year. It can really highlight the fact that you don't have that special someone to share it with and that can be hard to deal with.
How many people have you just 'known' were going to marry the wrong man or woman? But did you take them aside before their big day and quietly ask if they were 'sure' they were marrying the right person? Girl-to-girl, this is code for "You must be NUTS marrying this guy. He's a cheating, unreliable jerk." Or man-to-man, did you simply tell him point-blank "This woman is BAD news. Don't marry her. She will wreck your life."
There seems to be a tired, frustrating belief in British culture that sex is something that needs to be kept indoors and not talked about, especially if you're a politician or public figure. Supposedly looking at naked, sexual pictures of people is something that we are all supposed to be up in arms about...
Imagine you went on a first date with someone who was sarcastic, nasty, disparaging towards you. It's hard to believe that you would agree to a second date. Yet an abusive relationship can creep up on us and have us gradually accepting that behaviour, justifying it, perhaps even feeling that we are in some way responsible for it happening.
And you, that guy in high school I thought was the love of my life for about a week, whose face I don't even remember now. You, that girl who handed me a handkerchief when I was crying on the bus after finding out my best friend had passed away. And you, that old lady I helped walk home and who told me her life story in the process.
This list was originally written back in 2009 for my own personal vent session but became an all-time favourite amongst my friends, family and later, my husband. I found it to be a useful tool and felt the need to share.
The wedding took place on a country estate. The bride's family were rich and had hired what looked like a Norman stronghold. It was summer and we were gathered on the lawn. Dinner and afternoon drinks were followed by aimless socialising. I asked lots of people what they did, and talked about how lovely the bride looked.
I hate that it's more or less an enforced binary structure - to be single and dating, or together and exclusive. I hate that there are plenty of people who don't actively consent to monogamy, who are not happy in monogamy, but through society pressure and lack of information, unwittingly follow the prescribed norm hoping for that illusive happy ever after.
While I'm sure you wish you could just hibernate from the world and re-emerge in the New Year, it's just not practical during the holidays when you have parties and family functions to attend. Here are some ways to handle a break-up during what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of year.