TIME Sex/Relationships

5 Weird Ways Love Affects Your Personality

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If you feel like you’re “addicted” to being in love, you might be onto something

Beyoncé may be a musical genius, but can you really be “drunk in love”? According to science, yes, you can. In fact, feeling head-over-heels does more than just make you feel a little warm and fuzzy; it can actually transform the way you think and act.

Check out some of the freaky ways love can affect your mind and body, and prepare to feel (mostly) exonerated from your past in-the-name-of-love behavior.

1. It can make you feel high

There’s a scientific explanation for why you feel so blissfully overjoyed during a new relationship, and it has nothing to do with romantic dates. Scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City studied the MRI scans of college students and found that falling in love activates the same neural system in your brain that lights up when you take cocaine, giving you an intense feeling of euphoria. So if you feel like you’re “addicted” to your new beau, you may not be as crazy as you think.

HEALTH.COM: 20 Weird Facts About Sex and Love

2. It can make you dumber

Or at least really, really spacey. Research published in the journal Motivation and Emotion in 2013 found that people who are in love are less able to focus and perform tasks that require attention than people who aren’t enamored. In addition, the more in love the participants in the study were, the more difficult it was for them to concentrate on assignments. The study authors aren’t quite sure why exactly love makes your brain go fuzzy, but they do theorize that a balance between focus and fantasy is crucial for a successful relationship (and probably a productive day!)

3. It can make you meaner

Think back to every rom-com where two guys duke it out over a girl or a pair of best friends become scheming enemies because of a man. What causes such intense hostility in the name of love? According to a recent study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, the answer lies in neurological hormones that are linked to aggression and empathy. Researchers at the University of Buffalo asked participants to describe a time when someone close to them was threatened and how they reacted, and they found that caring for someone predicted aggressive behavior. So when you’re with someone you love, these hormones can turn your brain’s warm, compassionate empathy into protective aggression, readying you to defend your mate against attackers, stressful events, and even sadness. Cute, huh?

HEALTH.COM: 13 Reasons to Have More Sex

4. It can make you obsessive

If you’ve ever fallen in love, you know how the infatuation that occurs in the early stages of a relationship can feel all-encompassing and exhausting. Researchers at the University of Pisa in Italy set out to find the reason why and discovered that the biochemical effects of romantic love can be indistinguishable from having obsessive-compulsive disorder. The scientists found that people who fell in love in the previous six months had similar low levels of serotonin (a calm-producing hormone) as individuals with OCD, which might explain why you can’t stop thinking about your baby all day and night.

5. It can make you feel invincible

Ever wonder why all your aches seem to disappear when you’re cuddling with your partner? No, it’s not a coincidence. According to researchers at Stanford University, the areas of the brain that are affected by feelings of intense love are the same areas that painkillers target. Participants brought in photos of their significant other plus an equally attractive friend and the photos were flashed in front of them while researchers heated up a thermal simulator on their palms. Brain scans showed that the “love” photos reduced pain more than the friend photos, possibly by activating reward centers that block pain at a spinal level, like opioid painkillers do. Of course, a passionate romance isn’t a good alternative for chronic pain meds, but, hey, it could help.

HEALTH.COM: 15 Natural Back Pain Remedies

This article originally appeared on Health.com

TIME celebrities

Jennifer Lopez: Dating Younger Men is ‘No Big Deal’

Singer Jennifer Lopez at "American Idol XIV" Red Carpet Event in Los Angeles, Ca. on Dec. 9, 2014.
Singer Jennifer Lopez at "American Idol XIV" Red Carpet Event in Los Angeles, Ca. on Dec. 9, 2014. Jason Merritt—Getty Images

The singer finds "comfort" in relationships, despite the hardships her love life has repeatedly faced

In her words, Jennifer Lopez is a “love addict.”

The artist, who considers herself a dancer first and foremost, admits in Self‘s January cover story that she finds “comfort” in relationships, despite the hardships her love life has repeatedly faced.

Lopez, whose Benjamin Button-like condition continues to run rampant, looks fairly incredible in the magazine, her toned body on athletic and age-defying display. In one photo, she bares all – and mid pull-up, to boot – in a pair of white briefs and a white, long-sleeved crop top.

“I’ve been through divorce. I’ve been cheated on, just like every other girl in the world,” Lopez, 45, told the mag of the similarities between herself and her character in The Boy Next Door, an upcoming psychological thriller that features her as a separated woman who falls in love with the high school-aged boy next door.

“So you sympathize, you understand the emotions. And I’ve dated a younger guy once in my life,” she added, referencing her 2½ year relationship with choreographer and dancer Casper Smart, who is nearly 20 years her junior. The couple split in June, and Lopez is currently single.

“I could definitely understand that part, too – the attraction.”

“All the old clichés about women need to be undone. Enough already,” Lopez added. “We’re in the other position now. We are desirable older, we can date younger guys and it’s not this big taboo. Men have been doing this for years, and it’s no big deal.”

On her many high-profile relationships, breakups and makeups, Lopez revealed to Self: “When you have that much pain, you have to anesthetize yourself in some ways. People do different things. Some go out and party and sleep around, but that’s just not my way. I found the comfort in someone else.”

Lopez will appear at PEOPLE’s first ever PEOPLE Magazine Awards on Thursday, airing at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. The Boy Next Door hits theaters Jan. 23.

This article originally appeared on People.com

MONEY Love and Money

The Most Important Talk You Need to Have Before Marriage

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A frank conversation about finances early on will prevent relationship land mines later on, says love and money expert Farnoosh Torabi.

It’s not exactly first-date material, but at some point early on couples ought to start talking about money.

Best if the first discussion happens before the relationship takes a turn for the serious—like moving in together, getting engaged or married, or cosigning a loan. You’d want to know if your steady’s trying to pay off a six-figure law school loan or hasn’t saved a dime towards retirement yet, right?

While we know it’s important, many of us shy away from asking our partners key questions related to savings, investments, debt and credit. More than 40% of couples surveyed by Country Financial recently said they didn’t discuss how they’d manage their money together ahead of tying the knot.

As a society, we’re not especially conditioned to speak intimately about our finances. One report found money to be a tougher topic for Americans to talk about than politics and religion. Plus, if you’re not particularly proud of your financial state, a no-holds-barred discussion may stir up anxiety, embarrassment and fear of rejection.

Here’s how to calmly—and, dare I say, pleasantly—enter this critical conversation into the record in the early stages of your relationship:

Set a Date

My now-husband and I had a money powwow about two years into dating.

Don’t get me wrong: By then, we’d fully observed each other’s spending behaviors and discussed goals (thankfully, with no red flags). But we’d yet to really share specific numbers.

With plans to move in together and cosign a lease just a few months down the road, we figured this was a natural and important time to get into the nitty-gritty.

If you and your mate haven’t come anywhere near this conversation yet, my recommendation is to schedule a time to talk so that your partner doesn’t feel blindsided and so that you can each do a little homework beforehand if need be.

One way to frame your request for a money summit: “I know it’s not the most exciting thing to talk about, but it would make me a lot more comfortable if we could go over our finances together since things are getting more serious. I’m not worried at all; I just think it’s helpful if we share the basics so that we’re both on the same page and can work toward common goals. And I want you to feel like you can ask me anything you want about my finances. I want to be an open book about this stuff because I’ve seen how it can unnecessarily complicate things in relationships.”

Then ask: “What do you think?”

Make an Even Exchange of Information…

To ease any potential tension, my future husband and I decided to meet at a familiar and fun setting: our favorite bar.

We ordered a round (one round only) of margaritas and proceeded to jot down the following on a piece of paper: annual income, bank balances, outstanding loans and credit card balances and approximate credit score.

Then we swapped papers, revealing our details at the same time.

This exercise gave us a simple, quick apples-to-apples comparison and helped us understand our relative strengths and weaknesses.

We discovered that while I had more retirement savings, he had a better credit score. (I was still dealing with the consequences of a late payment on my Banana Republic Card five years prior when I was younger and less vigilant. Sigh.)

You and your partner could try this tactic if you both are straight shooters. But if your sweetie could use some help coming out of his or her financial shell, you might need a softer approach.

…Or, Ease Gently into the Interrogation

Revealing a bit about yourself first may encourage your significant other to talk money.

“Share your feelings and see how he or she reacts,” says Barbara Stanny, author of Sacred Success: A Course in Financial Miracles.

For example, you could start by saying, “I really hate having credit card debt.” From there, you can talk about your personal experience and then ask for your partner’s take.

Or, try the following softball conversation starters which can help you get at hardball answers:

What you really want to ask: “How much do you have in savings?”
Start with: “Would you say you’re more of a saver or spender? Why?”

This helps you figure out habits and behavior, which can be just as telling as actual figures. “Most important, you want to know what are their spending and saving personality is like. For example, how impulsive are they?” says Kate Northrup, author of Money: A Love Story. You can follow up with a question like, “Are you trying to save up for anything major?” This approach can also help you figure out if you share similar goals.

What you really want to ask: “What’s your credit score?”
Start with: “When did you first open a credit card?”

Go down memory lane together to ease into your credit technicals. Talk about how you might have signed up for your first card in college just to score that free t-shirt. And admit a personal rookie misstep you might have made with said credit card.

Then gradually you can warm up to: “Have you ever looked up your credit score?”

If neither of you know, take a few minutes to get free estimates using mobile apps from Credit Karma, Credit Sesame or Credit.com.

What you really want to ask is: Do you have a lot of student loan debt?
Start with: How did you pay for college?

This is the question many dating couples probably want answered, as towering student loan debt is a sobering reality for many.

A conversation about how you afforded school—via scholarships, working and/or student loans—will help engage your partner. And along the way you may gain some insights into each other’s financial values or work ethic, too.

Once when you’ve gotten all these basics out of the way, treat yourselves to another margarita. Your first money talk out of the way! Now that’s a relationship milestone to be celebrated.

Farnoosh Torabi is a contributing editor at MONEY and the author of the book When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women. More of her columns and videos for MONEY.com:

TIME online dating

A New Dating App Grades Profiles and Expels Failing Users

Users who score an "F" on The Grade get banned

To meet your prince in online dating, you have to kiss a lot of frogs — unless one app gets its way.

As its name suggests, The Grade algorithmically assigns a letter grades to users based on their popularity (how often their profiles are liked), the quality of their messages (considering at grammar and tastefulness) and how responsive they are. Those who get an F grade are expelled, and any user who falls below a C grade receives tips on how to stop being such a terrible suitor.

The Grade purports to be the first app of its kind to ban users who don’t cut it in the classroom of singledom. The appmakers say the concept was shaped by “substantial market research” that revealed women who used dating apps were “unhappy with the quality of low-quality daters and the frequency of inappropriate, hostile and sexually suggestive messages.”

Instead of “substantial market research,” the appmakers could also have just asked any woman who tried online dating, ever.

TIME Dating

OkCupid Rolling Out New Gender and Sexual Orientation Options

OkCupid manipulierte Nutzer
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The new feature isn't yet available to all users

Dating site OkCupid is granting select users additional options for listing gender identity and sexual orientation in their profiles.

“You’re part of a select group with access to this feature,” reads a message some users have reported seeing, according to pop culture site NewNowNext. “Keep in mind as we continue to work on this feature: For now, editing your gender and orientation is only supported on the desktop site.”

Users were previously only able to identify their genders as male or female and their sexual orientations as gay, straight or bisexual. Included in the new sexual orientation options are asexual, queer, questioning, pansexual, and sapiosexual (where intelligence is the most important factor in attraction). For gender, new options include cis men and women, transgender men and women, genderqueer, genderfluid, gender nonconforming, intersex and others.

It is unknown when these options will be available for all users.

[NewNowNext]

TIME psychology

How to Have a Great Relationship — 5 New Secrets From Research

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Eric Barker writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

What is love? (Sit down. This might take a minute.)

I’ve posted a lot about the science around love, including how to tell if your spouse is cheating and why high heels are sexy.

But what about the stuff we need to know to be happy? Platitudes don’t cut it and though the poets are often right they’re frequently vague.

Is there an expert who can give us some real answers about love: how to find it, nurture it and maybe even repair it?

You better believe there is. Arthur Aron is one of the world’s top researchers on romantic love.

He is a professor at Stony Brook University and author of a number of key books on the subject of relationships including:

I gave Arthur a call and learned what makes us attractive, how to have a great first date, and the things that kill and improve relationships.

Let’s get started.

So What The Heck Is Love Anyway?

Love isn’t an emotion, really. When you look at fMRI studies of the brain it shows up more as a desire. A craving.

And that explains why it feels so good. As far as the ol’ gray matter’s concerned love’s right up there with cocaine and cash.

All three activate the same area of the brain — the dopamine reward system.

Here’s Arthur:

When you’re in love with someone romantically, the areas of the brain that are activated when you think about them are what we call the dopamine reward system. The same system that responds to cocaine and expecting to win a lot of money. Love seems to be more of a desire than an emotion.

So, yeah, even neuroscience agrees that love is intense. But can anything that powerful last? Doesn’t it eventually have to fizzle?

Not necessarily. Research shows some couples are very much in love 40-50 years later.

Here’s Arthur:

Another thing we’ve learned both from that research and from surveys is passionate romantic love can exist in people that have been together 40 years, 50 years. We don’t know the percentage. But people who claim to be very intensely in love that have been married and are in their 70s show the same patterns of neural response to a large extent as people who have just fallen in love.

Want your marriage to last more than 30 years? Just “being married” often isn’t enough: you also need to be good friends.

Via 100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships:

In studies of people happily married more than three decades, the quality of friendship between the partners was the single most frequently cited factor in the relationships’ success. – Bachand and Caron 2001

(For more on how to keep love alive and live happily ever after, click here.)

So what do we need to know to have a good relationship that stands the test of time? Let’s start with attractiveness.

This Is What Makes You Attractive

Looking good matters. Duh. But it’s far from the only thing.

Arthur also found that we’re more attracted to people who are attracted to us. So showing interest gets people interested in you.

And believing the two of you are similar is powerful (whether you’re actually similar, well, is another story…)

Here’s Arthur:

You are much more likely to be attracted to someone who you think will be attracted to you, or who has shown they’re attracted to you. And believing the person is similar turns out to matter a lot. Their actually being similar doesn’t matter so much but believing they’re similar does.

Believe it or not, other research shows even having similar fighting styles is a good thing.

It was related to double digit drops in conflict and a double digit increase in satisfaction.

Via 100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships:

While people may employ many different conflict resolution strategies in a relationship, when both partners use the same strategy they experience 12 percent less conflict and are 31 percent more likely to report their relationship is satisfying. – Pape 2001

And while we’re on the subject of attraction, how about “playing hard to get?” Does it work?

Nope. Pretending you’re not interested in the other person is a terrible strategy.

However, making it look like you’re picky and have high standards but that you are interested in this person, that works very well.

Here’s Arthur:

Playing “hard to get” does not help. It’s good for a person you meet to think you’re being hard for others to get but not hard for them to get. That’s sort of the ideal partner: one that’s hard for everyone else to get but is interested in you.

(For more on how to flirt — scientifically — click here.)

How many internet dates do you need to go on to end up in a relationship? Online dating data says 3.8. But what should you do on that date?

How To Have A Great First Date

So how did Arthur become so well known as the big researcher on romantic love? He did the classic “bridge study.”

It showed that if we feel something, we associate it with who is around us — even if they’re not the cause.

So if our environment makes us feel excited, we can mistake it for feeling in love. Check out a video of the study here:

So what’s that mean practically? Roller coasters, concerts, anything exciting with energy in the air makes for a great date.

Here’s Arthur:

When in the initial stages of dating, you might want to do something physiologically arousing with the person. The classic is to go on a roller coaster ride or do something like that as long as it’s not too scary.

In fact, research shows you might even be attracted to someone trying to kill you. Researchers simulated a torture scenario and found exactly that.

Via The Heart of Social Psychology: A Backstage View of a Passionate Science:

Those in the high-fear condition did show, for example, significantly more desire to kiss my confederate (one of the key questions) and wrote more romantic and sexual content into their stories. Looking at the details of these results, I found that the situation had generated, quite specifically, romantic attraction.

Other than excitement, what else is good to do? Open up. Not too much, too fast, but start sharing. Superficial conversation is boring.

Here’s Arthur:

Another thing is to try to keep the conversation from being too superficial — but you don’t want to move too quickly. You can scare a person away if you right away tell them the deepest things in your life.

Research shows that talking about STD’s and abortion is better than bland topics. Other studies show that discussing travel is good but movies are bad.

But what you say isn’t everything. It’s also how you react to what they say. Be responsive and engaged.

Here’s Arthur:

There’s some wonderful work by Harry Reis and his colleagues on self-disclosure showing it’s not how much is disclosed but how you respond to the other person’s self-disclosure. You want to be very responsive to hear what they’re saying, to show that you understand it, to show that you value what they’re saying and appreciate it.

In fact, the best self-disclosure can produce a bond almost as strong as a lifetime friendship in less than an hour. Seriously.

Arthur ran this test with two graduate students, trying to produce a romantic connection. What happened? They ended up getting married.

Here’s Arthur:

The very first pair we ran, which were a couple of research assistants in our lab who weren’t involved in this study, they actually did fall in love and got married.

(For the list of self-disclosure questions Arthur used in that study, click here.)

So the date goes well and you’re together. What makes relationships go bad? And how can you dodge that?

The Real Reason Why Relationships Fail

Think you two are badly matched? You’re probably wrong. Arthur says this is a common mistake.

Who you are and what you’re like has a much bigger effect than the match between you two.

If you’re insecure, anxious or depressed you’ll have trouble connecting withanyone.

Here’s Arthur:

Most people think that how well a relationship will work has to do with the match between you whereas that only matters a little bit. Much more important is who you are, and then secondly, who the partner is. If you are insecure, anxious, or depressed, you’ll have a hard time with anyone. Who you are and who the other person is matters much more than the match.

Think you two are going through difficult times but you’ll come out stronger? Probably wrong again.

Difficult times don’t usually strengthen a relationship — more often they destroy it.

Here’s Arthur:

Long-term relationships of any kind have a very hard time when there are great stressors on people. If you live in a war zone, or you have a child die, or someone loses their job, it’s really hard for a marriage to survive. When things aren’t going well and we behave badly or our partner behaves badly it’s common to jump to the conclusion that it’s always been this way and that things will always be this way. When something stressful is happening we need to remember it’s not always like this.

Other research has shown that trying to change the other person is a killer as well. Often, you need to accept your partner for who they are.

69% of a couple’s problems are perpetual. These problems don’t go away yet many couples keep arguing about them year after year.

Via The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work:

Most marital arguments cannot be resolved. Couples spend year after year trying to change each other’s mind – but it can’t be done. This is because most of their disagreements are rooted in fundamental differences of lifestyle, personality, or values. By fighting over these differences, all they succeed in doing is wasting their time and harming their marriage.

(To learn the four things that most often kill relationships, click here.)

Okay, so maybe things aren’t going so hot. Everybody thinks they know how to make it better. What does the research say really works?

4 Things That Really Improve Relationships

Like Arthur said above: it’s not usually the match, it’s usually one of the people in the relationship.

So if you have personal issues like depression, anger or insecurity, get help.Fixing you is the best step toward a better relationship.

Here’s Arthur:

First, look at your own life. Are you anxious, depressed, or insecure? Did you have a really difficult childhood? If so, do something. That would be number one.

Relationships stop being fun because we stop trying to make them fun.

Early on you did cool things together but now it’s just Netflix and pizza on the couch. Every. Single. Night.

What to do? Just like the recommendation for a good first date: It’s about excitement.

Here’s Arthur:

After a while, things are sort of settled and there isn’t much excitement, so what can you do? Do things that are exciting that you associate with your partner. Reinvigorate that excitement and the main way to make them associated with the partner is to do them with your partner.

What’s the third most important thing for keeping love alive? “Capitalization” is vital. (No, I don’t mean using bigger letters.)

Celebrate your partner’s successes. Be their biggest fan.

How a couple celebrates the good times is more important than how they deal with the bad times.

Not acting impressed by your partner’s achievements? Congratulations, you’re killing your relationship.

Here’s Arthur:

Celebrating your partner’s successes turns out to be pretty important. When things go badly and you provide support, it doesn’t make the relationship good, but it keeps it from getting bad. Whereas if things are going okay and your partner has something good happen and you celebrate it sincerely, you’re doing something that can make a relationship even better.

The fourth thing Arthur mentioned was gratitude. And not only does it help relationships, it’s one of the keys to a happy life.

What’s the research say? Can’t be more clear than this:

…the more a person is inclined to gratitude, the less likely he or she is to be depressed, anxious, lonely, envious, or neurotic.

(To learn the science behind how to be a good kisser, click here.)

So that’s a lot of solid relationship advice. How do we pull all this together and put it to use?

Sum Up

Here’s what Arthur said can help you have a great relationship:

  1. According to your own brain, love is right up there with cocaine and cash. And it can last if you treat it right.
  2. Want to be attractive? Make yourself look good, emphasize similarities, and let the person know you’re picky — but that you do like them.
  3. A great first date is something that creates excitement and energy. Share things about yourself and respond positively when your partner does.
  4. Relationships often fail because of individual issues, not because of a bad match. Resolve difficulties as soon as you can; they don’t strengthen relationships, they cripple them.
  5. Improve your relationship by dealing with your personal issues, doing exciting things together, celebrating your partner’s successes and showing gratitude.

It’s easy to get lazy when things are going well. But a little effort can go a long way — and not just toward a better relationship.

The research shows love has many positive effects like increasing success, longevity, health and happiness.

Here’s Arthur:

The evidence shows that relationship quality plays a huge role in longevity. The findings are that the importance of being in a good relationship versus being alone is a bigger effect than smoking or obesity on how long we live. And the quality of your relationships is also the biggest factor associated with general life happiness.

If you don’t have someone special in your life, here’s how to find them.

And if you do have someone, make an effort today. Celebrate any good news they have and plan something exciting to do this week.

And then show them a little gratitude. Does anything feel better than hearing how much we mean to someone else?

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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What 10 things should you do every day to improve your life?

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Dating

When It’s Okay to Walk Out of a Date

Why had I stayed when my gut was telling me to leave?

This article originally appeared on Refinery29.com.

Walking into the new, chic bar in Harlem, I had the usual jitters that arrive when you’re about to meet someone you’ve been talking to online. I was nervous — but also excited — to learn more about J.R., the guy I’d been chatting and texting with for a few weeks.

From the moment I saw him (sitting, hunched over his phone, texting), I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. I approached him in spite of it. We introduced ourselves, but instead of getting up and heading to the bar with me, he stayed fixated on his phone. After about 20 minutes of this — his phone getting way more attention than me — he excused himself to take a call. You can probably predict what happened next: He never came back. I sat alone in the bar, fighting back angry tears.

(MORE: Dating Nightmares Come True)

And yet, from the moment I’d laid eyes on J.R., my instincts had told me I wasn’t walking into a good situation. My Jerk-O-Meter had gone off, and I’d ignored it. Why had I stayed when my gut was telling me to leave? Why had I made feeble attempts at small talk when his body language was clearly telling me he wanted nothing to do with me? Well, I did it because it was the polite thing to do. I let manners trump my instincts. And, I realized with some dismay, it wasn’t the first time I’d allowed my inclination to be considerate overrule my need to stand up for myself.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. Women are practically trained to “be nice.” We want to be liked, and so we often act politely — even in the face of someone’s rudeness. Being nice to guys I dated, including ones I knew didn’t deserve it, was something I’d just always done. When J.R. defended his phone fixation with a sarcastic remark and still wouldn’t give me the time of day, I could have — and obviously should have — turned and walked out. But, I kept fighting to be polite. I’m not to blame for J.R.’s bad behavior, but my sitting down and continuing to engage with him indicated that I was okay with how he was treating me, which probably only made him think he could disrespect his future dates, too.

It was this horrible date with J.R. that gave me the impetus to throw my good manners out the window when I deemed it necessary. From now on, I was going to put myself first — even if it meant I had to be a little rude. Enough with the niceness all the time! I was quickly learning that it was not always the best policy. Now, if a date makes me feel disrespected, I have the right — and the obligation — to leave. And, I’m proud to say that’s just what I did the last time a guy I went out with turned out to be an asshole.

(MORE: What To Do After A Great First Date…)

I’d met Pete online, and after some nice email exchanges, we decided to meet in person. Pete picked a coffee shop downtown, which fit my rule about meeting in neutral, safe locations. When I walked in, Pete waved at me, with a smile, from a table in the corner. “What’s up, CeCe!” he said, giving me one of those cool-guy chin nods. I hesitantly sat down. We’d barely said hello when Pete began to talk about himself, non-stop, while also checking out other girls right in front of my face. I looked at my watch (never a good sign during a date), which confirmed that the date had been going on for exactly six minutes. I waited for Pete to ask me something — anything — about myself. But, that never happened.

If this was Pete putting his best foot forward, I’d seen all I needed to. “Actually, I’m going to head out,” I said. “It was nice meeting you!” I picked up my purse and went to get a manicure.

Sometimes, being nice is overrated.

(MORE: Perfect Outfits For Every Fall Date)

TIME relationships

How Social Media Makes Breakups Uglier for Everyone

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Oversharing isn't any good for the sharer

This article originally appeared on Refinery29.com.

We get it. When you’re in the throes of a breakup, a public display of affection or hate seems like the only logical move that could possibly capture the emotions bubbling up inside your being. But, in reality, a Twitter rant about your ex is usually more pathetic and off-putting than touching or convincing. And, ever since the breakup Post-it became the breakup Facebook post, our various networks seem to be making this already-difficult process even more agonizing.

(MORE: How To End That On-Again, Off-Again Relationship — For Good)

To get a picture of what it looks like when a relationship ends on social media, researchers at Aalto University in Finland went to Twitter. They looked at tweets posted during a 28-hour period from users whose profiles mentioned another user along with a word like “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.” (Wisely, the researchers made sure not to include people whose proclaimed S.O. was a celebrity.) This left 40,000 pairs of users who seemed to be romantically linked IRL. After following these users for a period of six months, the researchers were able to pick out the ones who had broken up — and hone in on the language used in tweets before and after the uncoupling. As pictured in the resulting magnificent word clouds, the researchers found that phrases like “I hate when you” and “shut the f**k up” replaced “I love you” post-breakup.

Obviously, as our feelings towards our partners change, so do our interactions with them. But, what’s less obvious is how much of an effect that public exchange has on its audience, a.k.a. all your other followers. Sure, some of us are probably drawn to (or at least entertained by) that drama, but another study suggests the majority of your Facebook friends would appreciate if you kept your relationship news to yourself. For this one, researchers showed 100 participants fake Facebook timelines and asked them to rate the person’s levels of relationship satisfaction and commitment, based on their posts. Participants thought the Fakebookers who dished a lot about their relationships were the most satisfied — but, they also disliked them the most.

(MORE: Does Your Brain Feel The Effects Of A Breakup?)

Oversharing isn’t any good for the sharer, either, especially after the breakup. Forgetting about our exes (at least partially) seems to be an essential step of moving on. And, according to at least one small study, that’s even harder to do when your relationship details are scattered across the Internet. Here, the researchers took an in-depth look at the post-breakup behavior of 24 participants and found they could sort them into three categories: keepers, deleters, and selective disposers of their relationships’ digital artifacts. It seems those who were able to selectively disengage from their online interactions with their exes were the most well-adjusted.

So, although social media does have the power to bring us closer together, it makes it harder to forget about each other, too. But, we’ll forgive the post-relationship over-sharers, because we all know breaking up is hard to do — online or off.

(MORE: What To Do When Your Friends Break Up)

TIME apps

Soon You Will Be Able to Undo Your Accidental Left Swipe on Tinder

App Tinder
Tinder App Franziska Kraufmann—picture-alliance/dpa/AP

It could be love at second swipe

Remember the pain you felt deep in your chest when you unconsciously left-swiped that would-be bae-of-your-dreams away while feverishly perusing Tinder? Remember how you hoped and prayed that somehow that special Tinderoni would reappear, all in vain?

Well, apparently you weren’t alone. A back-button is the “most requested feature” among Tinder users, according to co-founder Sean Rad, in a recent interview published by Tech Crunch on Tuesday (the same day Rad announced he would step down as CEO of the company but stay on as president and board member).

Soon the folks at Tinder will unveil a paid version of the dating app that will allow users to “undo” left swipes, TechCrunch reports. With the new version—called “Tinder Plus”—users can also search for matches outside of their region. Tinder Plus will be available soon for select users in the UK, Brazil and Germany.

So, that feeling of deep loneliness you felt when you missed out on The One may soon be nothing more than a distant memory. Of course, there’s still no guarantee your almost-missed-match won’t turn out like this.

[TechCrunch]

TIME apps

Tinder CEO Sean Rad Is Stepping Down

TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2014 - Day 3
Tinder Co-Founder and CEO Sean Rad speaks onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt at Pier 48 on Sept. 10, 2014 in San Francisco. Steve Jennings—Getty Images

IAC plans to replace Rad with “an Eric Schmidt-like person"

Tinder’s CEO Sean Rad is out of the top role at the dating app that he helped to found over two years ago, a report says.

The side-swiping application is majority-owned by Barry Diller’s IAC, which has plans to replace Rad with “an Eric Schmidt-like person,” reported Forbes. Rad will remain on Tinder’s board and will act as president once the new CEO comes on board. Until then, he will stay on as the acting chief executive.

Rad has faced a tumultuous year, despite helping the dating service log 600% growth over the past 12 months. A sexual harassment lawsuit that led to the ouster of Tinder Chief Marketing Officer Justin Mateen also cast a pall over Rad’s leadership.

Whitney Wolfe, a co-founder of the app who was forced out, accused Rad and Mateen of sexually harassing her. The suit was settled in September, but not before Mateen resigned.

Rad’s demotion comes as Tinder launches an aggressive new monetization initiative for the dating service. The premium service will be an option on top of the otherwise free application and is the company’s first attempt to generate cash flow from the service.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

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