Small Tips to Strengthen Your Relationship

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If you want a relationship that lasts, you need to find ways to make each other happy that are unique to you as a couple. There are hundreds of little things you can do — and the little things often have the biggest impact. Whether it’s leaving love notes for your partner to find or simply making sure to say “I love you” before you leave for work, show your partner how much you care. If you’re not sure where to start, consider the following ideas:

Cook for Your Partner

Pick at least two nights every month to cook for your partner. Don’t tell the other person what you’re making, but devote the time and energy to ensure it is a special evening. Although scheduling a date night to go out is a good idea, sometimes staying home together and enjoying good food can feel more intimate and romantic.

Compete With Each Other

One of the best ways to strengthen your relationship is to challenge each other. Although you can play games like Monopoly and chess to have some friendly competition, make up little competitions that are unique to you as a couple. For example, see who can find the best low-priced gift for the other person every month or race to see who can be the first to get home from work on a Friday. Debate with each other or see who can run longer at the gym. Whatever it is, make sure it means something to you. As a reward, the winner can pick the dessert, receive a massage or choose a different small treat.

Try New Activities

Make a habit of trying all sorts of new activities with one another. Set a date for once every three months that can act as a seasonal holiday for you to try something new. For example, go to a cooking class or salsa lesson together. The key is to find activities that neither one of you have done so you can learn together. You can foster a lot of intimacy and a deeper connection when you help each other learn, grow and get through uncomfortable situations.

Create Code Words

Relationships are about connection and the bond only the two of you have. Extend this connection to language by making up a few code words that only your partner understands. This way, when you’re at a cocktail party or picnic with friends, you can continue to communicate privately even when everyone else can hear what you’re saying. Pick a secret word that means “I love you” and another that signifies “I’m bored.” Or, best of all, chose one that means “Let’s get out of here and have some fun.”

Take the Next Step

If your relationship feels like it’s in a rut or you want to take the next step, discuss moving in together. Deciding to be responsible and accountable to one another is a great way to show your love for one another. Beyond choosing what furniture you want to move into your new place, talk about your habits, cleanliness preferences and finances. Know how you want to handle your money as a couple and how you can be safe when paying bills online. And even though some of the logistics aren’t sexy or exciting, being able to make decisions together is good for your relationship.

Wild Wednesday Shopping Spree!

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#BlogContest

I’m at it again; giving away a shopping spree to one my of my lucky followers!

Its no secret that lingerie and shapewear can help a woman to feel sensual, sexy, and at her best. Thus, this blog giveaway is brought to you by Leonisa. I’m sure you have heard of them, as they are the #1 brand of intimate apparel in 9 countries, and have been designing and producing in the United States for the last 60 years.

So, who wants free lingerie? And guys, don’t shy away from this offer as they have menswear as well.

All you have to do is tell me how much you want it.

If you follow me on twitter, send me this tweet: Time for a change of underwear! @ReporterandGirl send me on a #ShoppingSpree #BlogGiveaway #Leonisa http://ow.ly/RpjFi

If you follow me on Facebook or G+, you can post the message (below)

FB message: Time for a change of underwear! TheReporterandTheGirl send me on a #ShoppingSpree #BlogGiveaway #Leonisa

G+ message: Time for a change of underwear! TheReporterandTheGirl send me on a #ShoppingSpree #BlogGiveaway #Leonisa

The contest ends September 7, 2015 at 11:59pm EST.

Who Am I?

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Dear readers,

I want to introduce this anonymous submission from a friend of mine. He broke up with his girlfriend of two years, a couple months ago. And on my suggestion, wrote a piece today about his feelings. Please show him your support!

@ReporterandGirl or Facebook or G+.

What kind of fucked up, dark, twisted question is that? What does that even mean? I’m asking, seriously. What defines someone? Our actions? Thoughts? Beliefs? What I do when no one is around? Or better yet, what I do when everyone is around?

When you break up with someone, there’s this pressure to reinvent yourself. To find out who you are. But to me, having to deal with a breakup feels a lot like dealing with a loss of a loved one. But the loss of a loved is not the same. Your loved one is out there loving someone else and there’s nothing you can do about it. And you get to hear about the loved one often, and you want to ask but you hold back because you’re told it’s unhealthy to ask.

Losing someone brings out the worst in me.

sad guy, S.C RhyneI can’t sleep.

I can’t eat.

I can’t think.

Drinking helps.

It blurs out the shit feelings that have been following me like a 12 o’clock shadow. A 12 o’clock shadow is seen by no one except me. I’m standing on it. Very close to me, not very visible. Just enough to surround my feet and remind me that no matter where I go, it will follow.

Bad choice after bad choice after bad choice. Who gives a shit and why? Keep them coming, I’m in this for the long haul.

One drink

Two drinks

Six drinks

I wake up in my bed.

At least I got a night of sleep without waking up in the middle of the night. It’s the only way I can fall asleep without tossing and turning. It’s the only way I sleep without waking up every hour reminded of all the good times we shared together.

Women come and go too.

One woman

Two women

Six women

I wake up alone in my bed.

“I’m not like that” some weird fuck tells me. “I’m not?” I ask myself. Maybe that’s exactly who I am. Maybe it’s not. Maybe that question is simply too complex for me to answer. It’s an unfair question to begin with, because it assumes we can fully understand ourselves. Society keeps pressuring us to find ourselves. We need to know ourselves before we are able to be the best version of ourselves we can be.

Fuck.sad guy, lonely guy, break up, S.C Rhyne

One drink

Two drinks

Six drinks

I wake up in my bed. At least the hangover distracts me from the emptiness I feel in my chest. It’s like an anxiety ball that keeps moving just enough to remind me it’s there.

Constantly.

Always.

Never leaves.

It lives there, at the mouth of my stomach, and plays around the bottom of my rib cage.

“Focus on the pain.” “Embrace it”. “Experience it”. Fuck, just writing about it makes my hand shake. As I’m writing this, my hand is shaking. Right now- I’m feeling it. Just the thought of it drives me crazy.

Deep breaths.

In. Out.

In. Out.

I tried meditating yesterday. Fucking impossible. The recording kept telling me to relax and take deep breaths. It kept telling me to relax and release the tension in my body. Just let it go. I couldn’t do it. I simply could not let go. I slept three hours last night.

Again, one drink

Two drinks

Six drinks

I wake up in my bed. It’s the only way I get a full night’s sleep.

Everyone keeps telling me it will be OK. It will, I know it will. But it’s not right now and that reassurance doesn’t make the anxiety ball go away. I think about all the good times and my heart dies a little.

I’ve given up on me. When I lower my standards, things come easy to me. But comfort is not happiness and it’s definitely not the marker of success. I’m settling for less. Again and again. It’s just easier to cope this way. I want to settle for less and convince myself this is who I am. But I know I’ll never be happy this way.

Never.

It’s not because I know who I am, but because I know who I’m not. And maybe that’s the key to answering the question.

I have so much anger bottled up in my chest it makes me crazy. I miss her so much it hurts. I miss her companionship, I miss my safety net. I miss having someone to call at any time just to shoot the shit. Just to check in. To learn about what’s going on in her life and actually care about it more than what’s going on in mine.

Keep digging into me. I’ll get up and heal. At some point. A couple of years back I learned a valuable lesson in the army. We can give so much more than we think. We can push our bodies that much more. The secret is willing to let your body go. Caring more about giving it your all, than being able to get up again.

One more push up.

One more kilometer.

One more drink.

guy sit ups, guy working out, men exercising, fat guy exercising, S.C. RhyneThis mindset is a double edged sword. I can always push my liver. I can always push my brain into oblivion. How can I know my limits when I’m used to pushing the boundaries of my body. Another shot, another drink, another and another. Push, push, push and then I wake up in my bed.

One drink

Two drinks

Six drinks

I wake up in my bed.

And here I am, without being found. Just me- trying to figure it all out. And maybe this is the beauty in life. We don’t need to figure ourselves out. Just go out there and experience emotion. Love, laugh, be sad, get embarrassed. Appreciate all this because after all, I’d rather feel than not. Even if those feelings are negative, at least I know I’m alive.

–Anonymous

Why Exercise is Good For Your Heart

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We have all heard about exercise being good for the heart as well as every muscle in the body. The heart is a muscle, and it gets stronger and healthier if one leads an active life. It’s never too late to start exercising, and everyone at any fitness level can do something, even taking a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day can make a big difference.

Now, most folks agree that there is a physiological benefit to regular exercise, but what I’m proposing is that there is also a psychological benefit.

People who regularly exercise show positive moods and have lower rates of Depression. Even those who are diagnosed with mental health problems still benefit from regular exercise. Here are some key benefits:

Improved Self-Esteem

self-esteem, self-worth, S.C. Rhyne, Interracial dating, blog New york novelistPhysically, exercise releases hormones called endorphins. These chemicals interact with receptors in the brain to reduce pain (ever heard of runner’s high, or nature’s pain meds?). Endorphin can also make you feel positive or a sense of euphoria. And over time as your body shape changes (losing weight or inches, or gaining muscle) and your health improves (climbing the stairs or chasing after the bus), your self-esteem also improves in the long term too.

In Practice

Right after a break up we all go through; “What was wrong with me?” “Did I gain weight?” “Did s/he no longer find me attractive?” First off, if anyone is shallow enough to cheat or break up with a partner for physical changes, then you are better off without him or her. But regular exercise during tough times can improve your sense of self-worth because everyday you’re setting goals and pushing yourself (running that extra mile, lifting that extra 50 lbs…etc).

After my break up and when I was let go from work; going to the gym was what saved me. I always take classes because I prefer instruction as well as I get to socialize with other people in the class. It got me out of the house six days a week, instead of waking up in the morning “to do nothing” and stare at the walls. But when I came back home afterward, I always felt more positive about myself and my sense of worth (yes, I did feel worthless sometimes).

Distraction

no pain no gain, S.C. Rhyne, pain is gain, exercise meme, inspiration, Sabrien CollinsLet’s face it, if you recently have gone through a break up or lost your job or even a loved one; doing something, just about anything, to distract you from the pain in your heart or the anxiety of finding a job is good. As long as those distractions aren’t alcohol or drugs.

If you’re laying in bed or sitting at home and thinking dwelling on negative thoughts that feed Depression and Anxiety, then you need to do something to distract you. Emotional pain is the worst pain one can have, there is not an ointment, pill, or an injection that can reach deep enough to heal a broken heart. However, dwelling and negative thinking will only make that pain worse. Exercise is a distraction that can get you to stop thinking those negative thoughts.

In Practice

Losing my job was devastating. I constantly thought about how I was a top-performer at work, but if I had pushed a little harder then maybe when it came down to the decision, they would have chosen another person and not me. That type of negative thinking would have definitely put me in the dumps to hinder my job search. Not to mention, the thoughts I had weren’t true. However, during my time of unemployment, I went to the gym 3 hours a day and vigorously pushed myself through boot camp and aerobics. The hours of cardiovascular and muscle training had left me in pain nearly everyday. Trust me when I say I had a hard time walking in the morning. But something about displacing that emotional pain for the physical one, kept those nasty thoughts at bay.

Hell, I guess thinking about my quad muscles falling off the bone was a great distraction!

So here are some tips if you’ve never exercised:

Start small, again, going for a walk for 30 minutes can vastly improve your mood and health. If you’re thinking of joining a gym, many will let you try their facilities for free before you commit to any membership or program. The most important thing is that you enjoy it, and that the classes or facilities can accommodate your needs. Memberships can be expensive, but the good news is that many health insurance companies will reimburse you for membership costs.

Exercise is good for the broken heart. Its one of the best coping mechanisms for the mind, body, and soul. Obviously, those who have physical or mental health problems, should consult with their healthcare provider before starting any type of exercise regimen. Physical activity is the one thing I look forward to everyday; and after exercising today and spending 3 and half hours playing softball afterwards, I was inspired to write this post. This week, I started to feel the anxiety of waiting to hear from grad schools and its nearing the anniversary of one the worst periods of my life with Jon.

But guess what? I didn’t really think about it much today.

Follow me on G+, Facebook and Twitter and tell me what you think about exercising the pain away!

Life is Not So Funny (Part. 2)

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In the last week I have had some very disappointing news. My application for my number 1 choice for graduate school was rejected. I’m still putting things together for numero dos, but I’m feeling half-hearten about it. Thus, I went on a mini online shopping spree, because that’s what girls do when they are depressed: buy a new pair of shoes and a couple of dresses. However, I did this preemptively of my paycheck. Today I got paid and my mood is completely in the dumps.

My pay check was low….like criminally low, but I’ve been working about 25 hours a week, for this and last week. So of course, I inquire, and the pay period only includes one of my weeks. OK, I get that, but the math is still only half of what I would expect for half a paycheck. In order words, I got a less than a quarter of what I thought I had earned.

Who knew the first paycheck would be like the first time having sex, its always the worst!

Never what you expected.

Doesn’t last as long as you thought it would.

And it really hurts.

So instead of hitting the bar tonight, I will be buying a 6-pack, a sandwich from the deli, and hitting up my local park bench instead.

Hey, a girl’s still gotta get out, right?

Speaking of getting out, I have not been getting out. In fact, (this is so lame) I didn’t even realize until a few days in, that NYC was in a heat wave. Yep, I do get up early in the mornings to go to the gym, but I’m back by noon and indoors.

So much for my New Years resolution to have more fun and adventure. But I’m not sulking too much about it, because I created this chronic issue. I want to have time for leisure, but when its comes time to go out on a Friday or Saturday night, I make excuses. Maybe my imagination from reading my kindle at late nights is more exciting than going for drinks!

I have been better at it though, especially in the summer when there are more stuff going on, particularly events that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

Besides the major curve balls this week, I have been reading a lot on WordPress about single girls! Apparently these girls are having a hard time dealing with the crap people give them because they are single. Honestly,  these women are between the ages of 19 and 23, #WTF!

Now, I know in NYC and other major cities, one can be single until the early forties today and that is nothing to bat an eye about. But in other places, especially in the South and Mid-West, or those who live in smaller towns, getting hitched in your early twenties is the norm, or at least to be in a long term committed relationship.

So, for our sexist patriarchal society, I’d like to re-iterate the following:

1) There is nothing wrong with being single. If you see a problem with an independent woman working and moving about in society all on her own, then the problem is with you, not her.

2) Times are changing, period. Blame it on the internet, loose social mores… whatever! Younger folks (like under 25) are meeting and communicating more on the internet than ever before (more than half of dates are started online! Not the coffee shop, grocery store, or class), divorce rates are higher and more socially acceptable, and people are waiting longer to have children. The economy, especially in places like NYC,  have sky-high living costs that make it harder to date.

Let’s elaborate on #2 more. NYC and other big cities are over saturated with college-educated talent. So its very difficult for even the most talented person to find and keep a decent paying job. In fact, it wasn’t until I stopped working last month and started reconnecting with old colleagues and friends, that I realized how many near 30-somethings are still working in restaurants, security, or sales just to pay the bills, and not what they went to school for. Thus, who can afford to take Ms. Somebody to dinner Friday night? (especially if they only received 1/4 of a paycheck!) So a lot of guys, who aren’t financially secure–will “hang out” — not date, not court, but hang out. Because hanging out is cheaper with lower expectations.

This is the economics of dating. I bet you thought men were just being jerks!

When it comes to technology, people are dating strangers (folks from online). Many couples have a hard time transitioning from “online” to “offline”. Meaning they will still email each other, “hey what are you doing tonight?” instead of picking up the phone. Hence, losing some of these social or face-to-face skills. Honestly, online dating has made it easier for awkward people (who probably shouldn’t be dating) to date and made things more awkward for everyone else.

Westerners are also an educated bunch. The higher up in education one goes, the longer this person will wait to have children. Makes sense, right? Not a lot of pregnant college and graduate students running around. The textbooks take up all your time on the weekends!  And this person will enter the workforce later and may not meet the future Mr/Mrs so-and-so until later in life.

Thus, singlehood, especially being single longer, is the new norm. Now, as an aspiring political economist, I’d say fix the economic side of the problem. If young people get good jobs when they graduate, the relationship aspects of their dreams may come to fruition sooner. But really, this is how our society is shaping and dinner for one is the new thing!

I don’t hear a lot of guys getting hassled for being single, so I would really like to hear their thoughts on the matter. Ladies, can chime in too!

As always, you reach me on Facebook or tweet me your thoughts!

S.C Rhyne