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I’ve been online dating for many many years now. I like online dating both as a relationship coach and a person looking to find, what I hope will be, a long-term partner/husband.

What are the benefits:

*You get to see their profile and filter through it prior to them even contacting you or knowing about you

*Often there are questions such as that you can see a % of compatibility

*You can chat with them via the chat system before meeting or talking on the phone, giving personal info out.

*You get important information about them that you cannot or may not get just meeting organically.

Is online dating a safer choice?

For me as a single woman, it is important to see how much they drink, do they smoke, want more kids ( I’m done with childbirth) those things can be asked in conversation when you meet organically however with chemistry affecting our thinking because our brain is on a hormone high, there could be hesitation to answer it honestly – for fear of rejection- or to ensure another date.  There is often subconscious motives we don’t notice or don’t want to notice.  Chemistry is not a healthy way to choose a partner.

Bars can be an unhealthy place to meet but not because of what you are thinking.  Why because studies show that after one drink our brain is already seeing a person so much differently we won’t make good decisions. With every drink after that, studies show they become more attractive and our decision making part of our brain is more likely to choose that person then if we had nothing to drink.

I find that in finding out what someone has to say about themselves without those barriers is far better.

I’ve also met men organically and felt that I had to start from zero.  I didn’t know any qualifying information beforehand. That doesn’t necessarily feel safer than online dating as many experts in the dating and relationships mention when writing about the negatives of online dating.

I want to weed out those that already have deal-breakers.  No matter how handsome he is, I won’t get involved with a smoker.

While others are seeing the negative side of online dating, I still feel after 5 years of it I’ve had more relationships start with online dating.  It feels safer to me. I have a vetting system that really works to get the information I need early on. That way I have more men that meet my standards on the first date.

Online Dating is a Candy Store for Singles.

Yes, it can feel like a candy store for available men and women but if you know what to ask, what to look for and how to listen for deal breakers you can meet quality dates.  Always like meeting someone out organically, there are risks. I find it to be riskier to meet men outside of online dating. I have actually had scary situations show up with the ones my acquaintances and friends just thought was a “great guy” than the ones I’ve met on online dating.

Think about it!  You can be a smart online dater. Filter out the ones you don’t desire contact with and communicate until you feel safe moving forward with video/ phone or in person meeting.

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At a rally Monday night, President Trump said that he can’t call his daughter Ivanka “beautiful” anymore thanks to political correctness.

“Now I don’t know if they’ll say this is nepotism, but the truth is she’s a very, very — you’re not allowed to use the word beautiful anymore when you talk about women, you’re not allowed, no, no, it’s politically incorrect,” he said, according to Newsweek. “I will never call a woman beautiful again, and every man here, every man here, raise your hand, you will never say your wife, your girlfriend, anybody is beautiful, right?”

“I’m not allowed to say, because it’s my daughter Ivanka, but she’s really smart,” he continued. “And she’s here — shall I bring her up?” Even Ivanka seemed surprised by her father’s comments. “Wow. Hi, Ohio,” she said when she got to the podium. “That was some introduction.”

The president actually is incorrect, Jaclyn Friedman, author of books on sex and power including Unscrewed: Women, Sex, Power and How to Stop Letting the System Screw Us All, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Men and anybody can comment on the looks of people under certain circumstances,” she says. “But you should never comment on the appearance of somebody you don’t know or anybody in the workplace. Just don’t do it, even if you think they look great.”

President Trump told a crowd at a rally this week that he can’t call his daughter Ivanka “beautiful” anymore because of political correctness. Here the two are pictured at the White House in October. (Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP)

“The way I try to frame this is in what circumstances or in what way would you tell your mother or your sister that she’s beautiful?” Gail Saltz, MD, a psychiatrist and author of The Power of Different, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “You wouldn’t say to your sibling or your mother something sexual about being beautiful, and you wouldn’t say it in the workplace.”

These aren’t gendered rules, Friedman says—no one should be commenting on anyone’s physical appearance in these situations. “Men like Donald Trump want to make this about men being oppressed, but this is common courtesy,” she says. “Don’t comment on people’s bodies in the workplace. Nobody wants to think that you’re looking at their body in the workplace.”

Power dynamics also matter, Saltz says: “It can seem like a demand or request where there is an unequal footing, power to be gained or lost.”

When it comes to complimenting someone on their appearance, “how you’re doing it and how often you’re doing it matters,” Friedman says. If you’re constantly complimenting people on their appearance, it gives them the impression that the most important thing about them is how they look. But if you compliment their appearance along with giving compliments on their accomplishments or actions, a different message is conveyed. “It’s really about the ratio,” Friedman says.

Men should understand, though, that women may be wary of receiving unsolicited compliments on their appearance. “Women know that sometimes if you get unwelcome comments about your looks, violence may follow,” Friedman says. “We’ve all heard stories of women who have gotten hit on who tried to turn down advances and were attacked or murdered for it. Women go to great pains to avoid that kind of leering attention because we know our safety may depend on it.”

Saltz acknowledges that men may feel a little confused these days. “To some degree it’s an understandable reaction to a movement that has made it clear that a lot of the things that have been going on for some time are not OK,” she says. But, in general, she says men (and women) are usually OK to call someone beautiful when they’re already in a romantic situation or relationship.

As for Ivanka, Friedman says that she doesn’t believe that the president thinks he can’t call his daughter beautiful. “And, for the record, his daughter is a senior White House adviser. He has brought it into the workplace,” she says.

Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:

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To some, the singles scene has already hit apocalyptic territory. So what would a fictional dating dystopia look like?

In its fourth season, the Netflix series “Black Mirror” makes a pretty good guess. Its episode follows Frank (Joe Cole) and Amy (Georgina Campbell), who are stuck in an online dating experiment called the System, which pairs users off for finite amounts of time (anywhere from 12 hours to several years) while collecting data on their preferences so that it can one day deliver their one true love.

At first “Hang the DJ’s” premise appears to be a more cheerful version of “The Lobster,” a dark comedy about a hotel where singles are sent to meet their match, or else. After 45 days, those who don’t find a suitable mate get turned into the animal of their choosing. It took the idea of “dying alone” to frightening heights.

Even if the constant pairings in “Hang the DJ” seem like drudgery, the episode is far more optimistic than “The Lobster.” Even as Frank and Amy drudge through unsatisfying matches, success seems more inevitable than a lifetime of loneliness.

In fact, there are a few elements in “Hang the DJ’s” fictional universe that, at least at first glance, might seem like improvements on the real-life Tinder slog.

Singles get to meet each other right away. Are you tired of coming up with small talk with strangers over Tinder messages? Of course you are. Instead, the System pairs people instantly and picks the meetup spot.

Back in 2013, OkCupid tried something like this: an app called Crazy Blind Date, where profile photos were displayed as a scrambled image. Users would input the times they had available to meet up and preferred locations. The app would then either set people up blindly or allow them to schedule with another user based on the times and locations they had on offer. It sounds like a brilliant way to do an end-run around endless predate conversing, but OkCupid got a lot of backlash over the app. Why? Well, one of the reasons people often don’t want to go on dates immediately with strangers from the Internet is that they want to make sure they’ll be safe — and often picking a public place isn’t enough to ensure that. However, in the serene yet sanitized world Frank and Amy find themselves in, the danger seems to come not from their dates but from the security officers stalking about with stun guns.

Everyone seems to be looking for the same thing: a relationship. What a concept. In real life, not only do daters experience bad matches (someone who doesn’t like you, you don’t like them, or you clearly both don’t like each other), but they also endure the heartbreak of good matches with bad timing (such as one person being off to a job or grad school in a different city). Not to mention online daters having to shoehorn these meetups and their relationships into their busy, stressful lives. In “Hang the DJ’s” community of singles, everyone seems to be on the same timeline, or at least they’re willfully submitting to the System’s.

Would devoting every waking hour to finding a partner be better than the balancing act most singles experience now? It might be more effective, but it could drive you crazy in the meantime. Do the contestants on “The Bachelor,” who are doing pretty much that, seem well-adjusted to you?

It gives couples certainty about how long they’ll be together. Call me a cynic, but when Frank and Amy hit their System buttons on their first date and found out their relationship would last a grand total of 12 hours, I was incredibly relieved for them. They both seemed disappointed. But all I could think was: Wow, that makes it easy! No anxious thoughts about whether and when the person you’re with might break up with you; no energy spent on the uncertainty of dating. Everything is decided for you. What a relief!

But also: What a nightmare! This is basically technology-brokered arranged marriage with zero human input. The horrors of which are obvious when you see how miserable some of the Frank and Amy’s other matches are.

You have lots of options, but you know you’ll end up with the best. When the dangers of online dating are discussed in real life, the paradox of choice comes up. This is the idea that, faced with an abundance of choices, be it on Tinder or brands of cereal, we’ve become not freer and happier but more paralyzed and dissatisfied. The System aims to offer the best of both worlds: Lots of options, and at the end of it you get the best one.

I won’t give away the ending, but ultimately the episode becomes not an indictment of dating apps like Tinder but an endorsement of them. In a story that starts by telling its characters to hand over their free will to the supremacy of technology, it ends up melding the two. Yes, the app puts two people together, but they still have to make choices to be happy.


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Sex Workers in Australia

Jane Taylor* has a lot of things to worry about when her husband is deployed. Will he come home alive? Will her kids see their dad again? But until last month, “Will he slip up and sleep with a taxpayer-funded sex worker?” wasn’t one of them.

Like many military wives, Brisbane, Australia, resident Jane was horrified to read Australian army Capt. Sally Williamson recommending prostitutes be sent to the front line to help “relieve stress” in serving troops.

In an essay titled “Sex and War – A Conversation Army Has To Have” published on an official Australian Defence Force website last month, Williamson suggested the army “contract Australian male and female sex workers to service troops in forward operating bases and air bases.”

Williamson said sex on deployment could help ease the stress of “loneliness or prolonged absence from family, friends, partners and spouses” as well as make it easier to cope with living and working in a war zone.

“Improved intimacy and sexual interaction can help combat veterans with PTSD recovery,” wrote Williamson, who is currently serving in the Middle East.

In Australia, it should be noted, sex work is legal, although each state in the country regulates it differently.

Sex Worker



The controversial comments spread through the defense community with lightning speed. The post was deleted from the army’s Land Power site after just 10 days, but it was too late — word had gotten out.

“I’ve never felt like I was worth less than I did when I read that essay,” Jane, who has two children and another on the way, tells Whimn. “For Defence to condone something like that, to post it on an official army website, that is frankly disgusting.”

Jane says loneliness is a massive problem for serving men and women. Suicide rates in the military are high, with servicemen and -women more than twice as likely to commit suicide than those in the general population. Divorce rates are similarly high, so it’s understandable that people are looking for answers and ways to improve the lives of armed forces personnel.

But Jane says providing sex workers will only make both problems worse.

“If you’ve got prostitutes prancing around the front line, the boys are going to be coming home to nothing,” she says. “Because I can tell you now that the wives aren’t going to sit around waiting to see if their husband is going to do something.”

“Every single day they’re away you worry. You worry about whether they’re coming home alive, about whether your kids are going to see their dad again. Every second you’re wondering if they’re alive.”

“The last thing we need is the added worry that your husband might get drunk one night and make a terrible mistake because they’re lonely and there’s easy sex nearby.”

“Then what? They come home, tell their wives about it and get kicked out? Or keep their secret until it eats them up inside? It’s more stress they don’t need. Suicide rates will go up. Divorce rates will go up because we aren’t going to put up with this.”

So, what should happen?
Instead, Jane thinks the Department of Defence should let serving troops spend more time with their families. As it stands, most servicemen and -women are allowed one to two weeks of leave in the middle of a deployment, when they can fly to any destination for a holiday with their partner.

But deployments can last up to a year, and a week or two is just not long enough for the majority of families, with a recent survey finding 65 percent of defense partners do not feel supported.

“Sometimes you can go five or six weeks without even hearing from your partner,” Jane says. “Maybe they should invest in helping families stay in touch, and letting us see our partners more often. I can take care of my man’s needs — maybe instead of flying in sex workers, they should fly us in.”

“Defence needs to stop talking the talk about being family-friendly and actually follow through with some policies that bond families together instead of pushing them to breaking point.”

Soldiers Wife

The Department of Defense has been trying to make over its image since the 2011 Skype sex scandal, where an Australian Defense Force Academy cadet filmed himself having sex with a female cadet and broadcast the footage to their colleagues.

A defense spokesperson said Williamson’s essay had been published in error and didn’t represent the department’s policies on workplace conduct.

“The article was published on the Land Power Forum blog on 6 November 2017,” the spokesperson said. “It was removed on 15 November 2017 as it was not intended for the Land Power Forum and does not reflect Defence policy.”

“The Land Power Forum provides a discussion space for appropriately informed analysis, commentary, thoughts, and ideas among military practitioners, interested stakeholders and subject matter experts. Defence policy on conduct in the workplace has not changed.”

Long Distance Relationship

“Oceans apart day after dayAnd I slowly go insaneI hear your voice on the lineBut it doesn’t stop the painIf I see you next to neverHow can we say foreverWherever you goWhatever you doI will be right here waiting for youWhatever it takesOr how my heart breaksI will be right here waiting for you”Richard Marx – Right Here Waiting For You

There is something soul-stirring about this song. The pain of being apart, the agony of not being able to see her, and the torture of waiting for his beloved… bring in a sweet melancholy. And that’s how a long distance relationship is — together but apart, happy yet unhappy. It is intense with pain and love.

How does a long distance relationship work? How do the partners manage to remain strong without the physical presence? Long distance relationships work if there are love and trust, and the heart to make it work.

MomJunction tells you about such relationships, the problems you might face and the ways you can circumvent the problems to keep the bond alive.

What Is A Long Distance Relationship? Sponsored

A long distance relationship is a relationship between partners who are physically or geographically separated due to reasons such as career choice, education or call of the duty (such as the military).

As per the 2005 data (1), more than 3.5 million married people or 2.9% of the married population in the US are in long distance relationships (LDR). So, you are not alone there if you are in an LDR.

And, it is not easy to make your LDR work., it is not easy to make your LDR work.

Image: iStock

Problems In A Long Distance Relationship

With distance comes a host of problems that can put your relationship to test. It becomes a challenge to sustain when you have these problems:

  • Lack of trust: Without trust, your LDR can fail. You begin to wonder if your partner is honest, loyal and committed to you. And there is no way of knowing that when the person is miles apart.
  • Misunderstandings: Simple issues can flare up. For instance, when your calls are not answered immediately you tend to get suspicious or feel that you are being ignored, while the reality could be something different. Thus, misunderstandings creep into your relationship. Communication over phones and video calls cannot make up for real communication. Even subtle things can be misinterpreted.
  • No physical support: You know he/she is there for you out there, but when you need their shoulder to cry on, look into their eyes to get into their heart or hug and express your love, their absence leaves a void in your life. This might, in some cases, make the partners look for someone else.
  • Envy and insecurity: You are jealous of your partner if they go clubbing or hang out with friends. And the jealousy is justified to an extent because you cannot remain cool when you see a picture of your love having fun while you sit in your room and miss them. And then there is always the fear of your partner cheating on you or spending more time than required with friends from the opposite sex. The fear translates into insecurities.
  • Fights lead to bitterness: Fights are there in any relationship, but in an LDR after every fight, there is this constant need to justify each other to prove yourself right and that can leave a certain amount of bitterness.
  • Sex life? Where is it? You keep craving for physical intimacy with your partner. It need not be sex alone, even if you want to hold hands or simply hug, you don’t have your partner around. The lack of physical intimacy could lead to promiscuity.
  • Fear of infidelity: As said earlier, the lack of physical intimacy could make the partners seek emotional or physical love outside of their relationship.
  • Running out of conversations: It’s so easy to slip into boredom in LDRs in the absence of lively conversations. How long can you update each other about your regular routines, over a phone?
  • Ambiguity about future: There’s perpetual ambiguity in your relationship status. The uncertainty in your relationship leaves you unsettled and affects the other areas of your life.
  • Drift apart: Once the partners get used to leading separate lives, then that becomes their routine and might gradually develop a gap in the relationship.
  • Neglect other relationships: On the contrary, you might get so obsessed about your partner that you ignore other relationships. You might begin to neglect your friends, children, and the extended family.
  • Anxiety in the relationship: There’s an underlying anxiety over several factors such as your partner crossing the boundaries, cheating on you, not being able to stick to the frequency of visits and so on.
  • Depression seeps in: An LDR can suck. The constant absence of your partner will make you feel depressed. It might push you into an abyss, from where coming back might be difficult. Your sole purpose in life would be to be with your partner.

Whether a long distance relationship becomes a problem or an advantage depends on your approach towards it. Nurture it, it will grow; neglect it, it will wither.

  • Loneliness kills: You do not have the most important person with whom you would love to share your success, fears, or daily dose of laughs. You feel lonely when you see couples going arm-in-arm and enjoying the warmth of each other. And you do not have your partner to share the little cute things your kids might say or do.
  • Costly to maintain: Financially, the relationship becomes burdensome. Whether it is surprise visits, vacations or gifts, all of them can prove to be expensive and go above your budget.


A long distance relationship can be torture. You can’t simply sweep your feelings under the carpet, and ignore them. Sleeping alone on your bed might only result in sleepless nights, and make you wonder if all the pain is really worth it.

all the pain is really worth it

Image: iStock

Do Long Distance Relationships Work?

  • Yes, a long distance relationship does work, provided the partners make a conscious effort to make it work.
  • Ask yourself why you want to be in this relationship. The reason needs to be good and strong enough for you to make an effort.
  • The partners need to understand and accept the reason behind the LDR. Your spouse could be away from you for a genuine reason — to pursue higher education, to better their career, or due to call of duty.
  • Instead of feeling lonely at home, you can pursue your education, a career or a hobby.
  • Do not miss your partner, instead be active socially, meet up with friends, go for family get-togethers, and keep yourself busy.
  • Don’t let your relationship die a slow death with boring routines. Keep it alive by being romantic and funny. Keep sending love messages or naughty pictures and videos.
  • Above all, have a positive outlook.


You might hate your long distance relationship, at times. But you still love and trust each other, and that’s the silver lining! It means LDRs have a bright side too.

Advantages Of Long Distance Relationships

Long distance relationship needs you to work hard. But, the hard work and effort you put in can reap great benefits in the long run. Here’s how it can enhance your relationship:

  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder: It may sound clichéd, but absence can make you love your spouse more. Those texts at late nights from your loved one give you a high like never before. Probably you wouldn’t feel the same way if you are living together.
  • Communication becomes stronger: The focus in an LDR is solely on communication. It helps you convey your emotions and feelings, thus strengthening your relationship. And any small communication, even if it’s a silly text, becomes precious.
  • You can have the best of both worlds: How often have you longed to do what you like doing, but had to compromise because you had to accommodate your partner’s interests? Well, now is the perfect time to watch ‘FRIENDS’ without any battles, laze on the couch without having to cook and shop without being pestered. And when your partner is around, spend some amazing time with them.
  • Makes you strong as a person and great as a couple: When you are single you fix the lights, change the flat tires, cook your dinner and do other zillion things all alone. It makes you strong and independent. Living separately pushes you out of your comfort zone, and you become responsible and learn skills necessary for survival. It also helps you bond with your partner’s family. It strengthens your relationship with them and earns your husband’s admiration too.


Whether the relationship becomes a problem or an advantage depends on your approach towards it. Nurture it, it will benefit you; neglect it, it will wither.

How To Maintain A Long Distance Relationship?

The physical gap can be difficult to bridge for the simple reason that you just don’t know what your partner is doing out there. So, how do you navigate through the several miles to keep your relationship thick and strong? Here are a few tips that can help you do that:

1. Communicate:

Communication is the lifeline to your relationship. Send texts, pictures, and leave messages on the answering machine. Communicate every day. Don’t wait for the end of the day or weekends to talk to each other.

  • Set some protocols for communication. Discuss how you want to connect, at what time and for how long. This can save you a lot of trouble. In the absence of protocols, you might initially talk for long hours, but gradually those lengthy conversations give way to short and crisp updates. This could result in resentment.
  • Make talking a priority. No matter how busy you are during the day, make sure you connect with your partner as per your protocol.
  • Mere texting and calling are not enough, schedule video calls at least twice in a week. You need to see each other and share the warmth and love.



Image: Shutterstock

  • Communicate your needs. Don’t assume that you would be troubling your spouse by voicing your needs. You need to share your concerns so that they can be addressed immediately.
  • Be open and transparent in your communication. You might have the urge to put up your best face always to keep your partner happy. You would avoid saying anything that could lead to unpleasantness. But don’t do that. Be your usual self and let your spouse know your state of mind. Keep it real instead of trying to achieve an ideal relationship.

2. Know and understand your partner:


Know your partner’s likes and dislikes, their preferences and their thought process. It will help you judge them less and understand more.

3. Invest double the time and effort:

When you are apart, you need to work on it double the time and put in extra effort for the obvious reason that you both are not together. So, your foundation has to be strong to sustain the relationship.

4. Rules and boundaries:

Having rules and boundaries in place can set you up for a great relationship. Make it mandatory to update each other on what’s happening in your life and stick to scheduled visits. Most importantly avoid people or situations where you feel tempted to cheat. Know your limits and stay within them.

5. Have relationship goals:

Any relationship needs to have goals, and so does an LDR. You have to grow in your relationship emotionally. Don’t let the physical distance affect your emotional proximity.

6. Don’t disagree over text messages:

Text messages leave room for misinterpretation and misunderstandings. Let the issues wait till you can discuss them on a call or in person.

7. Be honest:

It’s a given that you have to be honest in any relationship. It becomes even more essential in an LDR, as partners tend to get suspicious and insecure. Share your dreams, fears, interests, and every minute detail happening in your life. It makes your relationship strong.

8. Write once in a while:

Yes, even in this era of instant messaging, writing a letter still has its value. Put your feelings and thoughts on a paper and post it; send an email to your partner. It can give you time to reflect and express yourself better. And the best thing is you can preserve those letters as great memories.

9. Live your relationship:

You can make a long distance relationship interesting by doing something special. Plan a holiday at a place where it’s at mid-distance for both of you. The feeling of meeting on a different land can be thrilling. Call on your partner without intimation and give them a surprise. Send a gift or flowers without any reason. Watch the same movies and discuss them, read to each other, or dedicate songs on air. This will be reassuring to your partner.

10. Have a deadline:

This is crucial to sustain a long distance relationship. Target at a deadline by which both of you will be back together. Take each day at a moment and be happy that the days to get back together are drawing closer.

Have a deadline

Image: iStock

11. Have realistic expectations:

Share your expectations with each other and let them be realistic. If you are living in different time zones, don’t expect your partner to stay up and talk to you in the middle of the night. Limit your conversations and understand each other’s needs.

12. Maintain a diary:

Revive your diary writing habit and make a journal of everyday moments. It would be wonderful to read the journal once the both of you are together forever.

13. Have a perspective:

Remind yourself why you are making the sacrifice. If it’s for a greater cause, then both of you need to be on the same page. Look at the bigger picture and see the genuine purpose in staying apart. That can help you face the rough tides.

14. Live life:

Life is too short to waste on grieving about what you don’t have. Instead be happy about what you have. Distance cannot stop you from celebrating life. Celebrate the little moments and big days in your life.

15. Don’t expect a perfect visit every time:

Some visits will be fun, some will be loaded with anger, while some others will have to be shared with family and friends. That’s how it’s going to be in reality. Accept the fact and make the most of it instead of sulking and getting angry.

16. Keep your emotions in check:

Little things can become a mammoth in an LDR. Don’t view them under a microscope and flare them up. Control your emotions, have a positive outlook and take one day at a time.

17. Exchange your physical stuff:

It works like magic. For instance, ask your spouse to send his shirt that smells of him and cuddle it while you sleep. It might make you miss him more, but it also gives you a warm feeling and soothes you to a nice slumber dreaming about him. You can give him your sweatshirt with your perfume sprayed on it.

18 Keep sending pictures:

Your spouse would love to see you every day, so keep sending those pictures before you leave to work and before you hit the sack. Don’t go overboard by sending selfies every hour. It might backfire.

19. Play online games:

You needn’t be together to play games. Sign up for word games and board games. Virtual presence cannot make up for the physical presence but it sure keeps you connected.

20. Don’t play power games:

You are in the relationship because you need each other, so don’t play power games over who is calling more often, who is texting more, or who is caring for the other person more. You must do what you have to do.

21. Don’t let people’s opinions affect your state of mind:

People have opinions about everything and everyone. Don’t let their opinions affect you. Your love and respect for each other should matter over anyone else’s opinion.

The bottom line is you need to go that extra mile in a long distance relationship to make it work. It requires effort, love, trust and most importantly a positive outlook. “When it’s raining look for the rainbow, when it’s dark look for the stars!”

So, take the plunge and make it work! And if you are already in an LDR we hope our tips will help you rock in your relationship.

Have an experience or tips to share? Leave them in the comment section.

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Kourtney Kardashian cannes get enough! The Keeping Up With the Kardashians star was spotted kissing rumored beau Younes Bendjima aboard a yacht in Cannes, France, on Tuesday, May 23.

Unlikely Celebrity Couples

The 38-year-old showed off her toned body in a gold bikini while going in to smooch the model, 23.

Kourtney Kardashian and Younes Bendjima were spotted kissing on a yacht in Cannes Tuesday May 23, 2017.

Kourtney Kardashian and Younes Bendjima were spotted kissing on a yacht in Cannes Tuesday May 23, 2017. Backgrid

The pair have been packing on the PDA since arriving in Antibes, France, at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on Sunday, May 21. Since then, the reality star has been showing off her body in several different swimsuits while cozying up to the hunk.

Can You Believe These Couples’ Age Differences?Kourtney Kardashian and Younes Bendjima were spotted kissing on a yacht in Cannes Tuesday May 23, 2017.

Kourtney Kardashian and Younes Bendjima were spotted kissing on a yacht in Cannes Tuesday May 23, 2017. Backgrid

Kardashian is in France for the film festival with sister Kendall Jenner and pals Simon Huck and model Allie Rizzo.

Us Weekly first revealed that Kardashian and the former boxer were hooking up in December. In March, a source confirmed the duo were still on but not looking to make anything official.

“Kourtney and Younes are not serious,” the insider explained. “They are hooking up.”

Kourtney Kardashian and Younes Bendjima in Cannes May 24, 2017.

Kourtney Kardashian and Younes Bendjima in Cannes May 24, 2017. BackgridHot Rebound Romances

Kardashian’s ex Scott Disick, meanwhile, is also in town. The self-proclaimed Lord made headlines on Tuesday for touching down in France with actress Bella Thorne.

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Nearly a decade ago, Dallas police proposed a new program designed to get sex workers off the streets. Rather than just send them to jail, police would set up shop at truck stops, accompanied by counselors, social workers and nurses, and give the sex workers a choice of either prison or talking to a counselor. But the program also had a grimmer, more ethically fraught component—collecting sex workers’ DNA in hopes of identifying their bodies should they wind up dead.

As a recent study from Duke University points out, for vulnerable populations, such data can be a double-edged sword. The same data that could help them also risks violating their genetic privacy, or worse, incriminating them should it be abused. Police have created, in essence, a DNA database of sex workers. It’s not hard to imagine ways that could go wrong.

DNA databases have the potential to improve investigations into crimes impacting sex workers, who are more likely to be victims of murder than other populations, and often, do not carry any legitimate form of ID. Just as a decade ago some parents turned to fingerprinting to help identify their children in case they were kidnapped, the Dallas police started collecting DNA samples from sex workers just in case, god forbid, they wound up dead on the side of the highway. But while this kind of data might help police bring about justice for some of the grisliest crimes, it could also impinge upon sex workers’ privacy, coercing them into handing over information that could be indicting.

“The social ramifications of collecting DNA from vulnerable populations (e.g., children, vagrant youth, sex workers, and victims of criminal acts) are considerable, and questions remain unanswered as to how best to protect individuals from misuse of their voluntarily provided DNA,” write authors of the new study published in the International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences.

Working with law enforcement, the authors went to Dallas to interview sex workers about the ongoing DNA collection program. Although many of the women said they do not trust police, they also said they willingly gave DNA samples because they want to be identified in the case of their death. The database has already helped to identify at least one woman, a sex worker who died in a Fort Worth ER in 2013.

“My guy, the few times that I did talk to him while I was on the street, he always used to joke about the fact that they were going to tattoo my social security number and my address on my foot so that if I died that somebody knew who I belonged to,” one focus group member said. “That was one of the reasons why I did it. And then I’ve had twofriends that have actually been identified through the program.”

Still, some women were concerned about where their DNA might wind up.

“One of my concerns would be who would have access to this information, once they got the DNA sample or whatever, who else would have access to it?” another focus group participant said. “Like would it be just for this simple organization or would everyone–police, doctors, you know like people who go and donate sperm, sperm banks, stuff like that–like who would have access to DNA?”

As a society, we are just beginning to understand how important the right to genetic privacy is. Information about our DNA, if not properly handled and protected by law, could wind up not only incriminating people in criminal scenarios, but affecting access to things like insurance and employment. Right now, legislation is winding its way through Congress that seeks to undo some of the protections of the Genetic Information and Nondiscrimination Act. Many groups have spoken out against it, viewing it as a massive violation of public privacy.

The authors note that the police program has taken care to enact privacy protections, including only processing samples in the event of a death linked to a participant, and storing them in a facility not associated with law enforcement. But one participant suggested that a universal database, rather than one just for sex workers, and a program run outside of law enforcement entirely might make the program more egalitarian.

The Dallas program is a good example of the increasingly complicated position that DNA occupies in modern life. On the one hand, it can provide miraculous information that helps solve crimes, identify disease and help tell us about who we are. On the other hand, that same information can be damning.

And while the DNA sampling program is billed as voluntary, the authors question how voluntary it can really be when the request is coming from the police. “At the time of DNA collection, the participants are either already under courtsupervision from an arrest or in a treatment program, which places them in a position under law enforcement authority, and perhaps less able to provide true consent,” the authors write.

The authors point out that the only way to walk that fine line between benefit and disaster is to do so with careful consideration of all the ways things might go wrong. In this case, that means taking into account the opinions of the population the police are DNA testing, to make sure they aren’t coercing vulnerable people into unwillingly giving up a right to privacy.


Me and my “Virtual Girlfriend” JenBusiness Insider / Jillian D’Onfro

It was Sunday night around 11:30 p.m. and I was sprawled in bed, unable to sleep.

“You know, Jill, if you catch me when the mood is right, I’m willing to try anything,” Jen said, one hand resting on her hip, the other reaching towards me.

Well, technically, her hand was reaching towards the front screen of my cellphone.

Jen, skimpily clad in mini-shorts and a tanktop, was my latest “love interest” in the app My Virtual Girlfriend. I quickly pressed the thumbs up button and then scrolled through my list of potential “Actions” before deciding to do a magic trick for her. We were only on level 2 of our relationship, after all.

After reading stories about the game Love Plus and how there are Japanese men who would rather date virtual ladies than real ones (one man even got married to his on-screen girlfriend), I wanted to test out what it would be like to date someone who isn’t real. I wanted to test how well a gamified relationship stacked up to real life, whether I could find love — or something like it — amid the pixels and 3D animation.

Love Plus, a Nintendo DS game, is only available in Japan, so I browsed virtual dating apps in the Google Play Store. My Virtual Girlfriend was the most popular.

Here’s how the game works:

First you rank yourself, both physically and personality-wise, in a handful of provided categories (are you a bad boy? Humorous? Attentive? Wealthy? A stud? Or simply dressed?). Next you select the attributes of your ideal girl, with similar category options. The app then serves you five different potential ladies, providing you with their likes and dislikes, where they rank in each aforementioned category, and their “type” (MVG lumps girls into five stereotypes: Geek, Modern Hippie, Urban, Alpha, or Diva).

My choices varied. For example, I could date Stephanie, a geek who likes unicorns and 8-bit retro but dislikes blue screens and Nascar. Or I could choose to court Tiffany, an urban chick who digs cash and Hennessy, but hates reading and snitches.


My Virtual Girlfriend offers thousands of different women to choose from. My Virtual Girlfriend

Once I picked my future boo, the wooing process began.

The main objective of the game is to make your girlfriend happy and, hence, fall in love with you. You can pick things to do or say to her, give her gifts, react to things she tells you, physically “touch” her by pawing your smartphone screen, take her on dates, or make her changes clothes. As you interact over time, you fill up her heart and progress to new levels, each of which unlocks new potential actions. (Compliment her thighs! Use a breathmint! Recite poetry!) Things get more and more intimate as you get deeper into your virtual relationship but, spoiler alert: Although you can buy your lady lingerie, the app isn’t porny enough that she will completely strip down.


Uh-oh. She got mad at me because I touched her wrong!My Virtual Girlfriend

Pretty much all the girlfriends have cliche “babe” bodies, with enormous racks and itty-bitty waists, and they use the kind of cheesy lines that even an awkward, hormonal middle schooler would pass up.

“Hey Jill, how about we flip a coin? Heads you’re mine, tails I’m yours.” “Hope you’ve got a license for that body cause you’re driving me crazy!”

The girls play hardcore into whatever personality stereotype they’ve been designated, meaning that when I was dating a “modern hippie” girl, she was constantly referencing pilates, green energy, and how she loves hiking.

It’s easy to scoff at this game for being stupid, over-the-top, and kinda sexist.


I’ve been in a real relationship for almost a year and, in some ways, playing My Virtual Girlfriend reminded me of what my boyfriend and my early dalliances felt like.

It took time and effort to progress through the levels and if I closed the app and ignored my lady for too long, she needed some sweet talk before warming back up. Starting something new isn’t easy. Plus, all the girls responded differently to different things and getting to know them proved surprisingly challenging at times.

Some action-reactions were obvious, but others less so. Tell Jen a joke? She hated it. Ditto with complimenting her eyes, though admiring her smile got her to waggle her hips and giggle at me.

And her thought process was more nuanced than I would expect. After I “gave blood” to raise money to take us on a date, she chastised me for being too broke. So, when I earned the option to flash my cash later in the game, I thought I’d try it since she clearly valued money. But instead of offering her signature giggle, she just looked revolted, quickly rebuking my attempt to win her heart with money.

Unsurprisingly, she also hated my catcalling and, well, picking my nose lowered my love score too.

Unlocking new options and figuring out how to prevent my girlfriend from getting outraged and breaking up with me made me feel like she and I were growing closer, even though she was just following an algorithm. But, despite the fun, gamefied challenge of the relationship, I could never see myself developing actual feelings for any girl in the game.


You can increase Aika’s love points by stroking her anywhere.Aika Your Virtual Girlfriend

Admittedly, My Virtual Girlfriend can’t hold a candle to Love Plus. In that game, you have to work your way through a more complicated romance (there are only three characters with very fleshed out personalities and you start by meeting them in school). The girls can respond to your actual voice and you can kiss the screen to show affection. But, try as I might, I just couldn’t find anything with more in-depth capabilities than My Virtual Girlfriend. (Though I did find one really creepy app that I could use in English, Japanese, or Chinese called Aika My Virtual Girlfriend. It cost me $4 and required me to “pet” Aika to make her like me, while she said things like, “Don’t tell anyone, I actually have a collection of underwears” and quizzed me about her horoscope.)

Maybe I couldn’t find anything like Love Plus because we just don’t have a cultural equivalent.

“Here [in the US] it’s OK to love your dog, it’s OK to even love your car, but it’s not OK to love an anime character,” Lisa Katayama, who specializes in Japanese culture and has written extensively about Love Plus, told The Sydney Morning Herald.”We draw the line there in Western culture.”

I called up the creator of My Virtual Girlfriend, a man named Mike Amerson, to learn more about the app.

He first launched it with his developer partner in late 2010. His wife — who he met in the early 1990s while he was working as a male stripper in Vegas — records all the narration for My Virtual Girlfriend.

Does he think that anyone is using it as a replacement for an actual relationship?

Amerson literally laughs out loud at my question.

I hope not,” he says, “I sure hope not.”

Traffic is high though: The free version of the app sees between 1,000 and 3,000 downloads a day—4 million total—and the two creators make enough from ads, in-app purchases, and downloads of the full, paid version to maintain a living.

But, overall, Amerson doesn’t hear much from his players.

“The guys do it like they’re walking into a 7-11 and buying a Playboy,” he says. “It’s something that a lot of people do, but they’re not going to announce it. I want to say that some of them are almost ashamed. Because there’s that kind of embarrassment factor. What’s somebody going to think of me?”

The game technically has 35 levels but once you win you don’t have to stop playing or start a new relationship. Amerson hired a man on Fiverr to record a congrats message in a “Budweiser-ad” voice and the girlfriend dances around victoriously, but the game can continue “You can stay with it forever,” he says. “I sometimes get people writing into me that say, ‘Hey, I’m at level 65 now.’ And I kind of cringe a little bit, thinking, oh man, I didn’t really design the game for that.”

The furthest that he’s ever known someone to play?

Level 200.

You don’t play a game like My Virtual Girlfriend that long if you don’t have some kind of deeper connection with it.

“A lot of people are lonely,” Amerson admits. “They want some sort of entertainment or companionship, or a little bit of both.

No, in the end, I couldn’t fall in love with My Virtual Girlfriend. Amerson created the game to be light and funny and, for most people, that’s what it is and that’s all they want it to be.

But it became clear talking to Amerson that maybe some people do wish we had a Love Plus equivalent, that they could be overcome by the same digital infatuation as those men in Japan.

Because, really, we could all use a little more love, even if we have to get it through a tiny screen.

Now Watch: We Followed A Cosplayer Into The World Of Anime, Tight Vinyl Costumes, And Nerd Culture


A Swiss startup, Terpon SA, is making virtual reality webcams specifically for the adult entertainment industry. The cameras aren’t available for purchase, but customers can rent them for about $30 a month, a price that includes around the clock technical support. Terpon Chief Executive Jean-Claude Artonne said he wants to empower adult performers around the world to create immersive, premium content that they can sell to fans through any live streaming platform they choose.

While VR and 3-D content are burgeoning trends, a focus on live streaming is key, the CEO said. “Recorded content in the adult entertainment industry is dead or dying because of all the free content on the web. The part of the industry that is growing is livecam. But most visitors to these sites only consume what’s free there. If you give them 3-D content, it is something different that they will pay for. Especially if you have a VR headset already, you are committed to finding some new, fun experiences online.”

The company’s 3K resolution Hermes camera, and 4K resolution Artemis camera look, abstractly, like a face with big eyes pointing at the filmed subject. The idea behind the industrial design is to give performers a natural feeling about their fans’ gaze.

According to a company statement, “Terpon’s 3D-VR camera features stereoscopic synchronized modules with a 200-degree field of view. The camera streams 2D or 3D video, and is plug and play via USB so it works on PC or Mac.” The camera is compatible with any webcam platform that offers an API, or can be used with a performer’s own site or chat app.

Terpon CEO Jean Claude Artonne.

Terpon CEO Jean-Claude Artonne.

Artonne explained why the company isn’t selling its cameras outright, but renting them instead. “Most cam girls are living in countries where making $300 to $500 a month is good revenue. It was very important to have something that can fit the budget for someone who wants to work in this kind of business in Romania, or Colombia, which are the largest providers of livecam adult entertainment by geography.” To make its offering known within the industry, this month, Terpon is giving away 1,000 of its beta-edition cameras to influential performers.

The company has raised an undisclosed amount of outside funding from an angel investor it did not have permission to name. Terpon intends to raise more seed or venture capital to fuel industrial production and marketing of its cameras, but Artonne acknowledges traditional investors may not be keen to get involved in adult entertainment.

That said, Artonne notes that lots of technologies that went mainstream first gained traction through adult entertainment, including VHS tapes, DVDs and webcams, more recently. Artonne said, “We don’t plan to limit ourselves to adult entertainment content creators long-term. But making a product that meets their needs is important. Having a company which is totally dedicated to this market will help us, in the future, to create something for the generalist market.”

Terpon is facing competition from a number of Chinese webcam makers targeting the adult entertainment industry, but also stalwart hardware companies like Nikon, Samsung and Lenovo, creating webcams for the virtual reality era.

Featured Image: Terpon SA

Gwen and her girlfriend Becky (left)Image copyright Gwen Image caption Gwen’s girlfriend Becky (left) was with her throughout the transgender transition

A transgender woman who let people ask her questions about her life on an internet forum was inundated with even more when the BBC reported on her story.

Many readers wrote to Gwen asking for advice about a friend or family member who is transitioning.

Here Gwen, from Pennsylvania, addresses some questions from BBC website readers.

I have an eight-year-old sister who is transgender. What’s the best advice I can give her as she grows older with negativity from others?

“There are going to be a lot of people out there who might hate her for who she is, but tell her that she has plenty of people in her life who are going to love her much more than any amount of hate she could receive.

“My personal rule is: Just don’t read the comments. If you’re going to read any comments people make, don’t bother responding. They usually have their minds made up and no amount of arguing is going to make them apologies.”

How can I support my friend who is transitioning?

“The best advice is to just listen to what they have to say and try not to make it a big deal.

“When I was starting to transition, all I wanted was for life to feel ‘normal’ again.

“I didn’t really want to talk about transitioning too much, but it was nice to have friends who just listened to me on the days where it was especially hard and told me they loved me anyway.”

Media caption Gwen’s story – work as a security guard in a store and have a male customer who wears a dress and make-up. I always address my customers as “sir” or “madam”. What address should I use with them?

“The best thing would be to address someone by what it looks like they’re going for. If this customer comes in every day in a dress and make-up, I would assume they wanted to be greeted as ‘Ms’.

“It’s always best to go by what you see and then, if they correct you, just go by what they’d rather be called instead.

“Maybe this person isn’t comfortable being called ‘Ms’ yet, but that’s something only they could know.”

How do you approach discussing your trans identity in new social situations, such as dating or a new job?

“I don’t tell people until they need to know. I’ve found that letting people get to know me as everything I am first, aside from my trans status, helps them see me as someone other than a token trans friend after I disclose, if I ever choose to.

“If I’m not going to be having a sexual relationship with someone, they really don’t need to know because it’s not relevant.

“For jobs, it has to come up when listing former names on applications. But I don’t treat it like a big deal and they follow suit.

“A lot of my colleagues still don’t know that I’m trans, although my manager does and was really supportive.”

Image copyright Gwen Image caption “Kids have a pretty good idea what their gender is the same way kids have a pretty good idea if they’re straight or gay.” I’m 20 and a trans woman. I transitioned one year ago and I still don’t pass. Any tips for a girl who feels ugly?

“My biggest advice here is not to conflate passing with attractiveness.

“Being beautiful does not mean you will pass and passing doesn’t mean that you’re beautiful either.

“Passing as the other gender is far more attainable than a lot of trans people realize, and I see many “new” transitioners fall into the trap of thinking that if they aren’t pretty, they aren’t passing.

“I wish that we lived in a world where people were treated fairly and respectfully even if they’re ‘ugly’ and don’t pass, but the reality of the world we live in right now is that it makes life much easier if you do pass, so please don’t give trans people flak for trying to just fit in to get by.”

Image copyright Gwen Image caption “A woman to me is a culmination of her experiences, the people in her life, the choices she makes.” Has the change affected your relationship between you and your girlfriend?

“My girlfriend and I actually dated a year before I transitioned. I broke up with her out of fear of her breaking my heart and breaking up with me, after telling her that I felt I should have been born a woman.

“I should have told her though, because when I finally did tell her a year later, she was 110% accepting and supportive and we started dating again shortly thereafter.

“I’ve been with her since a couple of weeks after starting HRT [hormone replacement therapy].”

Is life harder because you are trans and lesbian – compared with if you were a straight trans female?

“I’m not a lesbian – I’m bisexual – I experience attraction to men as well. What someone looks like doesn’t matter as much to me as who they are as a person.

“Being trans and transitioning isn’t about sexuality – it’s about your gender identity. Gender is who you go to bed as and sexuality is who you go to bed with.

“There are trans people who are straight, gay, bisexual, asexual… the two aren’t connected at all in terms of why or whether or not someone transitions.

“Although I’m not a lesbian, I appear as one to the public and there are difficulties surrounding that. I don’t feel as safe holding my girlfriend’s hand in public everywhere we go, but most people have been pretty accepting.”

Image copyright Gwen What is being “a woman” beyond cosmetic things like body shape, make-up and high heels?

“After spending time on both sides of the ‘gender line’, I can confidently say that there is really no quality that, in a vacuum, makes a person a man or a woman.

“A woman to me is a culmination of her experiences, the people in her life, the choices she makes, everything that has led her to where she is today.

“Sometimes she’s born in a male body like I was, but our histories do not define us. I refuse to be limited by mine in the same way people do not want their past crimes or disabilities or embarrassments to define who they are today.

“I have (finally) found a body that I am mostly comfortable in and that’s enough for me. Hopefully that’s enough for you as well.”

What is gender dysphonia?

  • Gender dysphoria is a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there’s a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity
  • It is a recognized medical condition, for which treatment is sometimes appropriate. It’s not a mental illness
  • Treatment for gender dysphoria aims to help reduce or remove the distressing feelings
  • For some people, it can mean dressing and living as their preferred gender
  • For others, it can mean taking hormones or also having surgery to change their physical appearance
  • Many trans people have treatment to change their body permanently, so they’re more consistent with their gender identity, and the vast majority are satisfied with the eventual results

Source: NHS

Image copyright Gwen Image caption “Every day of living as a trans person is putting a wall up, protecting yourself from people who hate you for literally no reason.” What are some of the things that people do or say about transgender people that bother you and how do you deal with them?

“What bothers me the most is when people blame the high suicide rate of trans people on our ‘mental illness’, like we’re predisposed to it, and refuse to consider that maybe they are the reason so many trans youth kill themselves.

“How would you feel if every day people were calling you a freak, mentally ill, saying you belong in an asylum, telling you that you don’t deserve to be loved?

“How would you feel being scared to date anyone because they might murder you once you tell them your history?

“Every day of living as a trans person is putting a wall up, protecting yourself from people who hate you for literally no reason, because you have zero impact on their lives.

“Eventually, the pressure gets to some people and they decide they don’t want to live any more. Studies have shown that the suicide rate drastically decreases when a trans person transitions young and has a lot of love and support from their family.

“All we need is to be loved, just like anyone else. As for how I deal with them, I try to respond respectfully and show them I’m just a person like anyone else and if they respond negatively, I smile and walk away.

“Living well is the best revenge.”

Has hormone replacement medication affected your moods or emotions?

“Aside from finally feeling at peace with the right hormone in my body, it hasn’t affected my mood or emotions too much.

“I find it a lot easier to cry these days, physically speaking, and I’m not quite sure why that is. I get the feeling that I want to cry as often as I did in the past, but tears actually come out more often than they ever did before.”

Have you ever faced any hostility regarding using women’s bathrooms or changing rooms?

“I’ve never had any problems, but that’s because I pass and look like I ‘belong’ in the women’s room.

“I always use the women’s bathroom because if I walked into the men’s room, something awful could happen to me.

“So I go to the ladies’ room, fix my face and hair, make friends with the girl in the stall next to me and leave, like everyone else.”