Addiction

newproject_1_original-6Addiction lives everywhere, out in the open, behind closed doors, within families, between friends and between co-dependent partners. Some addictions are not immediately life threatening. Many people still smoke every day and drink every weekend. In society these are the lesser evils because they do not immediately ruin lives. They may kill you in the end but the impact on those surrounding you are, for the most part, minimal. Unless of course you’re a raging alcoholic. Most addicts are addicts in secret. They are used to operating in secret by covering up their ‘signs’ and they usually have ‘enablers’, who can be just as detrimental as the addiction itself.

Sadly, as a society we are quick to judge addicts, particularly those whose problems involve Class A drugs such as heroin and crack. ‘Bag head’, ‘tramp’, ‘druggy’, ‘user’, ‘addict’, ‘you should be ashamed of yourself’ etc. Unfortunately, addiction isn’t easy to break, hence why some people remain addicts all their life. Breaking addictions takes enormous, willpower, bags of love and in some cases absolute force. The difficulty of this is that families usually fall apart one way or another and the support isn’t there. This could be due to the addict relying on thieving, lying, scheming and manipulating, to gain whatever substance or elation they are seeking.

20170729_124355The only way to start removing addiction from someone’s life is to first stop their enabler. Enablers are the people who provide the means for addictions to continue. These people are always prevalent where addiction lives, particularly gambling addiction. The addict can spend their entire months wage on bets in a single day and the enabler will replace that for them, usually because they are terrified at what will happen if they let them sink. It is imperative though that you LET THEM SINK. Don’t be fooled by love or obligation. You are literally helping this person destroy themselves and the life they have built. In the moment you refuse to ‘enable them’ they will say absolutely anything to change your mind, ‘I will kill myself’, ‘I will tell people your secrets’, ‘I have no money for food’. This can be alarming and it takes a morally strong person to see through the deceit and say ‘HELL NO’. Nine times out of ten the addict won’t do anything, they have just hit rock bottom and will resort to any means to manipulate you. Even if they did take drastic action at your refusal, that responsibility lies with them not your conscience. The more you enable addictions to continue, the less likely they will ever end, meaning you are20170729_124419 also now in the vicious cycle. When you have nothing more to give, the addict will push for you to bring in another enabler to fund the addiction. The only light at the end of the tunnel is that the wheels will eventually drop off because there isn’t an endless supply of money. The addict will either end up homeless or facing the music of the person they were hiding their addiction from. The only way out is ultimate acknowledgement and acceptance. An addict must really feel what they have done to others and themselves and let it consume them, so they can resolve to do better and start to rebuild their own self-worth.

Self-esteem plays a major part in addiction. For instance, gambling may not be the root issue, it could just be symptom of something deeper like anxiety, depression or trying to fund substance abuse. Substance abuse can stem from manipulation, control or physical abuse at the hands of someone else, whether in childhood, adolescence or in a very present situation. Whatever the facts of the case, don’t be too quick to dismiss an addict. Of course there are those that have completely fallen off and can’t be brought back but many are crying on the inside to be saved.

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Dealing with an addict is a balancing act. You don’t want to be a hero and risk your own life being stolen to fund the vices of an addict and you don’t want to completely ignore their plight. If you are personally suffering in such a situation then you need to create and implement your own strict rules. This could be never having the addict your house, however, you will arrange to meet them elsewhere such as a café. Stop giving them money but offer emotional support and be their voice of reason. Prevent yourself being emotionally entangled by their pleas of desperation by being brutally honest. ‘I can’t eat today’ they say and you respond ‘but you could’ve if you hadn’t wasted the money you had yesterday on your addiction’. 20170729_124527This may sound cruel, although it does put the addict in a place where they have to consider and be accountable for their actions and the circumstances they have created for themselves. Remind them of their potential and how much you love them, even if it falls on deaf ears. If you have the strength to continue this mantra then it may progress to you convincing them to seek professional help once and for all. Leaving addiction behind takes baby steps so don’t get frustrated if the addict takes five steps forward and ten steps back. As long as you are protecting your own interests and wellbeing that’s all that matters. If they never change, at least you know you did everything in your power to help them in the correct way.

If the addict does not get to a point where they want to change their life for the better then it may be wise to accept this and exit their life for good.

The first step to happiness

newproject_1_original-5The meaning of happiness is different to each and every one of us. For some it is treasuring the time spent with family and friends, for others it is financial freedom. The rest is made up of hobbies, whatever those maybe, travel, sport, reading etc. All of these aspects of happiness are reached with the same first step, which is:

Realising you have the right to choose.

More often than not, we live for other people. We may not intend to but the pushy overbearing natures of some individuals leaves us backed into an uncomfortable corner. Before we know it we are spending Christmas in the place we said we definitely wouldn’t, we‘ve paid for a holiday we don’t want to go on and we’ve committed to a slap up meal at an expensive restaurant we can’t afford. It could even be other burdens like looking after family and/or friends.

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Yes I said it.

Not everyone wants to spend their life looking after others but they feel they are obligated to, usually by other people. Just because someone is your family or friend, it doesn’t mean they have the right to dictate anything to you, especially how to live your life. There are stories of people losing those close to them because they did not choose them as a bridesmaid, invite them to an event or visit that person. Are these really people who care? If someone loves you and cares for your wellbeing, they will tell you to do whatever makes you happy, even if that means them missing out. Sadly, this species of human is few and far between. More often than not, the people surrounding us have set expectations of our actions and often presume and assume we will do whatever task they conjure up next.

So how do we get out that one?

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Simple. We say no!

Saying no takes balls if you are not naturally assertive and it is always better to say no in a polite way. You may want to offer up an explanation if you feel really bad, although it is probably better not to bother. If you are 100% soft 99% of the time then the people who know you will be so taken a back at your ‘no’ that they may sense it is unwise to question you further. If they do ask why you’ve said no, try get into the habit of saying ‘I just don’t want to’, or ‘it’s not for me’. Just like you are not obligated to cave into their demands, you are not required to provide evidence to satisfy them either. Whatever reaction you have received you should not feel guilty because you have been true to yourself. If the person wants to make an issue of it then they have not considered you and your feelings anyway.

Keeping your behaviour and responses surprising keeps others on their toes. They are 20170724_123911less likely to harass you to do x y z when you’ve just finished a b and c for them. They will also start to treat you with respect the more you give answers that are true to how you really feel. If this does not breed respect then you will have to use some ruthless scissors to snip them from your life. Life really is too short to tolerate shitty people who refuse to understand and accept you.

Another aspect to the first step of happiness is accepting that others may reject you on the quest for their own happiness. They have the right to say no too and the best way to respond to them is with humility. Their decisions should not determine your worth or your life path, so don’t take offence!

Ultimately, you should want anyone you care about to be happy and as stated, that usually means the freedom to do what they want without negative feelings, or people unnecessarily holding them back. We all risk waking up one day to find we have ran out of time to do what we really wanted to.

So start saying no to others…and say yes to yourself!

Your Opinion

newproject_1_original-4Many conflicts arise from a difference in opinion. One side cannot accept that the other disagrees with their clear logical determination of a subject. What they fail to see it that the other side feels the same way as they do, they just accept they’re different people. The aggressor’s outright blindness and refusal to entertain a thought they don’t agree with is ultimately related to ego. Admitting they have been hasty in their opinion or having their facts proven wrong can be an enormous hit on personal pride, self-worth and self-allusion.  If you are a particularly intuitive person then you may sniff these people out as soon as you meet them and have the smarts to keep conversations with them ‘safe’, by avoiding any controversial or sensitive subjects. If you are somewhat away with the fairies when it comes to tact and other people’s emotions, then chances are you have already upset many people by refusing to give in to their opinion.

Humbling one’s self to consider an opinion we disagree with is a major opportunity for learning and self-growth. Not only does it make us better communicators, it boosts our self-esteem because we have no ego to try hide.  People aren’t admired for always being ‘right’, they are admired for their uniqueness, which only radiates out of us when we are being truly open and honest about who we are. The more we allow ourselves to be…ourselves, the less we get offended by the opinions of others. After all, we all take different paths and experiences so having different opinions are a natural extension of that.

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Another aspect of your opinion is WHEN to give it.  Our internal drive to help, be right or just get involved in an issue without invitation can be damaging when it comes to our relationships. We must consider if our opinion is really needed. Will it help? Will it add value to conversation? Will it cause argument? Is this really anything to do with me?

For instance, a friend comes to see you and they’re feeling very down and upset after having an argument with their partner. All they really want is light company, consisting of emotional support and positive vibes. Instead you flip out and tell them they are stupid for getting together with them in the first place and that they are deluded if they go back. Does this really help? Does what happen under their roof directly impact on your day to day life? No, probably not. So, in that moment you can help your friend heal quicker by showing them kindness and compassion.

At work, you have a colleague who you absolutely detest. Another colleague, who you quite like, is getting on swimmingly with them. Do you pull them to one side and say ‘hey, in my opinion they will screw you over.’? No, you do not. For the simple fact that they may relate to that person in a way you never could. They are their own person and if they’re of working age, then they’re grown up enough to determine who is worth building rapport is and who isn’t. The best way to play it at work is to not give a negative opinion on any relationships you witness, just treat everyone equally and with respect. It’s always okay to have an opinion but it’s not okay tear people down with it.

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In the right situation, your opinions could propel you further that ever. It’s about choosing the right moment for the right impact. If your friend dumps that bloke they were crying about then giving your negative opinion might just cheer them up! And if that colleague has the trouble you predicted then you can emotionally support and advise them with your own opinions and experience.

The bottom line is, if you make people feel stupid or berate them for thinking or acting in a way you disagree with, then it is likely you will lose them. Analyse the situation and think if it is wise to give your opinion. If they request your honest brutal judgement then give it to them with a bit of understanding, like the nice person that you are. If you are aware that some big stuff has gone down with someone and they haven’t asked your opinion, then they clearly don’t want it, so leave them to their business.

The only exception to this discussion is if you think someone is being physically harmed or there is something taking place which is severely detrimental to them, perhaps emotional manipulation and/or control. Even in these circumstances though, caution and compassion must be exercised so you don’t push them further away.

20170720_195016Lastly, if you find people avoiding conversations with you then try considering if your mouth is overtaking your head. Some people just don’t enjoy hearing the uninvited opinions of others and having their own beliefs challenged. Especially if you’re ramming your life’s accumulation of thoughts down their neck so they don’t know who they are anymore.

 

Accept that everyone sees the world differently and concentrate on moulding yours.

Just my opinion 😉

 

Birthday Blog

newproject_1_original-7Today is my birthday. (Edit…it was two days ago)

Born 9th April 1988, on the 100th day of the year, on the 142nd Grand National Day, just after 1pm. My dad lost his bet…a great start.

Throughout my twenty-nine years on this earth I have pretty much had as much freedom as I have wanted. What a beautiful thing. Reflecting on that, I admit I did not use that freedom wisely most of the time, which is selfish when considering how much some people would simply like freedom. On turning twenty-nine I still unashamedly enjoy some of the same things as I did when I was 9 or 19. I feel I have also learned a million life lessons…but I didn’t feel like that when turning 28…

…interesting.

It is a common notion that knocking on thirty’s door is a time of growing up ‘properly’ once and for all. No more excuses for bad behaviour or for not looking after yourself. Spontaneous drinking sessions with friends fade and those annoying things start to batter at your walls…
…expectations.

As the big 3 0 looms closer, there are suddenly one hundred and one expectations placed20170411_102615 on us. ‘When are you having kids?’ and ‘When are you getting married?’ …are the most frequently asked questions if you haven’t already done those things. Of course, millions treasure the idea of domestic bliss…but not all. There are still those who are happy to embrace the opportunities that arise from simply being one with oneself. The absence of responsibility and obligation is its own fairy-tale and it’s not one that we can all give up easily. It is a little bewildering as to why some view this as unusual or horrifying; ‘time is running out if you want to settle down!’. These kinds of responses can push us in to thinking we must act to keep up with the ‘norms’ of society, instead of growing old alone in a cardboard box somewhere as our heart really desires.

Even when you do embrace a life other than the domestic one, it won’t be good enough for everyone. If you haven’t completed their imaginary list of things to do before you’re thirty then you’re a big fat failure. When our minds cloud with other people’s expectations and ideals we ultimately lose ourselves. And that is the key to happiness at any age. The relationship with Self. Living in the moment by doing what you enjoy as an individual will attract what you truly want in life. Any energy dispelled on people who can only give you negative opinions, rather than adding value to your life, will only hold you back in the long run. They will make you second guess yourself, go against your gut and before you know it you’re knocking on the door of the next decade wondering where it all went wrong.

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People with expectations about how others should live have little going on in their own life (or they’re insecure so they pull others down with them). Let them do that while you do you with a happy mind, whatever your age. The moment you allow yourself to chase life validation you begin to fight a losing battle. Only misery and disappointment will ensue, simply because you’re not living your own truth.

So, in this last year of my twenties, I solemnly swear…to be myself. Young at heart with my mind closed to the expectations of others.

Are you suffering from Chronic Stress?

wp-1491043434690.jpgDo you ever feel, that if you must say, hear or feel one more thing then your brain and body will just explode out of frustration?

If yes then you have the stress.

The problem with chronic stress is that it can take some time to identify if you have got used to coping. Unless you have very close caring people around you who see the subtle changes in your mood and looks, others will attribute them to you just ‘having a bad day’, ‘being out of sorts’ or ‘having a late one’. It is quite concerning how much stress is brushed off as something minor. Even if you recognise it in yourself, you may be reluctant to make anyone aware in case they accuse you of being unable to cope or that you’re being melodramatic…it is okay to feel this way! The emotion needs to come out eventually, although it should be in a constructive way.

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A little bit of stress can be beneficial such as helping you run away from danger, completing tasks under pressure or making a difficult decision. It becomes an issue when it is the only emotional response you are experiencing over a prolonged period. When the body detects stress, it releases hormones and adrenaline, a fight of flight response if you will. Being stuck in this state for a long time will send your body haywire and ultimately strip your immune system of its strength.

Whilst I try to err on the side of mentioning myself in these blogs, I have experience of this unforgiving feeling. Forcing myself to cope with stress resulted in following ailments for nigh on six weeks-

*Cystic Acne- A real confidence destroyer. Scientists can only speculate why this happens but they assume the high hormone levels promote oil production. Cystic acne is deep within the skin and can take months to heal.  The face feels tender and pressurised. Picking it will make it stay, trust me.

*0-100 Irritability- Reacting to comments and situations literally faster than lighting. Shutting down negativity with aggression because you just can’t bear to hear anymore from anyone. Every noise sounding like an atomic bomb. People’s voices sounding like nails on chalk boards. ‘Burn them all!’ is my Cersei phrase of choice. FYI- If you don’t watch GOT that sentence will mean nothing to you.

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*Broken sleep- Sleep is my first love and if left alone with it, I can easy do a peaceful ten-twelve-hour session. Stress took this pleasure from me and said I can only have 4 hours a night…in intervals of four. Thanks.

*Unable to fall asleep- Turning off electronics, lighting incense and melts, audio books, massage, working out late, none of it helped. Sleeping for a few hours then tackling a 12-hour day just spells disaster.

*Unexplainable rash/hives- As I have resilient skin in that I can use any washing powders, soaps etc. I was surprised when I developed hives on my arms and behind my ears. If this happened to you it is your immune system telling you ‘we’re done, good luck!’. An anti-histamine will only sort it in the short term.

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Lethargy- Walking into the gym ready to do a heavy weights session, feeling pumped. I try to warm up and feel my body rejecting the exercise. Muscles seize up, mind clouds over and suddenly I can barely lift a dumbbell, never mind the 55kg squats I usually do. Sad and defeated I blubber my eyes out in the sauna, feeling like a big fat failure of a woman. My body and my brain had given up on me.

Migraines- These are prompted by all manner of things from lighting to food to lack of sleep. Nonetheless, it is also a characteristic of stress. Your brain is trying to force itself through the cloud of raging hormones and stress to think clearly. The blood vessels are under pressure and the stress increases. Then boom you’re in a 24 hour migraine that medication can’t penetrate.

Feeling alone- This is the worst part of chronic stress. The reality of this world is that most people are only concerned with themselves. We all have that right and I am true believer that you must look after yourself first and foremost. Nonetheless, showing kindness when someone is projecting a negative feeling can go a long way to helping them.

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Getting rid of chronic stress is doable if you are willing to ask for help. You also need to learn to draw the line in all aspects of your life. People pleasing, taking on too much, feeling singled out, resentful feelings, confrontations, making assumptions and all other destructive behaviour/feelings will ensure you burn yourself out. Don’t be afraid to speak up and tell people you are stressed, or if you think that they are being inappropriate and it is impacting on you. Most importantly, it is about choice. What you choose to listen to and how you choose to respond will shape your response to stress.

On some occasions, you will simply have to re-evaluate your environment and you may conclude that it needs a complete overhaul. This could be moving house, changing job, ending a relationship or cutting off toxic people. Remember that it is your right to live in peace and if you’re stressed you’re not living at all.

Take a step back, breathe and look after yourself…FIRST!

Keyboard Warriors

wp-1485965304685.pngThe first step to getting along with someone with an opposing opinion (and possibly changing their mind and creating peace), is acceptance and understanding. Even if that means accepting you can’t change their mind or understand their view. This can be difficult if the topic in question is sensitive such as racism, sexism, religion, Brexit or Donald Trump. I myself was called a fascist this week, which made me laugh myself to tears. I’ve also been called diplomatic but it was meant as an insult…yes seriously. Am I supposed to scream and shout and carry a weapon instead? Apologies for treating humans as humans, my bad. Unfortunately, those who label others don’t realise they feed the right-wing mindsets of this world and ultimately assist in promoting fascism, racism, religious intolerance and all manner of other evils. The bottom line is, any group that is organised is hierarchical and to truly understand the mechanics of the world we must step outside it and look at the wider context.

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Perhaps being a historian allows me to do this a little easier, as I am forever required to put myself in different historical shoes; men, women, devout religious followers, politicians, soldiers, indigenous peoples and so on. The notion that you cannot possibly understand something until it has happened to you is a bit too extreme (in my opinion, please don’t cry). Humans have compassion and empathy built into their DNA, although using it is by choice. If you claim someone does not ‘understand’ without knowing anything about them, then it makes you the ignorant bigot. And this is the problem with our society in the twenty first century, we’re all social media keyboarding bigots.

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Keyboard warriors just cannot help themselves. They type without thinking. I have been there myself when feeling passionate and instantly regretted it. This approach  just does not work. If you cannot have a debate without it turning into a heated argument, then you’re probably better just logging off for your own wellbeing. Those who continue relentlessly usually aren’t well read and most likely eat up the headline of every article they did not read. Finding the truth or getting to a place of understanding (understanding something doesn’t mean you agree!) takes research and a degree of cross referencing. Being unable to entertain a thought you don’t agree with means you’re being close minded. This approach will make it difficult for you to place people and events in a wider context. It also results in a lack of personal growth. Sadly, many individuals go with majority opinions without researching topics themselves because they either-

  1. Don’t know their own opinion or how to form it.
  2. Are brainwashed
  3. Are attention seeking
  4. Bored of their existence

Those who are adamantly opposed to any opinion but their own will always focus on the negatives. They will find numerous problems with your solutions and anything you verbalise will fall on deaf ears, even if it makes sense. It is admirable and strong to stand alone in your opinion, although speaking to be right only wastes time and energy and does not bring any form of peace or understanding. You’ll know if someone knows their stuff because they will debate, not argue with you. Anyone who evokes their anger does so due to feeling uninformed and backed into a corner, as they do not really know enough to keep the debate going peacefully.  Anyone with a well-informed opinion will stay humble and hit you with facts. Don’t be too proud to admit it if you have come around to their way of thinking either. This is how society should operate!

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In closing, there is no shame in changing your opinion or sticking with it, providing you are willing to consider and examine the views of others. Those who respond with anger by labelling you or getting upset are the ones that create mass panic in this world. Only brainless people will be keen to jump on that band wagon. Unfortunately, social media is full of people like this so 99% of the time you will face persecution if your opinion differs from the majority. Don’t let this get you down though, things could be worse…you could be living like them… with your eyes wide shut.

So, remember, knowing is being well read, taking time to read between the lines and coming to your own conclusions, not taking a headline and running with it. Do this and at least your opinion will have understanding from all perspectives, rather than the agenda of someone else.

WHY MEN CHEAT

 

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monogamy

noun

  • the practice or state of having a sexual relationship with only one partner.

 

Some believe that monogamy is not human nature and like wild animals we are supposed to mate using our instincts. If this was the case (which for some it is), no doubt we would quickly overpopulate the earth. Others argue that monogamy is a worldwide conspiracy set up by governments to control the world population! An interesting topic to explore…but we’ll shelve that one for now.

There are of course those traditionalists (or some us call them ‘normal people’) who believe in monogamy and they can’t wait to dance in the joys of marriage, babies, glitter and cheesy selfies. But how do these hopeless romantics, who appear to have the world at their feet, end up in a place where the man decides to cheat?

Well, there are countless reasons that could be put forward, however, in general, there is a pattern amongst men… and women.

Men are animals in their nature. They have basic needs ‘eat, sleep, sex, repeat’, with maybe a workout and a console sesh in-between. Many can have sex as a leisure activity and not be emotionally effected by it the next day. Women often ask their adulterating partners ‘how can you cheat on me if you love me?’.  Well, having sex with someone else does not necessarily mean they do not love their woman any more, it may just be that they are unhappy with them or themselves. It could be they’re not getting what they need physically because the woman is upset and is withholding sex.

Unfortunately, some males also like shiny new things they have never played with beforewp-1484593586884.png and they cannot exercise self-control. Males who act this way on a regular basis are in fact boys, because their head has not figured out what they want and so they lead with their helmet and hope for the best. On the other hand, they may have an enormous ego and are happy to boast that they can have their cake and eat it. These beings are soul destroyers so do not let them charm you into their bed.

Another reason men cheat is due to self-esteem. Jealousy can be a driving factor and they feel they need to get one over on you by exerting their manliness and to prove that they can still successfully ‘hunt’. A boy on his way to being a man will usually realise the gravity of his mistake once he sees what he may lose because of his actions. They say ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’, however, this is not always the case and forgiveness and remorse can make for a strong foundation going forward…see blog 49!

Long term relationships are at risk of going stale and couples may spend more time as individuals doing their own thing. The more this happens, the less sex happens and the more likely the man will meet someone who creates a new spark. If that spark starts flaming on a regular basis, then he is on a slippery slope to being a cheater. This is where phrases like ‘it just happened’ come from, even though they have been emotionally cheating for months. After a while, relationships can feel like an obligation, so the excitement disappears and instead of listening to why the Mrs is annoyed with him, he’ll seek solace with the woman who makes him feel good. Ultimately though, both sides have a duty to keep the flame burning in the relationship and to be completely honest if they think it is going down the pan. People only stay together for years because they want to!

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Lastly, some men are just evil manipulators. They see a vulnerability they can exploit and in turn you unknowingly meet their needs, either sexually, emotionally, financially or just by making their life easier in general. Whilst you’re playing Mother Hubbard, he is unapologetically sleeping with several different women. Sadly, these can be the most addictive men because women just want to be their number one. Women can easily get wrapped up in these games by making the mans conquests a target of their destruction instead of him…and all it does is increase his already embarrassingly big ego.

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The bottom line is…if both people in the relationship are happy then none of them will cheat…unless they’re mentally unstable. If you have ever been cheated on, please don’t give up on love as it will only make you bitter. Forgive, forget and move on. It is important that you do not tarnish any new man in your life with your ex’s brush, or you’ll push them away with your insecurity. If your partner cheated and you want to forgive them then remember…many couples who experience cheating eventually move past it and have a better relationship in the long run. As long as your happy everyone else will move on too 🙂

And don’t worry guys, I am not man bashing…it the women’s turn next!