Author: Smurf Writer

Art of Words | Sarcastic Nerd | Ambitious Snail | Mother Nature's Prodigy | 4th President of Africa | I Take My Food & Sleep Serious | Teetotaler | Weirdo | #TeamAutism | Sapiosexual

This Is How We Date Now

Thought Catalog

iStockphotoiStockphoto / MmeEmil

We don’t commit now. We don’t see the point. They’ve always said there are so many fish in the sea, but never before has that sea of fish been right at our fingertips on OkCupid, Tinder, Grindr, Dattch, take your pick. We can order up a human being in the same way we can order up pad thai on Seamless. We think intimacy lies in a perfectly-executed string of emoji. We think effort is a “good morning” text. We say romance is dead, because maybe it is, but maybe we just need to reinvent it. Maybe romance in our modern age is putting the phone down long enough to look in each other’s eyes at dinner. Maybe romance is deleting Tinder off your phone after an incredible first date with someone. Maybe romance is still there, we just don’t know what it looks like now.

When we…

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11 Things You Will Regret In Your 30s

What better way to learn than from those who have been there and done that? A Reddit thread recently had people chiming in on things they regret doing (or not doing) in their 30s.
Whether you are about to embark on the exciting journey of your 30s or nearing the tail end, learn from those in the know.

1. The shoulds

You’ll feel societal pressures in your 30s more than ever before, but don’t let the shoulds hold it back. You may constantly worry about how you should own a home, you should have kids, you should be married, or you should have a steady career. Drop all those expectations, and live life the way that makes you the happiest. Don’t feel like a failure just because your life happens to deviate from the norm — you’ve got one life to live, so live it your way.

2. Not spending time with parents

One common regret that many people in their 30s have is not spending time with their parents while they are young enough to actively participate. Simple pleasures like taking a walk, traveling, or even having a conversation may be harder to come by once your parents age.

3. Putting work first

Something to keep in your mind in your 30s: if you put work first, you’re going to regret it. Spend time with people you love, because those are precious moments that money and moving up the ladder can’t beat.

4. Spending time on negativity

And you thought those negative people would disappear from your life in your 30s. Nope, there may be some hanging around, so don’t waste time on them. Watch out for people who don’t make you feel good about yourself, and reevaluate your relationships with them. Be careful of spending time on negative thoughts and issues that you have no control over. Just. Let. It. Go.

5. Thinking your 30s was old

“I’m too old for this!” may be a common phrase you use in your 30s. You know what? You’re not. And I bet people in their 50s and 60s will agree. The world was your oyster in your 20s, and it still is. Take a chance, live, and enjoy life as the young’un you are, and never lose that child in you.

6. Not putting yourself first

Maybe you’re putting everyone else first in your life but you. Snap out of it! Know that once you put yourself first, everything else can fall into place. Putting your needs first will make you a happy camper, which will result in better relationships — a win-win. When you take care of yourself, you’ll have fewer regrets in your 30s. The partner your life revolved around? You probably won’t regret that as much if you had focused on your needs and chased your dreams as well.

7. Not taking better care of your body

It’s quite the paradox — you say you’re too old for something, and yet you still keep the junk-food-fueled and antiexercise habits of the younger you. Those habits are harder to drop, but treat your body right early, or it’ll catch up with you before you know it.

8. Not taking chances

Maybe you’re overly cautious at this age and perhaps it’s the shoulds we mentioned earlier that are holding you back. Don’t play it safe, and live a little.

9. Not saving and investing enough

This seems to be a huge, huge regret that a lot of 30-year-olds carry. If you start saving earlier, you’ll be reaping bigger rewards by the time you retire. And if you don’t put off saving and investing in your 30s, you’ll be more likely to retire at the age you want.

10. Not traveling enough

The world is at your fingertips, so take off on a travel adventure! Don’t keep procrastinating and putting this off — it’ll be harder to make time for travel as you get older. Get inspired by this list of the 10 most beautiful travel adventures.

11. Caring too much about what
others think

It seems we’re guilty of this at every age. Don’t waste more time on this useless habit in your 30s. Stop investing time and energy into caring about what people who don’t care about you think. The ones who do care for you will accept you as you are.

This post originally appeared on http://www.popsugar | @PopSugar

Practical Tips For Ramadan

Muslims view the fasting month of Ramadan with much sanctity and honor. The fasting month brings about a personal reflection of where we are, what we have done and where we hope to go. Many Muslims feel a heightened sense of excitement as well as anxiety. In this state of excitement, we try our best to welcome in the fasting month with as much preparation as possible. However, at times, we tend to forget the little things. Here are some practical tips to fasting during this blessed month.

1. DURING RAMADAN, IT IS IMPORTANT TO MAKE A SERIOUS CONVICTION TO FOLLOW THE RAMADAN ROUTINE:: Wake up before dawn, have the pre-dawn breakfast (suhoor) and perform the dawn prayers (fajr). This routine must be ingrained in your mind, body and soul. It is common to have a boost of faith during the early days of Ramadan. The spiritual energy is vibrant and you feel that it is easy to meet Ramadan head on. Then, we may get weak and lose our conviction. We may get lazy and tell ourselves that we have another 3 weeks or so to get back on track. It is best to stay the course and be moderate.

2. REDUCE SODIUM IN YOUR DIET, ESPECIALLY DURING SUHOOR:: This will help to reduce your urge to drink throughout the day. Extreme foods should be avoided as well. These include super spicy dishes (again to reduce the urge to drink after suhoor), high sugar content (to avoid the ‘crash and burn’ feeling), fatty foods and anything else that normally disagrees with you. Try to include foods that have high fiber content (for easy digestion) and that are ‘filling’. It’s important to eat ‘complex carbohydrates’ as they break down slowly. These include grains and seeds like barley, wheat, oats, millet, semolina, beans, lentils, wholemeal flour, and unpolished rice. Lots of fruits and vegetables are not only healthy but also provide a good balance to your meals. These will help sustain yourself until you break your fast. If you are already taking multi-vitamin supplements, don’t stop. Check with a health advisor if you plan to start a new multi-vitamin supplement. Don’t look far to find a vital health supplement. Dates are abundant throughout the year and especially during Ramadan. Dates are known to provide a wide range of essential nutrients and potential health benefits. Another important tip: hydrate! Drink lots of water in the night and before dawn. During suhoor, remember that coffee and tea are known to be diuretics. This could cause you to lose fluids faster.

3. DON’T BINGE:: Having an empty stomach during the day and then gorging yourself at night can cause lethargy and other gastrointestinal discomforts. The last thing you need is a sloth-like behavior at night and then you miss the precious dawn breakfast.

4. BONUS TIP:: meet the community. Many mosques hold community iftar sessions on weekends. Meeting the community has numerous benefits including hearing about recipe tips, community events and hopefully some iftar invites!
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Original post appeared on

7 Things Men Can Learn From Their Mothers

We call our mothers superwomen and love when they pamper us, but we don’t really think we can learn anything from them. You might be surprised at how much you can actually learn from mothers if you really put your mind to it. Here are seven things that every man must learn from his mother to lead a more successful life.

How To Multitask

Let’s start with the most obvious one. We call our mothers superwomen because they balance everything that is thrown at them without any gripe. They can prepare your father’s tiffin, get your sibling dressed and prepare breakfast for you in the morning as if it were the simplest things to do. The same story repeats itself at night and goes on for days on end. Unless mothers could multitask, such a thing would never be possible. It’s an effective lesson every man must learn.

How To Develop EQ

Men like to define themselves by their machoness. However, ever so often it is necessary to show empathy and work on your Emotional Quotient. Not only does this humanise you, it also shows you are willing to listen to others and have a soft core. While mothers seem hardwired with enough EQ for the entire family, working on your own emotional levels will take you further in work and life than you realise.

How To Endure Without Complaint

Indian mothers will hardly ever complain about their children disrupting their lives or ending their promising careers. They, in fact, take offense to anyone who complaints about motherhood. However, bringing up a child is no easy task and in a patriarchal society like ours, the strength of Indian mothers to endure whatever comes their way in order to bring up their children is not only commendable but worth respecting and emulating as well.

How To Balance Work and Life

Today’s woman does not like to be housebound after turning into a mom. She wants to be successful as well as look after her house. The amount of micro-management and sheer will through which today’s mothers manage their work and life is something every man who complains about work-life issues should learn from.

How To Be Passionate

Only a man’s passion can carry him to his ultimate goal. Unless you have passion for what you do, you will find it extremely difficult to make it to the top of anything you are chasing. If you don’t trust us, look at how passionately your mother does all the chores day in and day out without complaining. If she can be so passionate for her family, you can definitely be passionate about yourself and your work.

How To Think About Others

A mother thinks about her needs and wants at the very end of the family chain. Whether it is her own family or in-laws or relatives, she will go out of her way to make everybody feel comfortable and ensure they are not inconvenienced. This might be despite the fact that she’s feeling ill or doesn’t have enough help at her disposal to do everything by herself. She earns our love and respect by doing so and so can you if you did the same.

How To Love Unconditionally

Lastly, if there is one thing that all mothers share in common it is their unconditional love for their children and family. Mothers will love you no matter what the situation. Such unconditional love is hard to come by in today’s materialistic world and is a quality to cherish. Imagine if men could do the same instead of fighting silly wars, inflating their ego and losing their top at the drop of a hat.
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Sister: Your BFF Can’t Be A Guy

I can’t remember who it was I was dating when she told me the Tolu person she had been mentioning was actually a guy.

‘Your closest friend is a guy?’ I exclaimed as I thought about how close she said they were before I asked if he had a girlfriend and found out he didn’t. I knew there was trouble when I met the dude and he knew more about her than I did, felt more at home in her house than I did and then she had the guts to tell me to act more like him in her house instead of asking her to please bring me this or that and asking for permission to go the bathroom like a visitor.

We men do not like it when your closest friend is another man especially if he is single, was once your toaster and is not gay. If he is gay, we straight men don’t want him close to us and even if he isn’t, it’s up to him to get close to us not we socking up to him. Don’t ask your man to try and be closer to your male BFF – that ticks off our ego and like I said in this article over two years ago on my blog , you’ve got to know how to stroke our ego.

There’s one major way a guy ends up being your best friend forever and that’s if he gets lost on the way to becoming your boyfriend. In that case, he’ll most likely keep trying and one day you just might give in. It’s a different thing if both of you became close because you work together and the other ladies in the office don’t like you but it’s another different thing if he walked up to you somewhere, told you he was attracted to you and asked to know you more then became your best friend.

There’s a tactic we guys use when we sense that you’re not inclined to dating us and that route leads through friendzone. From here we come across as harmless, learning your secrets, observing your likes and dislikes, learning your turn-ons and then pressing the buttons at the right moment. One moment of vulnerability on your part is all it takes and he’ll have you right where he wants you.

To be fair, there are guys who get close to ladies without the intention of dating (or bedding) them. Such guys are rare but they do exist. The problem is – there’s a problem somewhere: a man who’s comfortable enough to be your best friend inadvertently suppresses the urge to be close to another man who wants to date you. It can even make you date the wrong person and I’ll explain:

Let’s say Nonye is your BFF and you feel so comfortable with him but you’re dating Azeez. Nonye is a good guy – he does things for you, checks up on you and will pick you up from the mainland and drop you off on the Island then he’ll come back and pick you later without complaining. The niceness of Nonye is indirectly related to Azeez’s nonchalance. Since you have Nonye, you won’t look out for better qualities in Azeez and so the good male friend you have encourages you to have not so good lovers but you won’t notice because the balance plays nicely in your emotional self: you want a wild time? Call Azeez. You need someone to pour out yourself to? Call Nonye.

It’s okay to have male friends and I even encourage it in one of my past articles but making a man your BFF is something you should have outgrown. We understand how petty some ladies can be but if past a certain age (around 26) you can’t find a female close friend and you feel more comfortable with guys than girls, we’ll wonder if there’s nothing more between you and your male friend. If you are in such a case though, reassure your man that he is indeed your soulmate and not in competition with anybody else. Encourage your male friend to get closer to your man and not act like he has more right to you than your lover.

If you’re not sure who you’ll side if there’s an argument between your lover and your male BFF, you’re better off dating your BFF.

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Original post appeared on | @DemolaRewaju

Fix Dents In Your Car Bumper With Hot Water

Fixing a dent on a bumper can be a pain in the ass, most especially when you think about the financial implications involved.

Well, all that is going to change after reading this DIY instruction.

To get this done, all you need is a teapot of boiling water, rubber gloves so you don’t burn yourself, and another pot of cold water.

Pour the hot water on the dent, and while it’s warm, reach from the inside and pop it out. Then, while it’s in the original shape, pour cold water so it quickly cools down.

And after few minutes of doing this, you have your bumper looking as if it had no dents.

Female Insect With Penis That Mates Up To 70 Hours

Girls will be boys and boys will be girls, but a little-known Brazilian insect takes role reversal to a whole new level. The Neotrogla female has a penis like organ, which she uses to “mate” with her male partner.

Scientists researching the cave-dwelling Neotrogla say the female sports an impressive penis, which she uses to “mate” with her male partner.

He, on the other hand, is blessed with what the researchers describe as a “much-reduced, vagina-like opening”.

As if that does not make the insect’s sex life interesting enough, copulation between the two sexes can last up to 70 hours.

“Although sex-role reversal has been identified in several different animals, Neotrogla is the only example in which the intromittent organ is also reversed,” said lead scientist Dr Kazunori Yoshizawa, from Hokkaido University in Japan.

A study of four species of the Neotrogla showed that the penis-like structure of the female, called a gynosome, is inserted into males and used to receive capsules of nutrient and sperm.

The scientists found it impossible to pull coupling males and females apart when they are mating without causing injury because, once the female’s penis is within a male, the part inflates and projects spines which anchor the two insects together.

Incredible, isn’t it?

Culled from

7 Reasons Why You Won’t Make It

Yeah that’s right; you heard me… I’m talking to you… I’m calling you out.

I’m looking you in the eyes, (ok well, not really since you are probably reading this article, but figuratively, I am burning a cyclops type hole in your face right now) and telling you that you don’t stand a chance.

I’m telling you that if you can read this article, look through this list and not claim it as your own, then you should be a little worried.

Actually, you should be very worried. You should drop everything and immediately question your existence on earth. You should find a mirror, look yourself in the eyes, raise your hand and slap yourself in the face.

Got it? Now repeat that until you come to your senses and continue reading whenever you’re ready.

I’m Talkin’ ‘Bout Street Skills Son!
I’m not talking about the: study hard, party light, graduate top-of-your-class skills.

I’m not even talking about the: slack-off, skip class, smoke weed, drink and party but still graduate, skill-set your $50,000 + diploma has lead you to believe you have.

“I’m talking ’bout, step out your door, make some moves, and get-some-shit-done, kind of skills! Some, move out your mama’s house, quit your job — say “fuck the world” — and then actually go do it, kind of skills”.

The kind of skills you develop in the real world, outside the bubble of your parents protection or the ideological indoctrination that has overwhelmed our entire educational system.

Skills that can be had by anyone willing to pay the price to get them.

Skills that are quickly becoming extinct.

I’m talking about skills that cannot be taught in a classroom or in a textbook. Skills you can only learn by doing; by learning how to fly after jumping off the cliff.

Skills that can only be developed when you find your true self. When you put yourself on the line or otherwise expose yourself to the possibility of failure. The skills you can only develop when you are willing to risk it all in order to do that one amazing thing.

Skills that up until now, you thought you had.

“Basically, what I am trying to tell you is that, in this game called life, you don’t stand a chance…

1 :: Because You Have Not Failed Enough

Because you are comfortable in your mediocrity; because you choose not to try.

Because it is easier to talk about learning that new (programming?) language as opposed to actually learning it.

Because you think everything is too hard or too complicated so you will just “sit this one out”, or maybe you’ll, “do-it-tomorrow”!

Because you hate your job but won’t get a new one; because it is easy to reject rejection.

Because while you’re sitting around failing to try, I am out there trying to fail, challenging myself, learning new things and failing as fast as possible.

Because as I fail, I learn, and then adjust my course to make sure my path is always forward. Like the process of annealing steel, I’ve been through the fire and pounded into shape. The shape of a sword with polished edges and a razor sharp blade that will cut you in half if you are not equally hardened.

2 :: Because You Care What Others Think About You

Because you have to fit in. Because you believe that being different is only cool if you’re different in the same way that other people are different.

Because you are afraid to embrace your true self for fear of how the world will see you.

You think that because you judge others, this means that those people must, in-turn, be judging you.

Because you care more about the stuff you have as opposed to the things you’ve done.

Because while you’re out spending your money on new outfits, new cars, overpriced meals or nights at the bar, I’ll be investing in myself. And while you try to fit in with the world I’ll make the world fit in with me.

Because I will recklessly abandon all insecurities and expose my true self to the world. I will become immune to the impact of your opinion and stand naked in a crowd of ideas; comfortable in knowing that while you married the mundane I explored the exceptional.

3 :: Because You Think You Are Smarter Than You Are

Because you did what everyone else did; you studied what they studied and read what they read.

Because you learned what you had to learn in order to pass their tests and you think that makes you smart.

Because you think learning is only
something people do in schools.

Because while you were away at college, I was studying life; because instead of learning about the world in a classroom I went out and learned it by living.

Because I know more than any piece of paper you could ever frame from a university. Because smart is not what you learn, it’s how you live.

Because I might not have a degree but I challenge you to find a topic that I can’t talk to you about cohesively.

Because I could pass your tests if I had to, but you couldn’t stand for a single second in the face of the tests that life has thrown me.

Tests that are not graded on a bell curve or by percentages; tests that are graded by one simple stipulation: survival!

4 :: Because You Don’t Read

Because you read the things you are required to read or nothing at all.

Because you think history is boring and philosophy is stupid.

Because you would rather sit and watch “E!” or “MTV” instead of exploring something new, instead of diving head first, into the brain of another man in an attempt to better understand the world around you.

Because you refuse to acknowledge that all the power in the world comes from the words of those that lived before us. That anything you desire can be had by searching through the multitude of words that are available to us now more abundantly than ever before.

Because you are probably not reading this article even though you know you should.

Because the people that are reading this already know these things.

Because you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.

5 :: Because You Lack Curiosity

Because you get your news from copy-cat members of the state-controlled media.

Because you are unwilling to ask this simple question… “What if it’s all a lie?”, and accept the possibility that maybe it is; that just maybe, the methods of mass media are under direct orders to: keep you distracted.

Because you call me a know-it-all but refuse to call yourself a know-nothing-at-all.

Because I thirst for knowledge, regardless the topic.

Because while you’re busy playing Candy Crush , or Megalopolis, I am reading about string theory and quantum mechanics.

Because while you waste your time with Tosh.o I am learning how to edit video, build websites and design mobile apps.

Because if we were to go heads-up in a debate, I would crush you. I would make it a point to defeat my own argument; from every imaginable angle; in order to understand everything you might be able to use against me.

Because I would dedicate myself to understanding both sides of the argument so thoroughly that I could argue your side for you and win; even after having just handed you a defeat in the same debate.

6 :: Because You Don’t Ask Enough Questions

Because you do not question authority.

Because you don’t question yourself.

Because you don’t understand the power of properly placed questioning in life, respectful disagreements and standing up for what you know to be right in the face of someone telling you otherwise. Unable to question reality; stuck in a self imposed survival strategy within a matrix-style monotony.

Because I know that you will give me all the information I need to destroy you by letting you talk. Because I study human behaviors and you ignore everyone but yourself.

Because I watch how you say the things you say just as closely as I listen to what you say; and you say way too much!

Because control comes, not from spewing your ignorance like some incurable case of logorrhea, but from properly structuring the context of your questions.

Because I study the premise of your argument and destroy it from the ground level before you even get a chance to establish your ideas.

7 :: Because You Can’t Handle The Truth

Because you refuse to admit that you don’t even know the things you don’t know.Because there isn’t an article online that would make up for all the time you have wasted in life.

Because even if I told you everything could be different tomorrow you would wait until then to begin doing anything about it. Because even when you think I’m not, I’m aware of my surroundings.

Because you think that since I have not acknowledged you, it means that I have not seen you.

Because, you walk around with your head up your ass, oblivious to the world around you. Blissfully ignorant of the reality that sits so close to your face that if you stuck your tongue out, just once, you would taste it and realize how delicious the truth actually is.

Because you would become an instant addict. Unable to pull yourself from the teat of truth. Finally able to understand your lack of understanding, and then you would see; then you would know that the only thing holding you back from doing something truly amazing, is you.

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Are You A Cynical Asshole?

Over the years, people have often accused me of being a cynical asshole. Whether it’s a disgruntled view on a popular trend or just a grumpy disposition, I almost always gravitate toward a negative outlook before a positive one. Thankfully, I found my way out of this without resorting to Disney-esque positive thinking.

My cynicism was so obvious at one point in high school that when a drama teacher cast me as the Grinch in the Christmas play my classmates praised it as the perfect choice. The countless articles on positivity I’ve read have little effect on me. But at some point recently, things began to click in my head and I stopped being the cynic I once was. Here’s what I’ve learned.

Why We Become Cynical

A cynical asshole is a special breed of person. You likely know the type if you’re not one yourself. A true cynic distrusts everything new they see or hear, they’re intolerant to new ideas, and they’re pessimistic about everything. They’re not skeptics. That’s a positive trait. They’re the downers of the group whose self-righteousness tends to bring everyone else down, too.

Cynicism comes from a variety of places, but it most often happens when we’re emotionally vulnerable.

Another cause of cynicism is pretty simple: our brains are hard-wired to pay more attention to negative experiences. The more negativity we see in the world, the more likely we are to share that disposition with others. Over time, that tends to make us more cynical. In severe cases, you’ll find yourself hating on pretty much everything without giving it much thought.

Admit You’re Being An Ass and Fake It Till You Make It

As with most things like this, the first step is admitting you have a problem. To override this thought process, take some time to reflect and admit you’re being a cynical asshole. When you catch yourself taking the default stance of negativity, make note of it and think about it. If you’re anything like me, you’ll realize how much you sound like a whiny baby.

Once you acknowledge your problem, you can start faking a more positive attitude until it sticks.

Audit Your Friendships

Cynical assholes tend to surround themselves with other cynical assholes. It makes those long nights at the bar complaining about pop culture a lot more enjoyable. At some point, it’s worth considering what impact these social relationships have on you.

I’ve had many cynical friends over the years. Those friends are funny when you’re in your early 20s, but as time marches on that cynicism and negativity tends to wear on a friendship. If you have too many of these types in your social circle, it’s hard to kick the habit of being cynical all the time.

I didn’t notice how cynical I’d become until I noticed how negative one of my friends was. I realized that we spent the bulk of our time complaining about things, whining about trivial mishaps from the day, or resenting anything new. I couldn’t take it anymore and started changing the dynamics of our relationship. The friendship remained, but we hung out less and for shorter periods of time.

I went through my contacts and cut back on my time with other similar friends. I didn’t need (or want) to cut people out completely, but it’s basic logic that when you surround yourself with cynics you’ll likely be a cynic yourself.

Breed Your Curiosity

Cynicism tends to make you close-minded, and that means it’s often difficult to pay attention to the world. When everything sucks, curiosity falls to the wayside, and that makes being creative difficult.

To help foster my own curiosity, I’ve taken on Jason Fried’s advice to give ideas five minutes before I react to them. This has the dual effect of soaking out my default negativity and breeding my curiosity by forcing me to ask questions.

Asking questions and being curious is tantamount to critical and creative thinking. I’ve noticed that the less time I focus on my snarky, cynical responses, the more likely I’ll have an actually useful idea. I also tend to pay more attention to the world around me and stop to appreciate the creativity of others.

Cynicism Isn’t All Bad

The line between being a cynic and having a critical sense is a close one. The more we look at things critically with an emotional detachment, the more likely we’ll be cynical about it. That’s not always a bad thing, though.

Remember, always-on optimism isn’t healthy either. Like most things in life, it’s about balance. When you find yourself being cynical about everything, then it’s time to take a closer look at how you’re interacting with the world.


Relationships & Fights

The Rumor: Fighting isn’t good for relationships

Have you ever met a couple that didn’t fight? Neither have we. There’s strife and disagreements in virtually all relationships, even between friends, family, coworkers and so on. But is fighting with your significant other a sign of trouble, or is the occasional (or even frequent) spat perfectly normal and even healthy?

The Verdict: It all depends how you fight

No two people agree on everything all the time. But reverting to negative behaviors like sarcasm, name-calling, eye rolling and dredging up ancient issues is not the way to go about it. In fact, eye rolling, an indicator of disdain, is at the top of the list of divorce

Voicing complaints with a “soft start” is a much better approach than expressing contempt or disdain with eye rolling or sarcasm . Listening to your partner, staying open to being wrong, apologizing and maybe even managing a laugh or two — that’s the stuff of a fair fight. Fair fighting keeps hurt from being bottled and buried, yet doesn’t explode your partner’s tender spots, which over time can irreparably erode the fabric of a relationship.

One of the most important factors in fighting fair and constructively lies at the root of our personalities: the ego. “You have to get to the point where you want to let go of the ego because you want real communication and love in your life,” says David Richo, psychotherapist and author of How to Be an Adult in Love: Letting Love in Safely and Showing it Recklessly. “The ego can’t love. It can assert itself, but it can’t embrace others.” He calls this the “ego mindset.” This mindset, Richo says, “has to be right, can’t apologize, has to be first, has to be on top, has to be acknowledged, can’t receive feedback, takes information as a judgment and immediately reacts with defensiveness.” Sound familiar?

If you want to fight fair, you’ve got to ditch your ego. “As long as the fighting includes ego, then it’s useless to fight; it’s useless to struggle,” Richo says. “You’re not going to get anywhere. You’ll have to tiptoe around so he gets to believe that he’s right while you still get what you want, which is kind of a tricky style.”

To begin to dismantle the ego mindset, it helps to have some kind of mindfulness or meditation practice, but even just taking a moment to get real about your thoughts and feelings will help.

And it’s key to practice doing this while calm. “You can’t notice [the ego mindset] when your adrenaline is flowing,” Richo says. As we hone our awareness, we can start to see when we’re speaking from defensiveness or wanting to win, and when we’re being vulnerable and honest and working toward a common good.

Many relationship experts say the essence of constructive fighting is being able to tackle a problem, not each other. “Place [the conflict] between you as an issue you both need to work on,” says Richo. “And by ‘work,’ I mean that each person can state what is going on for him or her; express whatever feelings are connected to it and try to work back and forth without interrupting and let each person be heard. This way you can work toward the goal of coming up with a plan or agreement that will make things better later.”

When you actually get down to working through your issues, Richo suggests boning up on your communication skills. That involves “not interrupting, truly listening rather than thinking of what you’re going to say next, and the sincere commitment to work something out together rather than making sure to get your licks in,” he says. In essence, you’re drawing on the Dalai Lama, not the Pentagon. Richo also advises against using sarcasm. “Its purpose is to hurt the other person somehow, or to triumph,” he notes.

As we come to agreements about how to shift things in a relationship, Richo says, compromise isn’t always the best way to go about things. “In compromise, I’m gritting my teeth and building resentment and it’s going to come back later,” he says.

“Whereas in negotiation, you try to work it out.” Negotiation may take more time and effort, but the results may be so enriching, satisfying and intimacy-bolstering that fighting could become something you and your partner (almost) look forward to.

Culled from