Category Archives: Love

relationship advice, dating advice, mark groves, love, vulnerability

How To Love With Abandon And Get The Relationship You Want

As a society we make assumptions that women are complex beings and that men are straight forward and simple. No manual needed for us right? Then why, if I may ask, is it called a MANual? Hmmm…

(Yes – I’m hilarious, I know.)

Truth be told, all humans generally seek the same things; to feel loved, safe and understood.

Despite this, our fears can rule our lives and have us making decisions that keep us repeating the same mistakes, choosing the wrong partners, having relationships that don’t last and ultimately never fully opening our hearts.

Our fears of love often manifest from the same culprits; a fear of rejection, shame, and loss of connection.

These fears show up when we get scared of putting ourselves out there or if we take on the responsibility of having someone else’s heart in our hands. I personally know these fears all too well.

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance.”

~ John Lennon

I want passion, excitement and acceptance! Don’t you?!? Seems simple, doesn’t it?

If we all seek love, then why do we allow our fears to rule our lives rather than the expansive amazingness of love and desire?

And how do we leap into love?

This isn’t about dropping “L” bombs(“I love you”) on the first date or telling someone you’re falling for them right after you swiped right on Tinder. Get it together, you overzealous psycho.

It is simply about taking the first step.

Whatever that step is, you’ll know.

And by taking the first step you invite the other to do the same.

What you are indirectly saying is, “I feel safe, here’s how much. Take my hand and leap with me.”

This lays the groundwork for a relationship based on vulnerability and unfiltered communication. You’ve probably heard about this before, right?! I feel like it’s the  “Unicorn” from the Hot Crazy Matrix. It’s so rare, and what we all say we want, but rarely do we actually practice in our own lives.

What happens if they don’t reciprocate?!? What if they don’t love me back?!?

When you share how you feel, you discover the truth. Finding out where you fit with someone allows you to make decisions that are in the best interest of you and your heart. If they don’t love you back, or they are just not ready, or cannot reciprocate, you then have information you can act on. Vital Information that allows you to move forward in a direction that serves you finding not just any partner, but the RIGHT partner.

Your job is to never convince someone to stay, show up, or be the kind of partner you are capable of being.

Your job is to be the best version of yourself and then invite others to join you.

By doing that you make space for only high performers to show up. People who are flaky or incapable of loving at your level are not of interest to you anymore and as a result you won’t have anyone to fix. Move on.

Put your energy into finding and investing in love that serves your greatest self.

You are in charge of creating the environment that you want to love in.

If you want vulnerability, love, connection, and all that jazz, then you need to put in the work that goes along with what you profess.

Sure, it’s true that if you never love you will never be hurt.

That sounds nice and safe doesn’t it?

It also sounds like the most boring and predictable life ever. You only live once, and you sure as hell don’t want to get to your death bed and think back on all those times you never put yourself out there.

You get this one shot. Each moment of every day could be your last.

So, go home, light some candles, put on some slow jams (or hey – some super dirty rap music, whatever works), and tell your partner how you feel. I bet you‘ll score some booty too.

Win. Win. Win.

relationship advice, dating advice, friends with benefits, men and women be just friends, relationships, dating, men, women, friends

Can Men And Women Be Just Friends?

Relationships often begin as friendships. And friendships often get lost in sex and the desire for “Friends With Benefits”.

But can men and women exist in the space of friendship alone?

I tackle this ever-long debate of whether Men & Woman can be just friends with reference to experience and some science that challenges my view.

What do you think about friendship between men & women? What has been your experience?

If I Can’t Handle You At Your Worst Then I Certainly Don’t Want You At Your Best

There’s this quote from Marilyn Monroe that is on every female Tinder profile, Instagram Bio, and any online dating platform. It’s shared on Facebook religiously and I’m sure that women would even put it on a resume if they could.

We get it. If we can’t handle all of your crazy then we don’t deserve your sane.

This mindset is not reserved solely for females.

A desire for pushing boundaries, being strong, an individual and not compromising at all is rampant among the generations of today.

I think it’s important to honour our boundaries and needs. It’s paramount to the success of relationships to ask for what you need and not compromise your dreams and aspirations.

Are some of us taking this too far though?

“If you truly loved me you would accept and love me for me. I shouldn’t have to change.”

Oh yes. Sometimes you should definitely change.

Realistically we should always be changing. We should always be growing to become better each and everyday. But we often don’t.

Some of us have a poisonous version of what “love” is and it’s not conducive to healthy relationships. 

There’s this giant misconception that if we knew what true love was we would stick through the worst. That no matter what, our vow to love and/or marriage should, and can, trump any situation. We are expected to work through anything and everything.

Let me be clear. That is bullsh*t.

This view gives the permission that we can do anything we want and there are no consequences.

This view is sometimes lived as: Push the boundaries, break the rules and test your partner’s patience.

And when we’ve pushed enough and our partner has reached their limit we’ll just say to them, “If you really loved me you’d try to work on things! You wouldn’t walk away.”

There’s absolutely and without a doubt a time to walk away.

Is it when he leaves the toilet seat up again? Or when she interrupts you for the ninth consecutive NFL Sunday while your fave team is tied with fourth and goal?

The second one may have some merit. 

Many people preach and utter comments about how today’s culture and generations let things go too easily and don’t fight for them.

I think in most cases that isn’t true.

I believe the generations of today and the culture we surround ourselves with expect more from relationships and we tolerate less of the sh*t that generations of the past were okay with.

We don’t learn the necessary skill sets as to what makes relationships thrive. I’m not sure that’s necessarily a fault of our culture and generation, but more so the constructs of our educational system.

Why not teach how to have fulfilling relationships? It would’ve served me much more than the pythagorean theorem. 

a2+b2 = #whogivesaf*ck

In addition, we didn’t know we needed to have great relationship skills. Add to that the ability to be vulnerable and express our emotions. I couldn’t even imagine having that conversation with my Grandfather and telling him he needs to open up more to Grandma. I’m pretty sure he would’ve ashed his cigarette on my sensitive heart.

This is because marriages of the past weren’t on average born out of love. We didn’t expect life long monogamy and we only lived till the age of thirty-five. Makes things a little easier doesn’t it?!

Marry someone, be their friend, have some sex, raise some kids, and grow not-old together.

If we all replicated the way most people in the early 1900s operated in relationships there would be some seriously single men and women out there. Because now women don’t put up with as much sh*t as they used to. They will, more often than not, walk away from abusive, patriarchal, dominant and controlling relationships.

As they should.

And that’s why there is a demand for emotionally vulnerable and mindfully aware men today. Because more is expected of us.

And we want to give more.

In our defence, a lot of our time is spent trying to figure out the constructs of relationships despite have literally just been raised by a lot of “Mad Men”-esque style households.

relationship advice, dating advice, love, marilyn monroe, don't deserve me at my worst

Both men and women are learning that great relationships exist in a balance. They operate and embrace an environment that is largely free of extremes.

When we are not constantly checking in and seeing how one-another are doing we end up playing catch-up. Two years down the road when sh*t hits the fan it is going to feel next to impossible to work through things.

You know why?

Because two years of work is daunting. Two years of conversations we’ve been avoiding and consistently hiding from sharing what is real for us – has us paralyzed. It has us ignoring the simple day-to-day conversations that keep our relationships thriving.

And that’s why it’s easier to walk away in those cases.

It’s easier to throw in the towel.

We can just start all over and create new dysfunction with the next significant other.

We’ll talk about sunshine and rainbows, have incredible sex and smile at all of the honeymoon relationship problems. “Oh sh*t, we ran out of condoms from all the sex we’re having!” “Oh my gosh! You got drunk and puked?! That’s ok! I love you!” “Your hair clogged my drain again?! Only the hair of a princess could do that!”

What if we dropped the fear of checking in?

What if we eradicated the desire to run from information we don’t want to hear?

What if we actually got real with ourselves and our partners?

Our lives and relationships would look a lot different.

If we consistently asked questions like:

“How are we doing?”

“Are we happy?”

“On a scale of 1-10 what kind of partner have I been this week? What would make me a 10?”

We don’t ask these questions because we don’t want to know that our relationship may require work. We don’t want to admit that we may not be being the best partner or have to acknowledge that we could be doing more.

Shouldn’t we want to?

Successful and thriving long term relationships embrace an environment of honesty. They don’t deliver and receive feedback as criticism.

They see their partner as a gateway to evolution. To becoming a better human being who operates with humility and knows that we don’t have it all figured out.

In the constant pursuit of appearing perfect we’ve failed to recognize that no one really has their sh*t together. That this relationship world is messed up and all we can really do is the best we can.

That’s it.

Are you doing the best that you can? Are you existing in a relationship dynamic where you’re getting what you need and providing your partner the same?

No one else is going to do it for you. Don’t wait to lose someone you love. Get real with yourself and your partner and recognize that great relationships are born out of choice.

You have to choose to want one. Once you make that choice then you can embrace the beautiful fact that you are the architect of your relationship and what you do in each moment creates that certain future.

Start Creating.

good man, evolved, emotional intelligence, communication skills, relationship advice, dating advice

Is The World Ready For Emotional Men?

We talk a lot about wanting men to be able to communicate their emotions, but do we really want them to own how they feel?

Have the men of generations past and the historical absence of emotional transparency created a lack of credibility when the men of today share how they feel?

I’m interested to know your thoughts. Please share in the comments below!

religion, dating advice, dating, relationship advice, relationships, love, marriage, vows

Is Choosing Religion The Same Thing As Choosing Love?

Anything in extreme is dangerous: exercise, food, sex, rules and of course… religion.

I want to make it clear that I support everyone’s choice of religion and spirituality. However, I have an issue when religious beliefs are put ahead of kindness, rationality, and most importantly, love.

I was scared to write this article for many reasons. One, religion is a complex animal. Even calling it an animal has already pissed ten people off. Two, religious belief runs deep: belief is part of a person’s core. The practice of religion, even within the same denomination, can be very different. So down the path I go. Don’t persecute me (pun intended).

I was born and raised as Catholic. We don’t choose the religion we’re born into. Dogma and doctrines are handed to us as we exit the womb. You follow the rules, at least until you’re old enough to make your own choices.

I went to Catholic school. I prayed. I followed most of the commandments and generally abided by the ‘rules’. Personally, I don’t think religion provides us with the ultimate definition of morality and integrity, but it often gives us a good starting point.

My mother was born in Ireland, and raised in a devout Catholic environment. My father, born in Alberta, Canada, was raised in a more flexible belief system with no specific denomination. They married for love and combined their belief systems. As I grew older, my parents were open to and encouraged me to explore more than just Catholicism. It was interesting what I began to see.

The first time I was exposed to the choice of religion over love was the story of my parents’ wedding.

My dad was previously married and had an amazing daughter (my sister) from his first marriage. When my Irish grandmother heard about his past, she wasn’t supportive. She was a devout Catholic, the kind that believed divorce is very wrong.

When my mother and father were married, arguably one of the most important days in a woman’s life, my grandmother chose not to attend. My father’s past was enough for my grandmother to judge his moral character and find it seriously wanting. Her church disliked divorce and single fathers, so how could my grandmother like my father or support her daughter’s marriage to him? Because of my grandmother’s religious beliefs, she dismissed one of the most important days in her daughter’s life.

Not attending a daughter’s wedding is hurtful, but more importantly, what is the mother’s message? That religion is more important than support and love?

Eventually, my grandmother met my father and was overjoyed when she discovered he was a tremendous man. She became open to a bright future despite missing some of the past. Everyone moved forward with a clean slate.

Understandably, it’s great to choose a partner of the same denomination so that we don’t have to explain all our beliefs and traditions. But sometimes we make choices just so we don’t rock the boat. Sometimes it seems easier to do what everyone else wants. That’s not a life for me. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be the life for someone else.

Since my parents’ marriage, I’ve seen many sad examples of choosing religion over love. I have a friend whose family disowned him because he was gay. Another friend’s family didn’t support her marriage because she married for love instead of accepting an arranged marriage (culture and religion often coincide). I have many friends who won’t marry outside of their religion for fear of their family’s disapproval.

dating advice, relationship advice, marriage, religion

This saddens me. It’s easier to find a human you connect with on a soul level than finding someone you connect with on a soul level who MUST be Catholic, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, or Buddhist. But if a religious or culturally compliant marriage is what you want, I do not judge you.

However, if you judge others for choosing love and disown them, hurt them, or treat them with anything other than love and kindness, I invite you to consider a different path.

I invite you to choose acceptance and love.

I invite you to look at this world and all of its conflict and disharmony.

I invite you to examine how these choices that lack acceptance and openness are just micro versions of why we fight wars on a macro level.

We all want to be loved. We want to make babies and be accepted for who we are.

Stripped of the dogma we are born into, we are all one.

It’s really just Us.

As humans, first and foremost, love should be our first choice. So let’s choose love.

I know I do.

My question to you:

“If you met the man/woman of your dreams, who treated you amazing and had EVERYTHING that you wanted and you loved them from the bottom of your heart, would you turn them away because they believed in a ‘different’ God?”