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Don’t Break Up by Text If You Want to Stay Friends

You'll unfortunately need to break that heart in person. 

Getting dumped is the worst, but initiating the breakup can be difficult, too. It's tempting to keep your distance and send whatever variation of It's not you, it's me you're going with via email or text, and some recent research shows that this method is pretty common among younger adults. According to a report from the Pew Research Center published last year, 22 percent of young adults, ages 18 to 29, say they have broken up with someone in an email, text message, or some other form of online message. (Compare that to 16 percent of people aged 30 to 49 and 7 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds who say they've ended a relationship this way.)

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Yes, I Speed-Dated With a Paper Bag on My Head

Here are the people I met and the awful things I learned.

Can you get a date with just your personality? Could you go on a date and not judge someone by their looks?

No, of course not; these are ridiculous questions. Still, they were the questions posed by Loveflutter, a new dating site, in staging a speed-dating event at which participants wore paper bags over their faces. (Most participants were members of the news media.) I arrive prepared to gamely participate, and eager to prove the excellence of my personality.

After check-in, where we’re given our bags, speed-dating forms, and numbers, we’re ushered into gender-segregated rooms to decorate bags with a fun and whimsical design and a 140-character “quirky fact” about ourselves. I start decorating with a tableful of other ladies. I've chosen to draw a slice of pepperoni pizza around my bag. At the top, I write, “Ask me about: my favorite emoji, my love of 'Pony' by Ginuwine, and my celebrity doppelgänger. Also hi!” I think I’m adorable, but some of my fellow baggies are getting serious — showing off Martha Stewart–level skills with pipe cleaners, but also broadcasting impressive facts — like Allison, who has been to 150 of New York’s museums. Another woman makes her bag interactive. I text a photo of mine to a co-worker for a little confidence boost and receive the following reply:

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Tinder Is the New Lonely Planet

Swipe right for free tour guides. 

A few months ago, I was alone in a hotel room in Arizona and I was bored. I could have just gone to sleep, but instead I started browsing Tinder. At first, it was a social-aesthetic game. How do men in the Southwest present themselves compared to their New York counterparts? Why so many dogs with bandanas? Could I count how many guys posted photos of themselves rock climbing? (Answer: I stopped counting around five.) Where were all the Tinder Tropes I usually find within a six-mile radius of Brooklyn: bearded bros wearing Barbour coats, the hot-in-a–Patrick Bateman–way finance guys, the 25-year-old art handlers?

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A Scent That Smells Like Sensuality

The perfume is engineered to attract.

A perfume that smells nice is always a solid option, but what about a fragrance that promises to draw people in? Meet Le Premier Parfum, the brainchild of Carole Beaupré and Pauline Rochas, granddaughter of the man behind the famed French fashion house. The scent is rich with notes engineered to attract, like sandalwood, ylang ylang, and patchouli. Appealing to the chakra that fosters sensuality, it's one to consider for your next big night out, or, really, any time you'd like to stack the deck in your favor. 

Le Premier Parfum, $175 at Coolife.

Why Couples Argue So Much Over Apologies

A Q&A with linguist Deborah Tannen.

Each week on It's Complicated, we'll be helping ourselves improve our couplings by looking into the the linguistics of romance.

Georgetown University professor Deborah Tannen knows more about how you communicate with your bae than you do. As the author of the four-years-running New York Times best seller You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, she explored the ins and outs of the ways couples interact with each other, and brought the very real linguistic complications of talking to a romantic partner to the public's attention. Recently, we spoke to her about why apologies matter, how much gender determines communication style, and the ways in which romantic communication can get better — even when you're texting. It's complicated, but understanding is the first step.

My husband has taken to saying, “I apologize for everything.” »

The Joy of Frexes: Why It’s Great to Be Friends With Your Ex

Hint: It all starts with the end.

Before Matt and I started going out, I’d always thought of romance as a vertiginous mixture of happy agitation and nerve-racking fears of loss. I thought that for something to count as a “real” relationship, it had to plunge one or (ideally) both partners into a perpetual state of gut-wrenching uncertainty. I saw love as a two-sided coin — passionate elation gleaming hopefully from one side; corrosive doubt glaring balefully from the other. To my mind, a relationship only counted as real if it turned me into an emotional wreck. 

"We are frexes, he said: exes who are friends." »

How to Divorce-Proof a Marriage: Just Give It Time

The risk of divorce drops as the years go by. 

One way to divorce-proof a good marriage: Just give it time. Research last year from the Marriage Foundation, a research institute in the U.K., showed that risk of divorce is highest in the first ten years of marriage, but that diminishes as the years go by. Couples face about a 20 percent risk of divorce in the first ten years of marriage; after 20 years, that risk falls to 13 percent. After 30 years, the risk shrinks to 6 percent. University of Maryland sociologist Philip Cohen narrates an animated short, published earlier this month, based on similar research covered in his new book The Family: Diversity, Inequality and Social Change, and he phrases the findings this way: “The longer a marriage lasts, the more likely it is to keep on lasting.”

I Married a Man Named Kale

Like the vegetable.

In middle school, I daydreamed about having a husband one day. I had it all planned out: His name would be John; he’d be a veterinarian; I’d be a stay-at-home-mom and novelist; and we’d live in the Connecticut suburbs with four children and a bunch of dogs and cats. (Give me a break, okay? I was 11.)

Of course, my actual marriage is nothing like I had imagined. My husband and I rent in Brooklyn; I can’t imagine having a pet or a child, let alone four; he’s a stand-up comic, not a vet; and, most unforeseen, I’ve used these three words nearly every single day since getting married: “like the vegetable.”

The women at the Chop’t by his office know him as Ken. »

A Miniature Film Projector for Your Instagrams

Because vacation photos were meant to be viewed blown-up on a wall.

Back in the day, you used to be forced to sit and relive family-vacation photos projected onto a giant wall. Now, it's more like scrolling enviously through someone's Instagram and "liking" their epic sunset tagged "Tulum." But what if you could merge the two? Enter Projecteo, a projector that fits into the palm of your hand and can be used to make your own slideshow against any blank surface. Simply connect it to your account, select up to nine images, and Projecteo will print them onto a film reel. Slide the reel in and bam — now everyone can watch you narrate your recent romantic adventures.

Projecteo Instagram Projector, $34.98 at Projecteo.

She Choked on Chicken: 17 Suppers That Spelled the End of a Relationship

Sometimes when we end it, there’s food involved.

 Just as you’ll always remember a first love, what you last ate together in the final throes of a romantic relationship — and how and where and even why — tends to linger in the mind long after the coupling has ended. (I vividly recall some sad delivery pasta eaten side-by-side on the couch with one boyfriend just hours before we called it quits. He paid.) But from wedding steaks to a Panera bread bowl to a lonely pizza pie, “last suppers” can truly be anything. Seventeen people dish about theirs. 

He must have just wanted one more steak and one more F before going to the "good" side. »

How I Broke Up With My Clothes (and My Walk-in Closet)

Splitting up with a former version of yourself. 

For a precious, fleeting period in my adulthood, I had a walk-in closet. This was during what I think of as my Mary Tyler Moore years, a decade in which I was single and had a good job, which afforded me a roomy rental apartment in a great neighborhood. This apartment had antique-pine floorboards and a fireplace; the bedroom had windows on three sides overlooking sunny Brooklyn gardens. In late summer, morning glories climbed up to my second-floor windows and bloomed there — including at the one in my closet.

"Although I never mistook myself for Carrie Bradshaw, I also never thought twice about paying retail." »

Upside of Breaking Up: You’ll Sleep Better Alone

One study found that getting the bed all to yourself reduces middle-of-the-night awakenings by 60 percent. 

One of the hardest things to get used to about life after a breakup is the suddenly empty side of the bed where your ex-partner once slept. It may not feel like it at first, but there is research to suggest that your quality of sleep will vastly improve now that you’ve got the bed all to yourself. In one study done back in the 1960s, researchers observed couples as they slept in a laboratory for three consecutive nights; on some nights they shared a bed, and on others they slept separately. On the nights they slept alone, they spent more time in stage 4 sleep, meaning they slept more deeply. Plus, on the nights the individuals slept alone, middle-of-the-night awakenings were reduced by 60 percent compared to the nights they slept beside their partner. 

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7 Brides (and 1 Groom) on What Made Them Cry on Their Wedding Days

Pass the tissues.

Crying at weddings is a given, but you never know what will trigger the waterworks: the first sight of the bride in her dress? The family toast? We asked seven recent New York brides — and one groom — to spill about what made them tear up on the big day. Click ahead to view our gallery of weepy wedding-day moments.

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Taylor Swift Is Bitter and Jaded Just Like the Rest of Us

I worry for the kittens.

Taylor Swift used to live in a cookie-scented world of bouncing, singing angel-kittens and purple unicorns and rainbow clouds that shot giggles and hearts. It was a world where Prince Charming, "The One," was on the way and happily ever after was pretty much a done deal. Used to. As she tells Lucky magazine, she is a naïve child no more. Her eyes are opened in the harsh light of day. Her singing angel-kittens are dead:

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A Sexy Cutout Bustier You Can Wear Anytime

A piece that defies gravity.

Perhaps it's time to flip the script on lingerie — that it's only worn to be taken off as quickly as possible — and splurge on a bodice that you can wear in nearly any situation. Try this piece under a sharp blazer or over a filmy tee with jeans for a more downtown look. Either way, the black satin crepe and flawless construction will give you a shot of confidence that's worth every penny.

Zimmermann Black Crepe Plunge Bodice, $310 at Zimmermann.

Ask Polly: How Do I Let Go When I Thought He Was ‘The One’?

Don't let yourself get cropped out of the picture.

Dear Polly,

I broke up with the love of my life five months ago. That sounds incredibly dramatic, but I really believed that this man was the one for me. In the day-to-day, he was kind, respectful, responsible, generally thoughtful, fun, smart, adventurous, sexy, and every bit the type of man I wanted to marry. Now, I'm not the type of girl who awakens each day and knows that my life goal is to find a man to put a ring on it. I'm a strong individual in my own right and so is he, and I think that's why we worked so well and lasted so long.

But on the big life decisions, partnership and love weren't ever near the top of his priority list. He's extremely successful, and he measures his self-value and worth by the notches on his career-driven belt. While he spent most of our relationship as a totally engaged boyfriend, he also took large chunks of time (six months or so each time) to fully dive head-first into work projects and completely push me away. I seek balance above everything else, and this always frustrated me. I remember in one of our fights he yelled, "I feel like you need me all the time, but you don't support me! All I do is support you, and I just don't need you!"

"This guy is into HIS dramatic arc, not yours." »

You’re 75 Percent More Likely to Get Divorced If Your Friends Divorce

Ending your relationship seems like a better idea once your friend's ended hers. 

Divorce spreads through a social network like a contagion, suggests one 2013 paper — messy, expensive, complicated contagion. People who had divorced friends were 75 percent more likely to become divorced themselves. And even if it was a friend of a friend doing the divorcing, the people this study tracked were still 33 percent more likely to end their own marriages. The data comes from a survey of more than 5,000 adult residents of Framingham, Massachusetts, started by doctors in 1948 who intended to track lifestyle factors that may cause heart disease. But researchers have used the survey in recent years to track social contagion — the way emotions and habits spread throughout a social network. Happiness, obesity, and the decision to quit smoking are all varying degrees of “contagious,” according to research on this data set, and so is, apparently, divorce. 

  • 11/21/14 at 11:09 AM
  • Love

Friendship Breakups Are Our First Heartbreaks

So why is it hard to take platonic love seriously as we get older?

The scenario is as old as elementary school. Two girls become inseparable — not just BFFs, but essential to each other’s breathing. They share a vocabulary, a wardrobe, a thicket of secrets. “They aren’t hitting on each other, not precisely, though they are in a constant state of arousal that borders on the insane,” wrote Emma Straub in an essay for The Paris Review. “No other love is like the love of a teenage girl.”

Until one of them gets a boyfriend.

Or maybe she moves away. Or maybe she falls in with a group of popular kids. Whatever the precipitating event, this moment is traumatic — whole parental-help books have been written about helping daughters through the early ups and downs of female friendship. Rookie, the teen website I wish I’d had growing up, has identified "Eight Stages of Best Friend Breakup Grief." But surprisingly few adults call this life event what it was: our first heartbreak.

In adulthood, friend breakups rarely seem so dramatic. »
  • 11/21/14 at 11:00 AM
  • Swoon

Does Yoko Ono Have a Crush on Hugh Jackman?

Reported "swoons" at the U.N.

Splashing up on "Page Six" are rumors that Yoko Ono was caught swooning over Hugh Jackman at UNICEF's Imagine campaign for emergency relief this week. Ono was seen making a concerted effort to greet Jackman. The New York Post said its "spies at the U.N. General Assembly Hall" reported that the pair did arrive separately. U.N. spies: just reporting about international crushes now.

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Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC.
All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.