Egypt’s cultural decline and the boiling frog theory

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–By: Alexandra Kinias

With the abhorring cultural decline in Egypt one can’t help but draw a correlation between such decline and the rise of radical or what became known as political Islam, that has swiped the country and already mutated into terrorism in the name of God.

It is quite a thorny thought that on first impulse, may initiate fervor attacks and criticism from devout Muslims. However, it is not Islam that is under attack, but rather the actions of radical sheiks and religious scholars who have appointed themselves custodians of the faith; the neo-Islam. These fanatics believe that by demolishing the culture of beauty and creativity from the hearts and minds of people, and by filling the vacuum with God’s teachings that they have falsely misinterpreted to support their doctrine, that would enable them to resurrect their lost Caliphate.

The warped mentalities of zeal and fanaticism  that ceased to evolve since the Middle Ages, persist on rejecting any adaptation to exist within the contemporary boundaries of modernity, except, of course, the use of modern devices, gadgets and weapons that enable them to spread their venomous belief  of hatred, intolerance and annihilation of the other.

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They are fighting arts and science today and ignoring that the Islamic Caliphate thrived in Baghdad and Andalusia when the Emirs embraced tolerance and enlightenment. At the peak of the Andalusian and Abbasid Dynasties when Arabs were more advanced, refined and cultured than the neighboring lands, arts, music, science, philosophy and literature thrived. And no historian would refute that the light of the Islamic civilization went out when they followed the rigorous creeds of fanatic scholars.

Egypt, once the beacon in the Middle East; its culture has not just gone stagnant, but is also sliding into the dark ages with tangible decline that the country has not witnessed in more than a century. Anyone who would refute the idea that Islamists were to blame, since they were in power for just one year, must remember that the destruction of the cultural identity had started over half a century ago. The Islamists whom their target is to wipe the Egyptian identity were the catalyst added to the equation and who played a viable role in expediting the process.  In other words, the rise of Wahhabism influence imported from the Arabian Sahara was directly proportional to the deterioration of the cultural standards of the people. The decay in the cultural infrastructure of Egyptians has left its fingerprints everywhere. The masses are no longer appreciative of music, literature or fine arts. And with the plummeting cultural standards many Egyptians, who are nostalgic to the good old times, are wondering what the hell had happened to the artistic taste of the people.

Affected by collective reasons, the snow ball that had started rolling with Nasser’s military coup d’état in 1952 had gained momentum along the way. For many years after the military coup, and until Nasser’s death and beyond, Egypt was the cultural beacon that shone on the surrounding lands. It may be more truthful and accurate to describe Egypt during that time as a vehicle that was still moving with the momentum of the past era. Music, theater, movies, opera, ballet, folkloric and other forms of dancing, and arts thrived prior to Nasser and kept rolling by the force of inertia until it finally ran out of momentum.

The era prior to Nasser’s military coup was referred to as la belle époque. This era started with the reign of the Khedive Ismail (1830 –1895) which was a period of extreme extravaganza in the Egyptian history as Cairo became the mirror image of Paris, both architecturally and socially.  This era reached its peak with the majestic celebrations of the opening of the Suez Canal in 1879. And during the time of the descendants of the Khedive Ismail and from the cultural, social and literary heritage represented in movies, books, music, and art collections, Egypt was not inferior to European countries.1

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Khedive Ismail with world leaders at the inauguration of the Suez Canal

With the international acclaim that came with the Suez Canal, Egypt became a magnet that attracted artists, architects, writers, merchants and businessmen from all over the world. They settled in Egypt, blended in this cosmopolitan society and lived in harmony with Egyptians. These expatriate communities were pivotal in the building of the thriving culture.

Unlike Mohamed Ali, the founder of modern Egypt, and his successors, Nasser’s dreams or illusions – depends on which side of the spectrum one stands – of creating a Pan-Arab state and bringing Egypt back to the sphere of the Arab realm, was a repellent to the expatriate community. To achieve his dreams Nasser stomped on the bodies of the foreigners and the Egyptian Jews. His vision not only failed to unite the Arabs, but also deprived Egypt of a community that had enriched it culturally, professionally, economically and socially. And while it was fortunate for the neighboring countries to inhale the richness of the Egyptian culture, they contributed nothing to Egypt but their impoverishment; then, oil had not yet been discovered.

With the forced or voluntary expulsion of expatriates who were major contributors to the Egyptian cultural life, a vacuum was left in many sectors of the society. And without having a new experienced generation to step in and fill the gap; many activities eventually faded. And as the older generation of Egyptians who grew up living in this cosmopolitan environment aged and perished, it was replaced with a newer one that had already been bred with minimal interest or appreciation to arts and beauty.

The cultural decline that had started during Nasser’s time was politically and not religiously motivated.  In one of the most failed moves by a leader, the sequestration of assets and properties included movie theaters, studios, labs, music and movies production companies that belonged to both Egyptians and non-Egyptians. Under his dictatorship, the censorship bureau thrived and set new standards for books and movies’ production.  It is no surprise that the government control of the entertainment business propelled the decline. Nasser, with all his faults, however, may be credited for curbing the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood [MB] who were after closing down the entertainment business altogether. With the crack down on them and as they became enemy of the state, the MB understood that they won’t be able to overpower Nasser, so they changed their strategy. Instead of fighting the leaders they brainwashed the people. With the death of Nasser in 1971, the snowball of cultural decline that had started rolling kept gaining momentum. Inevitably by then the MB had already entered the scene.

The MB and the other groups that were spawned out of it, adopt a rigorous creed that battles human creativity and arts in all its forms: music, sculpture, photography, dancing and painting. They consider such activities as a waste of the Muslim’s time that should be spent in worshiping his God. With no appreciation for culture or arts, the neo-Islamists’ continuous battle has and always been the destruction of both the Egyptian identity and culture to be easier for them to control the people. They view the monuments of the ancient Egyptian civilization as idols that should be destroyed; same as the Taliban destroyed the Buddha Statues in Bamian.  Also in their footsteps the Taliban justified the burning of books and films’ reals of Afghani movies produced prior to their rule thus wiping out the cultural heritage of the country. And following the same creed, the books of the Andalusian philosopher Averroes were collected and burned during the reign of the Andalusian Emir Al Mansour who ruled from 1884 AD – 1199AD. Averroes, known in Arabic as Ibn Rushd, was the founding father of secular thought in Western Europe and whose work was the base of the 13th century philosophical movement. Burning the books of this great philosopher was among the many nails in the coffin of the Andalusian Caliphate.

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I don’t want to keep beating a dead horse, but history would be distorted if we ignored that the 30 years of Mubarak’s corrupt regime contributed immensely to the decline of all human values. Mubarak, a leader with no vision, had set the clock back to the dark ages. The last generation born under his rule had been living in nothing but a cultural decline. And the boiling frog theory could easily be applied to both the older and younger generation of Egyptians whom their culture was being destroyed gradually and steadily.

The boiling frog story is a widespread anecdote describing a frog slowly being boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to significant changes that occur gradually. And that’s exactly what happened to Egyptians.

The neo-Islamists and with the golden opportunity handed to them of the absolute no reaction from the Mubarak’s administration towards the changes that were introduced through them into the society; they were able over three decades to sow the seeds that advocated against culture and arts as anti-religious. And with the punishment of God’s wrath hovering over the heads of those who are involved in them, arts were abandoned and creativity was chocked. And gradually they succeed in wiping out the remnants of a culture that was once glowing and a glorious civilization that had once been.   But they continue on this slippery slope, Egyptians who were submerged inside the boiling pot where the frog was being boiled are finally feeling the heat and are wondering in apprehension how the decline had reached this deteriorating level.

Unfortunately there are no short term solutions. The road to reformation is long and bumpy. There are no miracles or magic wands that would reverse the damage that the nation had been subjected to, but no hope is ever lost. Egyptians are well aware that there is a problem and acknowledging that is the first step to solve it. Salvaging the Egyptian culture is a mass scale project. It is the responsibility of every Egyptian. They owe it to the future generations.

Reference:

1. Egypt’s Belle Epoque: Cairo and the Age of the Hedonists Paperback by Trevor Mostyn

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The Power of the Pen

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By: Alexandra Kinias —

Original article published in Kalimat Magazine

In June 2010, Yasmin Helal was attending a film festival in Cairo. Three children approached her asking for money. She had no change to give them, but Helal had three school bags in her car trunk that she was donating to a charitable organization. So instead of sending the kids away, she gave each a school bag. This simple act of goodness changed not just the children’s lives but Helal’s as well. The events of that night culminated with the young engineer quitting her job and founding Educate-Me, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that was initially founded to help reinstate dropouts back to school. In its short lifetime, however, Educate-Me has broadened its mission, becoming an organisation that also tries to improve the well-being of underprivileged children. Educate-Me is also developing special educational programs for children to help them improve their skills and enable them to pursue their future dreams. Helal was attending a conference in Boston, Massachusetts where I had the chance to talk with her.

“I was selected among ten other candidates, after winning the entrepreneurship competition of NEGMA, the American-based NGO, back in March 2013, to attend an accelerator program and to present my project at MIT,” Helal explained.

NEGMA was established by seven Egyptian-American and Egyptian professionals from the Harvard and MIT communities after the January 25th uprising. They wanted to have an impact on the social and economic needs in Egypt by empowering entrepreneurs and innovators who are developing programs to solve some of Egypt’s significant challenges. To support this vision, the NEGMA Conference was established to help translate ideas into action for a brighter future for Egypt. And since education is a topic that cannot be ignored, it was no surprise that Educate-Me was among those selected by NEGMA.

Helal goes on to say that the “accelerator program started with attending the Harvard Arab weekend conference then followed by workshops and field visits to other organisations and schools. The workshops have been really helpful in terms of covering different topics that we had identified as potential areas of development, and the field visits gave us access to a network.

Helal recalled how this organization project started. On that same night she gave away the three school bags, she was approached by a middle-aged man asking her for school bags for his daughters. “I had no more bags, but I promised to bring him the bags the following day. I also learned that his daughters dropped out of school because he couldn’t afford the small tuition. I told myself that I will confirm his story and if in fact he was telling the truth, I will pay for their tuition. At the same time, I thought this is not enough, because I was certain that there are many similar cases like his. These cases needed more effort from our side to be able to reach them. At this point I decided to start this project with a goal to look for dropout children who could not afford the tuition and reinstate them back to school. I wanted to give them a chance like the chances we were given in our lives.”

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Educate – Me classroom

Helal, who graduated with a biomedical engineering degree with honours from Cairo University, was also a player for the Egyptian Basketball National Team. She quit her job at the telecom giant Alcatel-Lucent, where she worked as a Middle East and Africa Network Design Engineer, to launch her NGO—which raised a lot of eyebrows. When asked about the challenges she had launching her project, Helal responded, “One of the main challenges I faced was the social pressure I was exposed to when I decided to quit my engineering job and dedicate my full time to Educate-Me. This was not familiar to our culture. The whole social entrepreneurship ecosystem is not yet mature or empowered like it is in the West. It was also challenging to find the right people who shared the same passion and vision for a better education.”

Helal continued, “Even though my initial aim for Educate-Me was a small fundraising initiative that assists in reinstating school dropouts back to school, I was lucky to be joined by my co-founders Mohamed El Haw and Amr El Salanekly, and together our journey changed course. Educate-Me evolved into a foundation that is now fully established in the community—with a community development centre and with its own educational system and educational curriculum. We are not just reinstating the children back to school, but we are also helping them develop their skills and talents that enable them to compete in today’s world. We are helping them grow up with goals, ambitions and vision, and to become of benefit to their communities.”

Since its founding, Educate-Me has been well received by both the children and the parents of the village of Konayyesa, Giza, where it was established. This positive reception inspired Helal and her team to establish their first community development centre in this neighbourhood. “So far, we have reinstated more than 200 children back to school over a period of three years, and recently we have established illiteracy sessions for mothers in the community. We have also created jobs. The illiteracy classes are delivered by four women from the community who are trained to deliver the service. So our service is from the community and to the community.”

When asked about the method that Educate-Me has developed for its tutorial program, Helal explained, “What we do generally is let the kids decide for themselves what they want. They come to our centre and decide what they want. We offer them many options they can choose from: English, handicrafts, digital literacy and other subjects, but it is their responsibility to decide what they want to learn and how they want to learn it. We’ve been getting more than 75 percent attendance rate in the centre, which means that kids are actually interested in the project.”

There’s no doubt that the education system in Egypt is in peril. The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014 rated Egypt as the worst country in the world in the quality of primary education. Egypt is listed 118th overall, eleven spots lower than last year’s ranking. Providing some insights about the poor quality of education in Egypt, Helal said, “Among the major problems that students face in public schools is the learning environment itself. The classrooms are not well equipped, the desks are broken and some classes are crammed with more than 100 children. It is impossible to learn in this environment, especially when you have just one teacher per class. Moreover, these teachers are underpaid so they force the children to get private tutoring with them. And this is the decisive factor for whether the children will pass the exams or fail. One of the children showed me his mathematics test results where he scored 23 out of 25. I tried to resolve it again with him to help him understand what he had missed, only to realize that he doesn’t even know how to read. The teachers give the answers for the test to those who take private lessons with them. Education should have a purpose and not just to get a good grade or a certificate. Another problem in the education system is that it relies mainly on standardized testing and getting the children to score well on exams, which defines what is going to happen in their future.”

In spite of the political turmoil in Egypt, Helal admitted that the current situation has benefited Educate-Me. After the revolution, a lot of Egyptians started feeling the urge to contribute to the development of the country, and accordingly, the number of Educate-Me staff and contributors increased immensely. And because Educate-Me started before the revolution, Helal and her team has managed to be ahead in terms of understanding the depth of the problems the country is facing. However, given the security issues and instability in the country, many of the organisation’s activities have been periodically interrupted.

Educate-Me is a long term project. It will grow and evolve, just as the children do. Helal and her team recognize that there are no speedy solutions. Success is achieved and milestones are met on daily basis, but the project will really bear fruit when the children complete their high school diploma. Educate-Me in not just a tutoring program, but is rather a second chance handed to underprivileged children who have been living in harsh social conditions and with bleak futures. When their world turned against them, Educate-Me reached out to them and allowed them not just to dream of changing their world, but also showed them how to strive towards achieving a better and more hopeful future.

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Hisham El Kheshen tells the story of the life and death of Adam Al Masry – Book Review

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– By: Alexandra Kinias

In the 2000s, the suicide of two Egyptian citizens in London shocked both the Egyptian community in the British capital and those who lived thousands of miles away back home. The most traumatic was the suicide of Soad Hosny, the diva who was beloved by millions all over the Middle East. The second was of Ashraf Marawan, the prompt businessman and son-in-law of the late president Nasser of Egypt. While Scotland Yard investigations ruled both cases as suicides, a lot conspiracy theories were weaved by Egyptians that the deceased were both murdered. Speculations about the reasons of these crimes covered a wide spectrum of reasons, but nothing was definitive. Along those lines Hisham El Kheshen structured his fourth novel, “Adam Al Masry.”

The novel opens with a dramatic scene that takes place in the waiting room of a London hospital. In this scene, readers are introduced to the main characters who are gathered in anticipation for a miracle to save an anonymous person. And when the doctor announces his death, the narrator describes the sadness and shock of those whom the deceased had touched their lives, one way or another. And the scene culminates with the narrator’s revelation that the deceased was in fact murdered by one of those who stood in the hospital’s waiting room mourning him. But even with a murder in its opening scene, El Kheshen’s book is not an Agatha Christie’s suspense novel. The character driven and fast pace thriller also conveyed an interesting plot that was also adorned with adequate amounts of intimacy.

London is where the story unfolds. The back-stories of some of the characters were quite familiar at the time when I was growing up in the seventies. Back then it was quite fashionable for young people to travel to the UK to work during the summer vacations. And as El Kheshen depicted in the novel, London at that time was a summer destination and a business hub to wealthy Arabs. Even though he novel takes place in the present, El Kheshen captured the essence of this era with proficiency.

“Adam Al Masry” is very well written novel with events intricately woven like a spider’s web. From the first scene I was attracted to the elegance of the language which El Kheshen mastered. I enjoyed the novel structure, characters, the plot and as the story unfolds, I was reminded over and again why I enjoy reading. The novel explores the intertwined lives of expatiates living in Western societies and how they are united in their adoptive countries by their common backgrounds.

El Kheshen offered us a glimpse inside the souls of his characters that he skilfully dissected and exposed its complexity and conflicts. He ended the scene with chilling statements that raised our curiosity to keep turning the pages to learn more. And as the secrets were revealed, as the pages were turned, and the personalities unraveled, the suspense escalated and the pieces of the puzzle fell in place.

Together with his meticulous attention to details, El Kheshen also introduced many controversial subjects are still considered a taboo. Discrimination against the Copts in the work force, euthanasia, human rights, women’s treatment in misogynist societies and global terrorism were among these issues.

Reading “Adam Al Masry” was similar to riding on an emotional roller-coaster. It covered a wide range of human emotions and needs. Readers will relate to the novel emotionally, one way or another. I highly recommend it to.

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A New Dawn Rises Over Egypt

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— By: Alexandra Kinias –

I wonder why the decision by General Abdel Fattah El Sisi, the Egyptian Minister of Defense, to run for president came as a surprise to some. The reaction by those who are against his decision to run gives the impression that they were not anticipating it, in spite that he had indirectly mentioned it himself in one of his speeches. Their despair, criticism, skepticism and sarcasm made it sound that the political arena was filled with knights in silver armor, super heroes and action figures and that Sisi snatched it from them. Excuse me, but your fantasies end where reality begins.

Since Mubarak stepped down three years ago and Egypt hasn’t witnessed an emerging charismatic leader that caught people’s attention and united them. A leader that would wither the storm and lead the country through this rough time, curb terrorism and restore law and order. The political arena that was vacant from men of substance was filled, however, with clowns, puppets and many puppeteers.

The ramifications of the unfortunate events that followed the revolution of January 2011 culminated with Mohamed Morsi being sworn in as the president of Egypt. Great nations deserve and should not settle for anything but strong leaders. And Morsi was anything other than that. And to those who are skeptical about Sisi’s decision to run can’t even present a name of another candidate who is powerful enough to govern Egypt today. On the contrary, it is very fortunate, to say the least, for Egypt to have at this time a leader of such caliber as Sisi. The retired general is a graduate of the American Military Academy. Prior to his post as the Minister of Defense he was the chief of the Egyptian Military intelligence. He proved competence at times of crisis and delivered when the people of Egypt sought the assistance of their army to remove the theocratic regime of the Muslim Brotherhood. Because of Sisi’s forceful grip on the army, he launched a war against terrorism and saved Egypt from sliding in a civil war similar to Syria.

Those who are advocating for a civilian presidential candidate over one with a military background should remember that they have selected one. Their choice of a civilian president, in his short time in office, turned out to be an absolute disaster. A civilian leader may rule when the country is not in a state of war. But at times of distress, countries need a leader who is strong and capable to restore peace and stability. It is difficult to forget the past and to ignore six decades of military rule, however, it is important to be objective and not allow the military-phobia to influence and shape the decisions for selecting the future leader. Egyptians should focus on the qualities of the presidential candidate rather than his affiliation to the military. They should concentrate on the one who has the potential to succeed at this critical time in the history of the country.

The political turmoil that Egyptians have been going through over the last three years has raised their political awareness. They have reached unprecedented levels of freedom of speech and expression envied by many countries in the region and they became more conscious of their needs and how to achieve them. Egyptians deserve a better future. They are fortunate to be given a second chance and the time has come for them to set aside their selfish desires and act for the welfare of their country.

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The Illusion of the International Women’s Day

 

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– By: Alexandra Kinias –

The hype over the International Women’s Day [IWD] has subsided and men are free again to abuse and mistreat women for the next 364 days. I don’t mean to be satirical over this international event nor is my intention to undermine the global efforts to improve women’s conditions and status worldwide. Yet, I have mixed feelings regarding the dedication of certain days to celebrate one cause or another. And IWD is not exempt; not that I disregard the attention that celebrating this day brings to many women’s causes.

Such celebrations remind me of a time when I was growing up in Egypt where the Egyptian government celebrated the ‘Traffic Week’. Not for just a day, but every year, traffic police forces, on full alert, patrolled the streets, to bring law and order – For One Week. They enforced traffic laws, issued tickets for violations and the television broadcast public awareness programs on safe driving and road etiquette. No doubt that such event was created with good intentions, yet it was a total farce. Once the ‘Traffic Week’ was over, the streets of Egypt were left in extreme chaos for 51 weeks. And today Egypt is ranked among the highest countries in the world for road fatalities.

IWD falls under the same category as the ‘Traffic Week’. The only time that traffic came to order was when the government of Egypt decided to take action and punish the violators. And the same goes for women’s issues. With all due respect to the money and efforts spent, nothing really is accomplished until governments intervene to not only issue laws that protect women, but also to enforce them.

I fail to see how conferences and seminars where someone picks the tabs for all the attendees’ flights, accommodations and per diem in a five stars hotel in Europe or the U.S. would benefit an eleven years old girl forced into marriage in a remote village in Yemen or Afghanistan. The monthly income of these girls’ households is often less than the room rates in the hotels where the dignitaries meet.

And while the dignitaries are annually celebrating women’s days, in luxurious hotels worldwide, crimes are still committed against women in every corner of the world. In Afghanistan, in February 2014, a new law passed by the parliament that bans the relatives of an accused person to testify against them. This law is a major setback for the efforts that had been exhausted in fighting violence against women over the last two decades. Afghanistan is a country plagued by honor killing crimes, forced marriages of minors and domestic violence. This law will silence the victims, as these women will no longer be able to bring their attackers – who are usually a family member – to justice. [1]

In Egypt, on the other hand, a doctor will be prosecuted for homicide on charges of killing a 13 years-old-girl. The young victim died in his clinic after she underwent the brutal procedure of female genital mutilation [FGM]. The law that banned FGM under which the doctor will be tried passed in 2008, yet it went into effect in 2014, when the government of Egypt took action to enforce it. [2]

At midnight on March 8th, the IWD was officially over. The lights were turned off in the conference halls. The microphones were switched off, and Facebook profile pictures, of IWD’s supporters, were changed. And from there on it is business as usual. The dignitaries flew back to their offices to write reports and recommendations that will be saved in digital files, printed and bind in reports. They will get their promotions and life goes on. All will be forgotten until next year. Meanwhile, women living thousands of miles away from the luxurious hotels where passionate PowerPoint presentations were addressing their issues, will still be raped, abused, killed by a family member, denied their rights to travel without a man’s permission, and girls will have their genitals mutilated and forced into marriages.

References:

1. New Afghanistan law to silence victims of violence against women

2.Egypt launches first prosecution for female genital mutilation after girl dies 

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6 Tips for a Healthier Relationship

cafe-classy-coffee-heels-jewelry-kiss-Favim.com-75471— By: Alexandra Kinias —-

A strong healthy relationship is every woman’s dream and its succes becomes a source of joy in her life. A relationship that is not working can emotionally drain those involved in it. Relations are like investments. We get out of them what we put in them. And as there are some aspects of the relationships we can’t control, yet we have the power to make certain decisions and choices.

How to achieve a healthier relationship

1. Don’t Rush the Relationship:
The acceleration in planning the future of a relationship scares men away. Your man lived a fulfilling life before he met you and because he included you in his life doesn’t mean that he is ready to give up his freedom and to settle down. A romance to succeed requires a lot of patience, hard work and intelligence. A relationship needs to be nourished and to grow organically.

2. Men Belong to Themselves:
Don’t be fooled that because a man says ‘I love you’ it means that you own him. With the understanding that you can’t change anyone, don’t attempt to control your man and to maneuver the relationship towards a direction that he is not emotionally or mentally ready for. By doing so you are giving him the excuse to run away and you will be left in despair, disappointment and depression.

3. Don’t Read too much Between the Lines:
If a man tells you he treasures your friendship, then that’s exactly his intention; a friendship. If you think that there is a coded message in his words or in his silence, which you will be able to decipher if you stick around, you are mistaken. There are absolutely no codes hidden in his unspoken words. Don’t confuse a friendship with a love affair. Be confident that if a man is interested in more than just a friendship, he will convey the message loud and clear. If he doesn’t, just cut the relationship and walk away. If he can’t make up his mind, most probably he won’t. Clinging to uncertainty will just prolong your pain and postpone your humiliation.

4. Intelligence is Sexy:
First impressions are important, and as most books are still judged by the cover, most women are judged by the first impression they make. Yes it is not fair and we can debate it endlessly, but it is the truth, unfortunately. However, in the long term it is your company that a man wants to spend time with not your looks. Beauty fades and looks change. A man’s attraction to your physical appearance may get you so far into a relationship, but it may not guarantee its continuation. His captivation with your intellect would.

5. Strength Attracts:
Be strong, set boundaries and stop being a needy drama queen. Don’t feel sorry for yourself and stop playing the victim role. Strength, self-confidence and high self-esteem have more allure than weakness. Don’t compromise your pride and self-respect. If a relation is not going anywhere then stop trying hard to be make it work or to be a better girlfriend. Just walk away and save yourself the humiliation and embarrassment. The harder you try to salvage a broken relationship, the more the misery and humiliation you encounter.

6. Space – Space – Space
Smothering is hazardous to relationships. It is a sign of insecurity, control and obsessiveness; the basic ingredients for relationships’ repellents. Too much affection is a sign of emotional insecurity just as too little affection. Avoid being emotionally demanding. Men need room to breath. He is not the center of your world so don’t revolve your life around his agenda. As much as men enjoy being cared for and loved, they still enjoy their space.

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Estrogen vs Testosterone -

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– By: Alexandra Kinias –

Disney’s fairy tales made us believe that Princes fall in love with lumberjacks’ daughters they meet in the forests, because they are bored with all the beautiful princesses living in all the castles in all the corners of the animated movies. And after the Prince asks the lumberjack for his daughter’s hand in marriage, they ride together into the sunset. The birds chirp on the trees and the royal couple lives happily ever after. The movie ends with a song that leaves us with misty eyes and a happy heart filled with hope that our prince charming is just a few castles away.

We love these happy endings in spite that they alter the perception of reality in young girls’ minds. In real life when the prince falls out of love, ends a relationship and rides alone looking for another lumberjacks’ or fishermen’s daughter, the ex-princesses are left in shock and bewilderment. With a plummeting self-esteem, a broken heart and battling pangs of rejection, they wonder what happened to the eternal love they were promised on their rides into the sunsets. It is not fair though that Disney Princesses don’t have to live in the real world or fall in love with real men.

Who is to blame for the failure of a relationship?

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Since it takes two to tango, men constitute half of the equation in any relationship. Even though they are rarely the innocent party, yet it is still not fair to throw all the blame on their shoulders. Women are responsible for their share as well. And often, they misinterpret men’s behavior towards them, which drives them to become victims of their own misconceptions. They cling to failed relationships to postpone confrontations that  - no matter how much they avoid – would eventually lead them to the painful, yet, inevitable truth.

The ‘M’ word

engagement-rings-sarasota

The vast majority of women get involved in relations with the desire to get married. Other than the obvious reasons to settle down and start a family, in some cultures women get married because of social, peer and family pressure, fear of loneliness, financial gain or a change of status. Marriage is a status symbol for women in cultures where unmarried middle aged women are looked down on. On the other hand, men start relationships for different reasons than women. And thus women’s expectations from a relationship are much higher than men’s, and so are their disappointments when it ends.

Men are curious creatures who are often confused. They are curious to learn more about you and confused about what they really want out of a relationship. An interest to know you better doesn’t mean your man is ready for a commitment. No one knows for sure what goes on in men’s minds. The majority of men would avoid commitment for as long as they can get by. They could be waiting for scientists to find life in another galaxy so they can plan the honeymoon. They might have taken a Cub Scout oath that he will never love another woman more than his kindergarten teacher. Or, they can’t get married until medical researchers discover a vaccine for stupidity. The point is it doesn’t matter. We are living in a world where women are on the receiving end of the engagement ring. And because of that women invest more time and emotions into relations and are more affected by their dynamics and outcomes.

In pursue of an engagement ring, a woman would ignore the flaws in the relationship and perhaps hope to win a man’s heart. But falling in love is not always enough reason for men to pop a marriage proposal. And men if are pressured to do so, while they are not yet emotionally or mentally ready to settle down, the pull back. A woman should pay close attention to changes in her man’s behavioral patterns. If all of a sudden a man is busy to call or to answer your call, he is breaking promises, playing games, becoming discreet or simply unavailable, it is time to re-evaluate the relationship and not to defend or justify his behavior.

It is understandable that relations are addictive. Even if the neon signs are flashing in front of their eyes urging them to walk away, some women would cling to false expectations. They would waste their time in a relationship that is not emotionally fulfilling in anticipation that the men will change. Unfortunately, they don’t. It’s important to realize when is the time to move on to save themselves from the emotional havoc that is coupled with post rejection trauma.

Six Tips for a More Successful Relationship …

To be continued – Stay tuned ….

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