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Set standards before you start dating

Dear Dr Nekia,

I haven't dated in quite some time and I'm finally ready to get back out there after a heartbreaking long-term relationship. As a woman, what is the one piece of important advice that you would give me about dating today?

Sincerely, Starting Over

Dear Starting Over,

Pinpointing one single, important bit of advice for a newly dating woman in today's dating climate is rather difficult, but if I had to choose, I would say that you should protect yourself.

Protecting yourself physically is a given, so I don't mean that. Nor do I mean protecting yourself emotionally to the point of being afraid to get to know people.

What I mean is that there are many lonely women out there who are seeking attention, acceptance and love, and with that comes the many men who are more than happy to take advantage of these women solely for their own benefits.

You must set your standards before you begin dating. Realise what it is that you want, the kind of person that you would like to attract, and your dealbreakers.

No one will be perfect, but you must not compromise yourself for the sake of someone showing you interest.

Visualise how you would like for your personal life to be and see yourself as being happy.

The right person will come along and will help you to actualise this vision.

Until then, relax and enjoy each dating experience to the fullest. Do not settle or fall into anyone's line-up. Remember, that you set the terms and are in full control of your own happiness in love.

Dear Dr Nekia,

As the holidays approach, my wife and I are having disagreements over how to spend it with our newborn son.

We have religious differences and now that we have a child together, we cannot agree on what traditions and beliefs to share with him. Usually we do a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but now that a new life is involved, things seem more serious.

I do not want this to ruin the holidays for us, so what can we do to get things back on track?

Sincerely, I'm Jewish, She's Christian

Dear I'm Jewish, She's Christian,

The first thing that you both should do is take a deep breath. Slow down and try not to be so focused on pushing one another's religious beliefs. This can easily turn into a battle of whose religion is right versus whose is wrong — and you do not want to go down that road.

You both made a commitment to come together despite your religious differences and just as a beautiful life was born from your love, which represents unity, so can beautiful holiday traditions be united and born.

I understand that you both are greatly concerned about the impression and destiny of your child's soul, and you can use your religious differences to be of benefit.

Each should incorporate important traditions from their respective religions. Allow your son to grow in a loving home where these beliefs are celebrated in a loving and non-competitive nature.

As he grows, he will ultimately choose what is best for him and the wellbeing of his soul will be secure in the truths of righteousness which begins with the love and purity of heart that will be demonstrated by his parents.

Arguments and tension will only create confusion, resentment and possibly the rejection of religion and the God concept altogether, which I am sure is not what either of you wants.

At the foundation of both religions is the principle of love, so let love be your centre and work on displaying that. Let every chosen tradition be a surrounding outgrowth from there.

Dear Dr Nekia,

My wife has endometriosis and claims that sex is painful. I am getting the feeling that she is using it as an excuse.

At the slightest touch she says ouch and turns away from me. It's like I can't even touch or hold her and when I go to kiss her she turns her cheek to me.

Is endometriosis really this painful?

Sincerely, She Says It's Painful

Dear She Says It's Painful,

For some women, endometriosis is very painful and oftentimes it is painful even without touch.

I cannot say how painful it is for your wife but it sounds as though she is experiencing some anxiety surrounding sex.

Any form of affection, whether sexual or just physical affection, seems to be sending off alarms in her head that says shut down because he wants sex.

This could be a reason for why even the simplest of your advances are being met with a cold shoulder.

There are some sexual and touch techniques that you can learn that would make intimacy or lovemaking much more relaxing and enjoyable for the both of you, but she would have to be open to this. It's not uncommon for couples to have to shift their way of sharing themselves and their love with one another during the life of a relationship, so make sure that you know and that she knows that there is nothing abnormal or broken.

This is very important for her to realise because it is so very easy for a woman with health issues to begin to feel inadequate as a wife and less of a woman.

• Want relationship advice? E-mail nakedtruth@royalgazette.com

Relax and enjoy: you are in control of your own happiness in love, our columnist says

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Published December 21, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 20, 2015 at 10:44 pm)

Set standards before you start dating

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