The Little Norwegian Who Could: How One Little Girl Changed My Outlook On Dating

Posted On: October 23, 2014 0 Comments

sad girl in blacl veilI recently read an article chronicling the diary-style blog posts of a 12-year-old Norwegian girl named Thea. These posts followed her in the days leading up to her pending wedding to a man 25 years her senior. In the beginning of her blog, she seemed overjoyed to be getting married but as the time passed and her wedding to 37-year-old Geir inched closer, her spirit regarding what should be the happiest day of her life began to change. Her posts became darker as she gained clarity about exactly what this marriage would mean.

This story, both shocking and sad to the common North American, sparked thought within me as to how lucky many of us are to live in an area of the world where we not only get to choose our partners, but a world where the scope of our choices has been significantly broadened. With online dating, Skype, social media, and traditional forms of dating, we now have so many options to find love. Being so accustomed to these privileges, Thea’s story sickened me. As it turns out, the young girl’s blog was a publicity stunt to raise awareness for the 39, 000 girls forced into unsafe marriages worldwide each day. A comforting end to her story, no doubt, but despite the false nature of Thea’s case, many young girls aren’t as fortunate to avoid marriage or even fortunate enough to generate a media circus of helpful interference such as the #stopthewedding campaign as developed by Plan Norway.

In North American culture, we are used to those unlucky in love complaining about their bad dating experiences, their chronic lack of significant other, and the fact that dating is one of the most difficult things they have ever come across – of this I have been occasionally guilty myself. But while reading a story such as Thea’s, we are forced to look at our own lives from a different perspective.

We should all be rejoicing in the fact that we have the right to select our own partners. Sure, it’s rarely a simple route to true love but regardless of the many paths we may choose during our search for love, they are all exactly that: paths that we have chosen.

In helping us chose correctly, technology has proven a creative alternative in the dating world and with the online dating as an option, we are now opening lines of communication that had been inaccessible in the past. Not only can we filter through online profiles looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right, but we also have the capability to be reassured of their credibility with website programs such as; a verification process which settles the minds of millions who click another’s online profile for the first time.

online dating relationshipsBut Thea, a product of the media, was not given the privileges of the everyday Norwegian girl. Not only had she not been able to grow up and date at her own volition, but she – as a member of first world society – would never have been arranged to marry at 12 years old. Thea stands as a representation of real life child brides in underprivileged countries such as Bangladesh and Niger – countries where weddings often arrive sooner than a girl’s 18th birthday. Plan Norway gave Thea the ability to convey thoughts and feelings to the world at large and, though the situation was a ruse, the sentiments are very real. Several thousand girls are forced into marriage each day and don’t have access to the Internet to tell their stories – a truly disheartening statistic.

While it is not my intention to cause society guilt or to imply that the occasional dating frustration is not warranted, I urge all those in first world countries to consider Thea’s story. The difficult choices that we face in choosing a life partner are nothing when compared to the trials of the young girls Thea represents. Our ability to choose is a right; a right that many others our age and younger do not have.

So while you are searching for someone with whom to share your life, bear in mind that through all the profiles, dates, and break-ups, you are lucky to live in a part of the world where these foibles are a recognized part of everyday society. Embrace it and perhaps you will one-day use your privileges to help those in less fortunate situations than your own.

** To learn more about the Plan organization and the Global Child Marriage Report, visit:

Dana Simpson - author for WinkWisely.comDana Simpson is a writer, musician, and university graduate.  Not surprisingly, literature and music are her greatest passions in life alongside travel, human rights and art as a means to social change. Follow Dana on Twitter (@danasimpson) and read more of her work at

Posted On: October 23, 2014 0 Comments

You Can’t Make Someone Love You

Posted On: October 22, 2014 0 Comments

loveRead any advice column and there are endless posts by people who want to convince their beloved to love them back. Either they wonder where their relationship went wrong and how they can convince their ex to love them back or they’re in love with someone from afar. Well I’m here to give you the cold hard truth about love, you can’t force it.  As much as you might wish you could, you can’t make someone love you.

Say anything…as long as it’s “I love you”

Movies romanticize unrequited and/or lost love. They make the relentless pursuit of love seem so romantic, even more so if that love is hard won through trial, tribulation or outright rejection. The plots are usually wound around one of more of the following ideas:

  • The timing simply wasn’t right
  • There was some major misunderstanding that threw everything off course
  • One of the lovers momentarily lost their way and just needed to be reminded of who they love
  • Someone loves another from afar, but they have never made their feelings known

Whatever the story, one person is in love and the other is not.

Why won’t you love me?

Love is a feeling. Feelings are a personal emotional state. You can’t force someone to have a feeling. Either they do or they don’t. You can’t tell someone to be angry, hurt or happy. And really, why would you want someone who has to be convinced that they love you?

What you do want, is someone who values who you are, enjoys your company, wants wholeheartedly to be with you and loves you because that is simply how they feel. I would frankly be a bit wary of someone who can be convinced that they love you and would be concerned if they were loving you for the right reasons.  Are they loving you because it’s what they truly feel? Or are they doing it because they feel obligated in some way to say that they do?

Love should be given freely and without coercion or convincing. 

Here are a few things to try if you’re in love with someone who’s not in love with you:

Love from Afar

Let’s just get this one out of the way right now.  If you are in love with someone, the only way you’re going to know if they love you back or have feelings of any kind towards you, is to tell them how you feel. You may need to adjust this advice and abandon it all together depending on their relationship status.  But if you are in love with someone and see real potential in the relationship, talk to them about it.  There is no other way to find out their feelings, unless you simply communicate how you feel.

Be really clear about how you feel and why you feel it

If you’re in love with someone and are positive that the two of you should be back together, really ask yourself why you feel that way? Are there solid reasons why the relationship really worked? Also consider any roadblocks that caused the breakup. Make sure that you are pursuing this relationship for grounded reasons and not just a romantic whim. Write out how you feel and read it over a couple of times so you’re really clear about what you want and why you want it.

Express yourself calmly and clearly

The one huge caveat to this next item is if for some reason they’ve asked you not to contact them.  Don’t risk causing them undue stress or a restraining order for that matter.  Odds are nothing will sway them anyway and you need to respect that.

If you are still on speaking terms and are crystal clear about why you love this person and want to renew a relationship with them the next step is to clearly, honestly and rationally express to them how you feel. Write it out if that helps, but the important thing is that you understand your feelings and express them clearly.

Be a good listener

Online , dating, online dating, relationashipsOnce you’ve let object of your affection know your feelings, respect their response. You’ve had your chance to say how you feel it’s now their turn to respond however they respond. This is the part you have no control over and have to learn to be OK with, regardless of the outcome. There are no guarantees that you’re going to hear what you want to hear or get the kind of closure that you want. If they want to be with you great, if not respect their feelings.

If you’ve messed up in some way (cheating or lying for example) admit where you’ve made mistake, truly own up to your actions and also realize that they might not be ready to hear it. Broken trust can be very hard to mend.

The aftermath

If after all this it doesn’t turn how you hoped, give yourself some time to heal and learn from your experience. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck in an emotional dead-end of sorrow and forever lament the one that got away. If you’ve stated how you feel clearly, honestly and calmly and they don’t return those feelings,  there’s nothing more to be done but learn from it and move on.

Return to sender

When your love isn’t returned it can be a hard thing to accept.  But if you’ve done all you can, then it’s time to move on.  As you can see the suggestions above are more about you getting a clear picture of what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it.  It’s more about you and how you handle relationships, then it is about them.

You can’t make someone love you. Love is not an emotion you can force someone into feeling. There are much better ways to spend your energy then to keep pursuing someone that doesn’t want to be pursued. Holding onto an old relationship will just take up emotional space where you could be working on yourself and eventually looking for something new. Put that energy towards becoming the kind of person that attracts love into their life, with no coercion or pressure.

CijaBlack1Cija Black is a love expert, author, blogger, online educator and host of the “Love Bombs” podcast. For more information about Cija, the books, class or podcast, visit

Posted On: October 22, 2014 0 Comments

5 Things to Do Before Your Next Relationship

Posted On: October 16, 2014 0 Comments

Casual girl having funWhile it might seem like a fine idea to get over your broken heart by jumping into a new relationship, it’s really not so wise. From a distraction standpoint of course it can be fun to dabble in those feelings of attraction and potential love. But if you’ve recently had your heart broken, there are some things you should do before diving right back into dating. Otherwise, you are doomed to repeat the past.

Because I don’t want you to do that, here are five things to do before your next relationship.

​1.) ​ Take care of #1

One of the most important things that will make you a great partner is knowing how to take care of yourself. Take care of your emotional self by being aware of what drains you, stresses you out and also what energizes and inspires you. Take care of your physical self and make sure that you’re eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising. Make time for things that you enjoy. Carve out time to do the things that keep your life positive and moving forward, schedule time if you have to.

It’s going to be much easier to maintain a balance of your needs vs. the needs of a new relationship, if you have a good sense of what makes your emotional and physical systems run efficiently. That way, the next time a potential relationship comes around, you’ll allow it in because it adds to your life rather than distracting you from it.  Remember, even when you’re in a relationship your individuality is still important.

2.) ​ Be OK with me, myself and I

Being alone seems to be one of the hardest things for people to come to terms with. For many of us, being alone for extended periods of time in our life can sound like a terrifying prospect. And society certainly doesn’t help matters by making it seem like there is something wrong with you if you’re not paired up.

Why is being alone so scary? Maybe it’s because we fear being alone with our thoughts. Or that we might have to actually deal with some of our own issues, rather than distracting ourselves with a relationship or other people’s problems.  Whatever the reason, it’s hard to convince some people that it’s OK to be alone for awhile.

In actuality it’s important that that were able to be alone. It allows us to think our own thoughts, have our own opinions and not hold them up against someone else’s worldview. As important as it is to have relationships and interact with people, it’s just as important to have a strong relationship with yourself.

Don’t jump into a new relationship simply because you’re afraid to be alone. Be okay with seeing a movie by yourself, going for a walk alone are just sitting with your own thoughts. The better you get at being alone and strengthening who you are, the more likely you are to bring your best into a new relationship.

3.) ​ Clear out your baggage

Breakups tend to come with some baggage.  The more painful and anxiety producing your last relationship was, the more baggage you tend take away. Baggage shows up in the form of feelings of sadness, rejection and the fear of letting any of those messy feelings ever happen again.  It’s a natural tendency for us as humans to want to protect ourselves from hurt and damage.  But if your protective tendencies are overshadowing your ability to move on…you’ve got some baggage.

The other baggage is stuff that you were carrying around long before you met your last partner.  This is the stuff that informs your ideas of love and relationships.  If you have unrealistic expectations about love and are finding your relationships are continually not working out, you may have some baggage to deal with there as well.

If you don’t want to repeat your past patterns, be willing to sort through some of your love baggage. Keep what works, toss what doesn’t and learn from the rest. Otherwise you’re just going to bring it with you into your next relationship.

4.) ​ Know what you want

dating, online dating, matecheckOnce you go through that aforementioned baggage and know what you’re dealing with, get clear about what it is you’re actually looking for in a relationship. Consider what kind of person is going to enhance who you are and where you want your life to go. When you know what you want out of a relationship it’s a whole lot easier to spot it when it comes your way. It also keeps you from accepting just any old warm body. When you know what you want, you’re much likelier to get it.

5.) ​ Dating should not feel like another job. 

If the very thought of dating fills you with dread, you may need to take some more time for self reflection and an attitude adjustment.  Dating should be fun, exciting and full of potential. Don’t approach every date like you’re meeting “the one”. Keep your dates casual and relaxed. Make it an opportunity to get to know a new person regardless of the outcome and don’t take it personally if it doesn’t work. Date when you are in the right state of mind for it and don’t treat it like another to-do to check off your list.

Take some time to get your life together before you date again. Don’t use dating as a distraction to avoid working through your baggage. I guarantee that if you do, that stuff that didn’t work in your last couple of relationships is not going to magically resolve itself with someone new. If you want success in your next relationship take the time and put in the effort.


Cija Black is a love expert, author, blogger, online educator and host of the “Love Bombs” podcast. For more information about Cija, the books, class or podcast, visit

Posted On: October 16, 2014 0 Comments

Brantford Resident Loses $9,000 in Online Dating Scam

Posted On: October 14, 2014 0 Comments

online dating fraud

A 60-year-old Brantford woman has been defrauded of about $9,000 in an online dating scam.

The woman told police Thursday that she had recently “met” a man on an online dating site and he had told her he was travelling to Africa on an unexpected business trip. He then contacted the woman and told her he was in Africa and was having financial difficulties because his credit card had been declined. He convinced the woman to forward money to him…

Read More: Brantford Expositor

It can be tempting to blame the victim of an online dating scam, but it is important to remember that nobody deserves to lose their life’s savings to a con artist. Those who send money to these predators believe they can be trusted, and the predators work hard to gain their target’s confidence.

In 2011, romance scams became the most profitable form of fraud affecting Canadians, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Online dating scam artists will often persuade their victims that the scammer is in a bad situation—missing paperwork, a declined credit card, a profitable but barely underfunded business venture, some legal technicality—something which can only be solved with a small transfer of money. Their requests can seem reasonable at first, but the more the victim lends, the stronger they become invested in the promised future with the con artist. The target believes they could throw everything they have sacrificed away by refusing the next request.

The best practice if someone you met online or dated briefly begs you for money is to brake off contact. Do not ask them to explain themselves, as a con artist will come up with a reasonable excuse. If they really need money, they should be able to get a proper loan somewhere else. If the banks do not trust this person enough to lend money, why should you?

There are also online tools that can help. MateCheck is a secure self-verification service for Canadians, which can verify identity, criminal record, bankruptcy, and the status of a legal divorce.  In an age of online obfuscation, it can be reassuring to know that your new interests are who they say they are.

Posted On: October 14, 2014 0 Comments