The Dating and Relationship Blog

Getting Out Of Abusive Relationships

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio1020 KDKA) – Over the weekend, a domestic dispute turned deadly in a Westmoreland County apartment complex.

Rodney Golden is accused of slashing his girlfriend, Anita Sabol’s, throat. Golden was then fatally shot after he lunged at police who were waiting for him outside the apartment.

Friends and family of Sabol told KDKA reporters that the relationship was full of abuse and isolation. One friend was afraid her phone call asking Anita to leave the situation sparked the argument that ended so tragically.

KDKA Radio’s Bill Rehkopf spoke with D. Bryant Simmons, author of “How to Knock a Bravebird From Her Perch.” She was able to give a view point from the outside perspective of abusive relationships.

Simmons witnessed abusive relationships throughout her lifetime involving her family and friends. She said that as a friend or family member we are responsible to recognize the warning signs of abusive relationships and help get our loved ones out of the situation.

“There are a few red flags, or warning signs. One is drugs or alcohol abuse, another is if you are in a relationship and you are pregnant and you are still enduring abuse, that is a huge red flag,” Simmons said. “Another red flag is if you are socially isolated. If you have lost contact with your friends or family and you are in a bubble so to speak, where the only person in there is you and him.”

Simmons statements really hit home with the double fatality over the weekend, especially since friends said she was being isolated and wasn’t allowed to talk or see them.

Bill asked about what friends and family may have been able to do differently to free her from this abusive relationship.

“Ultimately, it is the woman’s choice and that is a hard thing for us, the loved ones, to accept. But no woman leaves until she is ready; but what you can do is make sure you have the information for them,” Simmons said. “Make sure you know where they can go to get help, to get psychological help, find a shelter or get legal aid. Those sort of things sometimes if you just hand them that number and tell them, ‘I love you, you deserve better, I want better for you,’ and you have to let them make the decision; but once you have given them that number, its easier for them to pick up and call.”

You can hear the whole interview here:

  • Getting Out Of Abusive Relationships
  • Bill Rehkopf

You can also listen to the Afternoon News on KDKA Radio weekdays 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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Six Same-Sex Couples File Lawsuit For Marriage Rights In Florida – Huffington Post

Six same-sex couples and the Equality Florida Institute filed a lawsuit Tuesday to expand marriage rights in Florida, according to a release from the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

The lawsuit in Florida state court argues that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional because it denies gay and lesbian couples the "legal protections and equal dignity" that marriage provides.

Four of the couples involved in the lawsuit have minor children. Catherine Pareto, who owns a financial planning firm, and her partner, Karla Arguello, are raising their 15-month-old son. They have been together for 14 years.

“Florida is our home, it is where we are raising our child, and where we want to get married," Pareto said in a statement. "Karla and I wish for our family the same things that other families want. We want to build our lives together, provide a safe and caring home for our child, and share in the responsibilities and protections of marriage.”

The six couples are from Miami and the surrounding region. They're represented by the law firm Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and two other Florida attorneys, Elizabeth F. Schwartz and Mary B. Meeks.

"The law should support families, not make it harder for committed couples to support one another and protect their children," said Shannon Minter, legal director at the lesbian rights center. "Barring same-sex couples from marriage causes great harms to their families and children while helping no one.”

Charlie Crist, a leading Democratic candidate for governor of Florida, threw his support behind the same-sex couples in a statement to The Huffington Post.

"No one would want to be told they can’t marry the person they love. It’s an issue of fairness and I’m proud to support it," Crist said.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) did not respond to a request for comment.

The story has been updated with comment from Charlie Crist.

Also on HuffPost:

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Need a mentor? Go to camp!

January is National Mentor month, a time to celebrate and encourage the positive relationships that are critical to the development of children and youth — the positive relationships that are developed and encouraged each year at camp.

The idea of a mentor is an ancient one. In Greek mythology, when Odysseus, King of Ithaca, went to battle in the Trojan War, he placed his friend, Mentor, in charge of his son and his kingdom.Today, Mentor has become synonymous with someone who imparts wisdom to and shares knowledge with a less experienced person. Mentoring relationships are special and often lifechanging.

The camp experience is uniquely designed to foster these relationships. When counselors and camp staff engage with campers, they are not just teaching — they are using the core elements of positive mentoring relationships.

 Camp counselors share and teach through stories and anecdotes.They impart wisdom from their own successes and failures, and offer the insight that comes from experience.

 Camp counselors model appropriate behaviors.They show campers how to play fairly, show empathy, and win and lose gracefully.

 Camp counselors guide campers through the learning landscape of life. They teach the things that cannot be taught in school — how to live with others, how to build friendships, how to lead, and how to work as a team.

 Camp counselors support campers emotionally.They offer reassurance when situations become difficult or overwhelming. Counselors are there to not only lend a hand but to help campers work through difficult moments and feel the sense of accomplishment that comes from conquering obstacles.

These relationships aren’t just a nice addition to childhood and young adult development — kids need them.They need nurturing mentors — people outside of their family who take an interest in who they are, root for their successes, and help them learn that failures are critical stepping stones on the path of success.

Each year for millions of children and youth, those relationships are developed at camp.

For more information about summer camp, visit www.ACAcamps.org.

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New Website Created for Herpes Networking, Herpes Dating, and Herpes Support

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- H Social Club recently launched www.HSocialClub.com, an online community for herpes social networking, including herpes dating and herpes support. This new site comes as long-time herpes dating site "Meet People with Herpes" (MPWH.net) shuts down citing a lack of financial, emotional, and physical resources. MPWH discontinued operation of its herpes website on November 1st, the same day H Social Club launched.

What's new and different about H Social Club? While MPWH and the very few other herpes sites focused primarily on dating and relationships, H Social Club comes with a broad appeal to people with herpes and human papillomavirus. Rather than focusing primarily on HSV and HPV dating, H Social Club aims to be a place for general networking with personal and business interests in mind.

On the personal side, the site is promoting an environment where members can interact on more of a friendship level without the awkward, unnatural feelings associated with online dating. It's a place where members can be at ease while communicating across a variety of life's topics. For example, members can start forum posts related to cooking recipes, home buying tips, parenting, fitness, or a wide range of other topics. Or members can simply interact with other herpes & HPV members to build new friendships, find dates, plan herpes events, or seek & offer herpes support.  

The business networking aspect is new and different for any herpes group. H Social Club wants business and employment networking to be a big part of the new site. The expectation is that many people on the site will be interested in supporting other members in the business world, whether that means finding another member to use as your real estate agent, or ordering products from a member who owns a small businesses. This kind of business networking could also accommodate an environment where members announce or inquire about job opportunities within the site.

Most might expect a hefty fee for a herpes & HPV website of this kind, but when launched, H Social Club announced free lifetime memberships to all who join before the promotion ends. The company is hinting at eventually implementing a monthly price in the $5 to $10 range, although the fee will not apply to those who already received free lifetime memberships.

H Social Club has the right theme, the right idea, and the right features. The site's only concern is whether it can gain enough members to reach critical mass. The good news is that this herpes website aspires to build a membership of highly active people. An H Social Club representative clarified their goal by stating "we'd rather have 10,000 very active members than 100,000 idle members. Whatever the outcome, H Social Club is on the right track to being the next top online community for people with herpes and HPV.

Press Release Contact Information:

Lee Williams

Public Relations

H Social Club

(424) 201-5445

info@hsocialclub.com

"This release was issued through WebWire(R). For more information visit http://www.webwire.com."

Press Release URL: http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=184621

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ChristianMingle(R) and JDate(R) Release Second Annual State of Dating in America(TM) Report

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - Jan 21, 2014) - Singles are becoming more open minded when it comes to gender roles, dating expectations and infidelity, according to a report jointly released today by ChristianMingle.com, the largest and fastest growing online community for Christian singles, and JDate.com, the iconic community responsible for more Jewish marriages than all other dating sites combined. The two category-leading brands surveyed more than 2,600 U.S. singles between the ages of 18 and 59, on topics of significance in today's complex dating climate.

"In today's modern world there are so many factors contributing to blurred lines and mixed messages when it comes to dating and relationships," says Rachel Sussman, Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Clinical Social Worker. "I see clients every day who are struggling with how to navigate muddled waters in a new or long-term relationship, and this study by ChristianMingle and JDate confirms these issues exist across the country." Sussman has partnered with ChristianMingle and JDate for a second consecutive year to analyze the findings and provide her expert insights.

The definition of cheating in a relationship is not always black and white. Singles reveal there are several shades of grey when it comes to defining infidelity, with women's attitudes in particular becoming slightly more liberal:

  • Eighty-six percent of men and 92 percent of women consider having sex with another person repeatedly as being unfaithful in a relationship.
  • Is sexting acceptable? In 2013, 82 percent of women and 56 percent of men believed texting or online flirting counts as being unfaithful. In 2014, the number of women who believe a flirtatious message is considered cheating dropped significantly to 68 percent, while men observed a slight decrease to 51 percent.
  • In 2014, 90 percent of women, vs. 100 percent in 2013, agree passionately kissing someone else is cheating. The number decreases for men as well, with only 75 percent agreeing vs. 86 percent in 2013. 
  • Cheating is not always a deal breaker. Nearly a quarter of singles would consider marrying someone who was unfaithful to them while dating.
  • Either infidelity or honesty is on the rise. Twenty-eight percent of respondents admit to having been unfaithful in a prior relationship, which is a slight increase from 2013, when only 22 percent admitted to infidelity. 

Findings reveal that while dating preferences and deal breakers vary, hygiene and friends play a significant role in finding lasting love:

  • Don't skip a shower before a date. For men, the top three dating deal breakers are hygiene (35 percent), smoking (24 percent) and weight (14 percent); and for women, it's hygiene (34 percent), unemployment (21 percent), and a tie for third between drinking habits and smoking (16 percent each).
  • Hitting it off with a date is only the first step to long-term success. The majority of singles (66 percent) would break up with someone if he or she didn't get along with their friends.
  • Thirty-nine percent of women think the man should be the primary breadwinner, but only 23 percent of men agree, a decrease from last year's 32 percent of men. Interestingly, in 2013, women didn't feel as strongly with only 34 percent stating the man should be bringing home the bacon.

The hand that reaches for the check on a date may not match traditional expectations, as first-date rules and etiquette continue to progress:

  • Is chivalry dead? Expectations for who foots the bill have changed over the past year, with only 69 percent of men saying the man should pay (vs. last year's 78 percent).
  • Is this a date? Sixty-nine percent of singles are at least somewhat confused about whether their outing with someone they're interested in is in fact a date or not. Sussman says, "My clients are often telling me they're confused about whether they're on a romantic date or casual meet-up, which makes it difficult for them to go into the situation with a clear strategy."
  • If a prospective partner gets drunk on the first date, 72 percent of men would look past it and go out with her again, though it's much tougher for men to get a second chance with women (only 41 percent of women would give a drunk first date a second chance).

"For the second consecutive year, we've turned to singles across the nation to understand the changing norms in dating and relationships, and what makes singles tick in their pursuits for lasting, meaningful relationships," said Greg Liberman, Chairman and CEO of Spark Networks®, the company that owns and operates both ChristianMingle and JDate. "The thought-provoking insights uncover that 'traditional' dating etiquette and standards continue to evolve." 

The stigma of online dating is a thing of the past:

  • Eighty-five percent of singles say online dating is socially acceptable and two out of three singles know people who have met through online dating.
  • Ninety-four percent of respondents believe online dating expands their dating pool.
  • Eighty percent of singles agree online dating is better at finding a match than family members and 78 percent agree online dating is better at finding a match than friends.

To view the full report by ChristianMingle and JDate or to see expert analysis of the results, please visit www.stateofdatingreport.com. To arrange an interview with Rachel Sussman or a spokesperson from ChristianMingle or JDate, contact yellin@formulapr.com.

About ChristianMingle
ChristianMingle (www.ChristianMingle.com) is the largest and fastest growing online community for Christian singles. In addition, ChristianMingle is a part of Gospel Media Group®, a premier network of online Christian resources which is also comprised of Believe.com® (www.believe.com), an inspirational faith-based lifestyle destination designed to serve the Christian community and help Christians build and live the life God intended, Faith.com™ (www.Faith.com), DailyBibleVerse.com™ (www.DailyBibleVerse.com) and ChristianCards.net™ (www.ChristianCards.net). ChristianMingle is owned and operated by Spark Networks®, Inc. (www.spark.net).

About JDate.com
With more than 750,000 active members worldwide, JDate (www.JDate.com, www.JDate.co.uk, www.JDate.co.il and www.JDate.fr) is the leading online community for Jewish singles, responsible for more Jewish marriages than all other dating sites combined. JDate is dedicated to building and strengthening the Jewish community, and ensuring that Jewish traditions are sustained for generations to come. JDate is owned and operated by Spark Networks®, Inc. (www.spark.net).

About Spark Networks
Spark Networks, Inc.'s (www.spark.net) mission is to create iconic, niche-focused brands that build and strengthen the communities they serve. Spark Networks' portfolio of consumer websites is anchored by ChristianMingle and JDate, and also includes, among others, Believe.com, Faith.com, DailyBibleVerse.com, BlackSingles.com® (www.BlackSingles.com) and SilverSingles®.com (www.SilverSingles.com). Spark Networks' shares trade on the NYSE MKT under the ticker symbol "LOV" (NYSE MKT: LOV).

  • Dating
  • Family & Relationships
  • JDate
Contact:
PR Contacts
Formula PR
310-578-7050
Mira Yellin
Email Contact
Jennifer Regnier
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Field Based Account Manager

Employer:

Shell

Updated: Jan 21 2014

Desired Expertise: Business Development, Sales and Marketing Experience: 5+ years Minimum Education: Masters Degree Location: Dallas, TX, US Reference Code: 4032BR Job Status: Active / Open

Job posting bookmarked!

Please login to bookmarkJob Description:

Responsibilities:

 FBAM Role focusing on selling to the Transport Sector including but not limited to Fleets, OEM Truck Dealerships, Truck Stops, and Heavy Duty Installers and Heavy Duty Buying Group members.

  • Support the Indirect (Distributor Channel) as well as Key Accounts in this Sector.

  • Maintain and develop existing customer relationships.

  • Identify and win new business and win new business using Face to Face selling and negotiating skills to grow the business by increasing Volume, Margin & Premiums in line with targets.

  • Strengthen SOPUS brands and increase market share in respective territory.

  • Provide high level support to Key Accounts.

  • Support local Distributors in prospecting and growing their business.

  • Maintain and develop existing customer relationships.

  • Identify and win new business and win new business using Face to Face selling and negotiating skills to grow the business by increasing Volume, Margin & Premiums in line with targets.

  • Strengthen SOPUS brands and increase market share in respective territory.

  • Provide high level support to Key Accounts.

  • Support local Distributors in prospecting and growing their business.

  • Fill pipeline with qualifying opportunities , identify these opportunities through cold calling, networking and business journals.

  • Deal mainly with Gold and Platinum banded customers. Developing strong and mutually beneficial relationships with our Distributor network.

  • Exceed team and individual KPIs as set by management.

  • Able to demonstrate high-level understanding of the Transport Lubes business.

  • Plan customer calls and visits to provide the appropriate level of service to existing and new customers with a focus on retaining/expanding existing business relationships and acquiring new business relationships.

  • Increase the value for existing Shell customers through Cross, Range and Up Selling.

  • Understand the activity, business and needs of customers, provide sound information and advice on products and services, and to sell and negotiate win-win solutions with customers

  • Plan, monitor and achieve individual and team sales targets (e.g. margin, growth, named customer CVP, and trade debtor target.)

  • Develop, update, maintain, and communicate Account Plans.

  • Effectively use Customer Relationship Management software(CRM).

  • Effectively use the SPANCOP process in sales activities.

  • Be responsible and proactive in HSSE issues that affect the individual, the office/field environment and their customers.

  • Be accountable for own development plan to continuously improve competencies.

  • Role will require a focus on hunting for new business, while maintaining existing accounts. Identifying cross sell and up-sell opportunities should be second nature in this Account Management role.

  • For new and existing customers, define and regularly review relevant customer relationship, behavioral and differentiated services banding and their sales & marketing plan. Credit control duties will be required, as will difficult conversations surrounding shortfalls and contractual penalties.

  • Review & plan customer business, products, service packages, contracts, prices, credit terms, credit limits and debt.

  • Carry out negotiations with customers, preparing quotations and proposals and agree on all operational requirements (including: price, contract, payment terms and services).

  • Ensure all service providers carry out the agreed terms.

  • Ensures that all customer interaction activities are properly logged and updated in the CRM system.

Requirements:
 

  • Must have legal Authorization to work in the US on a full time basis for anyone other than current employer.

  • Must have a four (4) year degree; Masters Degree preferred.

  • Minimum of five (5) years experience of field sales and selling brand value..

Desired Skills:
Field Base Account Manager

Employment Type: PERMANENT
Hours: FULLTIME


Applicant Requirements:

In order to apply for this position, applicants MUST meet the following criteria. If your resume does not match these criteria, you will not be able to apply for this position.

Location: North America      


Apply Now

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Key considerations for unwed couples buying a home – Nashua Telegraph

Married couples represent the majority of homebuyers, but more couples are teaming up to buy a home before they get hitched. If they ever do.

Data from the National Association of Realtors show that, on average, married couples accounted for 61.6 percent all homebuyers from 2001 to 2011. By comparison, unmarried couples made up an average 7.5 percent.

Although still a small slice of homebuyers, some unwed couples see positives to buying a home together before getting married.

Teresa Hung, a customs broker in Baltimore, decided to put off getting married in 2012. Instead she chose to buy a home with her boyfriend, James Woody, a retail executive.

The couple wanted to take advantage of still-affordable home prices – rather than splurge on a wedding and continue paying rent for months or years.

“I did want the wedding and all that,” said Hung, 29. “It definitely wasn’t an easy decision.”

Here are some tips unwed couples should follow when they commit to buying a home:

1. Swap financial history

Before considering buying a home with your significant other, share all of your key financial statements. That includes bank accounts, credit cards, student loans, retirement accounts and so on. Also share credit reports and FICO scores.

You’ll need to know of any credit blemishes that could prevent you from obtaining the lowest rate on a home loan, or other potential red flags, such as a high debt-to-income ratio.

2. Agree on what you can afford

Before you hit the first open house, determine how much each person can contribute, especially if you opt to apply for a home loan together. Bankrate Inc. offers online calculators to help estimate how much you can afford based on your income and expenses, e.g., http://apne.ws/12bNGkc.

One rule of thumb: a house payment shouldn’t be more than 28 percent to 30 percent of a buyer’s monthly income.

With an unwed couple, particularly if one person earns a lot more than the other one does, different approaches may be a better fit.

John Porter and his partner, Horacio Alonso, are in the market to buy a home in Miami together.

The couple has already made it a point to benchmark how much home they can afford based on a percentage of their individual income.

“Our incomes are not equal,” said Porter, who is the co-founder of an organic cocktail mixers company.

He said splitting the costs of the home evenly would not be fair. As a result, the couple decided to base each person’s contribution on 30 percent of their individual earnings, Porter said.

3. Sign a contract

Even if a falling out seems unimaginable, couples should enlist an attorney and draw up a purchase contract before buying a home.

Such a pact should outline details of how much each person is contributing, whether it’s money, taking on a loan or paying to cover maintenance and other costs.

“It has to be very clear who is putting the money in, who is going to do the improvements, so they have a good understanding of ownership,” said Monica Rebella, a certified public accountant in Tustin, Calif.

The pact also can set how the couple wants to split any equity gained in the home, for example.

The contract details can help sort out how much of a financial interest each person has in the home in the event of a split, which could lead the home to be sold or one person offering to buy out the other.

Such agreements don’t have any effect if the couple remains together, notes Jordan Clarke, an agent in San Diego with real estate brokerage Redfin.

“Many different things can happen after the relationship dissolves,” Clarke said. “It’s much better to think about it when heads are cool and everything is great in a relationship.”

4. Understand ownership options

Homebuyers have a couple of options on how to assign ownership on the title to the home. Specifics can vary by state, but generally the title can list one person as the sole owner, or more than one person.

Unwed homebuyers generally hold title as “joint tenants” or as “tenants in common.”

The “joint tenants” option designates equal ownership interest. If a couple specifies right of survivorship to the title, then the interest in the home is transferred to the other person on the title in the event the other dies.

With a “tenants in common” title, the homeowners spell out what percentage of the property each holds. That approach is more common with a group of investors buying a property together because it clarifies how much each investor gets from the sale of the property. It also lets each person sell their stake in the property.

5. Review tax implications

One of the perks of homeownership is being able to deduct mortgage interest payments in your tax return. In the case of an unwed couple filing separate income tax returns, the IRS will allow both to take their home mortgage interest deduction as long as they each have a vested interest in the property, said Mark J. Kohler, a tax lawyer and CPA.

A vested interest could be simply being on the title, or being a guarantor on the mortgage, akin to being a co-signer.

For more details, check out the IRS website: www.irs.gov/publications/p936/ar02.html .

6. Reset wedding expectations

Owning a home can come with unexpected expenses that make it hard to save money for a lavish wedding and honeymoon.

Hung, who is not yet engaged, said the biggest shock of homeownership came when her home’s value was reassessed, resulting in an increase in her property taxes.

“It really does set your plans back,” she said. “I thought within a year we would hopefully be able to afford a wedding, but it’s not as quick as we thought.”

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Asheville Married Gay Couples Face Tax Conundrum – WFMY News 2

Jon Ostendorff, Asheville Citizen-Times

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Gary Mitchell would love nothing more than to be just another boring, married man in America.

He and David Eck tied the knot last year in Seattle, where same sex marriage is legal, after being together for 21 years.

"We have friends who live in Zurich who grew up in America," he said. "And we said, you know, 'How do the Swiss look at gay marriage and gay people?' And she goes, 'Oh, that's boring. We don't talk about it.' That's what I want. I want to be boring like everybody else. Let's just not talk about it."

But there's been a lot of talk lately about gay marriage.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year, giving gay couples more rights, including the ability for the first time to file federal taxes jointly. It could mean a savings of thousands of dollars for some.

When the court made its decision, Mitchell and Eck thought it was a step forward. But back home in North Carolina, they are still not just another boring married couple.

The state, since it does not recognize their marriage, also doesn't allow them to file state income taxes jointly. The state Department of Revenue made this rule official in October.

North Carolina's income tax returns are based on each taxpayer's federal filing. People file with the Internal Revenue Service first to get information to use on their state returns.

The state wants same-sex couples to file separately using "pro forma" federal returns. That means the couples have to fill out three federal tax returns - once as a couple, plus as separate individuals. In the view of Mitchell and Eck, that means lying to the state, reporting they're single when they're not.

Mitchell is assistant pastor at First Congregational United Church of Christ downtown. Eck is pastor at Abiding Savior Lutheran Church in Fairview.

Lying is not among the lessons they teach their congregations.

"We are going to file honestly as a married couple even though the state doesn't recognize our marriage," Mitchell said.

"They are going to have to basically tell us what to do because I am not going to lie on my taxes," Eck said. "I'm married in the United States so if they want me to lie they are going to have to tell me, by paper, they want me to be dishonest on my tax form."

They are not alone in facing this decision.

There were 3,224 married same-sex couples in North Carolina in 2010, according to Census data analyzed by the Williams Institute at the University of California School of Law. There are more than 15,000 unmarried same-sex couples in the state.

North Carolina is one of 18 states where people are required to use their federal filing status for state income tax returns, said Brian Moulton, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign in Washington.

Moulton said the patchwork of state tax regulations for same-sex married couples means more time and expense for them compared with their different-sex married counterparts.

"The solution is marriage equality in all 50 states," he said. "Certainly that would resolve these questions for couples and allow them to be treated equally."

That would not be popular in North Carolina, where voters overwhelming passed an amendment to the state Constitution banning gay marriage.

Another solution is to change the state tax law so that it is not connected to the federal system, which is the case in some other states, Moulton said.

Some states have no income tax at all, making the issue irrelevant.

The Asheville-based Campaign for Southern Equality, which supports same-sex marriage rights, says the state's decision to require different tax forms from legally married gay couples is discrimination.

 "This differential treatment by the state of North Carolina creates a burden of unfair taxation, often totaling thousands of dollars, and is a crystal clear example of what discrimination looks like in practice," said executive director Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara. "We believe it is unconstitutional and untenable for North Carolina to continue to deny recognition of legal marriages, marriages that are recognized by the federal government and 19 other states."

It is unclear what might happen to couples like Mitchell and Eck, who plan to file jointly despite the state's regulations.

A spokesman for the state Department of Revenue said the agency works with all taxpayers to get them accurate information. The department would not comment on a specific situation that hasn't happened yet.

The couple has lived in Asheville since the 1990s. Mitchell is a Statesville native and former Asheville City Schools teacher.

Eck is from Pennsylvania and was called to the area to lead his church.

They have a home off Merrimon Avenue, a Terrier-mix named Shiloh, two foster children and a granddaughter.

They feel good about being legally married. It was more emotional than Eck thought it would be.

"It was really emotional for me because as a pastor I have signed many marriage certificates for those straight couples that have been part of the congregation and in the community," he said. "And to finally have somebody sign mine was a really powerful moment for me."

The end of the Defense of Marriage Act means more than just income tax equality. It also gives same-sex couples the right to inherit property without huge tax penalties.

Eck and Mitchell will use Turbo Tax, an electronic program, to file their taxes. The program, at least in years past, doesn't include a field for same-sex married. It only has input for married or single.

"It could be a mess," Eck said. "We don't know. We will find out. Or it could be really easy."

Asheville Citizen-Times

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Chicago African American Relationships Examiner

[unable to retrieve full-text content]I am a byproduct of African American relationships as well as an active participant of them. I am a single mother to a bi-racial child, and currently engaged to a Ghanaian so I have a wide perspective on the differ...

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Do interracial couples still get second looks? – wtvr.com

Do interracial couples still get second looks?

Posted on: 5:00 pm, January 20, 2014, by Lorenzo Hall

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – On a day when the nation celebrates civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., some interracial couples noted inequality is not just a black and white thing.

Mathhews McCoy and Michelle Britos started dating two years ago.

“My dad always jokes. What is she? Hispanic? She’s actually Island Pacificer,” McCoy said. “It wasn’t necessarily ethnicity or color or anything you even think of. You just fall in love with someone you care about. You match in relationship.”

While McCoy said they haven’t experienced any noticeable backlash from family and friends, the couple is sure some people don’t approve of their relationship.

“We still have a long way to go,” Virginia Union University History chair Dr. Raymong Hylton said. While the days of sitting on the back of the bus and drinking from separate water fountains are over, Hylton said racism these days can be more subtle.

“It definitely does exist. We are not in a post-racial society. It may seem like that on the surface, but, in some places… we have the same problems,” he said.

Are you in an interracial relationship? What has been your experience? Click here to share your story with us via email.

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RELATIONSHIPS: 3 Reasons Why Cheating Shouldn’t Always Be a Deal Breaker

cheating in relationship*(Via iDateDaily) – If you rounded up several couples in a room and asked them whether or not they want to be cheated on by their significant other, I’d imagine that most of them would say no.

If you take that same group of couples and asked them whether or not infidelity is a deal breaker in their relationship, you may receive a variety of responses.

Under perfect circumstances, most couples would like to avoid infidelity at any cost; but we all know life isn’t perfect. One thing we must understand is, cheating means different things to different couples.

In some relationships, cheating is defined as intimacy that involves penetration, which means oral sεx, kissing, and/or going to dinner with someone else are not considered cheating. In other relationships, the aforementioned permissible actions are forbidden. While there are many reasons that people should leave a significant other for cheating, there are also reasons why couples shouldn’t leave.

  1. You’re dismantling the family structure: Thousands of families have been ripped apart because one parent’s feelings were hurt after they were cheated on by the other parent. Having children isn’t a death sentence and they don’t live with you forever, so what does it hurt to keep the relationship together for the kids? You do understand that your kid(s) didn’t ask to be born, right? Most adults pretend to have their children’s best interest at heart, but when their children’s other parent upsets them, time and time again the disgruntled parent’s ego overhauls their selfless thinking and turns them into extremely selfish beings. Your children don’t have to know what mommy and daddy are doing behind closed doors, so if mommy and daddy decide to have sεx with other people while living under the same roof, whose business is it?

Get the other 2 reasons at iDateDaily.

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Violent behavior in teen dating relationships

Teen dating is something that everyone knows exists and expects to occur. Many teen dating relationships are healthy; however, there are a growing number of abusive relationships in high schools across this country. One and a half million students are abused by a boyfriend or girlfriend every year in America, according to loveisrespect.org.

Liz Claiborne, Inc did a series of studies released in 2005 and 2007. The study in 2005 looked at physical, sexual, and verbal abuse. 33% of teenagers stated that they know at least one teen who has been physically hurt by their partner. 25% of teen girls said they have been pressured into performing a sexual act (either oral or intercourse). 26% of teen girls reported that they have experienced repeated verbal abuse. 73% of teens said if they were in an abusive relationship that they would turn to a friend for help; but only 33% actually have. The 2005 survey also found that nearly 80% of teen girls who have endured physical abuse by their boyfriends continue to date him.

The study released in 2007 focused on the use of technology in abusive relationships. The use of technological devices to control, threaten, and abuse was noted by the teens surveyed as “a serious problem”. When asked, “Thinking about people your age who are in a relationship, how serious of a problem would you say each of the following issues is?” 71% answered “Spreading rumors by a partner” is a serious problem, 68% said “sharing private or embarrassing videos or photos of a dating partner” is a serious problem, and 63% reported “threatening physical harm using common tech devices” to be a serious problem.

Teens also reported that their boyfriends/girlfriends are in constant contact by phone or text. Nearly 1 in 4 (24%) teenagers in relationships reported that they are in contact with their partner at least once an hour from Midnight until 5 am. 17% of teenagers in relationships said that they talk to their partner at least TEN TIMES per hour between Midnight and 5 am. 43% of teens are contacted by their partner between 10 pm and midnight. This are the statistics among all teens, not only those who have acknowledged abuse.

Liz Claiborne, Inc also interviewed parents and teens simultaneously asking the same questions and discovered a large “knowledge gap” between what teens reported IS going on and what teens' parents THINK is going on. Parents are in the dark about many of the things their teens are going through. Teens said they didn't tell their parents for three main reasons (in order of popularity): they didn't see it as a problem, they were afraid their parents would limit their computer/phone/partner access, or they were afraid of how their partner would react.

The most disturbing statistic; however, is the rate of increase of physical abuse in our teens which almost doubled from the survey in 2005 (5%) to 2007 (8%). At that rate of increase, current statistics might show the number of teens who have experienced physical abuse to be close to 18-20% by now. According the US Centers for Disease Control survey done in 2011, 9.4% of teens had been physically abused in the year preceding.

Beech High School in Hendersonville, TN has decided that they are going to spread awareness about this problem. What they are doing about it will be the topic of an upcoming article.

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Montgomery County district judge vows to wed as many couples as he can – The Times Herald

WHITPAIN — During their lunch breaks from work on a recent Wednesday afternoon, Kainan Yin, a software engineer, and his girlfriend of nearly five years, Lu Tian, a financial analyst, had something more important to do than grab something to eat — they were going to get married.

The pair walked gingerly into the district courtroom in Blue Bell, which was empty save for Magisterial District Judge Robert Sobeck, wearing his black robe and a big smile as he greeted the nervous couple and then gave them some brief pre-ceremony instructions as they stood in the center of the room.

“Put her ring right here, then you don’t have to fumble around in your pockets,” Sobeck told Yin, pointing to the top of the partition that separates the defendant’s table from the spectator gallery.

“At the end, would you prefer not to kiss, or kiss?” Sobeck asked.

“Oh, yeah, yeah,” Yin replied.

“I always ask because so many different cultures come in here,” said Sobeck. “I do 100 of these a year and everybody’s different.”

The judge walked over and shut the courtroom door. “So, once we’re finished, we’ll go over the paperwork. But there’s only one thing I’m going to ask of you,” Sobeck said, fixing a solemn look on the couple.

A bit startled by his serious tone, they turned from each other and looked at him, expectantly.

“Get a little closer,” Sobeck said, breaking into a grin as the pair exhaled, releasing some of their jitters. “You can even hold hands if you want... you’re almost married, right?”

A few minutes later, after the exchange of vows and rings, Sobeck uttered the magic words: “By the power vested in me by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I now pronounce you husband and wife.”

The pair kissed, Sobeck congratulated them, and then they spent a few minutes going over the official paperwork, as promised.

“So you are now married,” Sobeck said, finally. “Where are you off to now?”

“Back to work,” said Yin.

“I understand,” Sobeck laughed. “I get that all the time.”

Back in his office, a few minutes before the couple arrived, Sobeck explained that performing marriage ceremonies has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of the job since he was sworn in just over two years ago.

“They’re a lot of fun,” he said. “Compared to what I usually do in the courtroom?”

Indeed, with accused murderers, rapists, burglars and nearly every other stripe of alleged criminal coming in and out of his courtroom day after day, as well as a parade of traffic-related cases and landlord-tenant disputes to oversee, Sobeck said he always looks forward to the weddings, which he tries to schedule at the end of the day “so I can leave on a positive note.”

“When you have all this negativity and then you have that little island of pleasure come in, I like that a lot,” he continued.

While every district judge in Montgomery County can marry couples, not that many actually will. “For what reason, I don’t know,” said Sobeck, “but I told them down at county to put me at the top of the list, to have people call me first.”

And they do. In 2012, his first year, he married 99 couples, and in 2013, 104 couples.

Sobeck aims to exceed the latter number in 2014, and on Feb. 14 he’s hoping to welcome as many couples as possible to be married on Valentine’s Day — the second year in a row his courtroom will exclusively host weddings every half hour, beginning at 1 p.m. The court will remain open a least a couple of hours past the usual 4:15 p.m. closing time to accommodate couples who want to get hitched.

The process to be married by a district judge in Montgomery County is pretty simple: First, the couple must appear together at the Marriage License Bureau of the Register of Wills Office in Norristown to fill out a license application and pony up the requisite $50 cash. Couples can take the license with them that day, but state law dictates that license will not become valid for three consecutive days.

“They give you a cooling off period, make you sleep on it,” Sobeck laughed.

Once the license becomes valid, it’s good for 60 days. Should the couple decide to go through with it, and have Sobeck officiate, they can call his court (215-646-8201) and schedule a time to come in and tie the knot — with an additional $42 cash in hand to pay for the service.

The ceremony, which is non-religious, doesn’t take long — 5 to 10 minutes, plus the before-and-after formalities.

“‘You take him, you take her ...,’ I try to stretch it out a little bit, but it’s pretty simple, short, and to the point,” Sobeck said.

Yet there’s plenty of room for emotion, for fun, and for variety.

Sobeck said he’s married couples young and old, of myriad ethnicities and nationalities. Some couples get formally married in court and then have the big, lavish ceremony later — on their way out of the courtroom, Yin and Tian said they plan to have a proper ceremony with family and friends in their native China sometime this year.

Other times, members of the military who are about to be deployed overseas come in to tie the knot before their departure. As an Army veteran who comes from a long line of military men and has a son who’s served in the Middle East, Sobeck said that he’s “very proud and honored to do this for them.”

Sobeck said that over the past two years he’s been approached about performing same-sex marriages, “but I’m not permitted to do that, it’s state law,” he said. “I could care less if you’re purple, I’ll marry you, but it’s illegal for me to do (same-sex marriages). If it ever gets changed, they can come back and see me.”

The judge said he’s seen it all when it comes to wedding attire in his courtroom — from fancy white dresses to shorts and Hawaiian shirts.

He’s seen his courtroom packed to the rafters with well-wishers, and, like on this day, empty save for himself and the couple.

He’s had a bagpiper escort a couple into the courtroom — “that was pretty loud,” Sobeck deadpans — and he’s watched a groom slip a candy ring onto his bride’s finger last April Fool’s Day.

“One of the first weddings I did was an older couple, very athletic looking and very giddy, like they had just met, but they had been together for decades,” Sobeck recalled. “I married them, then we went out in the lobby and I gave them their receipt and some paperwork and I wished them well and she goes, ‘Oh I forgot, you’re the best man!’ — she was wearing a long skirt and she lifted her leg all the way up and you could pretty much see ... well, I went ‘Whoaaaa!’ And she pulled her garter off and said, ‘Here you go! Bye!’ and ran out. That was something.”

Sobeck said his favorite times are when couples are nervous and clam up or trip up a bit during the ceremony, proving that the moment is really affecting them.

“I don’t want them to be embarrassed, but stage fright is part of what makes it fun, and I’ll joke around a little to get them to relax,” he said. “I like it better when it’s not scripted.”

“I’ve done over 200 of these in two years and it has never been a bad experience,” Sobeck added. “It’s one of the motivations to do as many as I can, because it’s always a happy day. It’s good to be a part of a positive experience in people’s lives.”

Follow staff writer Michael Goldberg on Twitter @mg_thereporter.

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‘The Bachelor’ recap: Show catches up with successful ‘Bachelor’ couples, Sean … – Fox News

Sunday night’s “Bachelor” special caught up with the couples that have made it after the cameras stopped rolling—yes, there are actually some.

The special also served as a walk-up to Catherine Giudici and Sean Lowe’s live wedding next Sunday night.  The couple toured their wedding venue, The Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara, Calif., and gushed about their future.

“I am so ready to get married to Catherine,” Sean said.  “She is the person I have always dreamed about and wondered if she existed.”

After viewing the courtyard where the ceremony will take place, the couple toured their honeymoon suite.

“When I first walked in, I got a little giddy already thinking about it,” Catherine said. “Sean and I have been very patient and we have been waiting for our wedding night.”

“Confirmation station,” she said laughing, motioning toward the bed.

“I can’t wait to come back to this room with Sean and be married together, wink wink. I know Sean’s excited, but I’m probably more,” Catherine said.

The most recent Bachelorette, Desiree Hartsock, moved to Seattle to be with her chosen fiancé, Chris Siegfried last year.

“Life since ‘The Bachelorette’ has been unreal,” Des said. “Chris and I are doing great as a newly engaged couple. It truly feels like we’re high school sweethearts.

“I never in a million years thought I would have met my match on a TV show, but that’s what happened.  I’m really excited for the next chapter in our lives,” she said. 

“A dog is the next step,” she joked.  “A dog and then a wedding.”

Season 13 Bachelor Jason Mesnick, who infamously changed his mind and picked Molly Malaney shortly after proposing to Melissa Rycroft, has been happily married to Molly since 2010 and the couple also lives in Seattle. 

“Never in a million years did I think I would be married after appearing on ‘The Bachelor,’” Molly said, echoing Des’ sentiments.

“Life has been amazing since the last time you saw us,” Jason said. “We have a little baby.”

Molly and Jason welcomed a girl, Riley, in March 2013.

“Since Des moved here, we got to know [her and Chris] pretty well,” Jason said.

“There was a huge gap of couples not staying together and now everyone is,” Molly said.

The special briefly highlighted a lesser known “Bachelor” couple.  DeAnna Pappas, the season four Bachelorette, only lasted a few months with fiancé Jesse Csincsak before calling off their engagement. 

Luckily, she became good friends with Michael Stagliano, a contestant on Jillian Harris’ season of “The Bachelorette,” who introduced DeAnna to his twin brother, Stephen.  DeAnna and Stephen were married in 2011.

The special also caught up with former Bachelorette Ashley Hebert and her husband of one year, J.P. Rosenbaum.

 “It feels like we’ve been together for 25 years,” Ashley said. “Since our wedding we’ve been living a really normal life.  We hopped right back into our everyday reality.”

Ashley and J.P. settled into Princeton, N.J.—a halfway point between J.P.’s construction managing job in New York City and Ashley’s dental residency in Philadelphia—but J.P. said the plan is to move closer to Manhattan when Ashley is done…then comes a baby.

“I want babies right now,” Ashley said grinning. “I have baby fever.”

Trista and Ryan Sutter, the oldest Bachelorette couple, renewed their wedding vows for their anniversary, which aired during the special.   Ryan also surprised his wife with a diamond ring.   The ceremony took place at a restaurant near where they live in Colorado, to represent their current life.

“Ryan and I have been married for 10 years and we’re happier than we’ve ever been,” Trista said.

The couple have two children, ages four and six.

“I hope in the next 10 years, Trista and I continue to grow as a couple,” Ryan said.

“We’ve had rough moments where we don’t even want to be in the same room as each other, but we always come together and we make it work,” Trista said, tearing up. “We’ve been able to always rise above and always come together even if we’re going through difficulties.”

Catherine and Sean’s wedding will air live next Sunday night on ABC.

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RELATIONSHIPS: 3 Reasons Why Cheating Shouldn’t Always Be a Deal Breaker

cheating in relationship*(Via iDateDaily) – If you rounded up several couples in a room and asked them whether or not they want to be cheated on by their significant other, I’d imagine that most of them would say no.

If you take that same group of couples and asked them whether or not infidelity is a deal breaker in their relationship, you may receive a variety of responses.

Under perfect circumstances, most couples would like to avoid infidelity at any cost; but we all know life isn’t perfect. One thing we must understand is, cheating means different things to different couples.

In some relationships, cheating is defined as intimacy that involves penetration, which means oral sεx, kissing, and/or going to dinner with someone else are not considered cheating. In other relationships, the aforementioned permissible actions are forbidden. While there are many reasons that people should leave a significant other for cheating, there are also reasons why couples shouldn’t leave.

  1. You’re dismantling the family structure: Thousands of families have been ripped apart because one parent’s feelings were hurt after they were cheated on by the other parent. Having children isn’t a death sentence and they don’t live with you forever, so what does it hurt to keep the relationship together for the kids? You do understand that your kid(s) didn’t ask to be born, right? Most adults pretend to have their children’s best interest at heart, but when their children’s other parent upsets them, time and time again the disgruntled parent’s ego overhauls their selfless thinking and turns them into extremely selfish beings. Your children don’t have to know what mommy and daddy are doing behind closed doors, so if mommy and daddy decide to have sεx with other people while living under the same roof, whose business is it?

Get the other 2 reasons at iDateDaily.

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Your 2014 dating resolutions

It should come as no surprise that the dating site Match.com typically sees a 25 to 30 percent increase in new membership registrations between Dec. 26 and Feb. 14. After all, that’s when the whole New Year’s resolution thing kicks in, and many singles resolve to improve their relationship game, big-time. So we checked in with dating experts to see how exactly you can improve your dating success in 2014. Here’s how to get the ball rolling . . . now that it’s officially dropped.

4 Things You Should Resolve Not To Do

1. Don’t use demanding language in your profile. The whole “must love dogs” or “must watch ‘Girls’ ” thing? Not cool. You may think you’re being jokey, but it makes you seem demanding and rigid — and people will wonder what else they’d have to do if they date you.

2. Don’t talk about previous online dating disasters on the date. It may seem like an easy conversation topic, since you both have the shared experience of dating online. But actually, talking about the time your date spilled red wine on you could make him or her freeze up and feel generally uncomfortable (a k a, good luck scoring date number two).

3. Don’t schedule the next date at the end of your current date. When you actually like someone, it’s tempting to lock down the next hang session ASAP before your date gets the chance to scurry away. But honestly, that makes you look desperate. Plus, what if you get home and realize you don’t like your date after all?

4. Don’t start a message off saying, “I can’t believe I’m doing this, but . . . ” Fact of the matter is, you are doing it — and so is the other person! So own it. Plus, being awkward about it may come across as degrading, as the other person may have absolutely no problem accepting the fact that he or she is on the prowl.

4 Things You Should Resolve To Do

1. Send more messages. Online dating is a sheer numbers game. The more notes you send out, the more likely you’ll find a match. Aim for 10 a week. That also makes it easier not to care when one of your prospects disappears — onto the next!

2. Refresh your pictures. This one’s a biggie. When you keep the same photos on your profile, people might pass right over you if they’ve seen your pictures before. But if you update your page as often as possible, you’ll exude the “new guy/girl” effect more often — and will probably get more messages as a result.

3. Try more than one site. Lots of people peg themselves as “only OkCupid” people, or “Tinder or bust” people. But there are different kinds of daters on each site, so to really open yourself up to more options, try using more than one at a time.

4. Splurge on specific first and second date outfits. It’s not just a vanity thing. This harkens back to the adage “when you look good, you feel good.” Invest in some quality pieces that you know make you look awesome, and it’ll be easier than ever to bust out your A game.

Experts: Christine Hassler, author of “20-Something, 20-Everything”; Emily Morse, sex and relationship expert and host of the “Sex with Emily” podcast on iTunes; Tracey Steinberg, dating coach and author of “Flirt for Fun & Meet the One”; Janis Spindel, matchmaker and author of “Get Serious About Getting Married: 365 Proven Ways to Find Love In Less Than One Year”; and Jennifer Oikle, PhD, dating coach at meet yourmateonline.com

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