The Dating and Relationship Blog

Facebook Is Blocking Ads From A Bunch Of Dating Sites Until AFTER Valentine's Day

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Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook has temporarily blocked some dating sites from advertising on the site if they are new to the social network, the company tells Business Insider. According to an email from the Facebook ad sales force to a frustrated ad client, the dating sites won't be able to advertise on Facebook until after Valentine's Day.

Kyle McGinnis, the CEO of one of the blocked dating sites, says his ads ran for months on Facebook and were only recently bumped from the site.

Facebook confirmed the temporary ban on new dating ads to Business Insider, saying  users had complained about seeing too many of them:

We recently updated our policy to require human review for ads for online dating services. We got a lot of negative feedback from people about many of these ads, and in some cases they violated various policies. To keep the quality of ads on Facebook high, we are not currently accepting new online dating advertisers.

But McGinnis, who runs HiDine, a dating site for people who like restaurants, believes Facebook is biased in favor of bigger dating sites with larger ad budgets. HiDine said in a press release:

By giving preference to bigger dating sites that can pay more for ad space, Facebook is edging out smaller competitors. For months before the holidays, McGinnis had multiple ads running on the social network. Suddenly, Facebook stopped accepting payment and disapproved previously-approved ads.

"I am deeply disappointed in Facebook's decision. I'm not sure how or why my status as an approved advertiser was changed. I'm also sorry to hear they can accept new partners only after Valentine's Day," said McGinnis.

McGinnis says he had been running ads for HiDine on Facebook for a while, but only recently was rejected. When he complained, just before Christmas, he received an email from Facebook that said, "... you must have prior authorization from Facebook in order to buy dating ads on Facebook. We are not currently accepting new partners at this time, but we expect to open applications for new advertisers by February 15, 2014." (See the full text of the emails below.)

Feb. 15 is, of course, about 24 hours too late for any dating site worth its salt.

Part of the problem here is that Facebook is very sensitive to complaints from its users. Although anyone can advertise on Facebook, the company wants those ads to be as useful and relevant as possible. It's also struggling with ad "load," meaning that it doesn't want to overwhelm users with too many ads.

The policy appears to imply that facebook will only accept ads from dating sites that come through Facebook's ad sales team, and not through campaigns bought via Facebook's automated plug-and-play Ads API system, which only requires a credit card.

Here's the banned HiDine ad:

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HiDine Facebook


Here are the emails between HiDine and Facebook:


-----Original Message-----
From: kyle.mcginnis@[REDACTED].com
Subject: Why wasn't my ad approved?

What was your ad disapproved for?: image

Please describe your question related to your ad that wasn't approved: I have been using these ads for months and I think this is a mistake that they are being disapproved at this time.  I have several campaigns going with these images so please let me know how I can get them approved.  Thank you!

Please paste the URL of the ad that wasn't approved below: [REDACTED]

Email Address: kyle.mcginnis@[REDACTED].com

Please submit the email/notification you received about why the ad wasn't approved: facebook


Hi Kyle,

One or more of the ads you set up do not meet our guidelines and has been disapproved.

Please check your Ads Manager and edit any ads that have been disapproved. You will only pay for any actual impressions or clicks your ad receives.

Disapproved Ad

HiDine - dating for foodies!

The exclusive dating site for foodies where women are taken out to their favorite restaura...


It looks like you submitted an ad for a dating service through one of our self-service advertising tools.

Unfortunately, ads for dating sites and apps are only allowed from approved advertisers at this time.

If you’ve read the guidelines in the Help Center and think your ad follows the rules and should have been approved, please let us know.

If you'd like to advertise your dating service on Facebook, please follow this link to learn more.

For more information, please read our Terms of Use and Advertising Guidelines.


The Facebook Ads Team


From: The Facebook Ads Team
Date: Sun, Dec 22, 2013 at 3:08 AM
Subject: Re: Why wasn't my ad approved?
To: kyle.mcginnis@[REDACTED].com

Hi Kyle,

We've recently updated our Advertising Guidelines for dating sites and apps.

To ensure a positive experience for everyone on Facebook, ads for dating sites and apps are only allowed from approved advertisers through a direct sales partnership. We hope this change will help encourage greater accountability and maintain the quality of dating-related advertising on Facebook.

This means that you must have prior authorization from Facebook in order to buy dating ads on Facebook. We are not currently accepting new partners at this time, but we expect to open applications for new advertisers by February 15, 2014.



Facebook Ads Team

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‘Emotion-traces’ from the past may affect present relationships

When we interact with others, we experience those interactions with a mix of feelings new and old.

By “old” I mean that emotions from long-standing relationships (like family) live on in our brain/mind as emotion-traces.

At times, these emotion-traces strongly affect our current interactions with others, but we may not always be aware of their influence. One way to become aware of them is to notice when we’re having powerful feelings.

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples where individuals are having a stronger reaction to another person than seems warranted. We’ll start with Jerry.

Jerry emails his friend, Don, asking for his help.

When Don does not write back, Jerry gives up, feeling hurt and angry.

Jerry tells me that the situation reminds him of something that happened when he was younger.

He remembers taking over a lawn-mowing job from a friend but not being able to get the mower started. When he asked his friend and his dad for help, neither would.

Jerry felt incompetent, hiding out alone in his room and embarrassed he couldn’t start the mower. Then, as now, he felt hurt and angry when he couldn’t get help, and his embarrassment made him give up.

As we talk, Jerry sees the present situation differently — he realizes that what is happening now with Don is different from what happened when he was a child, even though his feelings are very similar.

This is key — when the feelings you have now are similar to ones in the past, you are much more likely to assume the situation is the same when it may be very different.

After we talk, Jerry calls Don, discovers Don’s email was out, and Jerry gets the help he needs.

It’s not just unpleasant feelings from the past that remain important. Let’s consider Amy’s situation.

Amy, a woman in her 20s, is learning cello and loves playing. This surprises her because she thought she “wasn’t musical.”

Amy’s idea that she has no musical aptitude comes from her five years of piano lessons with a very stern teacher, a woman Amy always felt was exasperated with her and critical of her playing.

Her cello teacher is a very lively woman who readily praises Amy, who realizes that the cello teacher reminds her of her beloved nanny — an animated woman who repeatedly told Amy that if she worked hard at something she would be good at it and enjoy it.

Past (“old”) relationships that have been emotionally important to us, whether they were friendly or hostile, influence the way we experience present (“new”) ones.

Having prior relationship experiences that were generally positive and welcoming ease us into having warm and positive present-day interactions.

Past relationships that were hurtful or harmful will — if we aren’t aware — limit our potential for creating positive current relationships.

But don’t lose hope — if you know that your present feelings about others are influenced by the past, you can better separate the past from the present, freeing yourself to enjoy the relationships you have now.

Tony Hacker, Ph.D., is a Seattle area psychologist who sees individuals and couples in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. Email:

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Bernhard Langer, Fred Couples tied for Champions Tour lead – USA TODAY

AP 1:23 a.m. EST January 19, 2014

Fred Couples warms his hands on the 18th green of TPC Harding Park during the final round of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship Champions Tour golf tournament Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013, in San Francisco. Couples won the tournament by six strokes after shooting a 2-under-par 69 to finish at total 17-under-par.(Photo: Eric Risberg, AP)

Story Highlights

  • Bernhard Langer and Fred Couples are tied for the Misubishi Electric Championship lead
  • Mark O'Meara is one stroke back of Langer and Couples
  • Langer and O'Meara tied the tournament record with 6-under 30s on the front nine

KAUPULEHU-KONA, Hawaii (AP) — Bernhard Langer and Fred Couples broke away with birdies on the 17th to top the leaderboard going into Sunday's final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.

Facing benign conditions for the 35th season opener for the Champions Tour, Langer shot an 8-under 64 to get to 14 under for the tournament. Couples caught him with his second straight 65.

Mark O'Meara was just one stroke back of the leaders. O'Meara was 7 under after seven holes and finished with a 65.

David Frost, who lost to John Cook in a playoff here last year, pulled into contention with a 64. Frost one-putted 10 times.

Cook is two back and shares fourth with Jeff Sluman (66) and Steve Elkington (67). First-round leader Rocco Mediate was 1 over on the back nine and fell into a tie for seventh with Tom Lehman (66) at 11 under.

Langer and O'Meara tied the tournament record with 6-under 30s on the front nine. Langer two-putted three of the par 5s for birdies and sank a 30-footer at No. 8. His other birdie putts were inside 12 feet until he drained a 15-footer at the 17th. Couples caught him with a 20-footer on the same hole.

Couples, 54, is one of nine World Golf Hall of Famers in the 41-player field featuring major champions from the last five years, other tournament winners in the last two seasons and sponsor invitees. Couples has won nine senior events since 2010, including the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in November. He has two top-five finishes here the last four years.

But even he doesn't have any idea of how low he will have to go to win at a pristine Hualalai Course with barely any wind.

"The scores here are crazy every year," Couples said. "To be honest, the only time I pay attention is Sunday when I'm done."

Couples had 10 top-10s in 15 starts last year. Langer hasn't finished outside the top 10 since July, but the last of his 18 senior wins came in April.

"There is definitely frustration," he said, "especially because I was leading almost every week at some point. I'm ready for more wins, hopefully."

Langer, who won his fifth money title last year, injured his thumb Thursday and had to drop out of the Pro-Am. He is 33 under in his last six rounds at Hualalai, while Couples is 31 under.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Bernhard Langer, Fred Couples Share Lead in Hualalai – Golf Channel

KAUPULEHU-KONA, Hawaii - Bernhard Langer and Fred Couples broke away with birdies on the 17th to top the leaderboard going into Sunday's final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. Facing benign conditions for the 35th season open...

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Building Faces Wrecking Ball. So Does Couples’ Friendship. – New York Times

The architects Ricardo Scofidio and Liz Diller, left, urged razing the American Folk Art Museum building, which was designed by another architect duo, their longtime friends Billie Tsien and Tod Williams, right. Left, Joe Fornabaio for The NYT; right, Chester Higgins Jr./The NYT

As in any fight between longtime friends, there are raw emotions, tarnished memories, tears.

And now, silence.

Two celebrated architect couples, whose careers took off almost simultaneously in the hothouse of New York City design and who supported each other’s successes, are barely on speaking terms.

One pair, Billie Tsien and Tod Williams, designed the former home of the American Folk Art Museum on West 53rd Street; the other, Liz Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, just recommended demolishing it as part of their plan to expand the Museum of Modern Art next door.

Both built reputations for sophisticated design and sensitive urban planning. And now, fate has led them to a personal and professional breaking point.

Architects say they cannot recall an instance when one set of architects took down another’s celebrated building just a few years after it went up.

Pennsylvania Station, Yankee Stadium and 2 Columbus Circle were all noteworthy buildings demolished by people re-envisioning the future. But the designers of those buildings were long dead.

“It’s been a subject of discussion among every single person who’s involved in architecture,” said Karen Stein, an architectural consultant. “It’s hard to think of an analogous situation.”

In architectural circles, the debate has gone beyond a discussion of the personal relationships to questions of design integrity, of form versus function and the conflicts that can arise when aesthetic concerns confront a client’s pragmatic interests.

Some say Ms. Diller, Mr. Scofidio and their partner, Charles Renfro, should have turned the commission down, or at least found a way to retain the Folk Art’s textured bronze facade. Others disdain that as “facadism,” suggest the building’s interior was too quirky to be repurposed and say few architects would have begged off a high-profile commission to help remake MoMA’s high church of contemporary and Modern art.

“It’s a no-win situation,” said the architect Peter Eisenman, who had Mr. Williams as a student at Princeton. “Accepting the job made it difficult for them to do anything but what they did.”

That the two couples were friends, dined together, traveled to Africa together and shared similar histories — both pairs met their spouses through architecture and then became professional partners — only makes it that much more complicated.

“We’re all torn about this,” said the architect Marc Kushner. “We don’t know which side to land on.”

Although the couples have occasionally competed for the same commissions, there had never been evidence of professional jealousy between them.

Both have prestigious projects on their résumés. Diller Scofidio & Renfro handled the overhaul of Lincoln Center, created a new home for the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and collaborated on the High Line. Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects designed the new Barnes Foundation museum, Asia Society’s Hong Kong headquarters and the skating rink in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

Designing the new Barnes was also controversial because the museum in Philadelphia replaced the original in Merion, Pa., a move that many said violated the wishes of the museum’s founder.

“It’s delicious irony that the architects who needlessly pressed their personalities onto the ‘re-creation’ of the building to house the Barnes Foundation collection now protest the decision to demolish their museum,” said Jay Raymond, a former teacher at the Barnes and a litigant against the move.

Many architects say they were shocked by Diller Scofidio’s demolition proposal, given the firm’s reputation for creative interventions with historic properties like Lincoln Center.

“All of us who knew them thought this was going to be pretty much a slam dunk — that they would save the Folk Art Museum,” said Peter Wheelwright, a former chairman of the architecture program at Parsons, the New School for Design. “I knew they were capable of doing it and that, because of their friendship, that they would make a sincere, genuine, wholehearted effort.”

MoMA acquired the Folk Art building in 2011 after that institution defaulted on its construction debt. The building, just 10 years old at the time, had won its share of design awards. Last spring, MoMA announced a plan to raze it, arguing that the existing design was unsuitable as a connection between MoMA’s original building and galleries in a Jean Nouvel-designed tower planned for the other side of the Folk Art building. Many objected and MoMA then hired Diller Scofidio to re-examine the situation.

“I never thought it would be easy,” Ms. Diller said in an interview. “We stepped into harm’s way with the expectation that we would figure out a way of saving the day.”

But after six months of study, the firm came to the same conclusion as MoMA.

Any effort to reconfigure the existing building, Diller Scofidio determined, would require changing it beyond recognition and to preserve the facade alone would be an empty gesture. “In the end, we realized that the degree of disfigurement to the building would be of no good to the architects,” Ms. Diller said, “and the level of compromise to the program would be of no good to MoMA.”

Other architects balked at that reasoning.

“That building is a facade,” said the architect Alexander Gorlin. “To say, ‘If you can’t save the whole building, you can’t save any part,’ is disingenuous.”

Ms. Diller and Mr. Scofidio told Ms. Tsien and Mr. Williams of their conclusions in a recent wrenching conference call. Ms. Diller would not discuss the conversation or the current rift.

Ms. Tsien and Mr. Williams similarly said they had nothing to add to a statement they released on Jan. 8 objecting to MoMA’s decision.

Some architects say it would have been difficult for Ms. Diller and Mr. Scofidio to contradict a client that had already expressed an interest in demolishing the building or to refuse the assignment. “Every architect would say, ‘I’d love to get my hands on that project,’” said the architect Richard Gluckman. “I don’t think there’s a good architect in this world who wouldn’t take the challenge to investigate.”

Others say they should have declined the commission because it was so fraught and they have so much other work underway.

Ms. Diller said the decision about what to do with the Folk Art building was never a fait accompli and her firm felt a responsibility to help MoMA rethink its future.

“To walk away would have been unethical,” she said. “You have to try to do something special with the site, something that contributes to the public good or the cultural good.”

Henry Smith-Miller, an architect who studied with Mr. Williams at Princeton, said the fallout resembled “Greek drama.”

“You have friends who find themselves in opposition,” he said. “It’s a terrible tragedy.”

A version of this article appears in print on January 19, 2014, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Building Faces Wrecking Ball. So Does Couples’ Friendship.. Order Reprints|Today's Paper|Subscribe

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Take Your Networking to the Next Level: Build Actual Relationships

Too many job seekers miss the mark on what networking is all about. You have heard over and over that networking is about building relationships with people who can provide you with information, advice and contacts to help you find the right role in your job search. The trick is to focus on the long-term endgame; meaning that you should concentrate on building the relationships first, so that your contacts will be more inclined to help you meet new, useful connections or inform you of positions that become open before they are advertised.

Job seekers need to ask themselves, "What am I actually doing with my network?" Are you getting to know and utilize your contacts in the best way possible, or simply building a Rolodex of strangers?

Here are five major networking mistakes for job seekers to avoid:

Problem #1: Not Engaging on LinkedIn

Often, people collect business cards at a conference and later connect with their new contacts on LinkedIn. This is a good start; but are you actually engaging with your connections after they've accepted your invitation? Keep in mind that although you might not need their help when you first connect, you may in the future. If you do not take the time to get to know or interact with your new contact online, the connection may not be inclined to stick their neck out when you actually need their assistance. Do the work upfront, and you will see the return in spades.

Relationship Building Fix: For new LinkedIn contacts, compose a personal note mentioning why you want to connect with them, reiterate something they said when you first met or offer to help them with a challenge they might be experiencing. This practice shows interest in them — and not just how connecting benefits you.

Problem #2: Too Strong a Focus on You Instead of Them

Taking into consideration that people are very busy with their jobs, job seekers often want to jump right in and tell new contacts everything about themselves at the onset. Then, if there's time, they might ask more about their contact. But networking is really about finding ways to make your contacts useful to you, without requiring them to put in too much effort. To do that, you need to know as much about your contact as possible — you can tell them about yourself when the time comes.

Relationship Building Fix: Reverse the order, and first ask the contact about himself; show interest with active listening skills. Ask them how they got started in their career and praise them for their efforts and accomplishments. Remember to use their name throughout the conversation. Come prepared and know how you want the contact to help you. At the end of the meeting, make sure you thank them and ask, "Is there anything I can do for you?"

You may even consider sending a handwritten note, thanking them for their help, and enclosing a $5 gift card for a cup of coffee. First impressions matter, and in our digital age, handwritten anything shows that you're going the extra mile.

Problem #3: Following Up Without Offering Anything in Return

Many times, a new contact won't be able to provide desired information immediately upon request. Instead, he or she might say, "I will get back to you in X number of days." Now that the stated amount of time has passed, you still haven't heard back. So what's the next step? What do you think will increase your chances of getting the information as soon as possible? Are you following up with your network to give or receive? If the answer is exclusively to receive, you may want to re-evaluate.

Relationship Building Fix: In order to build strong relationships with people you meet via networking, it takes more than one interaction. Instead of asking for specific information upfront, try first sending them an article related to their area of business, messaging them a link to a website you want to share or telling them how you took action on something you discussed in your meeting. Don't even ask for the information during the first follow up; wait until the second interaction to mention your request.

Problem #4: Not Putting in the Necessary Time or Effort

Building a strong, useful professional relationship with a new contact doesn't happen overnight, but a job seeker who is out of work needs to find a job quickly — which can lead to a conundrum. Relationship building does take time (especially if you are not particularly good at it), but it is ultimately the most effective way to find a job. By not creating professional networks or relationships, your job search will take that much longer.

Relationship Building Fix: If you have not spent time building relationships during your career, start by reading the best book about relationship building of all time: Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, which is still one of the most widely read books today on this topic. Meet with people who you know are really good at building connections, and ask them for three tips on what makes them successful. Start with people you know, and become committed to building upon the relationships you already have. You will be amazed at the results.

Problem #5: Linking Up With Everyone Who Asks to Connect

Relationships are about people you know and trust who you can rely upon to help you when you need them. Relationship building is not about quantity, but rather about quality. Would you prefer to know your first connections extremely well, or barely remember where you met them? Do you have real relationships with all of your first-level contacts?

Relationship Building Fix: LinkedIn has made it easy to build a network of hundreds of people without ever meeting them face-to-face. Does your LinkedIn profile reflect the more human side of you? Consider peppering your LinkedIn profile with information such as your interests, the causes you care about and promote, organizations that you belong to, volunteer work and recommendations from people who can vouch for the head and heart of who you are. Share what you are doing or the events you're attending with your LinkedIn connections. When someone asks to meet you, knowing what their interests are will help develop rapport in the beginning of your relationship.

That being said, use your contacts wisely, and connect only with people you actually know. Focusing on making those connections as strong and valuable as possible will likely pay off in the long run.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Mashable Job Board Listings

The Mashable Job Board connects job seekers across the U.S. with unique career opportunities in the digital space. While we publish a wide range of job listings, we have selected a few job opportunities from the past two weeks to help get you started. Happy hunting!

Image: Flickr; Ed Yourdon
Jayne Mattson

Jayne Mattson is Senior Vice President of Keystone Associates, specializes in helping mid-to-senior level individuals in new career exploration, networking strategies and career decisions based on corpor...More

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Online dating is hard enough. Try doing it with a disability | Timothy Sykes

online dating hearts on keyboard

The online dating industry is worth an estimated £2bn, but it doesn't cater well to those with disabilities. Photograph: Alamy

After nearly four years of being single, I decided that I wanted to meet someone romantically. Instead of waiting for love to find me, as people often suggest, I decided to do what so many do these days: try online dating. I chose I started looking at some of the available profiles and I eventually found someone that sparked my interest, so I sent a message introducing myself and asking more about them.

Receiving a reply from someone who is romantically interested in you can be a strong and positive feeling, especially since most of us, especially men, are familiar with embarrassing ourselves when asking someone out on a date. Starting any relationship is complicated, but it's all the more so for those of us with disabilities.

I have Dypraxia, an autistic spectrum disorder similar to all-body Dyslexia. It's not something that would be visible in photos or any other part of a typical online dating profile unless I disclosed it. When I finally met someone I liked, I was torn about when to admit my disability. I wanted them to accept me for who I was, but worried that she might dismiss me out of hand once she knew. In the end, I told the woman the truth because my disability, or rather, fighting to end the oppression of disabled people in society, is a big part of my life. I didn't receive another message back.

Forming a romantic relationship can be difficult for anyone. For people with disabilities, it can be one of the hardest things you ever do. Most online dating websites do not ask users whether they have a disability. When it comes to meeting potential partners for the first time, it can come as a surprise if the disability has never come up in online conversation. For many disabled people, it can be embarrassing to talk about their disability so it helps if dating websites offer them the chance to say that they have a disability or ask other people whether they are willing to meet disabled people. I've certainly found that being upfront is less embarrassing than revealing this in the later stages of dating.

A few websites, such as UK Disability Match, do offer disabled people the chance to meet others like themselves. But such sites can be abused by non-disabled people with a fetish for particular kinds of disability (yes, this exists), such as amputations. It is hard to make such websites safe and comfortable for genuine users while keeping them open to non-disabled people who are looking to contact disabled people for different reasons.

For me, knowing that I have the understanding of any partner is liberating and lets me be myself. With the options available on existing dating websites, I feel exposed, vulnerable and inhibited. They aren't conducive to conveying the sensitive, caring and confident image I would like to project and limit the usability of these websites. With nearly 20% of Americans affected by a disability, such dating websites are increasingly feeling alienating and obsolete for a significant number of users.

A disability is not part of your personality. Instead, like race or sexuality, it forms part of the context in which your personality develops. Often, disabled people are stereotyped, as if we were all the same. This replicates the experience disabled people often have in the education system, where schools tend to group together children with disabilities, regardless of severity or type. This may be practical for a school, but it's often unhelpful or limiting for disabled pupils themselves. It can not only create unpleasant or very limiting experiences for disabled students, but also encourages a generalized fear of disability amongst non-disabled people, which persists even later in life.

After that first rejection, I updated my profile to include my disability. I am still receiving just as many winks and likes as I did before, but I am a lot more secure in the knowledge that people are taking an interest in me in spite of my disability. In fact, I would encourage others to be more open on their profiles. It hasn't limited my prospects in the way I initially feared it would.

I know I am not alone. Others have surely found strategies that work better than mine. Dating websites now have a lot of data on their users and how they interact, and I hope they use their expertise to better advise users, including those with disabilities, on strategies that can be helpful in building profiles and initiating conversation.

Dating sites should also consider introducing a question about mental health difficulties and whether you have had difficulties in the past. It could even be an anonymous one that doesn't show up on the profile, but helps in the algorithm many sites use that pairs people together. On disabled-specific dating websites, a profile question on why users want to meet other disabled people might be helpful to sort out why people are using the website and the type of person they hope to meet.

One of the most common bits of advice people give about dating is to "be yourself". It's what disabled people want as well, but the nature of online dating makes it more about first impressions, and some people don't give those with disabilities a chance. Some subtle changes on dating websites could create better opportunities for users to indicate if they would at least be willing to date people like me. It would help disabled people relax in the knowledge that their potential date won't judge them solely on their disability.

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What same-sex couples need to know about taxes –


Herb Weisbaum NBC News contributor

Jan. 18, 2014 at 11:44 AM ET

Something new, exciting and a bit scary is coming this tax season for some same-sex couples across the country: For the first time, they will file as “married” on their federal return.  

This new policy will simplify the process for preparing federal taxes, but it may boost some couple’s total tax liability.

Here’s the new IRS policy: If you were legally married in any state or foreign country on the last day of 2013, you are married for tax purposes. The rules only applies to couples who are legally married. The IRS does not consider domestic partnerships or civil unions to be marriages.

“This is regardless of where you now live,” said Jonathan Horn, a CPA in Manhattan and chair of a tax panel at the American Institute of CPAs. “You must file as married in 2013, even if you live in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage.”

There could be some benefits to filing this way: deductions or credits that can now be claimed. But because of the so-called “marriage penalty” — something straight couples know all about — you may wind up paying more.

“As a general rule, if there are two partners with a high income, they’ll probably see a slightly higher tax liability,” said Bob Meighan, a vice president at TurboTax. “Whereas, if one is in the low-income range and the other is the high range, they’ll probably see some benefit.”

Gregory Hullender and Eric Wong live in Seattle and work in the computer industry. They were married in November of 2013. They realize they might pay a bit more this year, but they’re not really worried about it.

Staff Sgt. Aisha McClain, left, and Shannelle Williams kiss after getting married at on Dec. 19, 2013, in Las Cruces, N.M.

Robin Zielinski / AP file

Staff Sgt. Aisha McClain, left, and Shannelle Williams kiss after getting married at on Dec. 19, 2013, in Las Cruces, N.M.

“There is something exciting about this; it makes the process complete,” Hullender said. “We will file one return this time and can stop attempting to track who owns what assets.”

And then there are state income taxes 
Same-sex marriage is not legal in a majority of states. If a gay couple was married in one state but lives in or moves to another that does not recognize their marriage, each spouse may have to file a “single” state income tax return.

“It’s a patchwork of rules out there right now,” Meighan said. “If you’re in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage, that’s good news. If not, are they going to honor the federal requirement for joint-filing or are they going to require the partners to file separately?” 

Each state gets to make up its own rules for filing state income taxes, and in some cases, those rules are still in flux. Some states have created new forms for same-sex couples to use if they file a joint federal return.

“I see a tremendous amount of confusion,” said Janis Cowhey McDonagh, co-leader of the LGBT Practice group at the accounting firm Marcum, LLP. “People don’t understand what their state requires, even if it recognizes their marriage. And things keep changing, so there’s a lot to keep up with.”

For example, a federal judge recently overturned Utah’s ban on same-sex marriages. A later ruling blocked that decision until it could be appealed by the state. Between those two rulings, more than 1,000 same-sex couples married in Utah.

Last week, Utah’s governor sent out a memo that said, “State recognition of same-sex marital status is ON HOLD until further notice.”

But U.S. Attorney General Eric holder said the federal government will recognize those marriages, so those Utah couples married by December 31 will file as married on their federal return.

Related: Feds side with same-sex couples in Utah

Taking a look at past returns
Couples who have been married in a state that recognized gay marriages before 2013 should look at their prior returns to see if they should refile them.

“You’re not obligated to amend prior returns, but some couples might find that it’s beneficial. You can do that for three years,” explained Annette Nellen, director of the graduate tax program at San Jose State University. “For example, if two years ago, one spouse had a big capital gain and the other had a big capital loss, they can amend that year's returns — to change to a joint return — and use the loss against the gain.”

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Herb Weisbaum is The ConsumerMan. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter or visit The ConsumerMan website.

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Do Relationships Really Need To Be A Lot Of Work?

By Blair Glaser for

A client came to me distraught.

He had been struggling in his relationship. His fiancée was non-responsive to his needs. She was consumed with and depressed about a touchy situation at work and wanted to stay home, enjoy take-out and watch TV, preferably with but even without him. He accepted this for a few weeks, but it had been dragging on for months.

He tried to coax her into fun. He tried talking to her about getting focused on the wedding plans, but she wasn't very responsive to his enthusiasm. Eventually, he would get frustrated with the situation and they would have a fight. This drove her further into withdrawal. Then, the cycle would repeat.

He confessed to his mother about having serious doubts about the relationship. His mother told him, "Relationships are a lot of work."

This is a popular belief that holds some truth: Relationships can be a lot of work, especially when they're in transition. Whether it's a transition phase for the relationship as a whole, or for the individuals in them, these times tend to stir up drama and are ripe for sorting things through. Some examples of relationship transitions are:

  • The testing period after the relationship becomes "real," 3-6 months after falling in love
  • After moving in together and/or getting engaged
  • The first year of marriage
  • The birth of a child, etc.

Examples of transitions sparked by one partner within a relationship are:

  • Location changes
  • Major success or failure
  • Major loss: job, parent, etc.

This couple had a double whammy: the relationship was in a transition at the same time the woman was in one.

The work that's required in these times is about sorting through expectations and setting up the appropriate structures that will help each partner get their own needs met while attending to the needs of the team. A relationship that's too much work, i.e., filled with disharmony, fighting and processing about the relationship for a prolonged period of time, has probably crossed a line that has not been articulated, and something is not working that may never work.

People begin relationships with conscious or unconscious deal-breakers and non-negotiables in mind: "I can't be with a smoker;" "I need someone who is financially solvent." But living with someone can reveal non-negotiables you didn't know you had.

Once a non-negotiable has been articulated — for this man it was being with someone who wanted to withdraw for extended periods of time — it's time to take a stand and put structures in place that will shift the dysfunction and enable your relationship to be about something other than suffering and hard work. Or, it could be time to make a break.

It's a big risk to tell your beloved that you've found a deal-breaker in the midst of an established relationship. But consider the alternatives.

It is also an act of leadership. If he risks sharing his deal-breaker with his fiancée, it gives her an opportunity to do some real work on herself and join him in love.

Does a relationship need to be a lot of work? Unless you're the type who likes to work on yourself and your relationship all the time, I say no. Transition phases should be temporary and ultimately strengthen the couple as a team, and give way to the joy and camaraderie that brought the couple together.

How does this resonate with you? Join the conversation and tell me about it in the comments.

I explore these ideas further in my Relationship as Team Series. For information on how to work with me as a couple, please visit

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  • Relationships Can Help Boost Cancer Survival ...

    <a href="" target="_blank">A just-published study</a> published in the <em>Journal of Clinical Oncology</em> suggests that marriage may help improve cancer survival rates. According to the findings, men and women who were married were about 20 percent less likely to die of cancer during the three-year study period, regardless of how advanced the disease was (although it's worth noting that the benefits appeared to be stronger for men). The "why" isn't clear, and the study does not establish cause and effect, but researchers hypothesize that having someone who cares for you and who helps you understand your diagnosis might be behind the connection. And it's not the first study to show a link; <a href="" target="_blank">a paper published in November 2012 </a>found that socially isolated women were more likely to die of breast cancer than their counterparts with close social ties.

  • ... And They Can Help You Cope With Cancer.

    Last spring, the same researchers who looked at how social ties may influence breast cancer survival published a study that found that breast cancer patients who regularly have positive social interactions -- and who have strong support overall -- are better able to deal with the associated emotional stress and pain <a href="" target="_blank">of cancer</a>. "Social support helps with physical symptoms," study researcher Candyce Kroenke, an investigator with Kaiser Permanent's Division of Research said <a href="" target="_blank">in a statement</a>.

  • Being Social Can Combat Cognitive Decline ...

    <a href="" target="_blank">As <em>Time</em> reports</a>, a 2011 study that followed a group of more than 1,000 older adults, (whose average age was roughly 80) found that the most social seniors had a 70 percent reduction in their rates of cognitive decline over several years, versus their least social counterparts.<a href="" target="_blank"> According to <em>Time,</em> </a>the same team of researchers previously found that sociability also decreased the likelihood of becoming physically disabled.

  • ... And Strong Social Ties Can Boost Longevity.

    A 2010 review of roughly 150 studies measuring the frequency of human interaction and health outcomes, found that having strong social connections can improve a person's odds of survival by 50 percent. Conversely, so-called "low social interaction" was found to be more harmful than not exercising, twice as harmful as obesity, and the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day <a href="" target="_blank">Psych Central reported</a>. Why? “When someone is connected to a group and feels responsibility for other people, that sense of purpose and meaning translates to taking better care of themselves and taking fewer risks,” one of the study authors told that publication.

  • Friends Can Help You Lose Weight.

    When it comes to relationships and weight, the overall picture is a bit complicated: Some studies suggest that <a href="" target="_blank">women are likely to gain weight after getting married</a>. But as <em><a href="" target="_blank">The Daily News</a></em> reports, a 2012 study found that friendships can influence weight in more positive ways. High school students were more likely to lose weight, or gain it at a slower rate, if they had a slimmer group of friends. However, that same study also found the opposite to be true: students with friends heavier than they were were more likely to gain weight. What we take away from this is that surrounding yourself with people who have healthy lifestyle habits can help you emulate them. Worry less about how small or large your waistline is, and more about using your social connections to motivate yourself to exercise and eat well.

  • Motherhood Can Make You Act Healthier.

    <a href="" target="_blank">A BabyCenter poll</a> of more than 20,000 moms found that once women entered into motherhood, 83 percent said they ate more healthfully, or were trying to improve their diets, while 65 percent said they were exercising more (or planned to) and 69 percent said they were keeping a closer eye on their mental health. That last one is extremely important, as motherhood can also have negative effects on women's mental health, namely, through postpartum depression. According to the <a href="" target="_blank">Centers for Disease Control and Prevention</a>, between 8 and 19 percent of women report experiencing frequent postpartum depression symptoms.

  • Marriage Can Help Your Heart (In More Ways Than One).

    <a href="" target="_blank">As LiveScience reports,</a> a preliminary study presented last August found a link between marriage and reduced cardiovascular risk factors, like high blood pressure, among women specifically. And the longer the marriage, the bigger the benefits appeared to be: Every 10 years of continuous marriage was tied to a 13 percent decrease in cardiovascular risk, <a href="" target="_blank">LiveScience explains</a>.

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Treasure Your Relationships: They Are The Currency Of Any Culture

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How Culture Controls Communication Carol Kinsey GomanCarol Kinsey Goman Contributor
Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the past five years, one of the more consistent criticisms leveled at  U.S. President Barack Obama is his inability to build relationships—both domestically and abroad. This lack has resulted in political standoffs and divisiveness here in the U.S. that shut down the government on several occasions and has led to unfortunate misunderstandings about the country’s motives and resolve on a variety of issues throughout the world.

Whether due to ideology or inexperience, it’s become all too clear that Mr. Obama has demonstrated a dismaying flaw in his leadership style. Most successful leaders will agree, maintaining strong personal relationships is the key long-term success on any level. Over the course of my career, I found this truism demonstrated time and again.

A case in point: For nearly 20 years, “Mohammed” had been a friend and business partner. We had shared journeys, meals and considerable profits while weathering dozens of the disagreements that accompany any successful relationship. Our association had begun when Mohammed, a successful entrepreneur in the Middle East, decided to build a hotel and needed the management expertise we at Marriott International could provide.  Then came the day in 2009 when he glared at me and hissed, “Your company will be dead to me when you retire.” Given our long history, his outburst was a shock.

As my crisis with Mohammed demonstrated, even after years spent developing trust and confidence, a relationship can be damaged in one disagreeable moment. Our falling out had its start in a financial dispute between Mohammed and his partners and our neutral stance in the matter.

In subsequent visits, I took pains to assure Mohammed of our respect and admiration and told him we had considered a variety of possible solutions. Nevertheless, he remained frustrated by his predicament, and he eventually told me that the real issue was our refusal to unquestionably take his side in the quarrel. The depth of our relationship was the only thing that kept the partnership from breaking apart. Eventually, the dispute found resolution, but the need to ditch the desk and maintain the relationship remained.

Solid relationships are not formed overnight, however; and they are defined by culture and community. Different values and customs can sometimes make genuine connections difficult to build and maintain.

A strong connection may begin with untold hours of dining together and mingling at social events. But to reinforce a productive relationship you need to demonstrate fairness and evenhandedness. It’s hard work but the rewards of getting out from behind your desk and making the effort to build strong relationships face-to-face are many.

Over coming months, I’ll discuss other situations in which maintaining strong relationships saved the day.

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Facebook 'relationships guy' courts Hollywood, media in new push

By Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Beyonce fans got a big surprise at midnight on December 13, when the pop star announced her new album from out of the blue.

Just as surprising was her decision to announce the album by posting a 15-second video on Instagram, the Facebook-owned online photo-and-video sharing service.

The exclusive announcement - virtually unheard of for a recording artist of that caliber - was a coup for Facebook, which has been upstaged by younger rival Twitter Inc as the go-to online forum for celebrities, sports and news.

Potentially billions of dollars in television advertising are at stake as consumers increasingly turn to social networks to stay abreast of the latest news and entertainment. Twitter and Facebook both are wooing advertisers with video ad platforms and trying to hold off mobile communications startups like WhatsApp and SnapChat, which have lured many younger users.

Leading the Facebook charge is Dan Rose, vice president of partnerships, acquisitions chief, and architect of some of the social network's key deals during his eight years there.

Rose maintains a low profile compared with Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder, and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, whose "Lean In" book on women in business was a cause celebre. A surfer, Rose has a reputation as calm, friendly but persistent at the 5,800-employee company.

Previously at, the 42-year-old Rose helped launch the Kindle reader and nail down deals with publishers.

When Facebook's stock was beaten down in the wake of its IPO in May 2012, Rose told an all-staff meeting that Amazon plowed through the turbulence of its early years by ignoring the "noise" around it and focusing on long term goals, a person who was present at the meeting said.

His approach has helped Rose find common ground in sometimes tricky relationships. He was instrumental in three years of talks to win Apple Inc permission in 2012 for Facebook to tap directly into iPhone features like pictures, as well as a 2006 advertising pact with Microsoft Corp which a year later made a seminal investment in the young company.

Now Rose is spearheading the efforts to broaden the Facebook conversation, dominated by talk of friends and family, by tying up with celebrities, news organizations and other "content" providers.

People "like to see stuff from their friends, that's where Facebook started and kind of where our origin is, but they also really like to see stuff from public voices," said Rose.

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Dan Rose, Facebook's head of corporate development&nbsp;&hellip;
Dan Rose, Facebook's head of corporate development and partnerships, walks into a meeting room a …

"When that type of stuff shows up in people's newsfeeds they like it, they click on it, they comment on it, they engage with it," Rose said in an interview.

In November, Rose and Facebook product chief Chris Cox hosted a lunch at the posh Soho House club in West Hollywood with representatives of various celebrities, including Madonna, rapper Pitbull and actor Channing Tatum.

In recent months, Rose's team has also made frequent visits to broadcasters and other media organizations, preaching the virtues of Facebook and discussing potential partnerships. Facebook may soon announce a series of tie-ups with a broadcaster around some popular television shows and sporting events, a source familiar with the matter said.

"There's a lot of disconnect between Hollywood and the Valley on many different fronts. He plays a really important role," said Guy Oseary, the manager for Madonna and band U2, who was at Soho House lunch.


Analysts say Facebook's efforts to recast itself as the virtual town square for public conversations about everything from yesterday's football game to breaking news will not be easy.

"Facebook is still the place where you see friends," said Ben Schachter of Macquarie Research. Changing consumers' online habits is tough, he added.

Some media and entertainment organizations, such as the ESPN television sports network, have nearly as many followers on Twitter as they do on Facebook, even though Facebook's total audience of 1.2 billion active members is five times Twitter's. CNN and CNBC have more followers on their Twitter accounts than on Facebook.

Twitter, known for 140-character messages, has created a system for broadcasters to show video clips and ads through tweets coordinated with what is being shown on TV. In September it struck a deal with the National Football League to show video highlights of games on Twitter.

Past efforts to nudge consumers into using Facebook's social network in different ways have fizzled, from movie rentals to online shops by big retailers.

Facebook said the movie rentals were an effort that the film studios initiated on their own, and noted that the current focus on public content is aimed at better supporting user behavior that's already occurring on its social network.

Facebook users posted 20 million comments and "likes" about the opening game of the National Football League season as the match unfolded.

On Thursday, Facebook took a page from Twitter and introduced a "Trending" feature, offering a personalized list of hot discussion topics.


To cozy up to the media and entertainment industry, Rose needs to demonstrate the benefits of its social network and its massive audience, something rival Twitter has proven adept at.

"I think of it kind of like nation-state relationships, for these larger companies and these larger partnerships, where you have diplomats and ambassadors," said Rose. "The goal of those people is to find areas of mutual shared interest."

In September, Facebook began providing broadcasters with reports detailing the conversations their shows generated on the social network. And it created special tools to help programs such as ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" incorporate public comments of Facebook users into their shows.

Rose has also turned the mergers and acquisitions team, which he runs, to the project. In December, Facebook acquired Sportstream, whose technology organizes comments that sports fans post on Facebook, making it easier for sports broadcasters to discover and use some of the real-time conversations.

Then there's Instagram, the photo and video-sharing service that Facebook acquired for roughly $700 million last year, and which is popular among movie stars, athletes and other public figures.

Rose's team, including his deputy for celebrity outreach Justin Osofsky, cultivated a relationship with Beyonce for months. When she proposed the album announcement on short notice, they leapt at the opportunity.

Beyonce declined to comment on the launch of the album, a secret until the Instagram video. It sold a record 1 million copies on Apple's iTunes store in six days.

(Editing by Edwin Chan, Peter Henderson and Grant McCool)

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As legal fight plays out, same-sex couples get OK to file joint tax returns in … – CNN

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As legal fight plays out, same-sex couples get OK to file joint tax returns in ...
(CNN) -- Utah's roller coaster few weeks regarding same-sex marriage has taken yet another sharp turn, with the state tax board announcing that legally married gay and lesbian couples -- even those wed in the brief period of limbo in Utah -- can file ...
Tax Complications For Same-Sex Couples In Utah (And Elsewhere)Forbes
Utah says married same-sex couples can file joint tax returnLos Angeles Times
Utah tax officials allow joint filing for married same-sex couplesSalt Lake Tribune
Fox News
all 1,483 news articles »

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10 Ways to build good relationships at school

By Sarah Zeines / ATCNA | Yahoo South Africa News – 

How can you help your children build healthy relationships at school? According to the US National Association of School Psychologists, communication is the key.

Creating active school relationships is especially important during elementary years and affects the long term learning ability of children as well as their ability to make friends. Here, a few tips on how to create the most positive academic environment possible for a child.
How to befriend teachers
1. Introduce yourself
Look for your child’s teacher(s) at the first family night of the school year. Introduce yourself and let school staff know how to reach you. Asking for a conference early in the can help establish good relationships as well as provide an opportunity to inform teachers of any specific concerns or problems that affect your child.
2. Take initiative
Ask if there are any activities you can do at home that could help your child improve the skills learned at school. These activities might range from reading to math games or spelling exercises. Make sure your child’s behaviour is in accordance with the school's expectations. If needs be, find out how the teacher deals with problems and how you might be able to reinforce adequate behaviour at home.
How to befriend the principal
1. Have face- to-face conversations as often as possible
The school principal has to deal with a lot of parents. In order to make durable contact with him or her, face-to-face communication is the most effective strategy. Go to school events and use them as opportunities to talk.
2. Avoid defensiveness
If a sensitive issue regarding your child comes up, be willing to collaborate, not attack or defend. Parents are naturally protective of their children and tend to become defensive when a complaint comes up. Assume that the school has the child's best interests in mind and let the principal know that you appreciate and recognise the efforts that are being made.
How to befriend other parents
1. Volunteer
This can take various forms, depending on your time and skills. In order to avoid distracting your child, it is best to help out in other classes. Volunteers are often needed to assist students with their homework. Field trips or PTA meetings are also opportunities to make contact with other parents.
2. Carpool
What better way is there to get to know other parents? By driving their kids to school and vice versa, not only are you doing them a favour, you are also doing yourself one. Furthermore, these types of exchanges can lead to solid friendships.
How to help your child make friends
1. Be a behavioural coach
Impulsive behaviour is bad for friendships. In order to help children develop better self-control, psychological studies suggest that parents talk about emotions in a sympathetic way. Kids whose feelings are mocked or reprimanded tend to have trouble controlling their reactions.
2. Control kids’ social lives
Supervising children without being suffocating is a positive way of helping them chooses their friends. By avoiding “bad influences” at a young age, children are more likely to succeed in their social lives.
How to help your child deal with bullies
1. Intervene
While encouraging children to be independent is an important part of raising them, intervention is essential when it comes to bullying. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry recommends seeking help from the school’s staff or from a therapist in such cases.
2. Teach your child to be assertive
Tell your child to walk away from a bully without losing confidence and to ask for help from an adult. Encourage your child to stay with a group to minimise the likelihood of getting picked on.


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