Entries in Romance (6)


Heart Transplant Sparks Romance Between Donor’s Sister and Recipient

ABC News(SEATTLE) -- A heart transplant has sparked a romance between the donor’s sister and the recipient.

“I didn’t have any words to describe it, it was just this, you know, connection,” Erin Roberts said.

Erin’s brother, Kellen Roberts, was on a trip to Sioux Falls, S.D., when he hit his head on March 7, 2005.

The free-spirited Seattle resident, who was an organ donor, died in South Dakota.  In nearby Minneapolis, 17-year-old Connor Rabinowitz was waiting, hoping for a new heart.

“I just wish he could know how grateful I am for him,” Rabinowitz said.

The transplant was a success, and with a second chance at life, Rabinowitz said he needed to find out about the man who saved him.

When Connor and Kellen’s sister, Erin, met for the first time, they told said they fell in love instantly.

The couple shared their story with ABC News’ Seattle affiliate KOMO.

“I have it vividly in my head… just looking over, feeling her mom hug me, and just staring into her eyes,” Connor said.

For Erin, the moment was “priceless”.

“To know that a part of something you loved so much can continue on, but not just continue on in existence, but be the life force for someone else,” she said. “I don’t know if there’s any words to describe that.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


For Office Romances, New Rules Apply

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As Woody Allen, King Edward VIII and fictional philandering ad-man Don Draper could all attest, love can be dangerous. In the workplace, though, love is fraught with special peril.

That an office romance gone sour could unleash a hail of legal arrows, such as lawsuits alleging sexual harassment or discrimination, does not seem to impede coworkers from dating.

In a survey of office workers just released by CareerBuilder, 39 percent say they have dated a co-worker at least once in their career. Of those who did, 29 percent dated a higher-up; 16 percent dated their boss. Most workers said they had been open about these relationships, but 35 percent kept them secret.

Clarence Belnavis, a partner in the Portland, Ore., law office of Fisher & Phillips, counsels clients on the dangers of office romance. It's no secret why love is blooming in the office: It's where people spend most of their time, Belnavis tells ABC News. "You spend more time at work than you do sleeping. No wonder a good number of people find their significant others there," he explains.

Even so, he says, most employers don't know how to deal—or don't want to deal—with the legal issues raised by these relationships. "Very few deal with it in a proactive fashion," he says.

There is nothing illegal about love in the office, provided it's consensual and not the result of intimidation or coercion.

Nor is it illegal for a lover to show favoritism at work toward his beloved. "Paramour favoritism" is the legal term for that, says Belnavis, and courts have found it to be neither harassment nor gender discrimination, for purposes of the Civil Rights Act.

The reason, says Belnavis, is that the favoritism shown to a significant other disadvantages all other employees equally, whether they are male or female. Further, according to The Legal Intelligencer, paramour favoritism does not run afoul of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines, which permit isolated instances of preferential treatment based on consensual romantic relationships.

While the commission has ruled that favoritism shown towards a paramour may be unfair to other workers, the unfairness is based on considerations other than the gender of the disadvantaged parties.

What makes consensual office relationships problematic for employers, Belnavis says, is that consent can be withdrawn at any time.

"Today's consensual relationship," he says, "can be tomorrow's breakup disaster." Suddenly, one party's attentions are no longer welcome to the other.

Despite the danger that the jilted lover will sue, alleging, say, that the relationship was coercive and that the employer allowed it to exist, Belnavis says most employers choose not to intervene in office romances. "They feel it's taboo for them to interfere in that aspect of employees' lives," he adds.

Michael Woolley, associate general counsel for trucking company C.R. England in Salt Lake City, Utah, told the Wall Street Journal that his company does not ban in-office relationships. But when and if management learns that two employees are dating, it calls a meeting with them to discuss the situation.

In rare instances, says Woolley, the company will draft a so-called "love contract" stipulating that the relationship is consensual, and setting ground rules for the couple's behavior in the workplace. One reason love contracts are rare, he says, is that the necessary negotiations can make for awkward conversations between manager and employees.

Belnavis says he has been recommending such love contracts to his clients since 2001.

He calls them useful tools for establishing the ground rules and boundaries of an office romance. If the relationship goes sour and charges of harassment start to fly, they offer some measure of protection for management, who can cite them as proof that the relationship was consensual and that management sat the couple down and explained what standard of behavior was expected of them.

A well-drafted love contract, says Belnavis, might include some or all of the following elements: acknowledgement by the parties that a relationship exists; that it is not based on intimidation; that the employees understand the company's policies on sexual harassment and discrimination; and that they commit to keeping management informed of any changes in their relationship. It might also include a commitment not to engage in retaliation, should the romance end.

"Love contract" is a bit of a misnomer, says Belnavis, noting that nothing is bought or sold. "It's more what I would call a relationship-acknowledgement form."

He emphasizes that the document, while useful, is not a cure for relationships that are wrong by definition such as a romance between a manager and an immediate subordinate.

So how should office lovebirds who are peers comport themselves, to avoid trouble?

Rachel DeAlto, a self-described flirting and communications expert, is the author of Flirt Fearlessly, an A to Z guide to fraternization. Her list of do's and don'ts for office sweethearts includes the following four tips:

Find out what policy, if any, your office has about workplace romance: If your company forbids it, don't do it. Or, alternatively, resign: If you've found the love of your life, keep your paramour and find a job somewhere else.

If company policy permits romance but requires that you notify HR of your relationship, report it at its earliest stage.

Respect decorum: If romance is permitted, have the good taste not to rub yours in co-workers' faces. "Making out at the Christmas party or causing your colleagues to feel uncomfortable with your public displays of affection," advises DeAlto, "is never cute. Keep all outward shows of affection for outside the office."

Likewise, keep all love-problems at home. Don't allow them to taint your professional life or those of co-workers.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


The Most and Least Romantic US Cities -- Based on Movie Rentals

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Redbox has announced its list of the most romantic U.S. cities and the least romantic U.S. cities.

Topping the "most romantic" rankings is Marquette, Mich.  It was declared the most romantic based on the total number of romance-related rentals there last year.

Some of the most popular titles that helped bring big love to small screens across America in 2012, according to Redbox, included The Vow, This Means War and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1.

All of the cities featured in the top 10 least romantic list are located in either Texas or California.  Laredo, Texas, heads the list of the loveless.

Here are the top 10 most romantic cities and the top 10 least romantic cities, according to Redbox:

Top 10 Most Romantic Cities

1. Marquette, MI
2. Greenville, NC
3. La Crosse, WI
4. Ames, IA
5. Greensboro, NC
6. Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo, MI
7. Wausau, WI
8. Madison, WI
9. Green Bay, WI
10. Cedar Rapids, IA

Top 10 Least Romantic Cities

1. Laredo, TX
2. Midland, TX
3. El Centro, CA
4. Victoria, TX
5. Odessa, TX
6. McAllen, TX
7. Houston, TX
8. Bakersfield, CA
9. Fresno, CA
10. Beaumont, TX

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Poll: 31% of Workers with Office Romances Married Their Co-Worker

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Love is in the office air. A new Valentine’s Day survey commissioned by finds 31 percent of employees say their office romance led to marriage.  The survey also found 38 percent of workers admitting they have dated a co-worker at least once over the course of their career.  Seventeen percent of those polled admitted dating co-workers at least twice.

Additional findings from the annual CareerBuilder Valentine’s Day survey:

  • 28 percent of workers who dated a co-worker said they have dated someone above them in the company hierarchy, and 18 percent admitted to dating their boss.  Women were more likely than men to date someone above their pay grade, 35 percent to 23 percent.
  • Hospitality is the leading industry when it comes to office romances, with 47 percent of employees admitting they dated a co-worker. The financial services sector was next at 45 percent, followed by Transportation & Utilities, Information Technology and the healthcare industry.
  • 26 percent reported that what someone does for a living influences whether they would date that person.  Five percent of workers revealed someone ended a relationship with them because either their job required too many hours at the office, they didn’t make enough money or the person didn’t like their line of work.
  • 19 percent of respondents reported that they are more attracted to people who have a similar job.
  • Social settings outside of work were cited most often when it came to workers making a love connection.

The survey of 7,780 U.S. workers was conducted by Harris Interactive.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romance Novels Seduce Women into Unsafe Sex?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- An essay in Britain's Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care says that romance novels portray an idealized vision of love and sex -- and some women may not be able to distinguish fact from fantasy.

Susan Quilliam, a British sexologist and advice columnist, writes in her July 6 essay that women who read romance novels tend to "suspend reality" in their real relationships.

Although romance readers say they know the difference, "when it comes to making life decisions, are they not more tempted to let the heart dictate simply because they are romance fans?" she told ABC News.

"Women and men need to be less driven by emotion and making sensible life choices," said Quilliam, a respected health professional who updated the classic guide, Joy of Sex.

"Romance novels are great fun -- I used to read them myself -- but society's value of romantic novels needs to be taken into account when we, as health professionals, look at our patients and the decisions they make about their sex and love lives," she said.

Quilliam cites research at Indiana University that found romance novels rarely talk about condom use: "And within these scenarios, the heroine typically rejects the idea of a barrier between her and the hero."

"To be blunt, we like condoms -- for protection and for contraception -- and they don't," writes Quilliam, who cites a recent survey that shows only 11.5 percent of romantic novels studied mention condom use.

One website devoted to the romance genre -- -- called the article "bollocks, rubbish, horsecrap, all of it."

"We have some pretty outspoken fans of romance novels in our community," said Sarah Wendell, a Montclair, N.J., romance writer and co-founder of the website. "Devoted women read them and write them and have taken a lot of crap for a long time for their love of the genre. Nothing is more insulting than to be told we are sexually unsatisfied and less intelligent just because we prefer that kind of fiction."

Wendell said readers were particularly irritated because the survey of romance novels that Quilliam referenced was 11 years old and sampled only 78 books in the Cleveland area. Those novels were written in the 1980s and 1990s before public education about sexually transmitted diseases.

The contemporary romance novel, they say, is much more grounded in reality.

As for condoms, "either they are referred to specifically or you know the foil packet reference," said Wendell, author of the 2009 romance novel, Beyond Heaving Bosoms.

"If they don't address contraception or condoms, we notice and think they're stupid in this AIDS era," said Wendell, whose second novel, Everything I Know About Love, I Learned From Romance Novels, comes out in October.

"I absorbed so much from reading -- female autonomy and satisfaction and confidence," she said. "The woman always wins."

Quilliam, who was surprised by the backlash to her essay, said it was written not as scientific research but as a provocative caveat for health professionals. "I pushed a lot of buttons," she said.

In her work with young women, Quilliam said she encounters women who get "swept away by emotion...One of the things that happens is they enter into a dysfunctional romantic relationship and the emotions can be very strong. And they think if it's strong, it's true love."  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


People Who Handle Conflict Make Better Lovers

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) - If your boyfriend or girlfriend doesn't hold a grudge after a fight, chances are they would make a more stable and fulfilling romantic partner then those who don't handle the conflict well, reports Psychological Science.

A study by the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development's Institute of Child Development found that those who recover better after conflict make better romantic partners.

"What we show is that recovering from conflict well predicts higher satisfaction and more favorable relationship perceptions. You perceive the relationship more positively," said lead researcher Jessica Salvatore. "If I'm good at recovering from conflict, my husband will benefit and be more satisfied with our relationship."

Salvatore and her team studied 73 individuals from birth to young adulthood. They found that those who grew up with a caregiver who was more responsive to their emotional needs recovered better from conflict and were less likely to let the conflict spill into other parts of their relationship.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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