Category "Smart Living"


Some parents turn to bleach to ‘cure’ autism — why these myths are still rampant – National

by BBG Hub

A recent investigation by NBC found private groups on Facebook, linked to YouTube videos, were encouraging parents to use bleach to “cure” their children of autism.

Known as the Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), group members were exposed to video instructions on how to make chlorine dioxide-based solutions for their children. The report found parents left testimonials and anti-vaccine content, while some mothers of autistic children even went undercover to report and ban these pages.

Autism has no direct cause or cure, and experts added as a result, some parents turn to harmful methods.

In one 2017 case, a mother was investigated after giving her six-year-old son a bleach enema to “cure” autism, Metro U.K. reported. The mother claimed autism was caused by parasites that could be “cleansed” using the bleach-based treatment. There is no medical evidence to support this claim.

MMS could be traced back to former Scientologist Jim Humble, who first promoted his “cure” 20 years ago. 

“Humble, 86, claimed he’d used the chemical compound to heal a case of malaria while on a South American expedition. It worked so well, Humble says in his book and on his website, that he named himself the archbishop of a new religion devoted to chlorine dioxide, branded MMS,” NBC reported, adding Humble claimed MMS could cure diabetes, AIDS and even cancer.

READ MORE: ‘It has made me a better person’: What it’s like to raise a child with autism

Business Insider, who also recently released an investigation on the topic, added millions of people had watched MMS videos on YouTube. After Business Insider contacted YouTube, the videos were taken down.

In the past few months, YouTube has been focused on cracking down on harmful content, and in a statement to Global News, said that videos and channel owners were terminated immediately.

“YouTube does not allow content that encourages dangerous activities with a risk of physical harm, and we work to quickly remove flagged videos that violate these policies,” a spokesperson said.

What is MMS?

NBC added MMS also gained momentum in 2015 when former Chicago real-estate agent Kerri Rivera brought the method into autism parenting communities through her book and social media pages. Rivera, who is not a medical doctor, promoted the idea of using the bleach solution to “treat” autistic children.

“Today, she lives and operates a clinic offering chlorine dioxide regimens in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and claims to have cured autism in more than 500 children,” the site noted. 

However, the ingredients that make up Rivera’s MMS solution are not illegal, but in the U.S., it is illegal to market or sell chlorine dioxide-based products as a cure for ailments.

According to a statement to Global News, Autism Canada understands why some parents seek out unproven therapies to help their child.

“We recognize the urgency parents may feel when confronted with a diagnosis of autism, which may lead them to undertake desperate treatments.”

In 2015, the organization released a statement on MMS after it began heavily surfacing on social media pages.

“It was clear that this product had side effects that were seriously damaging to the body.”

READ MORE: Parents of children with autism call for Lisa MacLeod’s resignation during emotional telephone town hall

The organization noted it promotes a multi-disciplinary approach as the most effective way of treating and managing autism.

“For example, there is a growing body of research evidence pointing to the value of implementing changes like diet and/or supplementing deficient vitamins and minerals (nutraceuticals), etc. These are emerging treatments for the underlying factors that contribute to autism and related symptoms. Parents often remark on improved language, eye contact, social engagement and their child’s ability to learn.”

It added parents and individuals should combine medical and non-medical treatments.

“Having different techniques helps to unlock a person’s potential. Medical interventions focus on improving the physical health of the individual while non-medical interventions focus on improving their social and emotional health.”

The organization does not endorse treatments, interventions and therapies, however, it lists them on their website so people can make informed choices.

“It is a starting point for parents and individuals to investigate options that may fit or resonate with them. We state that therapies for autism, like any condition, should be discussed with a trusted medical practitioner or certified therapist before use.”

‘Every child or adult is different’

Electra Dalamagas, a family intervention specialist at Autism Montreal, told Global News that when it comes to autism, every child or adult is different. “They have different needs, they’re unique, and they have different health issues,” she said. “It’s important to not assume a one size [treatment] fits all.”

Dalamagas added autistic adults and children are still grossly misunderstood and this even trickles down into the health-care community. In 2018, the National Autism Spectrum Disorder Surveillance System Report found an estimated one in 66 children in Canada have autism. 

And because autism is misunderstood, parents are often left with confusing, conflicting and inaccurate information online. “There’s a desire to want to help the individuals who have any health issues… but whatever treatment may be recommended can’t cause harm.”

Another problem is how much access parents have to misinformation on the internet. Sites like YouTube or Facebook can create communities of like-minded people spreading false information. And with the recent attention of sites shutting down pages encouraging the anti-vax movement, Dalamagas argued much more has to be done for the autism community.

READ MORE: Canadian autism group calls on federal government for national strategy

She added if you come across any medical or non-medical treatment online, parents should always consult with a medical doctor who works with austistic children before trying it.

The other issue with misinformation, Dalamagas explained, is some children deal with ongoing health issues in addition to having autism, leading to more urgency. Some parents don’t have access to professional health care, either.

Dalamagas said she can see why some in desperation turn to harmful methods, but it comes down to awareness.

“Parents should focus on getting accurate information to make educated decisions.”

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Some Canadians still believe harmful stereotypes about Muslims and Jews: poll – National

by BBG Hub

Stereotypes around religion, ethnicity and race can have damaging effects on people, yet some Canadians still believe these harmful tropes.

A recent poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Global News found that three in 10 Canadians believe Muslims follow Sharia law instead of Canadian law, and two in 10 think people of the Jewish faith run media and finance.

What’s more, over four in 10 Canadians think that people of different races are fundamentally different from each other.

Though almost nine in 10 Canadians agree that racism is a terrible thing, almost half admit to having racist thoughts that they would not voice. (All of the Ipsos poll data is available online.)

READ MORE: 37% in Ipsos poll say immigration is a ‘threat’ to white Canadians — what’s the threat?

Experts are not surprised by these findings.

“We’ve made a number of strides … but there is still a lot of racism in this country,” Ruth Frager, an associate professor at McMaster University’s School of Labour Studies, told Global News. “It’s something that we really have to deal with much more carefully.”

Where stereotypes come from

There’s no shortage of religious and racial stereotypes that people believe. As shown in the Ipsos poll, these include harmful — and often inaccurate — perceptions around people’s faiths.

According to Victoria Esses, a professor of psychology and director of the Centre for Research on Migration and Ethnic Relations at the University of Western Ontario, people hold both racist views that they are aware of and also implicit attitudes that are deeply ingrained.

WATCH: Poll — Racism is less of a problem now than before

“We may learn these as kids, we may hear them on the news, we may watch them on television shows and we may hear it from friends. We also may develop these views ourselves,” she said.

Esses said people are more likely to have misconceptions of other faiths if they’ve never experienced or taken part in a religious ceremony outside of their own.

“Discussing people’s beliefs or experiencing their religious practices is a way of ‘demystifying’ them,” she said.

READ MORE: ‘A f-ing n-word’ — York Region high school student says she was beaten, called racial slurs

“If there’s a view that Jewish people go into their synagogue and they’re ‘doing something’ in there but you don’t know what, going in there and seeing that they’re praying like anybody else sort of demystifies the whole practice.”

Barâa Arar, a graduate student who lives in Ottawa, said that many people don’t actually understand her faith and think that because she is Muslim and wears a hijab, she is “a victim” or under the control of a male family member.

“I can’t wear (my) hijab and be me; I have to wear the hijab and represent something — perhaps even something sinister,” she said.

“The narratives of weak or oppressed Muslim women are prevalent in both the news and popular media, and I do think many people have internalized them. In fact, that’s how Muslim women become understood as ‘easy targets’ because often people think we won’t fight back.”

WATCH: ‘People are not judging me for my merits’: Quebec graduate student says racist stereotypes are hurting job opportunities

Arar also said that many people think Islam is violent and regressive when, in reality, it shares many similarities with other world religions.

“I think there is a lot of misinformation, and that’s in part (due) to media and post-9/11 narratives,” she said.

Esses said there are also many harmful stereotypes around immigration and new Canadians.

“One of the common stereotypes in the area of immigration is that many of the people who are coming in claiming refugee status aren’t true refugees who are fleeing war and persecution, but they’re just economic migrants who are using Canada’s so-called ‘generous system’ to unfairly get into the country,” Esses said.

READ MORE: How Indigenous midwives help reconnect women with culture and pregnancy care

“There’s also a stereotype or a belief that skilled immigrants come in and steal jobs, and those who don’t do well are draining our welfare system.”

(Research shows this is not true, and immigrants are actually needed to sustain Canada’s job market.)

Frager said immigrants are often used as “scapegoats” for larger economic issues, like the erosion of certain job markets.

“We’re living in a time when we’ve had a lot of deindustrialization, and a lot of people … across the country who work very hard at jobs are not earning a living wage,” Frager said.

WATCH: Public consultations on systemic racism and discrimination begin in Montreal

“Sometimes, this leads to scapegoating and the fear that if immigrants come in — especially if they are seen as racialized, meaning they don’t look like what a ‘typical Canadian’ is supposed to look like — there’s fear of competition for jobs.”

READ MORE: Nearly 50% of Canadians think racist thoughts are normal, Ipsos poll finds

Stereotypes hurt job opportunities

Stereotypes and prejudice may become even more apparent when physical symbols of religious beliefs are present.

This is something Amrit Kaur, a recent university graduate student who lives in Quebec, experiences. Kaur, who is Sikh and wears a turban, said it’s harder for her to land a job because of how she looks.

WATCH: Ontario government document shows $1K earmarked for anti-racism initiatives

“I feel people are judging me not based on my character or my personality, and they’re not looking at my skills but they’re just looking at what’s on my body and not judging me for my merits,” Kaur said.

“We’ve seen this in the Sikh community when someone who applied for a job as a daycare professional was denied … because of her turban.”

Unfortunately, Kaur’s stories are not uncommon.

READ MORE: 1 in 4 Canadians say it’s becoming ‘more acceptable’ to be prejudiced against Muslims — Ipsos poll

Usha George, a professor and director of Ryerson University’s Centre for Immigration and Settlement, told Global News that even if someone is skilled and qualified for a job, discrimination can prevent them from getting hired.

This is particularly true for immigrants, George said.

“Coming to Canada on the point system does not necessarily guarantee a place in the labour market, simply because other sets of criteria seem to be operating here,” she said.

“Race, attributions of race and notions around people’s abilities all play a part in … (getting) a job.”

When stereotypes are politicized

Experts say stereotypes also affect policies and government laws. In Quebec, many have argued that the province’s so-called secularism bill, Bill 21, is discriminatory and primarily targets Muslims.

The bill aims to prohibit public servants in positions of authority — including primary and secondary school teachers, police officers, Crown prosecutors and prison guards — from wearing religious symbols, like hijabs, on the job.

WATCH: International Day for the Elimination of Racism

Kaur said the bill legitimizes racism and stereotypes and is validating some discriminatory views.

“(It’s) an excuse for people to show racism in the workplace and it is being supported by the government,” she said. “If the government won’t hire you, why should people in the private sector? … This has a trickle-down effect.”

George said that Bill 21 is not an “independent piece of legislation” because its origins, in part, are shaped by 9/11.

“It is all related to the (fear of) extremism that we have seen after 9/11 … and that came together to form this bill to say: ‘OK, no visible signs of religion in the public place,’” she said. “It is associated with a lot of history.”

How to challenge stereotypes and move away from them

When it comes to hiring, Esses said that “blind hiring” is a practice that can help combat discrimination.

READ MORE: ‘Canadians should see this film’ — Colten Boushie doc sets out on national tour

“I think if we have clear criteria for decision-making, we’re less likely to be influenced by our implicit biases,” she said.

Fruger said a lack of education and understanding of different ethnicities and religions helps fuel sterotypes. If someone does not understand a faith, for example, they are more likely to believe misinformation.

READ MORE: University of New Brunswick professor under investigation over white nationalist comments

Combating stereotypes and harmful views starts in the classroom.

“Educators (need to) work on ways to reach children and really promote an anti-racist educational curriculum because we are not doing enough of that here,” Fruger said.

Kaur agreed.

“If we regularly interact with people from faith-based backgrounds who wear religious symbols, that fear goes away, and you slowly realize that they’re no different than you and I,” Kaur said.

“They have families, they work hard, they pay their taxes — they’re no different.”

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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15% of Canadians would never marry outside their race: Ipsos poll – National

by BBG Hub

At least 15 per cent of Canadians would never have a relationship with someone outside their race, according to an exclusive poll by Ipsos for Global News.

The poll found participants with only a high school education (20 per cent) and Ontario residents (19 per cent) were more likely to share this point of view.

All of the Ipsos poll data is available online.

Natasha Sharma, a relationship expert and creator of The Kindness Journal, told Global News that in large, diverse urban centres like Toronto or Vancouver, being in an interracial relationship is less shocking than it is in rural and suburban neighbourhoods.

“Interracial marriages in Canada are more common than ever and, potentially, on the rise,” she said.

According to the 2011 National Household Survey, 4.6 per cent of all married and common-law couples in Canada were mixed unions — that is, about 360,045 couples. Out of that number, 3.9 per cent of all couples had one person who was a visible minority and one who was not, while 0.7 per cent of all couples included two people from different minority groups.

The data also found some groups were more likely to be in mixed unions compared to others. That year, Japanese individuals were most likely to be in an interracial relationship, followed by Latin Americans and black people. However, two of the largest visible minority groups in Canada — South Asians and Chinese — had the smallest number of couples in mixed relationships.

READ MORE: 1 in 4 Canadians say it’s becoming ‘more acceptable’ to be prejudiced against Muslims — Ipsos poll

Sharma added that while interracial relationships are more generally accepted than they have been in years prior, in some communities and more remote areas in the country, she can see why these types of relationships wouldn’t work.

“Unfortunately, it is still too difficult for some parents or in-laws to accept, and family estrangement on this basis still happens today,” she said. “This can be incredibly painful for all involved, and especially the married couple.”

Preference vs. prejudice

Diversity researcher, writer and lawyer Hadiya Roderique told Global News the results from the poll don’t surprise her.

“You could say that it might be higher in some cases because people could be impacted by social desirability,” she said.

She explained that often in narratives of interracial relationships, there is the idea that people prefer one race over another — and it’s not racism.

Though she understands why some minority groups would not want to date outside their race, Roderique said sometimes, it comes down to prejudice. A Black person, for example, may be more comfortable with a Black partner who understands anti-blackness or other experiences faced by Black people.

WATCH: Interracial couple evicted from property because husband is black

“There’s a difference between preference and prejudice,” Roderique said. “The difference is the word ‘never.’ It is ruling out the possibility that you could never be attracted to someone from a different race.”

READ MORE: Nearly 50% of Canadians think racist thoughts are normal — Ipsos poll

She added there is a clear difference between saying, “I would never date a blond versus I prefer brunettes.” In one case, she explained, a person is implying they would never date someone who has blond hair, no matter the circumstance. This is often the conversation people have when they talk about race, experts added.

“‘I would never date a Black person’ is very different from saying, ‘I have never dated a Black person,’” Roderique said. The other thing about preferences, she added, is that they are not purely biological.

“Our social world plays a very important role in determining what we like and what we don’t like in a variety of things.”

This even comes down to what we find attractive — or what society tells us is attractive — and how we relate this to our dating lives.

“That’s why we have things like anti-Black racism… We’re given messages all the time… Even in the Black community, people will be anti-Black,” she said.

Countless reports have touched on a race hierarchy when it comes to dating. Writer Yassmin Abdel-Magied previously wrote that Black women and women of colour have a place in society’s ‘desirability’ hierarchy.

“And that’s, sadly, right at the bottom. Put simply, Black women — and especially dark-skinned black women without Eurocentric features — are rarely ever seen or depicted as desirable,” she wrote in the Evening Standard.

WATCH: Interracial marriages: Expressing love in the face of prejudice 

Even dating sites like OkCupid have pointed out how some races are more desired than others. According to a 2014 report by NPR, data showed that most straight men on the app rated Black women as less attractive compared to other races.

And when we continue to get these types messages through dating, pop culture or even through family, Roderique said it can sway someone’s decision on who they will and won’t date.

“We can’t ignore the social roots of attractiveness and also the messaging we get on what and who is attractive,” she said.

Navigating an interracial relationship

There’s also the issue that interracial dating may just make some people feel uncomfortable, Sharma added.

“Whenever a person is uncomfortable, it’s generally because they encounter something unfamiliar and are unwilling to ‘try it out’ to confirm that there is nothing to be afraid of,” she explained. “Some people walk through life with very rigid beliefs and biases and look for cues and signs that only confirm these beliefs/biases and discard information that would contradict them. It’s not a very open-minded — or enlightened — way to live life.”

Sarah Sahagian of Toronto met her partner Brandon, who is Indian and Chinese, when she was 31.

The 33-year-old, who is of English, Scottish and Armenian descent, said Brandon wasn’t the first person of colour she dated, but all her serious relationships had been with white men.

“Brandon was, therefore, the first non-white guy I brought home to meet my family,” she said. “My parents and siblings immediately loved him. However, my grandfather, who has now passed, probably wouldn’t have.”

Brandon and Sarah. Photo courtesy of the couple.  

She said that while she does miss her grandfather, the reality is he would not have accepted their relationship.

READ MORE: Living In Colour returns to talk interracial marriage, cosplay, incarceration and employment

“It saddens and sometimes enrages me to realize he might not be happy for me if he were alive to attend our impending wedding,” she said.

Sahagian said living in a city like Toronto helps — the two hardly get side-eye as an interracial couple.

“However, we have noticed that when we leave the city, we can get glares and even some racist comments thrown our way,” she said. “I know there are racist people in Toronto… However, the high number of interracial couples make us less remarkable. We blend in and do not usually attract a specific person’s ire.”

Making the relationship work

Henna Khawja, 32, and Ryan Hilliard, 33, have been married for five years. Khawja, a Muslim-Pakistani woman based in Toronto, said both her and her husband’s African-American family were surprised when the two decided they wanted to get married.

“On top of the differences in ethnicity, our families also practised different religions, and they lived in different countries,” she said. “My parents have a typical South Asian immigrant experience of arriving in Toronto in the late ’60s, while his parents have a historical African-American experience. Both sides have their own unique narratives of displacement, migration and intergenerational trauma.”

Khawja said it was “a fight at times” because both of their parents were so unfamiliar with the other’s race. But for them, religion played a large role in making it work. About 13 years ago, Hilliard converted to Islam from Christianity after being raised in an African Methodist Episcopal church.

Henna and Ryan. Credit: Calla Evans

“Religion played a huge role in our story,” she continued. “It was what we connected on and what has kept us together through the most turbulent times of our relationship thus far.”

In the end, this also helped the families accept their union.

“His parents respected that he was marrying a Muslim woman, and my family accepted that I was marrying him, despite the differences in cultural identity,” she said. “We had five events to celebrate our union in both Toronto and Chicago spanning across seven months, both communities in attendance to celebrate our Pakistani and African-American traditions.”

Couples dealing with the struggle

It may have worked out for Khawja and Hilliard, but for some people in interracial relationships, it can be a struggle to get your family on board.

Khawja said she and her husband often get asked for advice, and her response is: always be honest.

“It is not easy. It will be a battle, you may lose loved ones in your life, and it is up to you both to decide whether or not it is worth the fight,” she explained. “For us, it was not an option to marry without the blessings of our parents, and although it took time, it was worth it for us. We feel blessed and grateful as a result. For others, we recognize approval may never be an option, or it may not be a safe option.”

READ MORE: 37% say immigration is a ‘threat’ to white Canadians — what’s the threat, exactly?

Sharma said you should always remember you are marrying a person, not a family.

“Set appropriate and healthy boundaries with all family outside your marriage, and make sure your partner does the same,” she said. “If there’s family tension, be reasonably sure before you marry that you and your partner will put each other first, and step up with healthy boundaries with family.”

Methodology: These are the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News between April 8 and 10, 2019. For this survey, a sample of 1,002 Canadians from the Ipsos I-Say panel was interviewed. The precision of online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the results are accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility intervals are wider among subsets of the population.

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘Can I fully commit?’: The millennials who have never been in a relationship – National

by BBG Hub

When friends tell Dave they have the “perfect girl” for him, he welcomes the introduction.

The 28-year-old business professional (who asked to use his first name only) goes on dates but has never been in a serious, long-term relationship, and is open to meeting a potential partner. He sees his friends around him getting married, but he’s just not there yet.

READ MORE: Why some people have sex even when they aren’t in the mood

“In high school, dating wasn’t something that was top of mind for me. There were crushes and flirting, but I always felt that I lacked the social confidence to take those friendships or crushes to a more serious place,” he told Global News.

“As I’ve gotten older… I have been able to open myself more and have had longer relationships, but now it has gone from, ‘I don’t want to commit,’ to, ‘Can I fully commit?’”

Canadians aren’t partnering up

Dave is not alone in his situation. Experts say it is not uncommon for Canadians in their late 20s or early 30s — a time in life when people traditionally marry and “settle down” — to have never been in a committed romantic relationship.

WATCH BELOW: How to deal with a breakup

“The whole dating game in general has changed,” said Shannon Tebb, a Toronto-based dating coach and matchmaker. “People aren’t really dating as much as they used to and… it’s not like the old days where you have to be married by 25, have a baby and the white picket fence. It’s not about that rush anymore.”

While it may seem surprising that many millennials have never been in a committed partnership, research backs up that our attitudes around relationships are shifting.

As a recent poll by the Angus Reid Institute found, 53 per cent of Canadian adults feel marriage isn’t necessary. The poll, which surveyed 1,520 Canadians, found four in 10 adults were never married and were unsure if they wanted to get hitched.

READ MORE: More millennials are signing prenups — and experts say that’s a good thing

Many people who have never been in a relationship don’t think their single status is that big of a deal, either.

“I’m completely comfortable where I am,” Dave said. “I’d love to get married, have a family and all that comes with that life, but I also don’t compare myself to other people. I have milestones in my own life and a career that I focus on.”

Why people are single

Like Dave, 27-year-old Ally (who also asked to use her first name only) likes to focus on her professional goals. The Toronto-based administrator says she’s never seriously dated someone, and is in no rush to partner up with just anyone.

Ally says because she has been single for most of her adult life, she has been able to spend time and energy on advancing her career.

WATCH BELOW: Online dating profile tips

“Sometimes it feels like fitting in another person would be difficult, actually,” she said. “I like the freedom of being single, and that it’s allowed me to focus on my career and get myself into a very secure spot.”

This sentiment is something Jess O’Reilly, a Toronto-based relationship expert and host of the podcast Sex With Dr. Jess, hears a lot.

“I see more millennials embracing a wider range of relationship options without apology; some opt to stay single and others opt for consensual non-monogamy — and of course, everything in between,” she said.

READ MORE: Where are Canada’s singles? The census found them

“Some folks stay single because they find dating exhausting and others are single because they’re busy with work and social obligations, but in most cases, this is a choice.”

There are cases, of course, where being single is less of a choice and more a result of not finding the right partner.

For 30-year-old Mat (who also wished to only use his first name), dating isn’t easy. The Ontario-based media officer has autism, but says his condition is only part of why he doesn’t date.

“First of all, it’s about low self-confidence. I am scared [of] being judged by the person I would be dating,” he explained. “The other reason is because of my neurological condition, I don’t want any children. So everyone who wants to have or has children is a no-go area for me.”

WATCH BELOW: Causes of rejection & how to deal with it

Mat says that he is also sometimes uncomfortable when it comes to the act of dating. He says that social situations can be hard, and online dating isn’t for him.

“I am not a snob by nature, but most dating apps are superficial,” he said. “They are something you use for five minutes and you then tune out.”

Tebb largely blames dating apps for the breakdown in traditional dating practices, like calling someone on the phone or surprising them with flowers. She says that with the convenience of apps, people have started to engage in less-than-desirable dating habits, like ghosting.

READ MORE: ‘Roughest period of my life’: The emotional trauma of calling off a wedding

“With social media and dating apps, you’re always kind of comparing yourself to others or searching for something better,” she added. “People are just making connections through their phones versus face-to-face.”

Wanting to connect

The downside of dating apps is something Nigel D’Souza can relate to. The cook says that he’s tried dating sites but often won’t get responses, and has a hard time meeting people offline, too.

D’Souza says he does want a partner, and it can feel discouraging when he tries to connect with someone but has little luck. The longest relationship he’s had was three months long, and he wants a long-term partner to “grow alongside.”

WATCH BELOW: How to trust your partner

“There are times where I’m neutral about my situation, and try to look at it as a positive [by] trying to work on myself and focus on my own goals,” he said. “Most times, however, I get pretty depressed about it… I see a lot of friends getting married and having kids and that feels like a total dream for me.”

When someone wants to find a partner but is having difficulty, getting out of their comfort zone can help, Tebb says. The relationship expert says that when you feel like you’re “missing out” on things like marriage and kids because you’re single, it’s important to widen your network.

“What communities are you a part of? Do you have a singles network of friends? If not, it should be your priority to build that,” Tebb explained.

READ MORE: ‘Wrong, hurtful and unhealthy’: How to navigate love triangles

She said that by “putting yourself out there” — whether that be by joining a running group, art class or book club — you’re building a larger community.

“You don’t just want to have those married friends, but you also want to have single friends who like to do the same things as you,” she said.

Enjoying the single life

O’Reilly stresses that it’s perfectly OK to be single at any stage of your life. For some people, they are happiest when they’re pursuing goals that best align with them — and those don’t always include marriage and kids.

WATCH BELOW: Are you digitally cheating? Here’s what an online dating expert has to say

“It’s up to you to decide whether or not you’re missing out,” she said. “Some people are happier when they’re single and others are happier living with a partner. There is no right way to live, so you have to figure out what works for you.”

While Dave is still hopeful he will meet the “right” person, he is no hurry to rush into a relationship.

“I’m hopeful that I hit the married and family milestones eventually, but if it happens in three years or in 10 years, I’ll be just as happy,” he said.

“For now, I’ll just enjoy partying at everyone else’s wedding.”

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Reality check: Do you really need that metal wire in your mouth? – National

by BBG Hub

If you’ve had braces in the last decade, chances are you’ve also been recommended a permanent retainer.

The slim metal bar is placed behind the front of one’s teeth, typically glued to the canine teeth on either side of the mouth.

It’s usually intended for years of use. In some cases, a patient can have a permanent retainer for decades.

READ MORE: Canadians support publicly funded dental care for those without insurance, Ipsos poll finds

This can be frustrating for someone who has just completed many long — and expensive — years of orthodontic work.

But, according to Dr. Jay Philippson, a permanent retainer is the best way to maintain your newly straightened smile.

Philippson works as an orthodontist in Duncan, B.C., and is the president of the Canadian Association of Orthodontists.

Most of his patients are given a permanent retainer on their bottom set of teeth.

“The bottom teeth are the teeth that tend to shift more than any others following treatment,” Philippson told Global News.

READ MORE: Five popular oral health myths debunked

“If the bottom teeth stay straight, and the occlusion (known as the contact between the upper and lower teeth) is where it’s supposed to be, they actually act as a bit of a foundation to help keep the top teeth straight.”

Permanent retainers are typically given to patients after they’ve had braces — including clear aligners like Invisalign.

If a permanent retainer is in your future, here’s what you need to know.

Why do I need one?

According to Dr. Brian Laski of Laski OrthoSmiles, teeth are susceptible to moving at any age.

“Retention is, unfortunately, something that we have to deal with for our entire lives,” he said. “If we don’t retain the teeth, they will move.”

A number of factors can contribute to your teeth shifting over time.

“Some people believe it’s because there are fibres in the gums connecting the teeth that want to shift them back to their original position,” said Laski. “There’s also pressures on the teeth from our bite, especially if a patient is grinding their teeth at night. Even just normal chewing exerts pressure on the teeth.”

Our facial structure is also constantly changing, which can further move our teeth.

How much does it cost?

Orthodontic work doesn’t come cheap, and a permanent retainer is no exception.

The metal bar can cost anywhere from $300 to $500, but in Dr. Laski’s view, this is a small price to pay if it means maintaining the results of earlier orthodontic work.

“Think of it as an insurance policy,” said Laski.

“I think people would much rather invest a little bit extra for retainers at the end (of treatment) in hopes that they don’t need treatment again during their lifetime.”

READ MORE: ‘I didn’t think I’d be able to smile again’ — Specialists help to save Bowmanville woman’s smile

Philippson agrees.

“I think we realized, as a specialty, that the teeth can and do move at any time… but people were going through a time-consuming and relatively expensive procedure to get their teeth straight,” Philippson said.

“It’s incumbent on us to provide them with the ability to keep those teeth straight.”

There’s no guarantee that the teeth will move, but the permanent retainer is an easy way to ensure they don’t.

“If I could tell a person, ‘your teeth aren’t going to move,’ it would be great! I just can’t do that,” said Philippson.

Is it forever?

While the glue that binds a permanent retainer to your teeth isn’t magic, the hope is that it lasts for a while.

In Philippson’s practice, he prefers that his patients keep the retainer until they are at least 20 years old.

At that age… if they want me to take it out, I will (but) I’ll caution them that those teeth can and do shift,” he said.

The main reason Philippson sees patients request to have the retainer removed is tartar retention.

WATCH: The cost of no dental care for Canadians

You likely suffer from this if your dental hygienist has to spend a fair amount of time cleaning the tartar off the area behind your front teeth where the retainer is.

“I monitor my patients for three to four visits after the braces come off, every six months or so,” said Philippson.

“If my patients come in… and the tartar is building up, I’m not going to want to risk the gum disease that can go along with that.”

However, in this instance, Philippson would still recommend a removable retainer to replace the permanent retainer.

READ MORE: Dartmouth man ‘feels punished’ because he was denied provincial dental benefits for working full time

Laski, on the other hand, recommends a lifetime retainer.

“These retainers need to stay in for life,” he said.

Laski treats several adults, many of whom are returning to an orthodontist after two or three rounds of treatment.

“That proves that it doesn’t matter if you’ve always had straight teeth or if you’ve had orthodontic treatment… teeth are susceptible to move at any age,” Laski said.

“It’s most frustrating for people who have had orthodontic treatment because they invest a lot of time and money. Certainly, they don’t want to have to go through it again.”

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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4 Calgary bars make list of 50 best in Canada – Calgary

by BBG Hub

Four Calgary bars are among those featured on a list of the 50 best in Canada in 2019.

The list of Canada’s 50 Best Bars, compiled by the website Canada’s 100 Best, was released on Monday and features nine spots across Alberta.

These are the best 100 restaurants in Canada right now

The bars are chosen by a panel of judges from across the country.

According to a statement on the website, a great bar starts with an atmospheric setting and an exceptional beverage program.

“We think excellent cocktails are just like the best food: they should respect the past but do more than simply repeat it. And we think that any good bartender should be able to pull off that trick with a non-alcoholic mix, too.”

The Calgary bars featured on the list were Proof (8), Betty Lou’s Library (37), Bar Annabelle (44) and Milk Tiger Lounge (48).

Canada’s 50 best bars in 2019

  1. Bar Raval – Toronto, Ont.
  2. The Keefer Bar – Vancouver, B.C.
  3. Civil Liberties – Toronto, Ont.
  4. PrettyUgly – Toronto, Ont.
  5. Atwater Cocktail Club – Montreal, Que.
  6. ColdRoom – Montreal, Que.
  7. Maison CloakRoom – Montreal, Que.
  8. Proof – Calgary, Alta.
  9. Botanist – Vancouver, B.C.
  10. The Bar at Alo – Toronto, Ont.
  11. El Pequeño – Montreal, Que.
  12. Gift Shop at Ossington – Toronto, Ont.
  13. Clementine – Edmonton, Alta.
  14. Nacarat – Montreal, Que.
  15. Prohibition – Vancouver, B.C.
  16. The Diamond – Vancouver, B.C.
  17. Lot Six Bar & Restaurant – Halifax, N.S.
  18. The Shameful Tiki Room – Toronto, Ont. / The Shameful Tiki Room – Vancouver, B.C.
  19. The Cocktail Bar – Toronto, Ont.
  20. Bar Bricco – Edmonton, Alta.
  21. Baijiu Bar – Edmonton, Alta.
  22. Midfield Wine Bar & Tavern – Toronto, Ont.
  23. BarChef – Toronto, Ont.
  24. Nénuphar – Quebec City, Que.
  25. Paris Paris – Toronto, Ont.
  26. 1608 – Quebec City, Que.
  27. Roost – Winnipeg, Man.
  28. StillWell Beer Bar – Halifax, N.S.
  29. Chez Tao! – Quebec City, Que.
  30. Lobby Lounge – Vancouver, B.C.
  31. Noble – Halifax, N.S.
  32. Thirteen Pies Pizza + Bar – Saskatoon, Sask.
  33. The Bar at Ayden – Saskatoon, Sask.
  34. Le Royal – Montreal, Que.
  35. The Cocktail Bar at Hawksworth – Vancouver, B.C.
  36. Five & Dime – Saint John, N.B.
  37. Betty Lou’s Library – Calgary, Alta.
  38. Soif Bar à vin – Gatineau, Que.
  39. Birreria Volo – Toronto, Ont.
  40. Lopan – Toronto, Ont.
  41. Le King Hall – Sherbrooke, Que.
  42. Burdock Brewer – Toronto, Ont.
  43. Mahjong Bar – Toronto, Ont.
  44. Bar Annabelle – Calgary, Alta.
  45. Coffee Oysters Champagne / À Toi – Toronto, Ont.
  46. The Cloak Bar – Toronto, Ont.
  47. The Woodcutter’s Blanket – Whitehorse, Yukon
  48. Milk Tiger Lounge – Calgary, Alta.
  49. Grapes & Soda – Vancouver, B.C.
  50. Luxus Lounge – St John’s, N.L.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Letting children ‘cry it out’ is controversial, but for some, it works – National

by BBG Hub

No parent wants to see their child in tears, but when it comes to sleep training, some parents let their child “cry it out.”

This controversial technique (also known as CIO) has been debated in the parenting, sleep and health community for years: should you allow a child to cry themselves to sleep? Then there is also the Ferber Method, where parents let their child cry for a specific period of time before intervening.

In a recent post for Cafe Mom, writer Lauren Gordon argued letting her child cry it out was the only way she was well rested. 

“We were dubious at first. There was no way letting that sweet little thing screech was going to be beneficial for anyone,” she wrote. “But doubt had quickly turned to desperation. After a few hours of debate, we decided to give it an honest try.”

Gordon tried the “gentle” Ferber Method which revolves around a strict routine.

READ MORE: Will swaddling your baby increase the risk of SIDS?

“We established a bedtime ritual that worked for us. Without fail at 6:30 p.m., we’d begin by giving him a bath. Once that was done, we ‘d lotion him up, get him in his comfy PJs, and read him a book. After that, it was bottle time,” she continued.

“As soon as he finished, we’d turn out the light, give him a hug and say the same thing before we laid him down: I love you so much, it’s night-night sleep tight time, and put him to bed. Then (and this was crucial) we’d walk out of the room. ”

She added he started to cry instantly, but instead of picking up her son, she would allow him to cry for two minutes before going in and patting his back. Gordon said she did not spend more than a minute in the room.

“After the minute was up (and he of course would start screaming) we’ve leave and wait three minutes before repeating. Then five minutes, then seven, and so on and so forth until he soothed himself to sleep. The max crying time we allowed before going in to check on him was 20 minutes.”

Why some are against it

Early childhood consultant Julie Romanowski of Miss Behaviour in Vancouver, told Global News parents should avoid the CIO method.

“[The] cry it out method was designed with the final result in mind — at any cost,” she explained. “What we have found out about this method is that it came with the cost of the child experiencing emotional abandonment… as well as the erosion of the parent/child relationship which affects their attachment.”

Romanowski said she would never allow her child to cry it out. “I have no problem with him crying because [he’s] upset both during the day or night. However, I would always be there for him emotionally to let him know he is not alone.”

In 2011, Dr. Darcia Narvaez, a psychology professor at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana, argued CIO was damaging children in the long-run.

“We can confirm now that forcing ‘independence’ on a baby leads to greater dependence. Instead, giving babies what they need leads to greater independence later,” she wrote. “In anthropological reports of small-band hunter-gatherers, parents took care of every need of babies and young children. Toddlers felt confident enough (and so did their parents) to walk into the bush on their own.”

She added a child’s neuronal interconnections are also damaged.

“When the baby is greatly distressed, it creates conditions for damage to synapses, the network construction which is ongoing in the infant brain.  The hormone cortisol is released. In excess, it’s a neuron killer but its consequences many not be apparent immediately… a full-term baby (40 to 42 weeks), with only 25 per cent of its brain developed, is undergoing rapid brain growth… Who knows what neurons are not being connected or being wiped out during times of extreme stress? What deficits might show up years later from such regular distressful experience?”

But there is some research that disprove these notions.

READ MORE: Sleep machines may be harmful to babies’ hearing, speech, study warns

One Australian study in 2016 suggested letting babies cry themselves to sleep did not cause any emotional, behavioural or parent-child attachment issues. Researchers said it is natural for parents to worry about their children crying, but often, thoughts around abandonment were formed without scientific evidence.

“We have personally had individuals state to us that it is commons sense that the technique is stressful to babies and thus there would be long-term effects. Others propose long-term damage. However, theories are only as good as the scientific evidence to support them,” Dr. Michael Gradisar, lead research, previously told Global News.

In the research, the team worked with 43 babies who had difficulty falling asleep. Babies who were left to cry it out fell asleep 13 minutes faster than babies who didn’t. Researchers added there were no differences in stress levels and measurements of cortisol in the children either.

READ MORE: Sleep training — Letting your baby ‘cry it out’ won’t cause emotional issues, study suggests

In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a study adding that sleep training was a healthy part of a child’s development, and babies who were training with the CIO method or Ferber Method were not at a “higher risk of emotional, behavioural or psychological problems by age six,” What To Expect noted.

‘Crying it out’ for sleep training

Sleep consultant Alanna McGinn of Good Night Sleep Site told Global News the CIO method is used by many parents and is also offered through her sleep training service.

“When you hear the term ‘sleep training,’ that’s the first thing we think about — cry it out.” she said. “Typically, we don’t start applying any method, gradual or more direct like a cry-out, until the baby is at least four to four-and-a-half months.”

McGinn said she understands why parents are hesitant or nervous about CIO and similar methods, but for parents willing to try it, they need to be ready for the work involved. It goes beyond training them to sleep at night and includes napping routines and changing a baby’s sleep environment.

“It’s also important for parents to understand crying is going to happen with whatever method you use,” she explained. Often, babies are crying as a result of a change in their routine.

READ MORE: Canadian doctor shares her tips for falling asleep and staying asleep

“While there’s a lot of crying with cry-it-out, it’s short-term crying. While there’s less crying with a gradual method, it’s normally a long-term [process]. So it’s a longer method with less crying each night but more nights of crying.”

While this works for some of her clients, McGinn said parents should never feel forced or shamed for not wanting to try this method. And on the flip side, parents who try this method shouldn’t feel ashamed either. A baby’s sleep can also be thrown off if the child is sick, for example, or if there is a disruption in their routine (as a vacation).

And while she understands why some parenting experts are against the idea altogether, she stresses no child is guaranteed to be a perfect sleeper.

“I look at sleep as a skill,” she said, adding that over time, children develop a habit from these methods. “If sleep is being put on hold for whatever reason, whether it be travel, illness, [or] developmental milestones, when you get back on track with that sleeping, you never have to start at the beginning again.”

Romanowski said for parents who are uncomfortable with this method, it’s about being patient even when their child is crying.

“Think of it as a baby or child taking a course and knowing they need time to learn, adjust and grow,” she said. “Expecting a child to stop crying the first time you say it, would be like giving the final exam on the first day of school. It’s not fair and that isn’t how children learn. It is through instruction, connection, role modelling and repetition that children learn best.”

— with files from Carmen Chai 

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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The sexist expectations of professional emails for women: ‘There’s no winning’ – National

by BBG Hub

Carlee Barackman was working at a tech startup in Detroit, Michigan, when her email writing style — which she calls “short and to the point” — became an issue.

In the two years that Barackman had been working there, the company had grown from just three people to a large group.

As a result of the growth, more of the team-wide communication moved off Slack and into email, which Barackman considered the right place for a more formal messaging style.

“Slack brings out the casual in anyone… so on the occasions we would email, I would flip a switch to come off as professional as possible,” she told Global News.

READ MORE: Not making as much as your male coworker? Here’s what you can do

“I was trying to communicate… efficiently and directly, which means I cut out extra adjectives and some extra exclamation points, for example.”

Barackman thought she was emailing like everyone else — until her CEO pulled her aside to talk about her “harsh” language.

“[He] pointed to an instance when I didn’t show ‘enough appreciation’ for a co-worker’s performance,” Barackman told Global News.

While he didn’t explicitly ask her to soften her writing style, Barackman said it was implied, and she decided against it.

“I had work to do and I didn’t want to spend extra time trying to convey my bubbly personality in an email,” she said.

Sometime later, Barackman replied to an email with “okay, thanks,” — no punctuation, no emojis — and her CEO called her out.

READ MORE: ‘The battle starts at the top’: How Canadian companies can close the gender pay gap

“He addressed this specific email and asked that I include something to lighten it up, such as an exclamation point, so that the recipient knew I was happy about the work done,” she said.

Barackman agreed to try and “lighten it up,” but she didn’t really know what that meant.

It was salt on the wound when Barackman saw an email thread between her male colleagues with writing nearly identical to the style that got her in trouble.

“I remember sitting down at my desk and having no idea who to ask about how to email like a woman. Is emailing like a woman even a thing?” she said.

“I felt stuck. [I was] worried that, by adding extra fluff to an email, I would appear unprofessional and [I was] also worried that, if I kept my replies short and direct, everyone would assume I was angry,” she said.

“The rest of the time at the company, I avoided emailing. I would get up and talk to people directly or just not reply.”

Barackman isn’t the only woman who has had an experience like this.

(Editor’s note: When we asked Twitter users if they’ve ever felt this way, the response was overwhelming. Read some of their stories below.)

According to Megan Boler, a professor in the department of social justice education at the University of Toronto, this experience is likely common because the workplace is a traditionally masculine environment.

“Language is one aspect of our broader culture… and certainly within language and culture, are embedded all sorts of expectations and norms around gender,” she said.

For women in the workplace, the expectations are contradictory.

“On the one hand, women are culturally expected to be emotional caretakers and nurturers, and… all of those roles have historically been understood as appropriate in the private sphere, taking care of children in the home,” Boler said.

In contrast, men have traditionally occupied the public sphere.

“When women buck tradition and move into the public sphere, there’s this double standard… where [they aren’t] emotional enough, and yet, when [they do] express emotion, they’re penalized,” she said.

“In essence, for women in the public sphere, there’s no winning.”

Boler sees this double standard every day in her email correspondence with students, and she says the impact is twofold if your name is associated with another race.

“If the name is perceived as ‘ethnically coded’ in some way, there’s… a much greater chance of discrimination,” said Boler.

READ MORE: ‘It’s not one size fits all’: Why open office plans don’t work for everyone

Etiquette expert Lisa Orr agrees.

“I wish I could say that gender didn’t play a role in communication, but, in reality, there is extensive research to show that men and women communicate differently, and those differences can really impact the way we understand each other in the workplace,” she said.

However, in her experience working with professionals, Orr recommends a different way of seeing these gendered differences.

“Regardless of gender, the key is to understand your own communication style and that of your email recipient so that you can try to communicate in a way that will make the recipient respond positively to your communication.”

This advice is similar to that of Boler.

In her view, the only way to move past this contradiction is for women to learn the importance of not taking things personally.

READ MORE: What to do if you’re touched inappropriately at work

“It’s trying to understand that there is this kind of no-win setup for women… and so, perhaps [you] shouldn’t spend as much time as [you do] worrying about tone,” she said.

In her experience, Boler has found that women in the workplace more often suffer from imposter syndrome, which she describes as having “an incredible amount of experience… [but] constantly experiencing a kind of doubt about [your] choices and decisions.”

She believes this is not the fault of women but of the system within which they exist.

“It’s because… we’re constantly getting feedback that we’re doing things wrong, and in fact, there’s nothing wrong,” said Boler.

“So, I think there’s an aspect of just not taking it personally and knowing that it isn’t about me… You have to see that there is a structural problem.” 

WATCH BELOW: Salaries of women CEOs are double-pane glass ceiling

That’s exactly what Janu Y. — a 28-year-old communications professional in Toronto — has done. She refers to herself as a “former message softener.”

“I always felt like I needed to be softer or kinder in my approach because I was so afraid as coming off bitchy,” Janu told Global News.

It wasn’t until she became a full-time freelancer that Janu realized it was acceptable (and, in some cases, necessary) to cut the fluff out of her emails.

“A lot of what I was saying was being lost in translation,” she said. “I would be taken advantage of, or not taken seriously.”

Now, as a marketing co-ordinator in the technology industry, Janu is concentrating on “commanding her ship.”

READ MORE: What to do if you’re touched inappropriately at work

I stopped softening my emails because I didn’t need to shrink myself for the comfort of others. If someone is uncomfortable with me, and I haven’t personally done or said anything to them, they need to take that up with themselves,” she said. 

“At the end of the day, I say what needs to be said and I get my job done.”

In Janu’s view, this shift in perspective has brought her a lot closer to her career goals.

“Why is it that when a woman says it like it is, in the most professional way possible, that she’s still seen as a bitch but when a man does, he’s a boss? And that’s really it — I’m trying to be a boss,” she said.

“I’m trying to grow in my career so I can truly make space for people that look and sound like me: people of colour, people that were raised in low-income areas, people that didn’t always have the work experience, refugees, immigrants… we are extremely valuable and our world view is as well.”

Ultimately, the change has been empowering for Janu.

“Through being vulnerable enough to command my space both in real life and online, [I] better understand the value I bring to the table. Hell, sometimes I am the table.”

READ MORE: You can still get a job you’re not qualified for. Here’s how

In Orr’s view, there are surefire tips for writing a professional email — regardless of your gender.

“Professional emails should always be specific, concise and forwardable,” Orr told Global News.

Be specific

Make sure the topic of your email is immediately obvious.

“Your subject line should highlight the purpose of your email… [and] in the body of the email, make it clear what you’re asking for,” she said.

Orr recommends using bullet points as a clear way to get your point across.

Be concise

“Keep your emails to five sentences or less — three if you can,” Orr said.

Keeping it brief will allow for your reader to get your message quickly, and it will improve the chances of your entire message being read.

“Should you need more than five sentences, attach a memo or document to provide a more thorough explanation.”

Assume it will be forwarded

“That means no gossip, and use appropriate language,” said Orr.

In collaborative work environments, email communication is never really private.

“The last thing you want is some embarrassing inside joke making its way around the office and coming back to bite you.”

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘Roughest period of my life’: The emotional trauma of calling off a wedding – National

by BBG Hub

Over 10 years ago, Hassan was set to be engaged to his university sweetheart.

The 31-year-old from Toronto, who chose not to share his full name, said that like other South Asian couples he knew, he had decided to throw a party the night before his engagement.

Family and friends had flown in from as far as Mumbai and Dubai to share in the celebration,” he said. “We booked a banquet hall, her ring was in my tailored suit pocket, and we were ready to do the damn thing.”

But that same night, his father got into an “intense” disagreement with the father of the bride-to-be. In the heat of the moment, they abruptly called off the engagement.

“(It was) like something out of a Bollywood soap opera. It turns out that a scorned ex-business partner of (my fiancé’s) father had come out of the woodwork with outrageous and baseless accusations of infidelity against his daughter,” he continued.

READ MORE: Bridezilla known as ‘Canadian Susan’ attempted to charge guests $1,500 to attend her wedding

“But it was too late: my gullible father and her proud father said things to one another that could never be unsaid. Respect was lost and, as a result, so was my future with (her).”

Hassan felt bewildered, overwhelmed and embarrassed.

“I argued with my father until my voice ran hoarse,” he said. “I begged and pleaded with (my partner) to be patient as I struggled to clean up the mess. That the accusations were proven false was inconsequential at this point. I reluctantly realized that there was nothing I could do to fix this in time for the scheduled ceremony.”

That night, he didn’t sleep because he had to notify every person he invited to the engagement that it was cancelled.

“Each call was more painful than the last. My voice faltered and disappeared, along with my store of tears.”

Hassan’s story may not be a typical reason that couples call off engagements or weddings, but whatever the reason may be, people can be left feeling embarrassed and financially unstable and often find it hard to move on. While some decisions are necessary — experts say some couples should not be getting married — other times it can feel sudden, leaving some wondering why.

Hassan’s family had fallen apart, and slowly, he sank into a deep depression.

“I developed anxiety around my own family. I developed a deep and unhealthy contempt for religion, tradition and culture,” he continued. “And in my darkest moments, I turned to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. But it wasn’t enough.”

The trauma of calling off a wedding

Rana Khan, a registered psychotherapist in Toronto who focuses on individual, couple and family therapy, told Global News that when people go through the process of calling off an engagement or wedding, they are often left with unanswered questions.

“For the person who has called off the engagement/wedding, there may be doubt as to if this was the right decision, and for the opposite partner, there may be questions of clarity,” he explained.

He added that it’s not uncommon for couples to go into couples’ therapy after a breakup like this.

“In this situation, couples can talk about the guilt of having to terminate the relationship or wanting clarity as to why the relationship had to end this way,” he said. “If therapy is not an option for you, then I would say to consider seeking support from close family and friends.”

For the person calling off the wedding or engagement, there’s also the stress of not knowing if you made the right call.

READ MORE: When a wedding is called off but the financial burden isn’t

“Think more along the lines: ‘Was this a helpful decision or an unhelpful decision for you? If it was helpful for you to do this, why was it? If it was unhelpful, why was it? In my experience, you get a richer discussion when you make this slight change from right/wrong to helpful/unhelpful,” Khan said.

And for the other party in this situation, it can be a vulnerable experience. Khan recommended having compassion for yourself.

“Feeling emotions and giving yourself permission to feel emotions may be a difficult thing so, of course, that is going to take time. Take your time. Once you’ve given yourself permission and time to feel, you can then move towards healing.”

The stressful steps that follow

Letting your guests know a wedding or engagement party is cancelled is often the first step, but there’s a long laundry list of to-dos that follow.

For Hassan, this meant losing money for the banquet hall, audio-visual support, catering and decorations. He had also spent money on a suit and ring that were no longer in use, while his partner spent hundreds of dollars on an outfit and jewellery.

Alyssa, who has chosen not to share her full name, called off her wedding in Montreal and said that financially, it was a “cash grab” for vendors. She and her former partner lost deposits on the venue, caterer, photographer and DJ, and she lost her investment toward a dress and veil.

“We lost all the deposits at an approximate loss of $15,000 split for both sides of the partnership,” the 28-year-old told Global News.

“Save-the-date cards were already sent out, (and) I texted my friends to let them know and my parents called family members,” she continued. “There was a lot of embarrassment and pity from others with sympathy in understanding my suffering. It should not be something that I was embarrassed about, in hindsight, as I am not the person I am today without this experience.”

WATCH: State of the Union — an arranged marriage

For Maryam, who has also chosen not to share her full name, calling off her wedding was “the roughest period of (her) life.”

“I gained weight, stopped getting my period altogether, just stayed in bed for days,” she told Global News. “It’s still hard to talk about it without feeling guilty.”

Maryam, 31, is Muslim and was engaged to a Muslim man from a different background.

After months of trying to convince their parents to agree to a wedding, the two realized how different the really were in the planning stages.

“Parents got involved, each side got bitter about what they could and couldn’t do — who was going to officiate, what I could and couldn’t wear in his mosque, what could be served, how many people could be invited, whether or not my parents could give us money as a gift… It just became one fight too many, and halfway through one, he said it was off.”

WATCH: Are millennials rewriting the rules to marriage?

Maryam’s father’s health suffered significantly following the breakup, and her mother never talked about it again.

“I can’t even imagine what it was for my mom to call and say it was off, again and again. My family still hasn’t ever talked about it, but two years later, they don’t pressure me to get married anymore,” she said.

For some communities, calling off a wedding or engagement can lead to shame, judgement or even being shunned from families, Khan said. This is a whole other hurdle some people have to jump over.

“I find that people have thought this out, and they’ve considered the impact it would have on their communities, they have considered what to do with the shame and the feeling of being shunned, and it might just be helpful to turn to that earlier version of yourself who had thought it out. I am positive that there may be wisdom there that the person may need to just uncover.”

Learning how to move on

Moving on from being on either end of this situation can be a slow process. Khan said healing can start when you move on from the notion of “Why did this happen to me?” to “This happened to me. What now?”

“If you’re not at that stage, then you probably still need to feel the emotions and get comfortable with having those emotions around,” he explained. “If you’re at the ‘what now’ stage, then think what difference it would make for you if, rather (than) thinking that this thing has happened to you, that it happened for you.”

For Hassan, his former university sweetheart didn’t want to work on the relationship anymore.

“She rejected my sincere bids to elope, reminding me painfully that the damage was done,” he said. “With nowhere to direct my anger, exasperated, I told my father that I hated him and wished to cease all contact. This vitriol completely broke him.”

But as simple as it sounds, time really does help you heal.

READ MORE: ‘I almost called off my wedding’ — Bride and groom say they were scammed by wedding planner

“Looking back, the most significant cost of my failed engagement was my entire family’s mental health and well-being. We grew apart and lost years and years of happiness before healing and rekindling our relationship,” he said. “Embrace the cracks and move forward in life with a level of wisdom and resilience that will be a shield for you when things become stressful. ”

Khan said that for some, it can be difficult to get back into a new relationship.

“You know you’re ready for love when you know that you can take care of most of your own feelings and you’d be willing to let someone else take care of what’s left that you can’t take care of,” Khan said. “And that you might have the capacity to take on someone else’s feelings that they may not be able to take care of themselves.”

Khan added that entering a new relationship also means having a common goal, whether that be marriage or not.

“Do you have the energy and capacity to work together with someone and make something with them? If your answer is yes to both of the questions, you’re probably ready to love again.”

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