Saturday, August 27, 2011

Welcome to LOVEanon!

Marhaba LOVEanese! So, this is it, the first post. I feel like there's a lot of pressure on me to say something profound or something! Well, alas, I just want to give you an introduction into this project, this blog, and my vision.

It all started when I moved in Lebanon two years ago. After a while, I realized that love, romance, and relationships seemed to be everywhere. It often was the topic of conversation, but I didn't really understand why it was seemingly so important now if later in life it's not. Well, I'm not going to make that claim or generalize, but I will say that it was a partial inspiration to start work on my thesis. I'll get to that in a second, but I do have to give a quick shout-out to the real people that inspired me to do all of this: My mom. You'll understand as soon as I finish my thesis :) (which I now have! Read more here).

Now, just a bit about me quickly. I'm a 20-Something, hopeful romantic, Arab-American, recovering sociologist and former graduate student/research assistant at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. I was pursuing a Master's of Arts in sociology, which, as of June 2012, I received. I was born and raised in Kentucky in the U.S. I moved to Lebanon in 2009 to pursue my MA, and also to discover a bit more about my Arab and Armenian heritage. My thesis was about perceptions of romantic love and relationship formation among AUB students (a sample of mainly unmarried, Arab youth) (more about it here). Now, just because I've read (what seems to be) almost every piece of research about love and relationship formation that's been published in the sociological, anthropological, communication, psychological, and social psychological disciplines in the past 30+ years, and even though this is something I am incredibly invested in, and even though I'm studying it, I am not an expert! I am not a trained counselor, or professional. SO, I can't just dish out advice to people, especially if it puts their relationships in harm's way.
This leads me to my next point: the objective and purpose of this blog. As I mentioned, I'm not "Dear Abby," (nor is this blog), so I don't want to give relationship advice. But what I do want to do is offer individuals that are not necessarily aware of the academic research available out there about romance, love, and relationships to be able to connect with this knowledge. Also, through sharing anecdotes, experiences, and of course, resources that can better help people to understand who we love, why we love them, what we look for in a partner, and how we can create better, stronger, and more meaningful relationships. The information is there, we just don't always know it! Lastly, although the posts are often addressed to individuals in the Arab world, it is generalizable enough to almost anyone regardless of ethnicity, age, gender, religion, background, and geographic location.

Moreover, I'm not here to teach. I'm here to share, and to learn. From all of you, and all of your experiences. Often these experiences can be explained through research that is already there! So let's use this as a chance to create an online community to share in our experiences and learn from each other.

Finally, my vision, and what is this blog doing to help me achieve that? Well, simply put, I want people to be able to make better, well-informed decisions about who they enter into a relationship with, help them understand why they are entering into a relationship with that person, be able to access the resources that can help them to maintain that relationship (including answers and insights into who they are personally to better understand their self), and help people create better, more loving, and longer-lasting relationships. I want people to love! And I want them to know why they are doing it, and how they can do it better. I'm not saying I'm perfect or I know how better than anyone else, but we can all learn from each other.

This is not a dating site. This is not a chance to rant about the person breaking your heart (although those stories in context are definitely welcomed). It's professional, and it's a chance to actually share information that you may not have been exposed too in the past.

Another important detail of this blog is that it's geared towards a general audience, but it will have a Lebanese twist to it. That is, I want to discuss aspects of Lebanese society that directly affect love and relationships (such as politics, sectarianism, etc.), but not in the sense of a debate. Instead, merely allow those reading it to identify, connect, and empathize with the topics at hand, and think, "He get's it; he understands."

Overall, I think it'll be as fun and entertaining as it will be educational. So let's see where the next few weeks takes us, and I welcome your comments, suggestions for content, and feedback!

Follow the LOVEanon Facebook Page for links, articles, pictures, videos, and cool resources, and feel free to follow me on Twitter (@MikeOghia) as well using the hashtag #LOVEanon. You can also e-mail me at:

Note: LOVEanon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, so share away!

I'm looking forward to the future, and please share this with your friends and networks! Let's spread the word about love. Or otherwise, just spread the love.

Much love,

P.S. Just a word about the name, major props to my friend Oliver Noteware for the suggestion a very long time ago. I always just thought it was a good title, and let it be known LOVEanon stands for "Love in Lebanon," or "Love and Lebanon," not Love Anonymous. More blog posts to come starting tomorrow (Amchit today!).

The official logo. You can also access it from the official URL:

And do this ^