How to Keep the Girl You Love

Lately I am hearing so many stories about heartbreak. The stories seem the same… a girl leaves a broken relationship. She feels like he is crushing her spirit, he is no longer passionate about her, he says critical and hurtful words, he treats her like an option, and the list of reasons goes on. What surprises me the most is that when the girl finally walks away from all the hurt the guy is often surprised. What he doesn’t realize is that she left a dozen warnings maybe more that she was broken, that she could not fight anymore, that he has crushed her spirit. Instead of fighting for her he lets her walk away.

What guys don’t realize is that it is often quite simple to keep the girl you love. Of course there are the obvious things like being faithful, honesty, and just don’t be a big jerk! However there are little things that you can do to make her feel your love and devotion. When you do these things you are more likely to keep her then lose her and the relationship will strengthen. In the end you may even experience the most amazing relationship of your life.

1. It’s the little things that matter. It’s the gentle touch of your hand, how you wipe the hair out of her eyes, how you stare into her eyes, the random hug or kiss throughout the day, the simple text letting her know you are thinking about her. Text her every morning to say Good Morning Beautiful! You don’t have to do all these things every single day but most definitely make sure you are doing random little ‘I love you’s, I see you, I acknowledge your beauty things’ everyday.

2. Make her feel like the most beautiful girl in the world. That she is your dream woman. That you want to runaway with her. Women want to feel beautiful. We especially want to feel beautiful by the man we love.

3. Remember what is special to her. Show her you care about these things. Ask questions about her family, her children, her work, whatever she is passionate about. When you genuinely take an interest in her life her heart opens and love flows.

4. Notice the small things. How you think it’s cute how she looks when she wakes up, how her nail polish has sock marks in it or how she works hard to accomplish her latest goal. These things may seem unimportant but it truly is the small things that you notice that matter.

5. Have fun together and act silly! Jump off the boat and do cannon balls, playfully tease her or tell her how she makes you smile every time you think of her. Life should be enjoyed so why not do it together!

6. Kiss her Passionately. Grab her and kiss her like you can’t get enough of her. When you kiss tell her it was better than you dreamed it would be. There should always be a little romance sprinkled into your relationship.

7. Don’t take her spark away. A woman’s spirit is gentle, treat it with respect and love. You can either crush her spirit or encourage it. Critical and harsh words crush the spark within the spirit. Be careful with your tongue. Don’t let it blow out the beautiful and inspiring spirit that women contain. When you help this spark grow you can experience the greatest passion you will ever know. The men that crush this gentle spirit never experience all the beauty she has to offer.

A girl will move mountains for a man that adores, appreciates and truly loves her. A woman can sense a fake so don’t do these things without pure intentions in your heart. An authentic man that does these things creates a passionate and pure love within the woman he loves. Of course there are a lot more factors that determine if someone stays or not. Choose to do your best at loving your beautiful lady. Choose her daily and see the difference it makes in your relationship.

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From: Huffington Post by Amanda Rose

15 Signs You’re In an Unhappy — or Loveless — Marriage

 

Making the decision to leave a marriage is scary: There’s often a deep fear of being alone, not to mention the possibility of an unknown future. So many stick with mediocrity, settling for low-level pain and dissatisfaction instead.

But that’s not your best bet: “Staying in a seriously unhappy marriage can have long-term effects on our mental and emotional health,” says Carrie Cole, a couples therapist and Master Certified Gottman Therapist by the Gottman Institute. Research shows that people in bad marriages usually have low self-esteem, struggle with anxiety and depression, and have a higher rate of illness than those who don’t. People feel sad and grieve when they decide to let go — but people who divorce do recover emotionally, and Cole says most find new relationships. In fact, “one statistic reported that 85 percent of those who divorce remarry within five years,” she says.

If any these signs hit home for you, it’s time to take a hard look at whether this is a marriage you want to stay in.

1. YOU AREN’T HAVING SEX ANYMORE

One warning sign would be that your relationship is totally sexless, says sex and relationship therapist Megan Fleming, Ph.D. — or if you’re having sex less than 10 times a year. After all, she says, it’s intimacy that separates a romantic relationship from all other sorts of relationships you might have. “When that’s going out the window, it’s a really big red flag.” Jane Greer, relationship therapist and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship, says that a lack of visible physical affection — like kissing or hugging — is also indicative of a real problem.

2. YOU HAVE NOTHING TO SAY TO EACH OTHER

When something comes up in life, whether that’s a work event or any accomplishment and your partner isn’t the first person you’re sharing it with — or one of the firsts, Fleming says that it may be that “you prefer to get your needs mets outside the relationship.” To that end, Greer points out that not having any meaningful conversations aside from “rudimentary conversations about chores and things that need to get done” is a warning sign that your relationship is not in a good place.

3. YOU’RE WITH EACH OTHER…BUT NOT REALLY WITH EACH OTHER

“You can be in the same room, one of you on the computer, one of you [watching TV],” Fleming says, but “if you find that you’re never actively engaging together — you’re together, alone, doing your own thing — that’s an indication there’s disconnection, or a lack of connection.”

4. YOU’RE ACTIVELY IGNORING YOUR GUT

Our instincts can often tell us first when a relationship just isn’t working — but we don’t always trust that voice, says couples therapist Susan Pease Gadoua, co-author of The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels“We often ignore our gut instincts because that voice is very quiet and calm, unlike the internal voice in our heads that thrives on high drama.” We’re trained to trust logic in many areas of life, so when a niggling feeling (“Am I really still in love with this person?”) presents itself, it’s hard to pay attention to it because there aren’t any hard facts or rational reasoning. Drill down on that initial instinct and ask yourself more specific questions. If you find your responses are things like, “I don’t feel safe to express myself, I don’t feel respected and haven’t felt happy in a long time,” that’s a sign that things have gone awry — and you shouldn’t ignore it. “The truth doesn’t go away simply because we don’t want it to be there; that voice stays in the background and weighs on you,” says Gadoua. “Getting quiet within is key to being able to hear instincts. And like a muscle, the more you trust your gut, the easier it becomes to decipher that voice — which comes from your heart — from the voice in your head.”

5. YOU’RE PREOCCUPIED WITH OTHER PEOPLE’S NEEDS AND PROBLEMS

Many women stay in relationships longer than they should because they tend to put the needs of others before their own. And since women often naturally take on the role of caretakers, they can lose parts of their own identity — and a sense of their own needs — in the process. “In order to face her relationship unhappiness, a woman needs to stop distracting herself by putting other people’s needs ahead of her own,” says Gadoua. “Doing this can be a way of avoiding her own painful truth.” So if you find yourself getting unnecessarily involved in a fight between your mother and sister, or you’re always rushing around trying to make other people’s lives easier, it might be time to take a hard look at your own relationship.

6. THE DISTANCE BETWEEN YOU KEEPS GROWING — AND YOU’RE WAITING TO GET HELP

One way to distinguish between a run-of-the-mill marital rut (where you’ve, say, fallen into boring routines and don’t have much sex anymore) and a loveless marriage is to ask yourself how long the situation has been this way, and whether it’s been steadily worsening. “Most couples go through rough times, but if the difficulties last more than two years, with no sign of relief, I’d recommend seeking professional help,” says Gadoua. And sooner is always better to avoid passing the point of no return. “It would be ideal if we could tune into our longings and needs well before we get to the point that the love we once had is dead,” says Cole, who notes that the average couple waits six years from the time they recognize relationship problems until the time they try therapy. By then, it’s often too late — the problems in the marriage can corrode it to the point where it may be unsalvageable. So play it safe and consider scheduling a therapy session if you’re struggling.

7. YOU FANTASIZE ABOUT A LIFE WITHOUT YOUR SPOUSE

If you often imagine a happy (happy is the key word here) future without your partner, that’s a major sign that things aren’t right. This is a part of the emotional detachment process, during which you may try to convince yourself that you don’t care anymore so that the eventual separation feels less painful, says relationship therapist Jamie Turndorf, Ph.D., author of Kiss Your Fights Goodbye“Detaching psychologically by fantasizing about having an affair or making plans for the future that don’t include your partner can all be signs that you’ve fallen out of love,” says Turndorf. “It’s as if the mind has pulled its own plug so our hearts won’t suffer as much when the relationship ends.” If you notice this mental pattern, take it a step further to see if the fantasy holds weight. Gadoua suggests checking out real apartment listings online, and paying attention to how you feel. “It’ll give you another layer of reality, which can then help you know what the right next step is,” she says. As you click through, check in with your emotions. If excitement or relief is your prominent emotion (rather than fear or apprehension), it may be a sign to acknowledge that there are serious problems in your marriage. “But before actually taking steps to leave, see if there are things you can — or want — to do to work on the relationship,” says Gadoua. That way, if you ultimately decide to leave, “you can do so with some peace of mind,” she says. “It’s never easy to end a relationship, but having lingering regret that you could have done more can make the decision harder.”

8. YOU’VE STOPPED FIGHTING

If you’ve given up fighting, but feel further away than ever, it’s a sign that you’ve reached a crossroads. “If there’s a fight and the couple doesn’t talk about what happened, or becomes gridlocked in their position and refuses to listen to their partner’s perspective, that’s not good,” says Cole. However, you might still be able to turn it around. “Unresolved conflict can fool us into thinking that our love is lost, when it’s actually only buried beneath the ashes of smoldering resentment and anger,” says Turndorf. In other words, the love could still be there, but you just can’t access it. To get back in touch with those feelings, turn toward your partner emotionally —which creates closeness and connection—rather than ignoring them or responding negatively, which creates distance and disengagement. “Fights can lead to greater intimacy if the couple processes the fight and repairs the relationship,” says Cole. It’s up to you to decide whether you’ve got it in you to turn toward your husband and give it one last go, or whether you’ve maxed out your ability to keep fighting for your relationship.

9. YOU HAVE ONE OR MORE OF THE BIG RELATIONSHIP DESTROYERS

According to Cole, there are four behaviors that are super-destructive to relationships. If one or more is present in your relationship, you could be on the fast track to loveless-ness (if you’re not there already). Every time you criticize your partner — by attacking, blaming, and putting the fault on them by flinging negative statements like “You’re always running late,” or “You never do anything right” — you corrode your connection. By being defensive and refusing to accept responsibility, or attacking in response to feedback from your partner, you chip away at the trust and goodwill in your marriage. If you have an attitude of contempt, and call your partner names or make stinging, sarcastic remarks, you imply that you’re superior and your partner is defective. And every time you stonewall one another, or emotionally shut down instead of openly addressing the issues, you create more distance and dishonesty, rather than openness, communication, and love. If any (or all) of these sounds familiar, schedule couples’ therapy to discuss why you do these things — and how you can fix them.

10. YOU DON’T FEEL HEARD (AND YOU MIGHT NOT BE LISTENING)

When you sit down to talk with your spouse about what’s working and what isn’t, do you hear crickets? Or feel like nothing changes, no matter how vocal you are about your feelings? That’s a problem, says Turndorf. “The most powerful tool we have for resolving our conflicts is listening and understanding one another,” she says. “When we invite our partners to share what we’ve done to let them down, and when we truly listen and understand their feelings, decades of hurt and anger can easily fade away.” So make a point of listening for the underlying emotions and messages in your partner’s words — everyday issues, like yelling about whose turn it is to take out the trash, could be stemming from something deeper. “In most situations where couples go from being best friends to loveless opponents, I uncover a pattern of poor communication, dashed expectations and unhealed resentments,” says Gadoua. “They think the fight really is about taking the garbage out, when in fact it’s more likely about one or both feeling unappreciated, overwhelmed or unacknowledged.” And once you finally hear what they’re trying to tell you (or vice versa) you can get to the bottom of the real issue.

11. YOU’RE ON THE VERGE OF HAVING AN EMOTIONAL AFFAIR

If you’re not happy with your husband, you might be falling into an emotional affair, making another male the priority in your life. And thanks to today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to get caught up. “Technology has allowed people who might never risk having any kind of affair to flirt online,” says Dr. Wendy M. O’Connor, a licensed marriage, family therapist, relationship coach, and author of Love Addiction: How to Overcome Toxic Relationships & Find Love. “This creates a situation of ‘temptation,’ and not everything that takes place online stays online. People are bolder when hiding behind a screen, and often click on send without thinking first.” If your relationship is already on the rocks, giving yourself to someone else — even if that’s only virtually — will only make things worse.

12. YOU’RE GOING TO YOUR FRIENDS INSTEAD OF YOUR PARTNER

When people have exciting news to share or even just need someone to talk to, they typically speed dial the person closest to them. If that used to be your spouse but is now someone else — whether that’s a girlfriend or another man — it’s a clear sign you’re not in the happy marriage you used to be. “Research shows that in healthy marriages, couples celebrate each other’s successes. If you’re turning to [someone else] first in good times and bad, then you’re replacing your husband emotionally and avoiding addressing what isn’t working with him,” says Dr. Paulette Sherman, psychologist, director of My Dating and Relationship School and author of Dating from the Inside Out. Try putting your husband into your #1 spot again. If you’re not getting the support you need — or you don’t even want it in the first place — it might be time to sit down and have a serious discussion about your relationship.

13. YOU DON’T LIKE SPENDING QUALITY TIME TOGETHER

After getting home from a long day of work, do you and your spouse immediately go your separate ways? And when you’re at parties, do you tend to drift apart and do your own thing? If you’d rather be alone than with your husband, it probably doesn’t seem like there’s much of a point in being in a relationship in the first place. Getting a little time apart is one thing, but the trouble really starts when you’d rather be apart.

14. DATE NIGHTS ARE A THING OF THE PAST

Can’t remember your last date night? If you’re not planning any important or special events together on top of not spending time together in general, that’s not good news for your relationship, says Greer. Make an effort to get a couple outings on the schedule — maybe a movie night or a dinner at your favorite spot — and see if you can rekindle the flame. Marriages take work, and putting in the effort on things that bond you as a couple is part of that.

15. YOU’RE NOT EACH OTHER’S PRIORITY ANYMORE

When you say your “I dos,” you’re making each other your top priority above anything and anyone else. When you lose that essential part of your marriage, you can lose the person that once meant the world to you. If you’re not making your husband a priority in your life anymore — or if he’s not making you his — it’s going to be really hard to stay a solid unit. Try going back to prioritizing your time together, each other’s feelings, and each other’s goals to get back into a healthy place before it’s too late.

***

From RedBook Mag

Is It Normal to Have a Crush When You’re in a Relationship?

Certain (annoying) people love to brag about how they tell their partner everything, as if a 100 percent disclosure rate is the key to a perfectly healthy relationship (it isn’t). There are some things you don’t necessarily need to tell your partner — like, for instance, how you think the guy who always spells your name wrong on your Starbucks cup is actually really cute. A spoiler: Having little crushes on people, even when you’re in the happiest relationship of your life, is both very common, and very normal. But if the feelings persist or you feel tempted to cross a line, those feelings are a sign that you need to ask yourself how happy you actually are with your current partner.

To ease everyone’s general concern about which feelings you’re allowed to have when you’re in a relationship, Rachel Sussman, a New York-based therapist and relationship expert, cleared up the air when it comes to the very messy territory of navigating extra-relationship crushes.

Drawing a line between crush and Crush

The definition of “having a crush” is extremely broad. A crush can be something as simple and light as a flittery feeling in your chest when you notice the cute barista is working at your local coffeeshop, or a deeper feeling of near-infatuation you feel for your “friend” in class who you’ve been studying with on a more frequent basis.

Sussman said the first definition, or having a light crush on a stranger or near-stranger, is perfectly harmless. “As human beings, we’re very visual,” she said. “We love a beautiful piece of art, we admire beauty. There’s nothing wrong with admiring a beautiful person on the street.” She even added that there’s nothing wrong with some mild flirting, as might be the case with the aforementioned cute barista. It’s fun to flirt! It’s a confidence boost! Go for it!

But, of course, flirting can cross a line if you’re in a monogamous, closed relationship with someone. Like, let’s say you start feeling like you have a crush on a coworker, or someone you know relatively well and see almost every day. It’s one thing to notice someone else is hot and want to flirt with that person almost as a sport, but it’s another for a crush to deepen into feelings that may cause distress in your relationship.

Sussman’s rule of thumb is that if it’s causing you distress, and doesn’t feel like a fleeting thing, you should take a step back and examine your relationship. Are you as happy as you say you are? Did something shift recently that caused the dynamic to change. Sussman mentioned things like a new job, starting grad school, moving to college, etc. can often cause a partner to feel neglected, or like they’re receiving less attention than they once were. Or if this is a relationship you’ve been in for a long time, maybe the crush that won’t go away is a sign that your tastes or personality has changed, and you and your partner are no longer fitting together like you once did.

“Oftentimes, the crush is just the tip of the iceberg,” Sussman said. “If you’re developing feelings for someone else, there may be something broken with your relationship.”

The case for not disclosing your crush

All this said, you shouldn’t rush home and immediately tell your partner about the cute barista (unless you’re in a relationship where discussing sexual fantasies like that is totally cool), or the actual crush you have on a coworker or someone more serious. Sussman’s advice is to figure out your own feelings before disclosing everything to your partner.

“Don’t go home and vomit this information unless you understand what’s behind it,” she said. “Oftentimes, these things can be very innocent, and once you put that out there that there’s someone you have a crush on, it’s very hard for the person that you give that information to to process it and let it go. You might be able to work it out and move on, but your [partner] might not be able to.”

If it turns out that the crush is actually something serious — like you have real feelings for someone else that you feel compelled to explore, or you realize that the crush is a sign you aren’t happy in your relationship — then that’s the conversation you should have with your partner. As Sussman said, the crush feelings for this other person are just (in some cases) the visible symptom of a deeper issue with your relationship.

Sussman also said these little crushes happen all the time — both with couples who’ve been together for decades, and with couples who’ve been together for a month. For the latter category, she would prompt you to ask yourself if you’re still in “singles mode,” and just aren’t yet used to being in a monogamous situation. Or maybe it’s that, a month in, you realize a closed relationship isn’t what you want. If that’s the case — don’t be in one! Her advice is to “play the field,” keep dating, and have as many crushes as your little heart can handle.

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From: Cosmo India by Hannah Smothers 

 

Selena’s Reason For Giving Justin Another Chance Is Relatable

Are Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez really, truly, actually back together? According to a Selena insider who spoke to People, pretty much yes, and it has everything to do with the fact that the two were each other’s first loves.

The couple known as #JELENA to millions of fans has had their ups and downs over the years, but after going on a romantic bike ride together and then going to church twice together recently, it appears that they’re extremely close to being a public power couple, with Justin reportedly being the one nudging Selena to get back together.

As for why Selena would want to give dating the Biebs another go: According to that People source, “Justin was Selena’s first love. He will always have a special place in her heart. She’s always held out hope that one day the circumstances and timing would be right.”

The source also added that Selena “always saw the best in him” through their first run at a relationship, which is another part of why it seems she’s ready and willing to not just spend more time with him, but also do so in the full eye of the public. And this time, Justin’s ready to meet her at a new maturity level, as a source from his camp shares, “They’re having a great time together. Neither [is] seeing anyone else and they seem happy to leave it at this for now.”

“Spending time together makes them both very happy. For Justin, no one ever came close to comparing to Selena. He always thought she was the most special and now seems mature enough to realize Selena deserves the best.”

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From Cosmo.ph by Lilian Min

FAQs

What do you do exactly?

I specialize in helping people make their relationships work. I also give advice to those who feel that their relationship is on the rocks and if it’s even worth saving.

More importantly, (and this is what I feel that you’re probably here for), I help people recover and heal from their already broken relationship. I also offer advice on the legal intricacies and logistics of what you need to consider when going through a divorce or separation.

In the event that you haven’t had a relationship yet, or you have and would like to get into the dating game, I also offer a program that helps you to potentially meet the one.

How do you work?

I get several emails from people who need help in some way or the other from around the world. Now, not all of them can be helped or they end up asking for help in a problem that have nothing to do with the dating scene.

This is why I came up with the screening system.

All you have to do is pop me an email : breakupcoachonline@gmail.com

Please put ‘INQUIRY’ in the subject line so I can easily get to your email.

After reading your email and analyzing your problem, my team and I will come up with a customized program to help you. Together we can:

a. REBUILD your relationship;

b. REGAIN full control of your life;

c. Make you feel EXCITED about life again;

d. Make you LOOK FORWARD to establishing relationships with others.

How soon can you respond to emails?

We do our best to get back to you within 24 hours. But typically, three days. Within those three days, we send you a questionnaire to fill up. This will easily give me an idea of whether I can help you with your issues.

What are your qualifications?

I am a lawyer specializing in family and property law. One of my passions is to help those in troubled relationships, having had the opportunity to volunteer and work with organizations that cater to abused women and children, aside from the cases that I handle.

I have seen and experienced myself the kinds of abuse that different kinds of people are capable of doing and are capable of tolerating.

This is why I devote myself to helping others in any way I can to make sure that they don’t have to go through the rest of their lives suffering.

It’s possible.

So how does this work?

My work allows me to travel a lot. But I mostly work with clients over email or on Skype.

Some clients want to be anonymous so they prefer email or messenger as their go-to option.

Others located in other places around the globe prefer to keep in touch through Skype.

What will I get from all this? Does it even work?

YES. Ultimately, my goal is to help you discover what else does life have to offer you. Joining my coaching program would help you feel better about yourself.

I want you to discover that you can bounce back from this problem.

I want you to love life.

I believe that taken collectively, positive vibes and positive energy helps change society for the better.

I want you to start with one person at a time. 

My clients are usually people who simply want to have someone to talk to because they’re sick of talking to their friends and family about their issues. They need someone to be with them every step of the way on their road to recovery and self-discovery.

Let me know how you want me to help.

Email : breakupcoachonline@gmail.com

Don’t forget to put ‘INQUIRY’ as your subject title.

 

 

The 10 Habits of Long-Lasting Couples

We’ve all swooned at the adorable stories of couples who spend their whole lives together, and are just as much in love with each other in old age as they were right at beginning. But what is their secret? How do they manage to maintain, and strengthen, their love through the years?

Well, psychiatrist Mark Goulston has published his advice. Read on to discover his 10 tips for lasting relationships:

1. Go to bed together. This doesn’t mean go have sex every single night, but rather go to bed at the same time. Dr. Goulston reckons that “happy couples resist the temptation to go to bed at different times” even if one gets back up shortly after. There’s nothing like a bedtime cuddle!

2. Work out your common interests. It’s fine if he loves rugby while you’re into painting, and you shouldn’t even worry if the thing you find most boring is what really gets him going. But Dr. Goulston reminds us that the initial passion won’t last forever, so you need to make sure there’s some substance behind your relationship.

“If common interests aren’t present, happy couples develop them,” he says. “Don’t minimize the importance of activities you can do together that you both enjoy. At the same time, be sure to cultivate interests of your own; this will make you more interesting and prevent you from appearing too dependent.” Got it.

3. Hold hands. Next time you’re out together, make sure you’re in sync by holding one another’s hand. A public sign of affection, Dr. Goulston advises that it’s a sign of real comfort. “It’s more important to be with your partner than to see the sights along the way,” he tells us.

4. Always trust and try to forgive. Obviously this depends on the severity of your disagreement, but as a general rule Dr. Goulston thinks it’s key to make “trusting and forgiving, rather than distrusting and begrudging” your default setting after an argument.

5. Focus on what they do right, not what they do wrong. Positive reinforcement is an age-old concept used with children and even the training of animals. But it’s still important for fully grown adults too. So compliment your partner when they deserve it and try not to look for things they do wrong. “You can always find something,” Dr. Goulston says.

But that works both ways; “If you look for what he or she does right, you can always find something too. It all depends on what you want to look for. Happy couples accentuate the positive.”

6. Don’t forget to hug. Dr. Goulston urges us to hug our partner every single day (if circumstance allows). “Our skin has a memory of ‘good touch’ (loved), ‘bad touch’ (abused), and ‘no touch’ (neglected),” he explains. “Couples who say hello with a hug keep their skin bathed in the ‘good touch,’ which can inoculate your spirit against anonymity in the world.”

7. Say “I love you” and “have a good day” every morning. Seems obvious, but it’s an important one. Saying something caring like that first thing will set the other up for their day. “It’s a great way to buy some patience and tolerance as each partner sets out each day to battle traffic jams, long lines, and other annoyances.”

8. Say good night, every night. Regardless of how you feel. Never go to bed on an argument. According to Dr. Goulston, even the gesture of saying good night “tells your partner that, regardless of how upset you are with him or her, you still want to be in the relationship. It says that what you and your partner have is bigger than any single upsetting incident.”

9. Check in with them throughout the day. Calling your partner to see how their day is going is “a great way to adjust expectations so that you’re more in sync when you connect after work.” So if your other half has had a nightmare of a day, you know what to expect. And you can probably get the Ben & Jerry’s, in an attempt to cheer them up.

10. Be proud to be seen together. We know there’s a line between a sweet show affection and blatant PDA, but Dr. Goulston reminds us that a display of tenderness in public is important. “It’s not showing off, but rather just saying that they belong with each other,” he tells us. And that’s quite nice.

By: Catriona Harvey-Jenner

Phubbing: the #1 Habit Killing Relationships

Phubbing is the practice of snubbing others in favor of our mobile phones. We’ve all been there, as either victim or perpetrator. We may no longer even notice when we’ve been phubbed (or are phubbing), it has become such a normal part of life. However, research studies are revealing the profound impact phubbing can have on our relationships and well-being.

There’s an irony in phubbing. When we’re staring at our phones, we’re often connecting with someone on social media or through texting. Sometimes, we’re flipping through our pictures the way we once turned the pages of photo albums, remembering moments with people we love. Unfortunately, however, this can severely disrupt our actual, present-moment, in-person relationships, which also tend to be our most important ones.

The research shows that phubbing isn’t harmless—but the studies to date also point the way to a healthier relationship with our phones and with each other.

 

What phubbing does to us

In a study poignantly titled, “My life has become a major distraction from my cell phone,” Meredith David and James Roberts suggest that phubbing can lead to a decline in one of the most important relationships we can have as an adult: the one with our life partner.

According to their study of 145 adults, phubbing decreases marital satisfaction, in part because it leads to conflict over phone use. The scientists found that phubbing, by lowering marital satisfaction, affected a partner’s depression and satisfaction with life. A follow-up study by Chinese scientists assessed 243 married adults with similar results: Partner phubbing, because it was associated with lower marital satisfaction, contributed to greater feelings of depression.

Phubbing also shapes our casual friendships. Not surprisingly to anyone who has been phubbed, phone users are generally seen as less polite and attentive. Let’s not forget that we are extremely attuned to people. When someone’s eyes wander, we intuitively know what brain studies also show: The mind is wandering. We feel unheard, disrespected, disregarded.

A set of studies actually showed that just having a phone out and present during a conversation (say, on the table between you) interferes with your sense of connection to the other person, the feelings of closeness experienced, and the quality of the conversation. This phenomenon is especially the case during meaningful conversations—you lose the opportunity for true and authentic connection to another person, the core tenet of any friendship or relationship.

In fact, many of the problems with mobile interaction relate to distraction from the physical presence of other people. According to these studies, conversations with no smartphones present are rated as significantly higher quality than those with smartphones around, regardless of people’s age, ethnicity, gender, or mood. We feel more empathy when smartphones are put away.

This makes sense. When we are on our phones, we are not looking at other people and not reading their facial expressions (tears in their eyes, frowns, smiles). We don’t hear the nuances in their tone of voice (was it shaky with anxiety?), or notice their body posture (slumped and sad? or excited and enthusiastic?).

No wonder phubbing harms relationships.

The way of the phubbed

What do “phubbed” people tend do?

According to a study published in March of this year, they themselves start to turn to social media. Presumably, they do so to seek inclusion. They may turn to their cell phone to distract themselves from the very painful feelings of being socially neglected. We know from brain-imaging research that being excluded registers as actual physical pain in the brain. Phubbed people in turn become more likely to attach themselves to their phones in unhealthy ways, thereby increasing their own feelings of stress and depression.

A Facebook study shows that how we interact on Facebook affects whether it makes us feel good or bad. When we use social media just to passively view others’ posts, our happiness decreases. Another study showed that social media actually makes us more lonely.

“It is ironic that cell phones, originally designed as a communication tool, may actually hinder rather than foster interpersonal connectedness,” write David and Roberts in their study, “Phubbed and Alone.” Their results suggest the creation of a vicious circle: A phubbed individual turns to social media and their compulsive behavior presumably leads them to phub others—perpetuating and normalizing the practice and problem of “phubbing.”

It is ironic that cell phones, originally designed as a communication tool, may actually hinder rather than foster interpersonal connectedness―Meredith David and James Roberts

Why do people get into the phubbing habit in the first place? Not surprisingly, fear of missing out and lack of self-control predict phubbing. However, the most important predictor is addiction—to social media, to the cell phone, and to the Internet. Internet addiction has similar brain correlates to physiological forms like addiction to heroine and other recreational drugs. The impact of this addiction is particularly worrisome for children whose brain and social skills are still under development.

Nicholas Kardaras, former Stony Brook Medicine clinical professor and author of Glow Kids, goes so far as to liken screen time to digital cocaine. Consider this: The urge to check social media is stronger than the urge for sex, according to research by Chicago University’s Wilhelm Hoffman.

These findings come as no surprise—decades of research have shown that our greatest need after food and shelter is for positive social connections with other people. We are profoundly social people for whom connection and a sense of belonging are crucial for health and happiness. (In fact, lack thereof is worse for you than smoking, high blood pressure, and obesity.) So, we err sometimes. We look for connection on social media at the cost of face-to-face opportunities for true intimacy.

How to stop phubbing people

To prevent phubbing, awareness is the only solution. Know that what drives you and others is to connect and to belong. While you may not be able to control the behavior of others, you yourself have opportunities to model something different.

Research by Barbara Fredrickson, beautifully described in her book Love 2.0, suggests that intimacy happens in micro-moments: talking over breakfast, the exchange with the UPS guy, the smile of a child. The key is to be present and mindful. A revealing study showed that we are happiest when we are present, no matter what we are doing. Can we be present with the person in front of us right now, no matter who it is?

Studies by Paula Niedenthal reveal that the most essential and intimate form of connection is eye contact. Yet social media is primarily verbal. Research conducted by scientists like the GGSC’s Dacher Keltner and others have shown that posture and the most minute facial expressions (the tightening of our lips, the crow’s feet of smiling eyes, upturned eyebrows in sympathy or apology) communicate more than our words.

Most importantly, they are at the root of empathy—the ability to sense what another person is feeling—which is so critical to authentic human connection. Research shows that altruism and compassion also make us happier and healthier, and can even lengthen our lives. True connection thrives on presence, openness, observation, compassion, and, as Brené Brown has so beautifully shared in her TED talk and her bestselling book Daring Greatly, vulnerability. It takes courage to connect with another person authentically, yet it is also the key to fulfillment.

What to do if you are phubbed

What if you are phubbed? Patience and compassion are key here. Understand that the phubber is probably not doing it with malicious intent, but rather is following an impulse (sometimes irresistible) to connect. Just like you or I, their goal is not to exclude. To the contrary, they are looking for a feeling of inclusion. After all, a telling sociological study shows that loneliness is rising at an alarming rate in our society.

What’s more, age and gender play a role in people’s reactions to phubbing. According to studies, older participants and women advocate for more restricted phone use in most social situations. Men differ from women in that they viewed phone calls as more appropriate in virtually all environments including—and this is quite shocking—intimate settings. Similarly, in classrooms, male students find phubbing far less disturbing than their female counterparts.

Perhaps even worse than disconnecting from others, however, Internet addiction and phubbing disconnect us from ourselves. Plunged into a virtual world, we hunch over a screen, strain our eyes unnecessarily, and tune out completely from our own needs—for sleep, exercise, even food. A disturbing study indicates that for every minute we spend online for leisure, we’re not just compromising our relationships, we are also losing precious self-care time (e.g., sleep, household activities) and productivity.

So, the next time you’re with another human and you feel tempted to pull out your phone—stop. Put it away. Look them in the eyes, and listen to what they have to say. Do it for them, do it for yourself, do it to make the world a better place.

 

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By:  Emma M. Seppälä