30 Things Divorced People Think You Should Know About Marriage

Just because someone is divorced doesn’t mean he or she didn’t walk away from a failed marriage without learning some valuable lessons on marriage. Quite the opposite, actually.It’s in failure that we often garner our most strength and wisdom. Like Janet Fitch says, “The phoenix must burn to emerge.”

Divorced people have “burned” and emerged, and most often for the best. We know better — we want better. We understand marriage in an intimate yet difficult way. Some of us wish we did things differently — some of us wish we had married a better fit. No matter what the tale, you can learn a lot about the value and delicacies of marriage from someone who loved and lost.

1. Your marriage is not as good as your vows. It’s what you put into it each day.
2. The roots of your love need to run deep from the start. If the love is attraction- or surface-based, the love will die.
3. Some parts of your marriage will be frustrating, but love enough to be patient to ride out the lows and receive the highs.
4. The grass is not always greener. Even if it looks more lush, you don’t know the quality of the soil.

5.  Tend to the garden of your marriage, lest it get overrun by weeds.

 

6. It’s more than the ring. Can you imagine growing old or being sick with this person?
7. It’s best to cool off alone before throwing down harsh words in a fight.
8. Both of you need to take turns steering the wheel.
9. If your partner backs away and avoids talking, you may have to wait for them to come back around. Patiently.
10. Marriage is not always exciting. Finding the joy in the day-to-day will serve your marriage well.
11. A good marriage means getting your hands dirty. Participating each day. Not expecting perfection.
12. We are all under construction as works in progress. Accept your partner as long as he or she is working on it.
13. Intimacy is the one thing that separates your marriage from your other relationships. Nurture it.
14. A good marriage requires two people who are both still learning about life and each other.
15.  Sometimes, marriage requires you to bend down and tie your partner’s shoes when he or she just can’t do it.
16. Expect there to be some serious storms in your marriage. You might question your love for your partner and feel alone at times.
17. But good marriages have two partners who work through tough times and see the light of a brand-new, better day.
18. A good partnership is simple, really. It just feels easy — most of the time.
19. If your partner feels like he or she has an eye, hold, or lock on you, it’s not love. It’s toxic control.
20. Love is letting the other party rest sometimes and be lazy. We can’t be our best selves 24/7.
21. And the simple little gestures you do or DON’T do each day add up . . . or subtract.
22. Doing those little gestures can lead to great changes for the good in a marriage.
23. Creating lots of joy, love, and more time to connect and “deposit” in each other’s love accounts is important.
24. Don’t be surprised if you two have issues that can feel as if they’re taking a long time to get over.
25. In marriage, as in life, slow and steady wins the race rather than rushed and hasty.
26. There will be small, tiny moments in your marriage that will feel like heaven. Enjoy that paradise.
27.  Savor it.
28. And let both of you enjoy the fruits of your life. Each of you deserves many bites of happiness.
29. Never let anyone else in your intimate emotional space. Those little “affairs” do so much damage to a marriage.
30. Decide each day to be true to yourself and your partner. Your word and deeds are all your partner has to go on.
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10 Crazy-Simple Things All Guys Want During Sex

Sex is simple; It’s everything surrounding sex that’s wildly complicated.

And just because this is about the things all guys really appreciate during sex, sex is actually about two people (or hey, three or four) taking care of each other’s needs. You should be with someone who is willing (and excited) to give you the same respect and attention in the bedroom he himself wants.

1. An orgasm. Although this is not to say that sex can’t be awesome without one. But orgasms are kind of why you show up to sex in the first place, much the same way the only reason anyone goes to baseball games is to eat hot dogs. Sure, the game is fun, but if you don’t get a hot dog, why did you go?

2. Enthusiasm. Enthusiasm goes a long way, and hopefully you and your partner are both very enthusiastic in bed. That in and of itself is a huge turn on. The opposite end of the spectrum for anyone would mean just laying there while having sex done to you. And while there are probably some people out there that would… appreciate… that, most people would probably find it off-putting.

3. Ambient noise. Absolute and complete silence during sex usually means you’re not enjoying yourself or worse, you’re asleep. So by all means, be vocal. It’s the best barometer he has for knowing if he’s doing it right.

4. Foreplay. Foreplay is incredibly important. Without foreplay, it’s like a roller coaster without that slow climb to the top of the track. It’s just the drop. The anticipation is key. Granted, rides that are just drops are literally “Tower Drop” rides and (like foreplay) they have their time and place. But they’re not as good as roller coasters. This is a fact.

5. The lights on. Men are all about the visuals. So of course they’d like to have the lights on so they can stare deep into your boobs eyes during sex.

6. Compliments. It’s not like he needs to hear “good job! You’re doing great!” every thirty seconds, but a little bit of positive dirty talk goes a long way. Say some nice things about his penis if you’re ready to wrap things up.

7. Communication. Communication is critical to good sex. That doesn’t mean you need to be shouting out plays or stopping mid-coitous to make a pros and cons list of doggy style. Your foreplay doesn’t need to be trust falls. Communication can involve talking, but it can also be through wordless understanding. Or maybe expressing a desire to try new things beforehand so you can feel it out without stopping the action. Essentially, it’s about working as a team to get each other off.

8. Variety. Variety is always great. It’s why people love buffets. Using more than one position is never a bad thing.

9. A shared workload. No one wants to do all the work. Give each other a break from thrusting and grinding and all the other sex verbs you’re doing to get off.

10. A post-sex nap. Sex is exhausting. Sleep it off.

*****

By: Frank Kobola from Cosmpolitan

10 Stupidly-Simple Things All Women Want in Bed

Everybody has different taste in bed, but there are a few things that are pretty universal. If you want to make sex better for your partner, start here.

1. A partner invested in my pleasure too. A woman is not your hand, a fleshlight, or any other masturbatory aid. Don’t just use her body till you orgasm and then roll over and assume she had a great time too, because that’s not how it works. Being a good partner is about putting in equal effort. You don’t want to be the person who bailed on the group project all semester, just to swoop in and take credit for the A at the end.

2. Peace of mind when it comes to protection. Be prepared, and assume we’re doing it with a condom unless otherwise agreed upon beforehand. Don’t pressure me to take it off halfway through or look at me dumbfounded with your dick hanging out of your pants like you’ve never heard the word “condom” before. Just don’t do it! I will walk out. I really will.

3. An orgasm. Sex shouldn’t end with just the male orgasm — especially if she hasn’t had one yet. If you’re going to be too exhausted after you orgasm, make sure she’s taken care of beforehand. It’s not rocket science. If you know, for sure, you’re going to get yours, wouldn’t you want your partner to enjoy herself too?

4. Communication. There’s a time and a place for wordlessly-grunty sex, but having a partner who asks if you’re into something or if you want it another way is also nice. You don’t get any extra points for making it to the finish line without saying a peep.

5. A clean bed. It’s really, really hard to let yourself go and enjoy yourself if you can feel your calves brushing up against any sedimentary layers of sweat, grime, and hookups past on his Target comforter with every grunt.

6. A spare phone charger. If I have to call an Uber afterwards, I want to be able to listen to music or check Twitter on my ride back, and I can’t do that if I stupidly let my phone just rot for the nine and a half minutes we had sex. And if I’m staying the night, I might still want to check Twitter if you fall asleep before me. Sue me!

7. Foreplay. It’s not a race to the finish line! You can take your time and draw stuff out and enjoy yourselves. A little patience will carry you a long, long way. Besides, if the orgasm was the only thing that mattered about sex, I’d be dating the USB brick that charges my vibrator.

8. Sock removal. Please, please remove your socks before sex. It’s just so weird to see someone like, fully naked but still wearing socks that it can really take you out of the moment. Plus, then you run into the weird thing of like, “Should I have left my socks on?” “Do they not like feet?” “Do they think my feet are ugly?!” and spiraling into a hole of foot-based anxiety, which is not a place anybody likes to be.

9. Realistic expectations. Please don’t climb into bed with me just to morph from Jake in Accounting to Ron Jeremy. Porn sex is cool and all, but real life sex isn’t always like that, and I resent the notion that it’s totally normal for a guy to flip you over wordlessly and try to stick it in your ass while calling you a dirty slut and telling you he’s gonna finish in your hair. Like, we just watched three episodes of Frasier on your laptop, stop acting like your convertible 2-bed is a sex dungeon. Chill.

10. Enthusiastic cunnilingus. Self explanatory.

*****

By: Carina Hsieh for Cosmopolitan

10 Types of Sex People Who’ve Been Dating Forever Have

1. Angry Make-up Sex. Make as many arguments as you want for being perpetually single and free. You’ll never get to have make up sex where you simultaneously can’t wait to not be fighting anymore, but also let out any leftover aggression. There’s a very strong argument for this being the unequivocal best kind of sex.

2. Casual Masturbation. Sometimes, you can’t be bothered to go through all fanfare and hullabaloo of sex. So instead, you just rub one out through your pajama flap while you lay in bed together. Ah, romance!

3. “Let’s Get Out of Our Comfort Zone” Sex. It should be noted that “comfort zone” is subjective. Some couples might see it as buying a pair of fur handcuffs. Others might just want to introduce a few new positions or watch some porn together. Other couples might go to orgies. Who knows! But once you’ve been in a relationship for long enough, there comes a time where one of you says, ‘Hey, I think we should really switch things up.’

4. Incredibly Lazy Sex. There are days where you wake up hungover, or groggy. There are nights where you’re tired but horny. In a long-term relationship, it’s fine to just go at it with the bare minimum every once in awhile.

5. Rediscovering-sex Sex. In a long enough relationship, you go through peaks and valleys in the amount of sex you’re having. Any long-term couple has had a bit of a dry spell together followed by a tornado of intimacy.

6. We’re-Supposed-to-be-Ready-in-Five-Minutes Sex. Sometimes you just can’t help it and you wind up wildly late to that fancy dinner thing. It’s not his fault you look irresistible dressed up.

7. Vacation Sex aka They’re-Going-to-Have-to-Light-This-Hotel-Room-on-Fire-After-We-Leave-Because-They’ll-Never-Get-Rid-of-the-Smell Sex. Seriously, how is every hotel not a biohazard by now?

8. Baby-Making Sex. At some point in the relationship, couples might decide to have kids. And having sex with the goal of procreation in mind is a whole different beast with two backs. There are schedules to adhere to and menstrual cycles to keep track of, and it can sometimes even feel like an obligation. Like how you might love McDonald’s french fries, but if you worked there you’d get sick of them.

9. We-Actually-Have-Time-to-Ourselves Sex. As couples get older, their obligations change and pile-up. Promotions at work mean spending more time at the office. Friends and kids and the kids of friends and your kid’s friends all eat up your schedule. Sometimes, you have sex just because you actually have a few hours to yourself.

10. Sex. Sex doesn’t really change that much. Long-term couples are still having sex whenever they want. And while they’ve got more experiences together under their belt, they’re still just having good old- fashioned sex.

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By: Frank Kobola for Cosmopolitan

How Do I Stop Being Jealous for No Reason?

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for seven months and we’re about to head off to college. He’s going two hours away from home and I’m going out of state. This relationship has been so incredible and I’m so excited to see where we go in the future. However, I have a really bad habit of getting jealous, even though he has given me no reason to be and has been nothing but reassuring, kind, and loyal to me. How do I allow him to make friends and stop being so clingy and smothering?

I feel for you: Dating someone who’s headed off to college sucks. You aren’t wrong to feel jealous. It’s normal to freak out and imagine he’s kissing some co-ed while you’re studying. It’s scary to send a boyfriend or girlfriend off to start a new phase of life. But extreme jealousy has a funny way of blowing up in your face, if not making all your worst fears come true. You’re smart to try and get ahead of this problem.

To help you deal with these inevitable feelings, first I think you have to accept a few lousy things about distance because they’re unavoidable. Here’s a random assortment of a few: 1. He’s not always going to text or call when you want. 2. He’s going to be busy when you’re not. 3. He’s going to make lots of new friends. 4. Some of them will be cute girls. 5. You’re going to see something on someone’s social media that bothers you. 6. Clueless friends are going to say insensitive things about how he’s definitely fooling around. 7. He’s going to want some space. 8. No matter what, you’re not going to be able to see or talk to him as much as you’d like. 9. Sometimes, his phone really is going to die. And all of the same things will be true for you as well when you’re settling into your new college routine.

I’m not trying to scare you. It’s just that there are dozens of ways in which this long-distance relationship is going to be hard—and if you start off hoping that it’s going to be smooth sailing, you’re bound to be disappointed and jealous when you discover it’s not so easy.

Then next year, be realistic and pick your moments. Think: quality phone calls and visits, not constant contact. Make a few reasonable plans in advance: In addition to regular check-ins, consider scheduling a standing phone call every Sunday night or a visit every other weekend. Sometimes, when things go wrong, you can help control your jealousy if you’ve got a plan on the books to look forward to. Remember that it’s healthy to talk about how much you miss him, but there are degrees: Be honest about your feelings, but don’t lay a guilt trip on him every time you say goodnight.

My big-picture advice: Take care of yourself first. The more you think about him than yourself, the more jealous you’ll be. Practice being alone a little bit before he goes. Don’t just think about missing him—think about all the new things you’ll do at your new school. Keep yourself busy with clubs, classes, meeting new people. If you’re happy and busy with your own life, you’ll be less likely to obsess over his and smother. Remember that obsessive jealousy is just never a good look, and there’s nothing more attractive than a woman who’s got her shit together.

My boyfriend and I have been dating for close to three years. He comes from a relatively strict Catholic family, and they are conservative pro-lifers. I, on the other hand, am very liberal and I do not hold back from making my feminist viewpoints known. My boyfriend however does not see the importance of feminism, and doesn’t find it necessary. He believes men and women already have completely equal rights. Every now and then I try to educate him a little, but he’s pretty firm in his beliefs and has “evidence” of his own to back up his viewpoints, so I usually let it go. Ultimately, his behavior never broaches sexist, and that’s the most important thing for me. I’ve been hearing about a 2018 Women’s March and I was unable to attend the first one, so attending the next one is incredibly important to me. I asked my boyfriend if he’d go with me, and he said he would, but then asked if I’d join him for the March for Life in January. As you can guess, this is not something I want to do at all. The two events stand for completely different things and even though I want to support him, I want to show no support for the pro-life movement. What do you think I should do?

This is a fascinating problem. If I’ve got this right, your boyfriend is a nice guy who treats you well. But he’s also willfully, extremely clueless: Every time anyone tells him about gender-based discrimination (the wage gap, sexual assault rates, domestic abuse stats, sexual harassment headlines, campus rape stories, etc.) he sticks his fingers in his ears and la-la-la’s or tosses out anecdotal counter-evidence because he is certain that everything is absolutely equal and fine and good. But it’s not.

My first thought is: As a woman, it’s going to be really hard to have a long relationship with a guy who denies the fundamental realities of your life. He doesn’t have to call himself a “feminist” and be woke on social media. But he does have to grapple with facts if he’s going to honestly engage with your life. I worry about what happens when he tells you that, no, you’re wrong about how you feel about your life, your experiences, and the forces that shape them.

But my answer to your question is actually quite simple:

Go to the Women’s March or any upcoming event you’d like, whether that’s with your boyfriend, your girl friends, or yourself. Do not cut a deal and agree to go to the March for Life, because you should not be strong-armed into supporting a cause you disagree with as part of some kind of 50/50 deal, regardless of the cause. Sure, if you’re interested in the March for Life, check it out. But if you fundamentally disagree with something, stand by your principles, and explain that you’d rather not lend your support to a movement you oppose.

All I’ll add to that is that I hope you spend some time thinking about what it means to be with a man with such strict conservative beliefs who refuses to see the discrimination all around him. I’ve known couples who got along fine before the big issues came up—but fought like hell when life got more serious and those fundamental disagreements started to have a bigger impact on everyday life. This is just one March, but if this relationship lasts, you’ll want a traveling partner you can trust on the long road ahead.

This weekend I got very drunk with a friend of mine. We ended up making out. I’m not sure what happened because I had blacked out. I feel bad since it was my friend’s first kiss. We’re both gay, I’m a lesbian and she’s bi. I tried telling her that I’m not interested in anything serious, especially with a friend. I just went through a rough breakup with someone I had lots of friends in common with. Ever since that weekend, I’ve noticed her looking at me a lot more and differently, like she’s in love with me. She talks to me that way too. How do I explain that I don’t have feelings for her and I’m not going to kiss her again, without hurting our friendship? 

Look, you can’t help it if you’re an amazing catch (and, sounds like, an amazing kisser). Sometimes, people are just going to fall for you. Since this was your friend’s first kiss, it’s no wonder she’s crushing especially hard on you.

You’re on the right track and this is going to be fine: You’ve just got to figure out how to let this woman down easy. That begins with watching your behavior. It’s all fine and good to say, “I just want to be friends,” but if you start making out with her the next time you get drunk, she’s not going to believe you. And there’s a whole world of grey area in between. The best way to send a clear message is to stop sending mixed messages. Create some distance. Play it cool.

Most of all, if you don’t want to hook up with her, be clear about that. It sounds like you’ve almost said the right thing. You told her you’re not interested in “anything serious” with a friend. But that’s not the truth, is it? You don’t want to casually hook up again, do you? If you don’t want anything romantic or sexual with her—serious, casual, otherwise—tell her that. “I like you as a friend—but just as a friend. It was a mistake to hook up with you and I can’t do that again.” Don’t leave any wiggle room. Don’t make excuses or over-explain it. (If you blame it on your break-up, she might just think you need some more time before you make out again.) It might sound ten-percent more harsh to be clear, but it’s necessary. In love, as in home security, you’ve got to shut that door tight or someone will keep trying to pry it open.

*****

By: Logan Hill for Cosmpolitan

Things that POWER COUPLES do

You probably know a couple that you look up to. You know, you see them and wonder how they can keep their relationship afloat. Not only do they look good together and are successful, they also have a genuinely strong bond. They may not be perfect, but somehow, they manage to make it work. Think Jay-z and Beyonce. The following are the best practices that would make any couple great. Follow these to a T and you’re well on your way to taking over the world with your partner.

 

  1. They APPRECIATE each other. Now, you might think this is pretty obvious because hey, you’re WITH this person right? Of course you appreciate him/her! But not all people let their appreciation be felt. In fact, some of them don’t even know they need to show it, let alone act appreciatively. Most relationship problems actually often begin this way- when someone doesn’t appreciate the other. This could lead to unhappiness and an overall lack of drive to be productive. But showing appreciation makes a world of a difference in making your significant other have a healthy perception of himself/herself. We all have self-doubts but when your partner shows you or tells you that you matter, it suddenly gives you a little something more to live for. It makes getting up in the morning easier to do too- knowing that you matter to someone. It boosts their overall self-esteem and shows that you’re not taking them for granted.

  1. They give CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISMS. First of all, be KIND. You are with this person not to be mean to him/her. A relationship is supposed to improve your life and not destroy it. You’re supposed to feel good about yourself and not the other way round. But there are indeed instances when someone will mess up driving you into a rage where you start calling each other names. Not only is this unhealthy, exhibiting reactive behavior leads to words said that you may not intend. So before you start picking on your partner for a mistake made or a behavior that you simply did not like, assess first the consequences of opening your mouth and bite your tongue for 5 seconds. If you must, then be conscious of what you say. Instead of picking on him/her as a person, point out the ACT which pissed you off. He isn’t stupid, but the thing he did was stupid. Always remember that behavior does not necessarily equate to the individual as a person. Mistakes happen. Bad things happen. But deal with them kindly, calmly and as rationally as you can.

  1. They make GOAL SETTING a habit. My partner and I have this regular goal setting date where we sit down to give updates about our individual lives and what we want for the future. We even make lists of the type of businesses we would want to own and the countries that we want to visit. We have actually made some of those dreams come true! This works because you’re more encouraged to reach for your goals when you are with someone going through the same struggle. You are with someone who will also be affected by a failure. This gives you a bigger sense of responsibility as a couple because it’s not just about you alone anymore. It’s about both of you.

  1. They SUPPORT each other. This is one of the obvious factors, but not something that ALL couples realize. By simply telling your partner that you believe in him/her works wonders in boosting their self-confidence. By supporting one another, you are giving off the message that you will help your partner achieve his/her dreams, no matter how big and seemingly unrealistic they may be. Your presence and support means the difference when winning something as simple as a basketball game to building a company from the ground up. Behind every person we consider successful is a group of people who served as an inspiration. Be that inspiration.

  1. They are QUICK TO APOLOGIZE. You know what one of the most unproductive things a lot of couples do? They prolong fights. They don’t stop arguing in circles and usually about arguments that cannot be resolved. Chalk it up to human nature where we’re wired to want to always be right. While arguments are inevitable, wasting time is a choice. Instead of arguing about the petty stuff, why not put your energy into something mmore productive? Keep in mind that a relationship is not a video game where someone has to be the winner. The sooner that you can swallow your pride and apologize (assuming you’re in the wrong), the sooner can you spend more time building your empire.

  1. They continue to FLIRT with each other. Once you get comfortable in a relationship, you may tend to feel lazy, always trusting that your partner knows everything there is to know, so there is no need for surprise. But the lack of passion and romance proves to be an effective buzzkill that destroys the spark that was once there. Even when busy, never stop thinking, doing, saying what your partner fell in love with you in the first place. Show your adoration as much as you can. It never gets old.

  1. They have INDIVIDUAL LIVES. It’s easy to fall in the trap of only hanging out with your significant other and forgetting that there are other people in the universe. But this isn’t healthy. We all need to interact with different types of people. We need to have an extra activity that we can do outside of work that our partner may not be interested in. If he likes to play golf with his buddies, let him. If you want to go shopping with the ladies, he should also let you. A perfect relationship is one where you’re still yourself but with someone who complements who you already are.

 

xoxo,

Cristine.

 

When Your Spouse Doesn’t Like Your BFFs…

Remember those days when you first met your spouse and everything felt like springtime? Those initial months were full of all the best firsts—first dates, first smooches, first adventures, and of course, the first time you introduced him or her to the other “loves of your life”—your besties. In an ideal world, your pals like your partner just as much as you do, and vice versa. But when they don’t? It can wreak havoc not on the friendships, but rather, on your marriage, according to a new study.

For the study, researchers followed 355 heterosexual couples to determine the impact of friendships on marriage after 16 years. None of the couples was interracial, to rule out race as a potential source of tension). What the researchers found was fascinating: In white couples where the husbands liked their wife’s friends, 70 percent of couples were still together by the end of the study. However, in white couples where the husbands didn’t like their partner’s pals, only 50 percent remained together. For black couples, liking the friends didn’t seem to impact the relationship.

What do psychologists think of this theory? Sex and relationships therapist Courtney Geter, LMFT, CST says that connecting friend groups is an important aspect of a relationship, and not getting along with one another’s tribe can lead to arguments. “It is typical for spouses to bring up friends in conversations. If your husband makes a negative comment about your friends, you may feel unsupported or torn between two aspects of your life,” she explains. “If you don’t address your feelings and resolve the conflict, it could impact other areas of the relationship, such as enjoyment spent with your husband or even areas such as sex.”

The disapproval of your friend group is worse when it’s coming from your partner, whose opinion usually means more than anyone else’s. “This is the person that we love and trust the most, so their assessment of others around us matters to us,” says psychologist Nikki Martinez, PsyD, LCPC.” We want to know that they agree that someone is a good person, that they are likable, and that they enjoy being around them,” she says.

One possible reason we may be bumping into this problem more and more in recent years is that dating patterns have shifted from in-person to online. So whereas we used to meet people at parties or through friends, where there was already a built-in connection and like-mindedness, increasingly we’re meeting people on dating sites and apps, where there’s no such framework.

This Internet lens can be tricky to navigate, as your partner gets to know your friends not at a bar or a BBQ but via their profiles and posts, which can be heavily curated. “Social media does not provide a realistic view of another person’s life, as they are posting the best-looking or most exciting pictures and status updates about their lives,” Geter says. “Since there is a screen between you and the rest of the world, humans are more likely to make comments they typically wouldn’t make in person or they can avoid conflict resolution with one click of a button or closing a window.”

So is your marriage doomed if your husband isn’t a fan of your BFFs? Definitely not, according to Geter and Martinez, but you might have to manage expectations on both sides. One key way to approach it is to have couple friends and individual friends, neither of which have to mingle.

In fact, it’s a good idea to have your own set of pals for support. “I encourage women to have friends outside of the couple relationship as well as hobbies outside of her husband’s interest. Not only does this allow distance for you to miss your husband, but it also provides opportunities for sharing when you are together,” Geter says. “Since you have your own personal friend group outside of the couple friend group, this may limit how often your husband is around those friends.”

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From: Reader’s Digest by Lindsay Tigar

10 Relationship Facts I Wish I Knew Sooner

Here are 10 important relationship facts which, if you understand and practice them, give you a much greater chance of securing a long term happy and fulfilling relationship instead of it become just another “experience”.

Contrary to what you’ll see at the movies, relationships take work. We’re not talking “hard work” due to incompatibility issues or fundamental differences in important values – but making your partner feel valued so that he or she wants to stay with you and deepens their commitment to you, does require effort.

Studies have shown that intimate relationships between best friends is one of the surest ways to ensure that it’s likely to last. The honeymoon phases with its “high levels of passionate love” and “intense feelings of attraction and ecstasy, as well as an idealization of one’s partner”, doesn’t last forever, according to Monmouth University psychologist Gary W. Lewandowski Jr. There must be something more going on – and at the end of the day, being “best friends” first, just might be the key.

Relationship Facts that Everyone Should Know

1.  If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not taking enough risks.

“Making mistakes” doesn’t mean cheating.  What it does mean is, doing things within the boundaries of the relationship with good intentions but if it turns out that they were not healthy, you take responsibility for them.  Without mistakes, there is no growth.  So this process simulates change and growth.  The bonding comes from taking risks and making mistakes as a couple, then learning from them and becoming stronger as a team.

2.  Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.

Many believe relationships should just come naturally, like the rush of dopamine that shot into your brain when you both first met.  Actually, to be in a monogamous relationship where you are constantly challenged to look at yourself and compromise your wants / needs is unnatural.  It goes against our natural human instincts.  In order for us to adapt and embrace this, it takes time – a long time.  If you’re patient, then with the passing of time you will both adapt to each other so that ultimately, by sheer force of habit, it will feel more “natural”.

3.  Work very, very hard.

Nothing of value comes easy! There are some people who understand this principle when it comes to achieving financial security and success but for some reason, somehow imagine that all the happiness and fulfillment of a great relationship will just “come to them” like winning the lottery. There are those who are very proactive at investing time and energy into the relationship while “the chase” is on, or even into the early stages, but once they feel  secure with their partner, imagine that they can take them for granted – and yet – still hold him or her accountable to them for exclusivity and faithfulness. Nobody wants to be someone’s prisoner.

I think many underestimate how much work it takes to make a relationship successful. Referring to the heading again, most tune out after the first “very”.  So what does “very very” hard work look like?  It’s different for everyone.  But you will know because of that giant mountain you see in front of you, the one you’ve always avoided climbing.  The second “very” means self examination.

4.  Ask for opportunities.

Since we think we know our partner so well, we stop asking.  Instead, we assume.  The thing is people change.   If you want something, ask for it.  Their answer may be different today than it would have been yesterday.  If you don’t ask, you’ll never get.  It’s a basic rule of life.  And it also applies in relationships.  I believe this process of asking / communicating creates opportunities to get to know each other better.

5.  Finish what you start.

I’m referring to arguments.  Many start an argument but don’t finish it because it gets too heated.  They walk away and never come back to it.  Issues don’t get resolved.  Instead, people are not heard and there’s anger and resentment.  If you walk away from a fight without consent or getting things resolved, you’re leaving the relationship for that period.  One day, there will be no one to come back to.

6.  Say yes to almost everything.

Assuming it’s healthy and the intent is good, what’s the worst that could happen?  You get out pushed out of your comfort zone?  That’s called an opportunity for growth.  I think we say no too much in relationships.  We don’t like feeling uncomfortable.  If you want more yeses in your life, this is where to start.

7.  Busy is a decision.

Just because you’re in love doesn’t mean it’s time to stop life.  Each should have their own life.  This means making a choice to be busy and working on your own container.  I think many get into a relationship and stop or slow down their own personal busyness.

8.  Don’t censor your dreams before you actually dream.

What ever dreams you had when you were single shouldn’t change because you are now in a relationship, unless it happens organically and honestly.  Many give up their dreams because the relationship doesn’t allow them.  Your dreams can change but don’t censor your dreams for anyone.

9.  In order to strive for a remarkable life, you have to decide you want one.

I think the key word there is you not you guys.  I think many lose themselves in their relationship because they forget about their own wants, needs, and paths.  Remarkable can still happen when you’re in a committed relationship.  But you have to decide you want remarkable and you’re not willing to negotiate that.

10.  It is only a failure if you accept defeat.

We should fight for our relationship.  Always.  Not in our relationship, for our relationship.  There’s you.  There’s your partner.  Then there’s the relationship.  If you accept defeat, you are not fighting for the relationship.  Admitting that you are wrong is not accepting defeat.  Admitting that you are wrong is actually fighting for the relationship.

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From: Happy Relationship Guide

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.

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From RedBook Mag