Is This The Reason So Many Relationships Fail?

Eli Finkel, a US university professor specializing in social psychology reckons there’s a very common reason modern relationships fail—and it’s all about our expectations. In an interview with The Atlantic about his new book The All-or-Nothing MarriageFinkel explained he considers many people in relationships too idealistic.

Basically, rather than just being content that our partner provides us with a spare pair of hands to sort out the home and go about our daily lives, we’re expecting them to be everything to us.

We are, he reckons, demanding WAY too much of them. A lot of modern couples expect their significant other to love them because, duh, but also to “help them grow” and become our best selves. We want them to make us feel attractive, smart, hilarious, sexy, basically all the things all the time. And this, he says, is putting so much pressure on our relationships that we are totally screwing them up.

Why though? Finkel says in the past 100 years, marriage and relationship expectations have blurred due to cultural changes.

In his The Atlantic interview, he said:

“I would just urge everybody, think about what you’re looking for from this one relationship and decide, are these expectations realistic in light of who I am, who my partner is, [and] what the dynamics that we have together are? If so, how are we going to achieve all of these things together? Or alternatively, how can we relinquish some of these roles that we play in each others’ lives, and outsource them to, say, another member of your social network?”

What he’s saying is, in order to not overload your partner with expectations, you probs could maybe go to a pal or family member for the assurances your partner can’t give you. And that’s totally fine.

He continues:

“The question isn’t, ‘Are you asking too much?’ The question is, ‘Are you asking the appropriate amount, in light of the nature of the relationship right now? ‘The idea of ‘going all-in’ is, ‘Hell yes. I want to ask my spouse to help make me feel loved and give me an opportunity to love somebody else and also [be] somebody who’s going to help me grow into an ideal, authentic version of myself. And I’m going do the same for him or her. I recognize that that is a massive ask, and because I recognize that that’s a massive ask I’m going to make sure that we have sufficient time together. That when we’re together we’re paying sufficient attention to each other, that the time that we’re investing in the relationship is well-spent.'”

So if Finkel’s theory is true, we need to accept most of our expectations are a tad too much. In order to avoid constant disappointment and inevitably, the end of our relationship, we need to not pile too much pressure on that one person.

**********

By: Paisley Gilmour for Cosmopolitan

WHO PAYS ON DATES?

I understand why money is such a huge deal in relationships. It doesn’t have to be but it is. Society normally dictates that the man should pay for everything. But this isn’t always feasible because well…. life happens. There’s the mortgage, the groceries, the pet food for your chihuahua, and the cost of getting your roof repaired, among so many other things!

Sometime into the dating relationship when the rose tinted glasses start to clear up, both parties are stuck with the reality that the guy’s salary is pretty much average, and using this salary to also maintain dating expenses is unrealistic. Women who have grown accustomed to the man always paying for everything should give themselves a slap on the face! Because that financial fairytale isn’t the real world. Unless your guy is Donald Trump or is Mark Zuckerberg, there shouldn’t be reason for you to always expect him to cough up cash on every date. Can you imagine just how much he’ll be able to save for the future if he keeps spending for every dinner/ movie/ holiday that you guys have? Nothing. The steak dinners, anniversary and monthsary gifts add up to so much in a year. How much more if you’ve been together for awhile?

So what do you do then?

You CONTRIBUTE. 

That’s right. A relationship is a partnership after all and not a dictatorship. But how do you get over the awkwardness of it all? You know that moment when the bill comes and you’re trying to decide whether to suggest going Dutch or just paying it yourself?

Here are a couple of my suggestions to make it less awkward for couples:

  1. PULL OUT YOUR WALLET WHEN THE BILL COMES. And lay down the value of your meal’s worth. This will prompt him to also pay for his share. It isn’t too complicated and it’s fair. Just don’t make a fuss about it.
  2. WHEN THE GUY PAYS FASTER THAN YOU CAN SAY “I’LL GET IT!.” Then offer to pay for the next activity. Like a movie. This eases up the guy’s wallet and saves him a trip to the nearest ATM. If he pays for the movie, get the popcorn and drinks.
  3. WHEN YOU’RE BOTH BROKE BUT WANT TO BUY PRESENTS FOR EACH OTHER. Do the $10 challenge! When at a mall, agree to buy each other a gift worth $10 and come back after an hour to exchange. This is a fun way to flex your creativity and think about what your significant other will appreciate.
  4. HAVE A COMMON DATE FUND. Some couples have a piggy bank or a bank account where they put their extra cash and this is what they spend for their dates. Raising money for this fund (which can also extend to a travel fund) may encourage the couple to work together to increase the amount in their joint wallet.
  5. GO ON INEXPENSIVE DATES. Netflix and chilling is so underrated. Order in or cook together and STAY AT HOME. Save the adventurous and expensive activities on days when you have a surplus of cash.

 

Hope this helps!

 

xoxo,

Cristine

When your partner is also your best friend

It goes without saying, you don’t have to be “best friends” to have a great relationship (some people even gag at that idea). But while others might think of you as insular or clingy, you know better.

1. You started out as friends. 

Great things take time. Baked potatoes, fully mature redwood trees, and friendships that turn into relationships. First dates feel different than first hangouts. You really get to know each other’s personality when you’re not as worried about trying to impress the other person.

2. He makes you laugh all the time and you make him crack up. 

It’s not just about how he makes you feel, or how great the sex is, or how well you work together. When you hang out, you wind up cracking each other up so much you can’t breathe. Some of your favorite memories are the two of you doing the dumbest stuff and laughing about it nonstop.

3. He always wants you around. 

It doesn’t matter if it’s a “guys’ night” or a five-hour road trip; he wants to hang out with you. And it feels natural too. When he’s out with friends, you never get the vibe of “oh, he brought his girlfriend along.” You’re his friend, so you’re everyone else’s friend. Basically, all his guys just sees you as “that one friend he also has sex with”… which is a compliment, really.

4. You always know what he’s thinking. 

It’s not quite like you can read each other’s minds, but you’re so comfortable with each other that it really feels like that sometimes.

5. He’s seen you through your worst moments. 

He’s gotten you through some of your darkest moments, however you define them. Even when other friends drop off or stop calling, he’s there for you, and you’re always there for him.

6. You can spend a day just hanging out. 

It’s not that you both love being couch sloths all day, but you could be and still have a good time. You don’t need to be making Instagrammable moments constantly to feel like you’re having a good time. All you really need is each other.

7. Other couples hate you just a little. 

They might not say it to your face, but you can tell they’re insanely jealous of the chemistry you share. You can tell. Basically, you make other couples look boring and they can’t stand it.

8 You don’t feel like you need time apart from each other. 

You know how to prioritize “you” time when there’s something you want to get done just for yourself, but everything you do just feels somehow better when you’re with them.

9. He trusts you deeply. 

Not just in the basic ways, like trusting you not to cheat on him when you go out. That barely even counts; that’s just assuming you’re not going to be a garbage person. He also trusts you with things he’s never told anyone, like his embarrassing secrets.

10. It still feels like you just started dating. 

You still have this energy that’s stuck around even though you’ve been dating for years. That “honeymoon phase” never really ended for you.

***

From: Cosmopolitan by Frank Kobola

Signs your ‘person’ is a commitment-phobe

You know a commitment-phobe when you see one on TV, or you wouldn’t have groaned every time Blair and Chuck got back together again. But in your own life, spotting that commitment-phobe in between all the “I’m not sure when I’ll be free tonight’s” is a tougher challenge. Here, Dr. Berit Brogaard, Professor and Director of the Brogaard Lab for Multisensory Research at the University of Miami, explains how to spot avoidant attachment in the wild:

1. You don’t feel “matched” in your texts. 

In your messages, you’ll actually go deep into details about how your day was, providing plenty of opportunities for the other person to ask you, well, anything. But a commitment-phobe, according to Brogaard, will have “a tendency not to continue a text message thread, by replying briefly or submissively with ‘K,’ ‘Sounds like fun,’ ‘Wow,’ ‘IDK’ and so on.” So before you let them off the hook for bad texting, consider the fact that they could be emotionally unavailable.

2. Even after a great date, you won’t hear from them anytime soon. 

Brogaard warns that commitment-phobes tend to not initiate contact first and will go through long periods of radio silence after dates—meaning YOU always have to do all the romantic legwork.

3. They’re irritatingly vague about their schedule. 

Here are some key phrases that Brogaard says raise commitment-phobia alarm bells:

  • “I’m really busy at work right now. But let’s get together in a few weeks when things slow down a bit.”
  • “Sorry I haven’t been in touch for so long. Things have been crazy around here. What have you been up to?”
  • “Sorry, didn’t see your text ’til now. How are you?”

Ok, we’ve all sent the “omg so sorry, just saw this!” text after a four-hour Netflix binge. There’s a huge difference, though, when someone does this all the time, to the point where your main interaction with them is rainchecking.

4. They only plan dates around what’s convenient for them. 

Since their schedule is just ~too busy~, their ideas of dates include inviting you to a bar where, oh wow, *their* team is currently playing and it’s suuuuuch a tight game! Who cares that you don’t know the full rules of basketball and don’t really care? Not this guy, who only tells you when he’s free three hours in advance!

5. They’re chronically late, chronically flakey, or a lovely combo of both. 

Because they don’t want to view dating as “serious”, they don’t stress over or prioritize getting there on time and don’t really care if them canceling screws up their chances with you.

6. They’re pretty impulsive, but only when it comes to you. 

“They may be very conscientious and hardworking at work or in school but then be impulsive when it comes to going out or getting together,” says Brogaard. Everything comes before the person they’re dating.

7. They constantly reiterate how casual everything is. 

Another key phrase Brogaard says to be wary of is “Not sure I’m ready for a relationship right now. Give me some time.” You’ll make your desire for monogamy clear, and rather than breaking things off to spare any hurt feelings, they’ll string you along with promises of a “maybe-one-day” relationship.

8. They’re “not great” with PDA. 

“It’s difficult for commitment-phobes to show signs of affection, especially in public,” says Brogaard. “They will tend not to say ‘I love you’ back, or they will only say it after drinking or the like. Some can only put it in writing but not say it (or vice versa).”

9. They usually don’t have true, close friends. 

While “they may still be part of a big circle of people who meet up” according to Brogaard, they don’t have friends they’ve stuck with for a long time and have a deeper relationship with.

10. They won’t actually admit fault in their past relationships. 

“They might blame the other person or simply say ‘we weren’t a good match’ or ‘we were just really bad for each other’,” says Brogaard. They have yet to experience any crucial post-breakup epiphanies about their own patterned dating flaws.

11. Or they won’t even call a past relationship a relationship. 

That girl he saw exclusively for six months was completely casual, and he has no idea why she freaked out and deleted their whole Eurotrip album when he sent her a breakup text.

12. They had lots of short relationships or pretty shallow long-term ones. 

“If they had long relationships, they were usually not very committed,” says Brogaard. “Even when they were committed on the surface (for instance, engaged or married), you might discover that the two of them led very separate lives.”

13. They’ll keep saying they want to “take things slow” as an excuse. 

Of course, cautiously easing into a new relationship is a perfectly normal (and emotionally healthy!) thing to do. But you have to wonder if your relationship is moving anywhere at all. “People who are taking it slow will tend to move forward,” says Brogaard. “Commitment-phobes will tend to provide obstacles to any relationship progress.”

14. They always need more space than you’re giving them. 

Even the honeymoon period of seeing each other a lot scares them. For commitment-phobes trying to work on their dating issues, Brogaard recommends dating someone who “is very busy in their own life”, so that space is never an issue.

15. They complain about the pressure to be in a monogamous relationship a lot. 

Obviously, societal norms can be annoying, but if they talk negatively about marital expectations more often than any of the upsides of a strong partnership, it kind of shows that they deep down think monogamy never really works out.

16. You can tell that something about relationships clearly freaks them out, but they can’t articulate it. 

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, after all. Brogaard suggests possible questions to ask a commitment-phobe about their fears of relationships: “Is it that they impose on your need for alone time? Is it that you have intimacy issues? Is it that you set unrealistically high standards for potential partners? Once you realize what it is, you can work on that particular issue (for instance, make sure that your partner is willing to give you plenty of alone time, if that is what you are craving).”

Commitment-phobia is definitely curable if a person wants to work on it and explore why they think that ALL relationships will end up being disappointing. But that dude sending you another “haha :)” before ghosting for two days is probably not on that path right now.

***

From Cosmopolitan by Julia Pugachevsky

 

14 Signs You’re Low-Key Winning this Break up

1. You unfollowed or unfriended them instead of stubbornly trying to seem chill.

You know that if you still have easy access to their page, you will be hurt when you see them have any semblance of fun without you. You’d rather them know you need your space instead of letting a grainy pic of them eating a burrito ruin your day.

2. You immediately got rid of (or at least hid) the little reminders. 

Honestly, if you can Marie Kondo the vast collection of t-shirts you accumulated from them, you can handle anything.

3. You cathartically rehashed your whole breakup with your BFF. 

It’s the nights where you split fries and cheap wine as a prelude to a five-hour in-depth talk about relationships that really make you fucking grateful for your best friend.

4. You refreshed your look in at least one tiny (or major) way. 

TBH, the highlight of a breakup is going for that one haircut that always got an “Eh, sure, I guess, you do you but I do love your hair now, just saying!” from your ex. Get. That. Pixie. Cut.

5. You went out to a thing you weren’t thaaaat excited about but had a surprisingly great time. 

The moment your friend invites you to a party full of 95 percent strangers over an hour away from you, you will immediately regret sending that “sure!” But when your one expectation is “I need something to keep me from scanning WikiHow articles about how he’s not really over me but doesn’t know it yet,” being pleasantly surprised by a decent night is just the boost you need.

6. You went out to a thing you weren’t thaaaat excited about, but this time you were sad and just let yourself feel it. 

So you decided to put your new singledom to good use and go out with the girls. You Insta’d a gallery of you together in competitively plunge-y tops with a Beyoncé song lyric, except the night took a sharp turn when your friends found guys immediately and left you to buy your fourth margarita alone. But you’d rather glumly stare at your ripply cocktail reflection than force yourself to hook up with someone when you’re not ready. There’s power in that.

7. You signed up for a totally random class that only severe heartache would make you consider. 

You never considered taking hot yoga classes…until now.

8. You’re not eating the soupy remains of your Ben and Jerry’s for dinner every night. 

The people who harness their newfound free time and cook a paella from scratch to go with that bottle of wine are the people who will survive the apocalypse.

9. You finally binged that show your ex showed no interest in. 

You judge them so much more for not giving The Handmaid’s Tale a chance now that you’ve actually seen it.

10. You’ve asked more people to hang out one-on-one than you have in a while. 

When you’re in a relationship, your Google calendar practically auto-fills with dates, double dates, and whatever party one of your now-merged-together collective of friends is hosting. Losing at least some of those thought-free plans means actually having to make the first move in asking people to chill and thus penciling in a night with friends you may have thrown to the wayside a little when you were dating (hey, happens to all of us).

11. You’ve joined a dating app and gone on a date. 

Even if it goes nowhere, it still feels validating to know that you can handle the thought of having to date (and subsequently, risk getting hurt) again.

12. You roll your eyes at people pitying your singledom a little too much. 

Yes, breakups are sad—devastatingly so at times—but you know you’ll be fine, even though other people weirdly don’t. You’re not here for the people nervously reassuring you that you’ll find someone better soon, as if you’re incapable of enjoying a solo lunch date.

13. You remembered, like, 75 things that annoyed you in that relationship. 

You’re at the point where you can truthfully say that your ex’s relentless habit of drenching french fries with serpentine squiggles of ketchup was always going to be a deal breaker.

14. A part of you kind of lives for being single again. 

Being able to freely starfish in your bed multiple nights in a row is a gift. Cherish it.

***

From Cosmopolitan by Julia Pugachevsky

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