What to Do if You Find Yourself in a Toxic Relationship

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What to Do if You Find Yourself in a Toxic Relationship

Are you in a toxic relationship? Sometimes it dawns on you all-of-a-sudden. At other times, you slowly come to realize that something is very wrong. If you aren’t sure, here are some signs. Is there a lack of respect in your relationship? Do you avoid one another and loathe the time you spend together? Does the atmosphere fill with negative energy whenever you are in the same room? Does the idea of spending time with your spouse or partner fill you with dread? Is there a lot of contempt and insults flying like knives whenever you are in a room together? If any of these sound familiar, then the relationship is toxic. Sometimes things get way off track, or something happened that the relationship is having difficulty recovering from, the death of a child perhaps or infidelity on the part of one or both partners. At other times, it’s the buildup of many unresolved problems that start to drive a wedge between the two. The more differences the further apart they are.

In a toxic relationship you can feel emotionally abused, neglected, manipulated, taken for granted, or deprived of a sex life. Your spouse or partner could have cleared out the joint account, disappeared for days on end or buffeted you with one juvenile remark after another. Whatever the situation, when you find yourself in a toxic relationship, where there is no way of resuscitating it and bringing it back to life, you have to find a way to extricate yourself as painlessly as possible, and that can be tricky. Though many relationships can be saved, in the case of one or both parties hurting each other repeatedly, a clean break is best. There are three easy steps that you can use to get out with as little discomfort as possible. First, have a clear understanding of why you want to leave. A charming lover can muddy the waters, confuse you, woo you back and make you forget, for a time, why exactly it was you were leaving. You need to have concrete examples you can hang onto when things get confusing. You can even make yourself a little slogan or mantra to remind yourself of why.

Make a clean break. Decide when you are moving out or when you are breaking up with them, do it and then close off all avenues of contact. You don’t want to get sucked back in again. Many feel vulnerable after a breakup. That means you may be more likely to be receptive to their charms. Also, seeing and hearing from them will keep those wounds fresh. You want to be given the chance to heal and move on. Unfriend them from your social media pages and erase them from your phone. It may seem drastic but it will also be effective. If you work with this person or see them regularly, keep distance. Be professional if not slightly cold and don’t slow down to chat when you see them in the hallway. Give them a polite nod, say hello and keep moving. Sooner or later they’ll get the message and will stop trying to get your attention. Feel your self-worth. It is when we feel bad about ourselves that we are the most vulnerable. When we feel good about ourselves, we usually won’t put up with foolishness. Don’t get sentimental about the relationship. Remember what they put you through and that you deserve better. For more advice read, Psychopath Free: Recovering from Emotionally Abusive Relationships with Narcissists, Sociopaths, & Other Toxic People by Peace.

How You Sleep Reveals Relationship and Personality Secrets

Couple-sleeping

How You Sleep Reveals Relationship and Personality Secrets

According to a recent survey, your sleep pattern says a lot more about you than whether you merely hog the bed or not. How you sleep reveals secret information about your relationship and personality. 1,000 participants answered questions about what position they sleep in, their relationship quality and their personality. The farther apart couples slept the worse their relationship, according to the study. 94% of those who touched one another while sleeping reported being in blissful relationships compared with the 68% who didn’t touch during sleep reported relationship satisfaction.

Creative personality types seem to prefer sleeping on the left side of the bed, while extroverts often sleep in closer proximity to their lovers. British psychologist and professor at University of Hertfordshire lead this survey. He weighed in on the results saying, “I think it just underlines the point that the night is not downtime. Instead, this missing third of our life provides important clues about our waking lives. This work suggests that if you have noticed that you are drifting apart from your partner during the night, you might want to take a look at the quality of your relationship.”

In terms of positioning, those who slept back to back came in at 42%, followed by couples who face the same direction at 31% and those who faced away from one another at just 4%. Those couples who slept under an inch apart were at 12%, compared to the 2% who slept over 30 inches from one another. Not only does this illuminate what is happening with couples, their personality types and the status of their relationship, Wiseman believes it may alter our understanding of consciousness when asleep. On this he said, “It is great that scientists are starting to explore the night, and realizing that we are just in a different form of consciousness, rather than it being a time when nothing much happens.”

The results of this survey were unveiled at the Edinburgh International Science Festival on April 17, 2014. Certainly there are lots of indicators that show the health of a relationship and how it is doing. Oftentimes, one person ignores the warning signs until they are mired in a relationship morass or until one or the other person goes astray or leaves. Though this study reveals certain traits you can pay attention to, why not try checking in with your partner? Get a good look at them, ask them how things are going, if they are happy in the relationship and if there is anything that the two of you should do differently. Keeping the lines of communication open and checking in can help alleviate problems before they grow out of control. Watch how you sleep, but notice how you conduct yourselves during waking hours, too. For advice on improving your relationship read, Emotional Fitness for Couples: 10 Minutes a Day to a Better Relationship by Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D.

What to do if Your Friend’s Partner keeps Hitting On You

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So you are hanging out with your friend. Maybe it’s a couple’s dinner or just some friends getting together. But you start to notice some unusual behavior from your friend’s significant other. You start to notice that they are flirting with you. They give you knowing looks. They brush up against your arm or leg. They touch you on the shoulder. Should you say something? Should you make an excuse to leave? Do you have to tell your partner? Should you totally freak out?! Relax. Here’s what you do if your friend’s partner keeps hitting on you. First, evaluate the situation more carefully. What is this person like? Some people are naturally friendly and touchy-feely. Others are more proper and distant. Evaluate your friend’s partner to see what they are like. Do they act like this with everyone? Or is it just you? Take a look at their ethnicity or nationality. Some cultures for instance are warmer, friendlier and touching is part of that. Is nationality or ethnicity in play? If none of these things look as though they are the case, think about what they said and what exactly happened. Play the scene over in your mind. Would it seem to an outsider that they were making a pass at you? At this point if you still can’t figure it out or you’re not sure, take a confidant aside and explain the situation to them. It would be best if it was a third party. You don’t want to get your friend riled up over nothing. What does the third party think?

If your suspicions are confirmed take a step back. Try to maneuver away from this person. Give them the cold shoulder, avoid them and put distance between you and them. They will probably avoid trying to make it obvious so it shouldn’t be hard to get some breathing room. If it is really uncomfortable you can feign illness as an excuse for you and your partner should they be with you, to leave. If this is a good friend of yours set up a date where you and the friend can meet alone. Let your friend know about your suspicions if they are a really good friend. Chances are if their partner did it to you they may do it to others as well. Let them know that you are only telling them because you feel that you are such good friends, almost like family, and you can’t stand the thought of anyone hurting or betraying them. Be there for your friend. Tell them it’s okay if they don’t accept it or understand. Be there for them to comfort them. If this isn’t a very close friend, more like an acquaintance and you feel as though you don’t know them well enough to approach them with this information, or perhaps they won’t take it seriously and in fact will be hostile to you, gently steer clear of hanging out with that couple for a while. If it happens again address the issue. It may be awkward but at least it’s out in the open and can’t be used against you. Tell the person how you don’t appreciate their advances, how uncomfortable it makes you feel and how you are happy with your partner. Also tell them how it makes you feel regarding the friend. Make sure to explain to your partner, no matter what happens or how it plays out, openly and honestly what has happened or what is happening. Keep them in the loop to keep your relationship from being affected. For more advice on being open and honest in your relationships, read Just Be Honest: Authentic Communication Strategies that Get Results and Last a Lifetime by Steven Gaffney.

Stop Falling in Love with the Wrong Person

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When you first fall in love everything about that person seems perfect. This isn’t really love but infatuation. Scientists have actually found that the parts of your brain where reason resides are turned off when you fall in love. So as the old saying goes, “Love is blind.” You can’t see the faults in that person until the nuance subsides. That said, there are those instances when you realize that the person you are infatuated with is wrong for you. Perhaps they have bad habits, serious personality issues, it’s a coworker and will complicate life too much, or some other reason. So how do you stop falling in love with the wrong person? First, it’s important to recognize that it isn’t going to work. This sounds easy but it’s actually harder than it sounds. Make sure to seriously weigh the negative and positive aspects. Why not write them down on a list? Talk it over with a close friend. Can you have a healthy, happy, well-adjusted relationship with this person or are there too many problems in the way? Determine what the best way forward is, not necessarily where your heartstrings are pulling you.

Once you have truly accepted that you cannot be with this person, distance yourself from them. Unfriend them from your social media sites. Stop calling them.  If you run in the same social circles, perhaps lay low for a while until you are over it. Throw yourself into your work, your hobby, your friends and family and your passion. Find reasons why you can’t be with this person and stand by them. When you are in a situation where you have to see them, be cold and distant. If they approach you and ask why, have a heart-to-heart with them and let them know why it won’t work. Is there a way to mitigate your concerns? Will they make concrete steps to change? If the problems can’t be changed, stand by your guns. Don’t let them suck you in without alleviating the problems. You will be worse off and it will be harder to get rid of them. Do not kiss, touch or in any way become physical with them. Why not find someone else you are attracted to, to flirt with and so on? Remember that infatuation doesn’t last forever. Soon you’ll be head over heels for someone you are really ready for. For more guidance on how to fall for the right person, read the advice of Barbara De Angelis in her book, Are You The One For Me?: Knowing Who’s Right & Avoiding Who’s Wrong.

Losing a Stalker

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Do you have a stalker in your life? First, let’s separate what a stalker actually is from someone who maybe is just annoying and needs to learn parameters. A stalker is someone who shows up unexpectedly in places you are at, sends lots of texts and emails, calls you numerous times, mails you things, and can often send offensive, worrying or abusive messages. Whatever the fascination with you is, stalking and other forms of harassment should not be put up with. In fact, stalkers can become downright dangerous. So how do you lose a stalker and keep yourself safe in the meantime? First, keep a distance between you and this person. 25 yards is preferable. But even ten feet can keep you from being attacked or abducted. Wear shoes that make it easy for you to run and not trip and fall. Keep a log of incidents that you can show the authorities. Print out emails. Note times, dates and places seen when you run into them offline. Keep a record of the texts they send you. Here is your proof that you are being stalked. When they confront you keep your intentions clear. Tell them you aren’t interested in dating them not matter what, or that you are seeing someone. They may believe that if the situation was different they’d be dating you. Dispel that myth.

Make sure you clearly warn them to stop contacting you. Do not stick around and talk to them for a significant amount of time. Things might turn ugly. Do not respond to any of their texts, emails or anything else. Cut them off from any contact with you. Block them so they can’t contact you via social media sites. Block their email and erase their number from your phone. Change your phone number, email address and how ever else they’ve contacted you. Next, warn them that what they are doing can be considered harassment and that you will contact the authorities. They may stop at this point and leave you alone. If not, they may lash out or make some kind of comments or do something to get your attention. Continue to ignore them. Do not appease them and don’t try to reason with them either. It isn’t going to work. Make sure you have a phone that can record conversations and images and always keep it on you. Have an emergency number and a place that you can crash other than yours in case the person tries to infiltrate your home. Contact the authorities and give them your records. Find out what your best way forward is. Should you fill out a restraining order? Do you have to press charges? Find out what your best legal options are. Stay safe, be resilient, and it will soon be over. Stay the course and happier days will be yours. For more guidance on how to lose a stalker, read the advice of Mike Proctor in his book, How to Stop a Stalker.