Unhealthy Relationship Warning Signs

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Unhealthy Relationship Warning Signs

Do you know the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship? You’d better or else you could be in one and not even know it. Sure you might feel deep down something is wrong. But you’d be surprised how many people chug along in a relationship that is weighing them down or slowly poisoning them psychologically and they don’t even realize it. Here are the warning signs, see if you recognize them in your own relationship. First, what is the lying situation like?

Are you lying about small things? Do you tell a web of lies, one to cover up another and so on? If you aren’t a pathological liar by nature, then it is likely serious issues in the relationship that are making you lie. What about your partner? Are they lying all the time too? If you suspect they are lying, even on small matters, or worse if you’ve given up on whether they are being truthful or not, your relationship is rocky at best. Once the bond of trust has been severed, it’s hard to restore it. The next warning sign is infidelity. If one or both of you have gone astray, not only has the trust bond been severed but you’ve both been hurt emotionally. And what caused the cheating to begin with? This is a serious warning sign.

Do you have a secret goal that you wish your partner would achieve? If you have secret desires for them you haven’t shared, then go ahead and share them. Sit down with them and see if they want to commit to accomplishing whatever it is you have in mind. But to harbor them and have them affect you, thereby affecting the relationship, is a poor way to conduct yourself and it hurts your partner without either one of you knowing it. When they aren’t living up to some imagined expectation you punish them, even though they have no idea why. Is there jealousy issues? If you or your partner try to cut the other down, say separate someone from their friends because they are popular, or trying to get them fired because they are successful, a toxic jealousy has crept into the relationship. This will drive you two apart if it isn’t dealt with.

Being overly insecure and jealous of the opposite sex is another red flashing, warning sign. When you aren’t feeling any emotional intimacy the relationship is down the tubes. Reestablish it by reconnecting, or drift apart. If there is no sex in the relationship, this is a big sign that problems are deep and profound. Do you or your partner set each other up for a fall, just to say, “I told you so”? This is a warning sign that things aren’t going well. Find ways to turn this relationship around or get out of it. For more advice read, Love Is a Choice: The Definitive Book on Letting Go of Unhealthy Relationships by Dr. Robert Hemfelt, Dr. Frank Minirth, and Dr. Paul Meier.

Can we save our Marriage?

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Can we save our Marriage?

This is the number one question couples in marriage counseling ask the therapist. People never know when a relationship is salvageable and when to go their separate ways. There are many people who focus more on getting out of a bad relationship, than on making the one they have worthwhile. Focusing so much on getting out can make you ignore the positive qualities the marriage has. When the focus for one person is a breakup, their preoccupation may inadvertently be the thing driving the couple toward divorce. On the other hand, one should be cognizant that every marriage has its ups and downs. Every relationship has the potential to end. There are of course certain steps you can take to bring a relationship down from the ledge. But a better strategy is to form a deep emotional connection to one another. This will motivate you to work your problems out and build a stronger, happier marriage.  Practicing generosity, kindness, compassion, respect and honesty, mutually, will make the marriage far more fulfilling. When each person is fulfilled, divorce becomes the furthest thing from their minds. Sometimes though, there are significant forces working on a couple, making happy reunification unlikely.

Certainly not all marriages can be saved, or should be. There are lots of unhealthy behaviors that can inhabit a marriage; addiction with no willingness to seek treatment, chronic lying, serial infidelity, neglect, abusive behavior, whether physical or psychological, and much more. These are violations to the commitment you both share within the bond of matrimony. Doing these things violates the sanctimonious vow you gave to one another on your wedding day. The most important thing is whether or not both parties have a willingness to admit what has gone wrong, and work toward solving the issues that they have. Mere acknowledgment of the problem is not enough. If there is no willingness on the part of both parties to change behavior, there may be no reason to move forward with the relationship at all. Destructive patterns played out over and over again, without any hope of relief, is a recipe for divorce. Recognizing these patterns and the role each party plays in them is the first step. But trying different strategies when the problems arise, and varying those strategies depending upon the situation are also key. It’s important to remember not to get discouraged if things don’t work out just the way you planned. It may need some tweaking. If you love your spouse and are committed to the marriage, and they feel the same way, then everything you need is there to make it happen, and make things work.

There is no easy answer for knowing when to stay together and when to move apart. Each situation is dependent upon the individuals, what has happened between them, what they value and how they look at things. Perception is invariably important. Circumstances for one couple that would be deal breakers to another merely have to be negotiated. There are a few simple guidelines you can follow to have the best possible outcome. One of the things to keep in mind is that working through the problems of a shaky marriage can be painful, sometimes even excruciating. For those who don’t have the ability to tolerate this sort of pain, the impulse to end the relationship, or manipulate their spouse into filing for divorce, can be strong. Marriages that are in trouble are often helped through counseling. There are lots of situations in marriage that are difficult to maneuver. It is good to know when you and your spouse are in over your heads.  Each person should develop the inner qualities on their own that will help make this marriage work. You can be your own psychologist and develop your own inner workings in order to be more honest, compassionate, engaged and loving. When you give something your best, there is always the risk that it might not work. Evaluate the emotional level you are both at. Have a long, calm discussion. Give it a shot. If it doesn’t work, at least you tried. But you two may just come out stronger, and more loving in the end due to this time when you struggled together. For more help finding marital bliss pick up a copy of, Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truths from Real Couples About Lasting Love by Linda Bloom, L.C.S.W. and Charlie Bloom, M.S.W.

How Much Do You Know About Dating?

Seducing beautiful woman looking at her lover with wine glass.

How Much Do You Know About Dating?

Some people admire love. The human courtship dance is a unique, perplexing and fascinating ritual. There are those who relish the thrill of the chase. While others just marvel at the overwhelming feelings of joy that wash over them when they’ve met that someone special. But how much do you really know about dating and love? Here are some questions. See how many you can answer. First, no matter the sex, what is the biggest turn off or turn on according to both sexes? If you said someone’s teeth, you are right. The dating website Match.com did a study and found that a great smile was the number one physical aspect people looked for, followed closely by good grammar and a full head of gorgeous hair.

How long does the average person wait before hopping between the sheets with their love interest? According to a study by Esquire magazine, the average wait time for becoming intimate is three to five dates. Of course there’s no way to tell the honesty level of respondents. There was a difference in the sexes here; where women wait five dates, men state three to five is what they generally wait. Now that there is more gender equality today, on most dates does the guy still pay, the lady or do they split the bill? 84% of dates are still paid for by men according to one study with 17,000 participants. Lots of women say that they do offer to chip in but secretly they want the man to refuse.

Dating websites have been all the rage for a while now. How many people who meet online actually get married? About a third of online relationships lead to marriage one study says. Interestingly, researchers found that these relationships had lower breakup and divorce rates than couples meeting offline. But continue to be wary, as 50% of those who have dating profiles admit to lying about something in theirs. No-strings-attached, also known as friends-with-benefits relationships are thought to be popular today. How many of these kinds of relationships actually last long term? A survey of 6,000 conducted by Match.com found that 44% of friends with benefits relationships turn into long term relationships. What isn’t clear is whether these are just long term NSA deals or if their relationships develop into something deeper. Who do you think falls in lover faster, women or men? Though women are thought to be the torch bearers of love it’s actually men who fall faster and harder according to an online survey. Men who fall in love often do it in just one date, while it takes women about three to know that they are in love. Who is more likely to look up a date online and via social media sites, men or women? Women are more likely according to a Match.com survey. Over 50% use Facebook to vet their date. For more dating advice read, Modern Love: The Grownup’s Guide to Relationships & Online Dating by Cija Black.

Can Lies Help a Marriage or Do They often Lead to Divorce?

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Can Lies Help a Marriage or Do They often Lead to Divorce?

An Aalto University School of Science study led by Oxford University Evolutionary Psychologist Robin Dunbar and his colleagues found that pro-social lies, what we would call little white lies, can actually help build stronger bonds to those in our social networks. White lies can help avoid conflict. What’s more, they help produce a sense of cohesion. Some people during courtship use little white lies to help convince their mate of compatibility and so move the relationship along. But can these little white lies help a marriage or do they often lead to divorce? Many psychologists say that the suppression of true feelings, though expedient in the short term may in the long term lead to resentment which builds over time. That resentment starts to weigh on the marriage and causes relationship problems. Not only should we share our true feelings, we should share our true goals for the future as well. Oftentimes people wanting to sound like they are in tune with their lover say they share the same goals for their life, while their true heart lies elsewhere. But this too can create a misplaced resentment that can build in the psyche and cause trouble for both individuals in the long run.

There are hen-pecked men for instance who go out of their way to accommodate women through the courtship phase. But once the honeymoon phase is over they tire of always catering to her, and the little white lies they’ve weaved in order to do so. These men then start to pull away and are less interested in the events and activities that they enjoyed during their courtship and that early lovey-dovey phase. She won’t have any idea however why he is pulling away in such a manner. The only way the man can keep the relationship going now is to live with the lie, even if it is a little white lie. This can feel like a trap. Now the husband starts to view the wife as his oppressor and begins a hidden life where he does things he enjoys without her knowledge. Now the wife, curious to what’s going on and suspicious of what he might be hiding, starts to dig. This can lead to all kinds of marital discontent. What’s more, the husband is living two different lives, a clandestine one that is not a part of his regular life and relationship, and one of devoted husband and perhaps father. Some examples of the secret lives husbands can lead to escape is sports, gambling, tobacco, alcohol, religious addiction or becoming a workaholic.

Professor Dunbar’s research is interesting and perhaps can help us get ahead at work, in a civic organization or another professional setting, but for our personal relationships it won’t do. Couples should be upfront with who they are, what they want, what their goals are and what they stand for. If they can’t be honest with one another, little white lies can snowball and become great big ones. The reason may be that we really like the other person or feel we won’t be accepted for who we are. But the sad truth is living a lie is far worse. Accept who you are first and then expect your lover to do the same, as you should accept them. Acceptance means also coming to terms with who they are. You don’t have to like every aspect of them. This also doesn’t mean you should accept abuse, nothing can be further from the truth. Never stay in a toxic relationship. But on the other hand no one is perfect, and if you want to be accepted and loved for who you are, it should go both ways. But with lovers this should go even beyond acceptance, a true long-term romantic partner should support you and actively help you seek the personal growth you desire. Just remember that the illusion of intimacy will poison a relationship, but true intimacy can only strengthen it. For more about untruths and how they disrupt nuptial bliss read, Divorce-Proofing Your Marriage: 10 Lies That Lead to Divorce and 10 Truths That Will Stop It by Linda Mintle.

Newest Research on Eye Contact

Businesspeople Spying on Each Other

Newest Research on Eye Contact

We often ignore the impact of eye contact in courting, dating and relationships. Nonverbal communication is 85% of communication experts tell us. Poets have called eyes the window to the soul. You can always feel someone’s eyes upon you. And when you and that special someone’s eyes meet for the very first time, it makes butterflies inhabit your stomach. New research on eye contact has come out unveiling the fascinating secrets of eye contact. First, did you know you can turn someone on just by looking deeply into their eyes? The arousal reaction as researchers call it doesn’t just happen in humans but all social creatures. Now there are different kinds of arousal, and the form the arousal takes depends upon the players and their relationship to one another. Staring deeply into a strangers eyes can appear threatening. But staring directly into a possible mates eyes can signal sexual arousal, perhaps even an invitation. Another breakthrough that may have an impact on your love life, eye contact is a reliable measure of deceit, but not in the way you would first think. A person who tells the truth, researchers uncovered actually makes less eye contact. A liar tends to make more. Why you might ask? Well the one who is deceptive must go out of their way to get the target of their deception to believe them.

Ever see someone smile at you and wonder if they mean it or are just being polite? Knowing this may someday save you from an embarrassing dating faux pas.  “Duchenne” smiles according to researcher Paul Ekman are genuine smiles. The eyes will tell you if you are getting the real McCoy or a fake. In real smiles the eyes crinkle. These create lines, what are commonly known as “crow’s feet.” Fake smiles that feign happiness, warmth, openness or attraction lack this eye crinkling. You know that feeling you get when you are head over heels for someone and they feel the same about you? When you stare deeply into those lipid pools and their peepers are just as locked on yours. Well mutual gaze is part and parcel of being in love according to researchers who cover attraction and love. Lastly a dilation of the pupils is not only a sign of attraction, it can make you look attractive to the opposite sex. Whenever humans are interested in something or someone our pupils tend to dilate. In one experiment female participants were given eye drops that caused their pupils to dilate. Those women with dilated pupils were rated as more attractive than women whose pupils were not dilated. So use these new research techniques to your advantage. Make sure to give authentic smiles, pick darkened venues for your dates to dilate your pupils, and stare deeply into the one you wants eyes to make them your love. For more on this topic, read The Power of Eye Contact: Your Secret for Success in Business, Love, and Life by Michael Ellsberg.