It’s not always where you are in life, but who you have by your side that matters.




9 Good Signs You’re in the Right Relationship

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It’s not always where you are in life, but who you have by your

side that matters.


“How do I know if I’m in the right relationship or not?”


This is one of the most common questions our coaching clients ask us.

And after Marc and I listen to the specifics of their situation, we often toss a question back at them to further clarify their thoughts and expectations.


For instance:

“What do you think a “right relationship” should provide for the people in it?”

Although the answer here is obviously subjective, in all relationships, romantic and platonic alike, there are some clear signs that things are going well.

So today, let’s take a look at some signs you’re in the “right relationship,” along with corresponding tips that could potentially help you make a “wrong relationship” right:


1. No games are being played.


Far too often, we make our relationships harder than they have to be.

The difficulties started when… conversations became texting, feelings became subliminal, sex became a game, the word “love” fell out of context, trust faded as honesty waned, insecurities became a way of living, jealously became a habit, being hurt started to feel natural, and running away from it all became our solution.


Stop running! Face these issues, fix the problems, communicate, appreciate, forgive and LOVE the people in your life who deserve it.

And of course, if you feel like someone is playing games with you, speak up and establish some boundaries.


2. Everyone is on the same page.


If a woman starts out all casual with a man and she doesn’t tell him that she wants a committed relationship, it will likely never become a committed relationship.

If you give someone the impression that casual, or whatever, is okay with you, that’s what will be assumed going forward.

The bottom line is that you have to be straight from the start, or at least as soon as you know what you want.

Don’t beat around the bush.

If someone gets scared and runs away because you were honest and set boundaries, that person wasn’t right for you anyway.


3. The line of communication is open, honest, and clear.


It’s better to talk and find out the truth than to keep going and get nowhere. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Don’t expect the important people in your life to read your mind, and don’t play foolish games with their heads and hearts.

Don’t tell half-truths and expect them to trust you when the full truth comes out – half-truths are no better than lies.

Listen without defending and speak without offending. Communication isn’t just an important part of a relationship, it is the relationship.

Relationships often fail because of trust issues, commitment issues, and above all, communication issues.

To be honest, commit, be clear about your expectations, and COMMUNICATE always.


4. Loving deeds consistently reinforce loving words.


Nurture your important relationships so that when you tell the people you love that you love them, it’s merely a ritualistic validation of what you have already shown them by how you treat them on a daily basis.

Do little things every day to show your loved ones you care. Knowing that the person you’re thinking of has you on their mind, too, means a lot.

Truth be told, you can say “sorry” a thousand times, or say “I love you” as much as you want, but if you’re not going to prove that the things you say are true, they aren’t.

If you can’t show it, your words are not sincere.

It’s as simple as that.

And there’s no such thing as a “right” relationship that isn’t sincere at both ends.


5. Expectations of perfection are strictly forbidden.


Any relationship that’s real will not be perfect, but if you’re willing to work at it and open up, it could be everything you’ve ever dreamed of.

Your best friends and your soul mate may be far from perfect, but they are a perfect fit for you.

Give them a chance to show you.

When you stop expecting the people you love to be a certain way, you can start to enjoy and appreciate them for who they are.

It’s important to remember that every relationship has its problems, but what makes it perfect in the end is when you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, even when times are tough.


6. Honesty, vulnerability, and presence are held sacred.


Although it may sound risky, the strongest type of love is the one that makes you the most vulnerable. It’s about daring to reveal yourself honestly, and daring to be open and transparent over the long term. It’s about sticking by each other’s side through thick and thin, and truly being there in the flesh and spirit when you’re needed most.

So open yourself up. Truly be with the person you love.

Allow yourself to experience them authentically.

Tear down any emotional brick walls you have built around yourself and feel every exquisite emotion, both good and bad.

This is real life.

This is how you welcome a sincere connection with another human being.


7. There is a healthy blend of freedom and teamwork.


Keep in mind that we can’t force anyone to be with us or love us.

We shouldn’t beg someone to stay when they want to leave.

And likewise, we should never feel trapped in a relationship.

In fact, if either person feels trapped, the relationship doesn’t really exist. Because that’s what relationships are all about: freedom.


Relationships are also built on a solid foundation of teamwork.


And since relationships are one of the greatest vehicles of personal growth and happiness, the most important trip you will ever take in life is meeting someone else halfway.


You will achieve far more by working with them, rather than by working alone or against them.

It really is a full circle.


The strength of a relationship depends on the strength of its two members, and the strength of each member, in the long run, depends on the quality of the relationship.

And remember, relationships are rarely fifty-fifty at any given instant in time.


You can’t always feel 100%, or a full 50% of a relationship’s whole – life is simply too unpredictable for that.

So on the days when you can give only 20 percent, the other person must give 80 percent, and vice versa.

It’s never been about balancing steady in the middle; healthy relationships are about two people who are willing to make adjustments for each other in real-time as needed and give more when the other person can’t help but give a little less.


8. Personal growth is embraced, celebrated, and shared.


It’s not about finding someone to lose yourself in; it’s about meeting someone to find yourself in.


When you connect with someone special, a best friend, or a lifelong partner, this person helps you find the best in yourself. In this way, neither of you actually meet the best in each other; you both grow into your best selves by spending time together and nurturing each other’s growth.


When you honestly think about what you and your closest confidants add to each other’s lives, you will often find that instead of giving or taking things from each other (advice, answers, material gifts, etc.), you have chosen rather share in each other’s joy and pain, and experience life together through good times and bad.

No matter what, you two are there for each other, growing and learning as one.


9. Outsiders aren’t calling the shots.


Relationships don’t always make sense, especially from the outside.

So don’t let outsiders run your relationships for you.

If you’re having a relationship issue with someone, work it out with THEM and no one else.


You have to live your own life your own way; that’s all there is to it.

Each of us has a unique fire in our heart for certain people.

It’s your duty, and yours alone, to decide if a relationship is right for you.

You’ve got to stop caring so much about what everyone else wants for you, and start actually living and deciding for yourself.


Continue Reading 1,000 Little Habits

If you appreciated the above excerpt from “1,000 Little Habits of Happy, Successful Relationships“, I guarantee you will appreciate the rest of the book…


Sometimes we need to be reminded to actually practice the little habits that allow us to better understand and nurture the bonds that make our lives whole.

We need to be reminded to be selective in our battles, too.

Oftentimes peace and love in our relationships are both better than being right.

We simply don’t need to attend every argument we’re invited to.


Yes, we can do better!

Take this to heart.

Because as you age, you’ll learn to value your time, genuine relationships and peace of mind, much more.

Little else will matter from one day to the next.


It’s an inspiring touchstone filled with our best advice on overcoming relationship setbacks, letting go of anger, fostering intimacy and trust, expressing our needs, showing gratitude, and more.


Now, the floor is yours…

In your experience, what are some good signs you’re in the right relationship?

Write your ideas down and don't be afraid to share them with your partner.




When You Start Dating Someone, Be Careful From the Very Beginning

Red flags you should never ignore.

Hannah Callisto

We met online.

He messaged me on Instagram, and we started talking.


We didn’t live in the same country, he was 10 hours by car.

But we talked almost every day, and it was going perfectly.

We had the same interests, a lot to talk about, he was funny and smart.

He was sending me images and videos from wherever he was, we were getting to know each other. We matched sexually too.

I liked to be dominant, he liked to be submissive and flirting and sexting worked great.


After a few months, we met.

We went to parties, got drunk, spent the night together.

Everything was super-romantic, like a movie.

When he left, after an hour he sent me a message that he had already missed me.

The day after, everything fell apart.

And I didn’t have a clue what was happening.


He started ghosting me, he was distant.

I thought that he probably didn’t enjoy my company and wasn’t interested as I was.

I tried to keep a distance too.

I didn’t write him, it took me more to reply to his messages.

Soon I decided to quit everything, it was terrible for my mental health. But he always found a way to get back to me.

He didn’t want to quit this, but he also didn’t want to go into anything serious.


He always had a reason not to commit.

In the beginning, it was ‘I just broke up with a girlfriend,’ after that ‘We don’t live in the same city, I can’t be in a long-distance relationship,’ and similar.

We were in a vicious circle. We fight, we don’t talk for months, then we get back to each other. And the flame never disappeared.

It lasted for three years.


A few months ago, he told me he was seeing someone else, that he was falling in love and wanted to try serious with that girl.

He told me he wanted us to be friends, meaning no sexting or occasionally meeting.


I was pissed.

Something has been happening between us for years, he never wanted anything serious, and now he is telling me he wants to be in a relationship with someone he just met.

And she was 10 years younger than him.


I told him to fuck off and that we could never be friends.

He called me, we talked for hours.

It was actually the first time we had an honest conversation.

Before that, I was never sure if he actually had feelings for me.

From the talk, I realized that he did, but it didn’t mean anything at that moment.

He kept telling me that he didn’t want to lose what we had, he was almost begging me to stay.


But the reality was that he chose another over me, and I couldn’t accept that.

I told him that I wanted to end this, and I was sure this time. I didn’t want to lose my self-respect.

If I don’t care about myself, who will?


What did I learn?

This was a terrible experience for my mental health.

If I could go through it all again, I would read the signs better from the beginning.


There were many red flags that I shouldn’t have ignored.

I’d save myself from the pain.


Remember, don’t get involved if someone plays hot and cold and always has reasons not to go into anything serious.

Play it casually, or don’t play at all, you will save yourself from the pain.


There are people with whom it just can’t work.

They are afraid of commitment or have other reasons, and despite the chemistry between you two, it’s just a failure from the beginning.


Don’t overthink and hope it will change, you will just end up with a broken heart.


For more articles on similar topics, visit my website.



Truly destined people, will meet slowly and stay quietly

Hope you meet your true love!

Photo by sergey mikheev on Unsplash

People in this world are all walking on this road of life, and you are also following along.


On the way, someone is always coming to you, and someone is always leaving by your side.

When the new name becomes the old name, when the old name gradually fades until it disappears, then it will be the end of one story…


It turns out that this long life is spent in constant encounters and constant losses.

No matter how much you love, no matter how attached to someone, you may be just passing away in front of your destined fate.


Behind the beautiful encounter, there are inevitably some dark places.

Therefore, while it makes people happy, it is also mixed with loss and pain.


Of course, you must understand that those around you who love you and those you love are destined to accompany you through a journey, and you will always be the only one who can accompany you through your life.


Therefore, you don’t have to rush to meet, and you don’t have to eagerly want to stay together. Before you know how long this fate can last, you must learn to stay calm and deal with it slowly.


You know, people who are truly destined will meet slowly and stay quietly.


What belongs to you won’t go

You are just a small existence in the vast sea of people, you cannot control the encounters and losses in life.

You only have the right to experience all the destiny in the dark, but you have no right to tamper with it.

Therefore, those who do not belong to you, those who cannot accompany you to the end, you cannot force them to stay by your side.


Everyone has a set way to go, what belongs to you will be marked with your mark, and what does not belong to you cannot be forced.

Even if you are nervous and anxious, people who don’t love you can’t become your eternal companion in your life.

But fortunately, in this life, you will always meet someone who is truly destined, and he will meet you slowly in this long time.


You don’t have to be too anxious, what belongs to you won’t leave.


For the truly destined person in your life, learn to meet slowly and stay quietly.

All the things that wait slowly, all the fate that waits slowly, will be more cherished in the end.


Anxious to meet is easy to lose, but to meet slowly will be eternal

Things like fate may come suddenly, but things like love can’t be achieved overnight.

When the heart is opened bit by bit, love will slowly show its truest appearance in the lonely years.


Love that is too budding tends to pass away quickly in ordinary years. Just like a pot of water that has boiled too much, the water in the pot will not get hotter and hotter when it continues to boil, it will only get less and less until it evaporates.


Therefore, don’t be too anxious to meet the love in your life. Anxious to meet is easy to lose. Slowly meet will last forever.

Although this life is short, there are tens of thousands of days and nights in life.

If you want to stay together in these tens of thousands of days and nights, then you must understand and let love return to its essence.

Then in these ordinary years, slowly and quietly to pass.


Encounter slowly, without changing from cold to hot, without the panic that comes and goes.

Staying quietly, without vigorous expressions, and no regrets of disappearing suddenly. Everything is just right.


Slowly possessed is precious

In this long life, all encounters and losses need to be carried by fate.

Two people who have no fate can’t meet each other, and only those who are truly fate will come to each other naturally.

Therefore, there is no need to force it in this life.

If fate comes, it will naturally wait for the person who stays with him.


There is no need to rush to stay in this life, sometimes things that come slowly are more delightful and more precious.

An encounter that is too sudden may become a passing fate in life.

Instead of passing away early, it is better to wait slowly in these lonely years, to meet slowly, and to stay quiet.


Only in this way, what is obtained in a gentle and orderly manner, will be more eternal in these ordinary years.

Meeting slowly, staying quietly, simple sentences, poetic feelings, will never let down the true fate. This seemingly most ordinary section is shining in the silent years.

Focus on exploring the unknown and finding the essence.

Cognitive growth in the left hand, self-management in the right hand.




12 Reasons You’re Single Even Though You’re A Catch

Trust me, this is most definitely not your fault.

I'M FREE AND I'M SINGLE Poster | 666 | Keep Calm-o-Matic

As for dating, a big number of people feel that the relationship gods, such as Cupid and others, are being veiled to them because they are a good catch, but still don’t seem to get a suitable partner.


Most of them compare themselves to people in their surroundings, who are in a relationship or happily married, and believe they’ve been cursed since they do not have that someone to spend their lives with.


“You’re stunning! Why Are You Single?”


If people around you ask you this question and you don’t know how to answer it, don’t put all the blame on yourself; instead, look at the following list to see if you can figure out what’s lacking in your life:


1. You have more urgent priorities right now.

It’s not a terrible thing if you’ve been concentrating on other significant goals, whether daily or yearly, business or personal.

If you can’t commit to a relationship because you have more essential priorities, that’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

It’s admirable of you to be so forthright.

It is beneficial.

If you have other things to accomplish in your everyday life, don’t put them off only for a relationship.

There’s a high probability you’re fixated on them for a reason.


2. You are contentedly single or do not want to be in a relationship at all.

Not everyone requires a companion to be happy.

Some people rely on friends, family, or pets to make them happy.

Some folks simply require their own happiness everywhere they go.


If you’re happy exactly the way you are, don’t waste your time seeking a relationship.

Your relationship status does not decide your worth.


Unsurprisingly, successful people love their single life and do not want to complicate matters by being entangled with a possessive partner.


3. You’re expecting to meet someone deserving of your fabulousness.

You’re magnificent, so why would you bother to be with someone who does not match you.?

Or perhaps you wait for your fellow soul and it will satisfy you with nothing less.

After all, how many dates and relationships are beneficial if you can’t envision a future with that person?


4. You don't need someone to validate your life.

You could think occasionally it would be great to have a partner in crime, but you don’t spend all your time chasing after a man — nor does it feel awful —

You Rather live your life and don’t allow it to turn to find anybody.


5. You can’t tolerate other's foolishness.

This is not surprising.

You aren’t easily intimidated, therefore you’ll never put up with sexist or immature attitudes.

You are intolerant to people who are manipulators, liars, hypocrites, cheaters, or anything else that identifies a fake person.



6. The childhood goal of finding a lovely prince has become a foolish daydream.

You don’t sit around waiting for them to come and save you, no sir!

You no longer fantasize about marrying a prince on a majestic white horse who would save you from all horrors.


Your genuine love will not appear in a fairy tale.

You seek it in a deep, meaningful, and successful relationship that entails much more than simply spending time with an attractive guy.


When you grow up and set your fantasies aside, you realize how beautiful the surrounding people are with whom you may spend more time and perhaps even have an occasional date


7. You intimidate a lot of men.

You are conscious of your strength, and you will not downplay the significance of your objectives and accomplishments merely to make a guy feel inferior, let alone behave as if you are ignorant and foolish to boost his confidence.


Inferiority exists only if the guy shows it; if he instead loves, shares, respects, and encourages women to continue growing, there will never be a difference.


8. You have an extensive network of friends that distract you from dating.

You may be less eager to locate a lover at every cost when you’re a social person and often meet with friends, neighbors, co-workers, and even strangers daily.


Wait for quality to arrive. In the meantime, enjoy your life and the company of those who love you.


9. You are too enthusiastic about single life.

It’s hard to have anyone else in the picture when your life is already great.

While you might want a partner, the reality is getting one will transform your life.

Nothing’s wrong with the modification, but you must do it on your own time as well.


10. You’re still figuring out if you like the opposite gender or the same gender.

You’re unsure about your sexual orientation, but you undoubtedly knew who you desired deep down, but you’re reluctant to express it.


Take your time figuring it out, and then be courageous enough to prove it.


11. You haven’t moved on from your past relationship.

It is that you are hesitant to embrace a new love because you are frightened of being hurt again, or that you are still hoping to reconcile with your ex.


If you are in the first circumstance, I will advise you that each person acts differently, so don’t generalize and believe that everyone will treat you the same way your ex did.


If you are in the second position, strive to reconcile; but if the individual no longer loves you, you must let them go.

Love yourself and your mental health!


12. You simply aren’t prepared yet.

In the last place, it’s all fine for you to be honest and to acknowledge that you’re not ready to be in a relationship.

You know that now is not the moment; you know yourself.

Perhaps even on a subconscious level, you understand that.


You are not willing to take these further measures because you are avoiding commitment.

There is nothing wrong with that.

You can take all the time in the world until you’re truly ready, and the sooner you acknowledge that the sooner you can prevent problematic interactions.


Why are you single if you are a CATCH?

Because gorgeous, single people like you aren’t scared to go through life alone or acknowledge that they don’t have anybody waiting for them at home.


You are well aware that spending time with the wrong person would simply postpone the prospect of meeting the right person.

So you’re not scared to be patient.


Keep in mind that being single is a CHOICE.

Rather than thinking of yourself as dissatisfied or impatient, take satisfaction in your decision.

The fact is that you’d rather be alone than with another with whom you’re incompatible.


There is a lot of confidence in stating and meaning that.

That’s the type of assurance you want to exude.

That’s the type of mindset that makes you feel valuable, not desperate.


You’ll be glad you waited for the perfect person when that moment arrives!



What Love Looks Like When It’s Easy

The relationship that lets you breathe out.

Photo by Ermia Ramez on Unsplash

I frequently see people grappling with love.


Their relationships have become tired or disconnected or they’re fighting more — the gap between calm and chaos is narrowing.



Some people are distressed because they don’t have a relationship at all, they’ve had their heart broken or they’ve never known healthy love.


When relationships are struggling or go wrong, or someone’s been hurt, we always talk about what their baseline for a healthy relationship looks like.

What matters to them.

What does love look like when you are both two feet in it and — that all too rare and wonderful thing — totally happy with the arrangement?


What Would This Look Like If It Was Easy?

Tim Ferris, entrepreneur and bestselling author, came up with this great question while journaling. It led him to write Tribe of Mentors: Short life advice from the best in the world.


He was talking about a way to approach life’s challenges but it so beautifully translates to relationships.

What would love look like if it was easy?


I hardly ever hear people describe their relationships as “easy”.

People are either wildly in love (generally new relationships) or struggling in the middle (usually five years plus) or looking around for the escape hatch.

So when one man — who’d been through two traumatic breakups — told me his latest relationship was just so “easy” I took notice.

They’d been together six months at that stage, so it was still honeymoon-ish.

But I bumped into him three years later and it was still easy.

He was happy.

He had no doubts his partner was too.


It led me to brainstorm the components of “easy” love because I wish there was more of it to go around.

Here’s my take on it.


8 Signs of “Easy” Love

* You feel good about yourself — consistently.

let’s face it, everyone feels at least a little bit good about themselves when they fall in love.

But the key to “easy love” lies in the consistency.

That over time, you feel better and better about who you are.


When love’s easy, you don’t need constant reassurance about how you look, who you are or the future of the relationship.

Most of the time, even when you’re in sweat pants and your skin is a mess from wearing a mask, you don’t even think about it.

You like the person you are when you’re with your partner. Which means you like yourself more when you’re not.


* You feel safe physically, sexually and emotionally.

Safety is the antidote to insecurity, in every way.

Maybe you feel anxious and scared sometimes but your partner is not the cause of it — ever. You feel safe to reveal the full unabashed, unedited, weirdness of who you truly are.

You trust them with your most vulnerable self.

And they can trust you.


* You can disagree without blowing up.

Here’s a massive clue to contentment within a relationship.

All couples disagree.

Some say they don’t but I feel like they’re a little repressed.

Conflict can be healthy but you’re in trouble when every little niggle between you blows into a storm, turns into a cold, stony silence or ends with a slam of the door.

In an ideal world, disagreements open your mind to your partner’s perspective; they can help you move forward in healthy ways.

Easy relationships are about being able to disagree, apologise when necessary, and move on smoothly.

If you can do that, it’s a big win.


* Your silences are comfortable — not boring.

You can talk to your partner for hours and you can also not-talk happily — but it’s from choice rather than boredom or — er — dislike.

You don’t dread the thought of a six-hour car trip together.

You don’t try to avoid couple time.

There’s no awkwardness, you just feel relaxed and content.


* There are no eggshells on your floor.

Code for a relaxed, content vibe between you.

You are not tiptoeing around your partner’s moods or hiding behind a curtain waiting for the next bomb to drop.

The success of your evenings together does not depend on what mood your partner’s in or what kind of day they’ve had at work.

You know who’s coming through the door because they can manage their emotions and, if they’re feeling stressed, they take the easy road — they tell you.


* You’re not jealous or possessive.

You encourage each other to see friends and have interests beyond your relationship.

You want your partner to have a life beyond you — and you feel happy, not stressed and paranoid, when they do.


* You support each others’ hopes and dreams.

Because you should.


* There’s no-one you’d rather come home to.

An older single woman told me she just wanted someone nice she could have dinner with, someone with whom she could chat about her day — someone who actually cared about how her day had been.


It struck me how much we often take our long-term partners for granted.

Relationships get tired, boring, gnarly, grumpy but if you have someone you love — even if they make you want to climb the wall sometimes — appreciate them.


“There is no substitute for the comfort supplied by the utterly taken for granted relationship.” — Iris Murdoch




6 Relational Skills You Need to Improve

Practical advice for long-lasting relationships that deepen instead of fizzle

Hakima T A N T R I K A

Imagine a world where we would be taught how to do relationships right — with ourselves and with others.


How many couples would last longer?

How many suicides would be prevented?

I’m sure a lot.


I dedicated my life to understanding human interactions.

I’ve studied tons of books, taken several trainings.

But the real school of life has been my failed relationships and my hardships.


This is not wasted time, just growth time — post-traumatic growth.

Of the many skills to do relationships right, here are the 6 most important ones I learned.

If you learn them yourself, I’m confident it will improve your relationships with yourself and with others.


#1: Be okay with boredom and disconnection

Even if you enjoy your alone time, you might sometimes find yourself feeling lonely or disconnected. Maybe boredom is uncomfortable for you as you feel empty.


When I’d experienced these emotions, it used to throw me into a panic.

I would lose my calm and grab onto anything around me to distract me.

I’d pick up more work, or I’d binge-watch the newest Netflix show.

Then I would buy a flight somewhere or throw myself into another toxic relationship.

No matter where you go, your problems follow you.

So learn to accept these emotions and feel them when they come up for you instead of running away from them.


It’s okay and normal to feel lonely and disconnected.

There might be a reason that you are having these emotions, and they could even just be triggered by changing hormones.


To cope with boredom and disconnection:

  • Pick up a new hobby that is just for you.
  • Find something that you used to enjoy, and try it out again.
  • Do something outside in nature to ground yourself.
  • Remember that you are a part of the earth, and you are never really alone.
  • Connecting with friends can be hard when you are feeling disconnected. But it’s important that you have some face-to-face chats with people you love. Even if it has to be over a video call, it can turn your day around.

Find the coping methods that work for you when these emotions arise and accept them. You will work through them more smoothly every time you experience them in the future.


#2: Deal with restlessness

Restlessness is an uncomfortable urge to be constantly moving or doing something.

It’s not just all in your head.


People experience restlessness in different ways.

It can show up as restless leg syndrome, or it can be a symptom of depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder.

Maybe you just feel like you have too much energy without focus.

Accept that you are dealing with restlessness, and take time each day to notice how you feel.


To cope with restlessness:

  • First, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Your restlessness could be a side effect of a medication you are taking, or it could be a sign of something else.
  • Try saying out loud, “I feel restless,” and name any other physical feelings you are experiencing at the moment.
  • Be honest with yourself about how much caffeine you are consuming. A little bit is okay, but if you are feeling restless, it might help to take a break from the coffee.
  • If stressful work situations are exacerbating your restlessness, try to find ways to destress. Use a sick day for your mental health, and don’t feel guilty about it. Go to a yoga class, and spend time with friends. When you feel calmer, you can focus better, and ultimately you are more productive.

Restlessness won’t last forever. Accept how you are feeling, and find ways to cope. Talking to a professional and letting go of stress will help you deal with the feeling of restlessness.


#3: Practice giving more freedom and space

The five love languages are all things you do for, and with the person you love.

But honoring your partner’s need for alone time, space, and freedom is also a beautiful way to show your love.


You have to remember that your partner is an individual person who might disagree with you and need space, while still loving you.

And that’s normal!

When you give your partner freedom and space, they will appreciate that you understand their needs. It can hurt when your partner tells you they need space, but take a moment to remember it’s not about you.

If they really love you, the space will help your relationship to flourish.


They might need freedom and time to work on other important relationships in their lives, like with their family and friends.

Even if you are clingy and all you want is to be with them, choose to take advantage of this space and freedom.

It will benefit you to develop your interests without your partner and to spend time with other people in your life.


We all need both intimacy and independence, and it is a difficult balance to create.

For a relationship to survive, both partners must respect the freedom and space for the other.


#4: Overcome feeling frightened

When I was a kid, a jellyfish stung my entire back.

I remember screaming while my dad tried to calm me down.

Although I don’t remember how bad the pain was, my body remembers, and to this day, I am very afraid of jellyfish.


What are you afraid of?

Maybe it’s heights or jellyfish, or maybe it’s asking for the promotion you know you deserve at work. Are you afraid to tell those you love that you love them?


Fear is an emotion that everyone experiences.

It’s in our DNA to feel fear, and it’s there to protect us.

Taking some time to figure out what exactly your body is trying to protect you from can change your life.

Often, when we experience traumas, even if we don’t remember them, our bodies bury them deep inside our muscles and tissues.

They keep them there so that we are safe from ever dealing with the same trauma.


Just like how seeing a jellyfish gives me a hit of adrenaline and makes me want to run away, we can also get this fight-or-flight reaction from the fear of rejection or the fear of failure.


To cope with feeling frightened:

  • Journaling about your fears or talking to a friend is a great way to overcome them. Often, simply recognizing fears and their source helps us realize what we need to do to release the trauma.
  • No need to force yourself to face your fears. Simply giving them time and space may allow them to dissipate.
  • This year, make it a goal to overcome a fear that has been preventing you from living your most fulfilling life. You may finally ask for that promotion or be able to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. It can change your life.


#5: Develop a sense of humor

Having a sense of humor makes life feel so much more smooth and enjoyable.

Isn’t it more fun to laugh it off rather than to stress over something you can’t change?


One of my favorite pieces of advice is:

“Don’t take life too seriously.”


Hearing these words immediately makes my shoulders drop an inch, and I exhale in relief.

I repeat this phrase like a mantra in my head whenever things don’t go as expected or when I start to get upset over small things.


Sometimes, I imagine myself like a standup comedian, sharing my experiences with an audience and laughing along with them at the way life takes unexpected turns.


To add more humor in your life:

  • You have to make a choice to laugh. Your perspective is all up to you. Control your reactions to stressful situations, and remind yourself to laugh it off and move on.
  • Find the humor in the situations that usually would stress you out. Instead of complaining to your bestie, laugh about it together.
  • The more you practice finding humor in stressful or upsetting situations, the easier it will get. Soon you’ll feel more carefree. You won’t even worry as much about things going wrong, because you know that you can laugh it off.

After all, life is just for fun, so don’t take it too seriously.


#6: Learn to recognize abuse

Sometimes it’s not just yourself that is holding you back.

Could someone in your life by keeping you from your full potential? Abusive relationships cause havoc in every area of your life.


Often, people think of physical violence when they think of abuse, but it could be something different. Abuse is any behavior that is used to gain power and control over someone else.

Physical violence is one example, but so is emotional abuse, financial abuse, verbal abuse, etc.


It can be easy to ignore the signs of abusive behavior when you are the victim of it.

Especially when the abusive person is also someone you care about and love.


Abusers use humiliation, criticism, blame, and neglect to control or manipulate you.

If you suspect that you might be a victim of this type of behavior, take action and get help.

Not only could it save your life, but you don’t have to suffer under such a dark cloud.


Getting out of under an abuser’s control can be really hard and scary.

But I promise you that you are so worth it. You deserve respect. Everyone deserves healthy, loving, and respectful relationships.


If you realize that you are experiencing abuse from a partner, know that you are not alone.

Most people are not prepared to deal with this type of treatment when it happens to them.

There are people out there who want to help you.


These skills are not only important for your relationship with others but also with yourself.

Remember, people are just a mirror to you.



7 Most Alluring Traits Of A Great Life Partner

Choose someone who loves you even when you feel broken.

Photo by Toa Heftiba Şinca from Pexels

“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.” — Audrey Hepburn


My friend Laura is the most openly-broken person I know.

Most of us are broken in different ways; mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, intellectually, financially — there is really a multitude of ways to be broken.


However, not many people I know choose to wear it proudly as a moniker.

Announcing to all and sundry about how broken they are.


Laura is not “many people”, she chooses to let anyone who listen know how beautiful but unlucky she is.

It was surprising to all who know her when Laura found the love of her life 3 years ago.

She wasn’t searching for him.

If anything, they stumbled upon each other and are now a couple we hashtag #relationshipgoals in these days.

They are such an attractive pair and emanate an aura of love whenever they are together.


Laura is my friend from high school.

She believed she had bad luck and used every chance to remind us that her surname, Abalo, meant “I have spoilt it”.

And true to her manifestation, whenever we were doing something wrong or naughty, as long as she was a part of the group, we would get caught and punished.

She really did have a knack for attracting all forms of bad luck.


She consistently reminded me of Sadness from the Disney Pixar’s animation Inside Out.

Here she is for your reference.

Laura was full of complaints about how she was doomed to never find happiness or love in her life because bad luck followed her everywhere.


Fast forward to early 2018.

Laura met Ryan who has completely changed her life around.

When she says Ryan was sent to her straight from God, I nod wholeheartedly. I agree with that sentiment.

He is the kind of great partner she needed to save her from herself.

He helped her understand the law of attraction and the possibility of manifesting the exact life you want in every aspect of your life.

He also inspired her into loving herself generously because of how unconditional his love for her was.

Because of the love that they have towards each other, they have inspired their circle of friends into the realization that there is a “great partner” for everyone.


“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” — Robert A. Heinlein


So, who exactly constitutes a Great Life Partner?

It might take time for you to find your great life partner, but there is one for everyone.


A great life partner is someone who makes you feel happy in your soul. You feel like they are your best friend and make your life more meaningful.

They fill up your heart with joy and are interested in you for who you are, and not just what you represent.


My definition of a great life partner might differ from yours, but at the base of all things, a great life partner is someone who loves you regardless of your shortcomings.


Here are 7 fantastic traits of a great life partner and guiding thoughts on who you should choose for a great relationship, and how you can develop these traits for yourself:


1. A Great Life Partner Gives You Their Undivided Attention When You Need It

“Love pays attention. Love notices. Love listens.” — Unknown


Life is a little crazy sometimes.

Time is short.

Work is hectic.

Bills are due.

Commutes are long.

Social media is distracting.


To live a happy, fulfilling life, we really need to slow down now and then and take a look around.

To live in the present moment.

To appreciate where we are, what we have, and who we are around.

This is especially necessary when we are in a relationship, or even just relating to others around us.

It is easy to become distracted and not give our partner the attention or affection that they crave and deserve as a human being.

This can quickly lead to feelings of being unappreciated or taken for granted.

A great relationship is not about choosing the person that you are going to sit next to on the couch while your faces glow from your the light of the social media apps on each of your phones.


Choose to be with someone who gives you their undivided attention.

How can you develop this trait for yourself?

Choose to be someone who forgets that they even have their phone on them when you are with your partner.

Be someone who genuinely wants to know how your partner’s day was.

Someone who listens.

You do not need an empty distraction to make it through the time with your partner.

Be someone who enjoys being with your partner in silence just as much as they love exploring the depths of your mind through conversation.

Be someone who understands that the one person in front of them is far more important than the hundreds behind the screen in their hand.

Choose to be someone who gives your partner your undivided attention.


2. A Great Partner Loves You Unconditionally

“Love is not a temporary feeling or emotion. Emotions and feelings change, sometimes daily. But true unconditional love is everlasting.” — Sandeep Maheshwari


There is a story I like.

It is about the Japanese, fixing cracks in broken vessels with gold.

The art is called Kintsugi.

According to Wikipedia, Kintsugi (“golden joinery”), also known as kintsukuroi (“golden repair”), is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum.


In Kintsugi, the broken pottery pieces are put back together with gold — built on the idea that in embracing flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art.

Every break is unique and instead of repairing an item like new, the technique actually highlights the “scars” as a part of the design.


Using this as a metaphor for healing and loving ourselves and our partners teaches us an important lesson: Sometimes in the process of repairing things that have broken, we actually create something more unique, beautiful and resilient.


In life, generally speaking, many of us are broken in different ways — emotionally, mentally, physically, financially, intellectually, or even spiritually.


A great life partner, like Ryan is for Laura, will understand their partner’s brokenness, and still be willing to love them wholeheartedly, regardless.


Choose to be with someone who loves you even when you feel broken.

Choose to be with someone who loves you unconditionally.

How can you develop this trait for yourself?

Perfection is a myth.

Nobody’s perfect.

We can’t be right all the time and we all make mistakes.

However, we have to learn who we really are.

And learn how to better relate with those around us.

Always remember that nobody is perfect.

You are not perfect, so do not hold your partner up to standards that even you can’t uphold. Focus on the good about your partner instead of the bad.

Choose to be someone who loves your partner unconditionally.


3. A Great Partner Is Fair, Respectful, Loyal And Honest

“If you choose to be in a relationship, be honest and loyal.

If you can’t do those simple things, be single. — Charles Orlando.


I had not realized that a loyal and honest partner has to be fair and respectful, first. But when

Mod Parlor generously pointed this out in the comments section, I had to edit the article to include that.

“A good partner is fair and respectful. A great partner is fair, respectful, loyal and honest.” —

Fairness and respect are fundamentals that are ignored too often yet they should not be. Thank you,


In addition, honesty and loyalty should not be difficult traits to find.

However, they are.

Admittedly, the only thing that really causes cheating is a cheater.

But I think we still need to understand that someone who will cheat on you, does, in fact, have more ways to go about it these days — and also more ways to hide it.


Honesty and loyalty are cornerstone traits to the very foundation of any relationship: Trust.

Therefore, trust must be earned by displaying these qualities frequently.


What could be more important than love in a relationship? Trust.


Over time, of being together with someone, the goosebumps and the mushy feeling you’d get at seeing your partner subside.

Do not give your trust to someone who has not earned it.

Choose to be with someone who is loyal and honest.

How can you develop this trait for yourself?

Remember that love cannot live where there is no trust.


Trust forms the foundation for love.

Trust is something that is earned through actions.

It is the sense of security that allows both partners to expose themselves fully to each other without any fear of judgment.

When you are in a relationship with someone, it is natural for feelings of love and connection to fluctuate over time.

Every relationship has those dry spells, but trust is consistent.

Choose to be someone who instills trust in your partner and in your relationship.

Choose to be someone who is loyal and honest to your partner.


4. A Great Life Partner Creates A Comfortable Space For You To Be Weird

“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” — Dr. Seuss


Let’s face it, you’re a little weird.

I am a little weird.

We all have our quirks and unique qualities that we may keep hidden from the world for fear of being judged.

I believe that this is natural, and that there’s nothing wrong with it (as long as it doesn’t harm anyone).

That being said, your life partner should be someone whom you feel completely comfortable expressing your secrets and desires to.


He or she should know, and accept, the things that you don’t tell other people in the world.

The right person for you isn’t going to try to iron out all of your wrinkles, they are going to love each individual one just the same — because those wrinkles are what make you, YOU.


This comfort comes from being able to be open and honest with each other, and that comfort comes from being able to open up without fear of being judged.

Choose to be with someone you’re comfortable being weird with.

How can you develop this trait for yourself?

Consistently allow your partner to express themselves in whatever ways are most authentic to them. Allow a safe space where they can easily be open and honest with you without fear of judgement.

Choose to be someone that makes your partner feel comfortable being weird.


5. A Great Life Partner Values Effective Communication With You

“A good relationship starts with good communication.” — Unknown


According to this study, language is what makes us human.

It is how people communicate.


The study, which is published in the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, goes on to say that learning a language, means you have mastered a complex system of words, structure, and grammar to effectively communicate with others.


In love, as in any meaningful human connection, communication is essential.

However, it would be difficult to communicate effectively with someone with whom you speak entirely different languages.

We all experience love differently.

When we are with someone we love, we want them to be able to speak our love language.

That is how we feel seen, heard, and loved.


The happiest couples know their own, and their partner’s love languages.

They set out to continually love their partner in the language they feel loved the most.


This is why effective communication is so important.

This is why choosing to love someone every day is so important.

This is why relationships aren’t perfect fairy tales (and also why they fail often these days), because they take work that isn’t always fun.


But just because you argue or disagree or get frustrated with someone, doesn’t mean you stop loving them.

If you have a house and something breaks, you don’t walk out and sell the house. You fix what’s broken and keep moving forward.

Choose to be with someone who values effective communication with you.

How can you develop this trait for yourself?

Know your own love language so that you can guide your partner on how to love you best.

Similarly, you should learn to speak your partner’s love language if you want to keep falling in love with each other.

Choose to be someone who values effective communication with your partner.



6. A Great Life Partner Appreciates And Accepts Who You Truly Are

You had to accept it as a whole — like the world, or the person you loved.” ― Stewart O’Nan


In love, a great life partner accepts their partner as a whole, with their flaws and weaknesses, too.

In our visual generation, everything has been chiseled down to looks.


We swipe right or left on our dating app after two seconds of seeing someone’s face, and (maybe) reading a 300 character bio about them.

We want the person who will look the best in our selfies.

We want the person who will help us create an image of the life we want to live — all the while overlooking the person who would actually be our teammate on the journey we truly want.


Choose a life partner who appreciates your outer beauty, but understands that it pales in comparison to your loving, genuine heart.


Someone who understands that your perfect skin will someday wrinkle and your beautiful hair will someday thin.

Be with someone who understands that it’s not the photos that are important, but the memories you are creating while taking them.


Be with someone who truly loves and accepts you for who you are today, while they support you on your journey to become who you’ve always dreamed of being.

Choose to be with someone who appreciates and accepts who you truly are.

How can you develop this trait for yourself?

As I mentioned in 2 above, remember that perfection is a myth.

Nobody is perfect.

Love your partner as they are and encourage them to grow into who they could be.

Choose to be someone who appreciates and accepts your partner for who they truly are.


7. A Great Life Partner Has A Positive Mindset Towards Life

“Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.” — William James


Ryan introduced Laura to the power of positive thinking.

He got her to read the book by the same title written by Norman Vincent Peale.

He watched The Secret with her and showed her how they could grow the relationship of their dreams through manifestation.

He has always had such a positive mindset towards love and life.


The Law of Attraction states that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into a person’s life.

The belief is based on the idea that people and their thoughts are made from “pure energy”, and that a process of like energy attracting like energy exists through which a person can improve their health, wealth, and personal relationships.

This plays into relationships because whatever mindset you have towards situations in relationships is what manifests.

A relationship at its core is all about respect for the other person — and respect goes both ways.


Your thoughts, mindset, and attitude towards the relationship really matter.

If you have a positive mindset towards the concept of a successful relationship, then you open up the possibilities of having a successful life partnership with your partner.

Choose to be with someone who has a positive mindset towards your relationship, and towards life in general.

How can you develop this trait for yourself?

Understand that we are all energy, and learn to use the power of energy in your favour.

I recommend that you watch The Secret.

Choose to be someone who has a positive mindset towards your relationship, and towards life in general.



5 Healthy Habits to Build Emotionally Secure Relationships

Do these things in your relationship, and you’ll likely reap the benefits tenfold.

silhouette of man and woman on hill

If you want to be successful, you first have to cultivate healthy relationships.


It’s the name of the game.

Time and again, research has shown that healthy relationships can reduce stress, encourage personal growth, and add meaning to our lives.

In short, our relationships play an important role in our overall well-being.


But even the healthiest relationships take time and effort to maintain.

Couples, by nature, are supposed to have disagreements.

What sets healthy relationships apart is they’re emotionally secure.

Whether they’re fighting about the laundry or the bills, ultimately, they know they’ll make it through another day.


Clearly, I’m no stranger to emotionally secure relationships.

I’ve talked about it many times.

I’ve been living with my partner for one and a half years, and have been with him for two.

Every single day, without fail, I learn something new.


We don’t always see eye to eye (especially about politics), but we still enjoy being together.

That’s what matters most!


So to any of you who are currently in emotionally secure relationships (or are hoping to be in one), the best advice I can give you is to stay consistent.

And what better way to be consistent than to adopt relationship-building habits, not only in the beginning but also in the many years to come.


With that said, here are five healthy habits you should practice to build emotionally secure relationships.


Praise Your Partner

The healthiest relationships focus on the good stuff rather than the things they wish were different.

They know that hurling complaints will only do more harm than good in the relationship.


Instead, they talk about their partners in a positive light.

Positivity tends to be contagious.

So, whether it’s about something simple or elaborate — there are no bounds — compliment them.


Better yet, do it publicly, too.

Say positive things about your partner when you’re talking with friends, family, coworkers, or even your children.

In turn, they’ll learn to associate you with the good things you say about others.

In psychology, this is called spontaneous trait transference.

It’s a win-win situation.


Never Assume, Just Ask

To be fair, it’s always easier to jump to assumptions.


Just the other day, when my partner was quiet after dinner, I assumed I did something that annoyed him.

Obviously, it bothered me, but instead of asking him, I shut down as a result.

If I did, I would’ve known immediately that it had nothing to do with me.

The same goes for you, too.


When something happens out of the ordinary, never assume it’s related to you.

First and foremost, it might be about something else.

Sometimes, people get caught up with things they might not be too comfortable to address yet.

You just have to remember that you’re not being purposely left out.

But even if it’s about you, communicate with your partner.


Let them know that it bothers you when they do things that way.

Ask questions when you’re not sure about the details.

More importantly, approach them with respect.

If you give your relationship the benefit of the doubt, it’ll soar.


Stay Forever Curious

If you aren’t curious about your partner, you’ll never be good at your relationship.

In fact, according to research, curious people have better relationships.



Because what you know about your partner now doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll stay the same throughout your life.

Your partner will change and grow, like you, so if you’re not pausing to tune in, you’ll end up in different directions.


Therefore, it’s best if you stay curious and get to know your partner.


Continually ask questions about what makes them tick and what motivates them.

Better yet, think like a scientist!

Look for new ways to grow the relationship.

Play and experiment with your date nights to feel more connected.

Try something new together.

When something isn’t working, get curious about what you could do differently next time.


Prioritize Your Connection

No matter how busy your life gets, making time to connect is vital for an emotionally secure relationship.


My partner and I know this.

That’s why we make sure to always eat dinner together.

Even when we have to cut it short sometimes, we know we have that time specifically dedicated to unwind, relax, and catch up.


It may take a lot of compromises to do this, but it’s usually worth it.

If not dinners, then scheduling fun date nights are a great option, too.

They don’t have to be costly or over-the-top.

The goal here is to make each other feel special, valued, and appreciated.


To maximize your connection, put away outside distractions such as your phone, laptops, and other screens.

Research has found that the average American spends almost three hours on their smartphones every day.

That’s a lot of time spent on something that keeps us apart from one another.


Instead, set them aside on your next date night.

Perhaps, make a game out of it.

Whoever checks their phone first has to pay for the meal or owes the other a back massage.

Incentives like these go a long way when you’re trying to prioritize connection.


Pursue Common Interests

If you want to enjoy healthy habits with your partner, you should pursue something together.


My partner counts this as one of the most important — and he may be onto something.

Working towards a common goal or a shared interest helps you keep a team mentality.

It’s so easy to slip into competitive thinking after you’ve been together for a while.


Winning may feel good, but when you win, the relationship loses.


On the other hand, when you work towards a common goal, you’re forced to realign yourself and your partner against an issue.

It becomes “us vs. the problem” instead of “me vs. you.”


So, while it’s good to spend some time eating out, dancing, or watching a movie together, it’s also important to have a common goal you’re both working towards.

When you do, your teamwork will shine.

As a result, you’ll have fewer disagreements and less stress, which makes any relationship way more fun in the long run.


To Sum Up

You say you want to have emotionally secure relationships.

Then, it’s time to be deliberate in how you conduct yourself.

  1. Focus on the positive things instead of the negative ones. Therefore, compliment your partner instead of complaining against them.
  2. Don’t jump to conclusions. Instead, ask your partner when you feel like something is bothering them. You’ll avoid so much resentment, jealousy, and anger this way.
  3. Think like a scientist in your relationship. Be curious. Never stop pursuing your partner.
  4. Always make time for your partner. Connect with them despite how busy life gets. Also, make sure to maximize your connection by keeping away from distractions.
  5. Work towards a common goal together. It’s the best way to foster your teamwork.

Do these things in your relationship, and you’ll likely reap the benefits tenfold.




6 Things To Start Normalizing In Relationships

Photo by Viktoria Slowikowska from Pexels

After talking to hundreds of people about their relationships (both present and past), I’m convinced we all have no clue what we're doing.


I mean, think about it: two people coming together to figure out how to live their lives cohesively isn’t an easy endeavor.

Add on top of that all the shitty relationship advice we heard growing up and see in movies.


No wonder a lot of us are struggling in silence.

Not enough people talk about the nitty-gritty of relationships, the parts that aren’t always fun, but yet every couple (and I do mean every couple) experience at one point or another.

Because of that, we end up feeling confused, like failures, or worse, as no one understands.


When in reality, it’s that not enough people talk about the not-so-pretty things that happen in their relationship.

And we definitely lack people educating others on what it takes to create a healthy one.

So let’s set aside the TV show romances and Instagram couples.

They’ve done us enough harm already. It’s time to start normalizing certain things in relationships, starting with these:


Regularly checking in with each other.

One of my most viral videos on Tiktok was of me describing one of the reasons my boyfriend and I don’t fight (and I say fight, not argue. We definitely argue).


I talked about the weekly check-ins that we do to take inventory of how our relationship is going.

It creates space for my boyfriend and me to bring up anything bothering us or anything that we’ve been happy about.


Surprisingly, a lot of people pushed back in the comments.

“That sounds so corporate!”

“If it’s not working, then just leave!”

“This sounds like a scheduled fight.”


I was pretty shocked.

Many people think that “passion” and “love” should be what sustains a relationship.

That any sort of effort detracts from that narrative and is a sign things aren’t working.


But that’s far from the case.

Communication is one of the top reasons people get divorced.

Without regularly talking to your partner about how things are going, resentment can build, and problems can go unresolved.


Having doubts about the relationship.

As someone with anxiety, I can’t remember a time when I’ve ever felt 100% sure about a decision, let alone choosing someone to spend the rest of my life with.

Yet doubt in a relationship is portrayed as a sign you’re with the wrong person. Yet, I couldn’t agree less.


There are plenty of reasons someone could experience doubt in a relationship.

The first is any sort of mental health issue, like anxiety, OCD, BPD, and plenty of others.

But simpler, more common reasons exist, too.


If you have any trauma in your life surrounding love, you may fear being all-in with a relationship.

Or maybe the slightest conflict makes you worry about things because you still believe relationships should always be happy.

Whatever the reason, let’s start normalizing doubt in relationships.

That way, we can begin to differentiate between regular worries and a relationship that isn’t working out anymore.


Spending time apart from each other.

Self-identity is crucial for feeling like your best self.

That includes spending time doing the things you love, like seeing your friends, doing hobbies, and whatever else brings you joy.

But all too often, people let their relationship consume them.

What’s worse, they view their partner wanting to spend time without them or even just by themselves as a negative thing.


When in reality, spending time apart from each other couldn’t be healthier for your relationship.

Sure, there needs to be a balance.

Too much time apart can make one person feel neglected or unloved.

But enmeshing as a couple can lead to just as negative consequences.

We show up as the best partner we can be when we feel most like ourselves.

Let’s re-frame time apart as something that ends up helping the relationship.



Having mismatched sex drives.

Another myth that relationship folklore leads us to believe is that when you find “the one,” you’ll have the most amazing sex of your life.

And while that may be true, I promise you won’t be having it all the time.


In fact, the probability you both have synchronized sex drives is close to zero.

Rather than feel bad about this or like you’re not living up to these mythical relationship expectations, have a conversation with your partner.

You can talk about what you both prefer and figure out how you can meet in the middle.


Honestly, anything would be better than believing that your sex drive will always be the same with any person you’re in a relationship with.

So let’s start normalizing having different sex drives; that way, we can all take the pressure of something that’s supposed to be fun and pleasurable.



Talking about expectations.

My boyfriend and I have couples therapy once a week.

I know, *gasp.*

The woman who talks about relationships for a living goes to therapy!

But we do so to maintain and strengthen our relationship. I’d recommend it to even the strongest of couples.

Back to my point: last week, our therapist had us do an expectation exercise.


We went through different topics like money, family, communication, and what we want from the relationship.

each one, we stated our expectations.

For the most part, we agreed on things

But there were a few we didn’t.

Even though we practice open, honest communication, those topics just never came up.

So we talked them out.

And what could’ve been an issue became a non-issue.


After doing that, I felt like a light had turned on in my mind. “Why don’t more couples do this?” I thought to myself.

Because when expectations live up in your mind, they can’t be fulfilled.

And this goes for everything from how to spend money to your partner not saying hi when they came home from work.

Communicate your expectations. It should be a top priority for all couples.


What needs to be normalized most about relationships is that they work.

They shouldn’t be painful work that takes everything out of you, but they do require effort.

After all, healthy relationships don’t happen by accident; they happen with intention.


A great place to start is by de-mystifying people's ideas about relationships and talking about the minutiae involved in creating a thriving one.


Receive my free Boundaries Guide by signing up for my newsletter and check out my new book, What I Wish I Knew About Love.



5 Signs You Are a Lot Better at Relationships Than You Realize

It doesn’t matter what your ex says about you

Photo by Uriel Mont from Pexels

“Why are you like this?

I wish I’d known more of you before getting into this relationship.

I can’t be with someone like you.

I regret ever meeting you.”


Do you remember your ex saying this or something similar after a breakup?

Do you believe what they said was true?

Moreover, do you blame yourself for the breakup?


If you’ve heard something like this before, first, I’m sorry that must have hurt.

And second, that may not entirely be true.

Breakups are messy.

Lots of emotions get involved.

And we say things to each other which we may not mean.


But the words stay with the receiver for a long time.

After it, you question yourself for being the way you are.

You believe you were selfish, obnoxious, or annoying. You overthink and end up taking the blame, even if you weren’t wholly responsible for it.

That’s humane.


But if you continue to see yourself from the same lens, you may be self-sabotaging your happiness. You carry the hurtful words in every relationship you get after.

And you don’t have to do it.

You can’t let someone’s opinion of you dictate what kind of person you are — especially when they are wrong.


Here are five signs you are a lot better in your relationships than you realize.


You exactly know what you want from relationships

You know that a relationship isn’t just about physical attraction.

You believe chemistry with your partner is essential.

But people with personalities attract you more.


You prefer someone willing to work through the disagreements.

For you, constant communication with your partner is super important.

And you make this known to your partner.


No matter what the excuse, you don’t put up with the mind games.

You do not see yourself with someone who isn’t honest with you.

You know you wouldn’t settle for something that isn’t enough.

You are ready to work with people who are ready too. Compromises may sometimes be necessary but never with your core values.


You try to save your bonds

When you were younger and got mad at your partner, you could exit their life with no worries.

You didn’t care about the other person’s feelings.

Ending a relationship didn’t affect you much.

But now, you take special care with your words.


You understand how your words and actions can affect others.

So, you try not to hurt your partner in any way.


Even when you are angry, you don’t say things that may cause them pain.

You hold back your punches so that your connection doesn’t get severed.

You don’t want a small fight to cause any damage to it.


You understand how important you both are to each other.

You genuinely respect your partner and want your relationship to succeed.


You understand not everyone is a mind reader

Communication is an essential aspect for you in your relationship.

You want your partner to share their feelings, opinions, and perspectives freely with you.

And you want to be able to do the same.


You know that a connection cannot thrive well on guesswork.

Both of you can’t keep guessing what, when, and how to say in front of the other.

So, you don’t wait for the misunderstandings to grow.


You don’t let doubts hold you back.

If you have something in your heart, you do not keep it all locked up in your heart.

You know this will harm your relationship.

You also don’t expect your partner to know about you without you telling them.

So you talk with and clear out the air.


Even in disagreements, you come out in the open and are ready to explain your points and listen to theirs.

You always try to have open communication with your partner.


You find it easier to admit than lie

The base of all your relationships is trust.

You trust the other person not to do something that may hurt you badly.

And you, too, don’t do things that may cause pain to your partner.


You are not naive enough to think you, or they won’t ever lie.

Every person must have some secrets for themselves.

But the underlying trust makes you feel secure.


Even in forced conditions, you don’t hide anything from your partner.

You respect them enough to understand that they deserve honesty.

And you always try to provide them with that.


Sometimes, when your action may hurt your partner, you do not try to cover up.

You do not search for ways to evade.

Instead, you admit your mistake in front of them.

You put your perspective to light in hopes that they would understand.


You’ve quit the blame game

Earlier, you could never realize you were at fault.

And even if you did, you would never come out upfront and accept it.

It had something to do with the ego you had.

But, now you own up to your mistakes and promise them and yourself to learn.


When you blame another person for your mistake, you never learn and lose your partner’s respect for you.

When you feel the urge not to accept your error and blame them, you resist it.


If you react badly during a fight, later when you realize you apologize.

You don’t apply any condition to it.

You do not shift the blame to any action of theirs.

You know what you did was wrong.

You wholeheartedly accept your mistake.


Fights happen in a relationship, and they are normal.

In some situations, you may feel your partner is wrong.

But you never attack them for their mistakes. You give your opinions constructively.


Final Thoughts

Now you know how better you are in a relationship.

All these years, you had beat yourself for not being good enough.

But trust me, if you’ve spotted these signs in yourself, you are a gem of a person.

And your relationships are going to be great.


Your other relationships didn’t work because you weren’t right for each other.

You weren’t compatible.

It wasn’t because you were the wrong person.

Continue being the way you are. But don’t stop looking for your person.

You deserve all the love in the world.


Next time, people meet you and say you haven’t changed a bit, please do not believe them. You have — for the better.


15 Green Flags to Look For in A Man

His intention is clear, and his effort is consistent.

Photo by Candice Picard on Unsplash

As someone who took the vetting process seriously and is now getting married to a man who treats me like his queen, I know a thing or two about green flags.


I see them in action every day and in other healthy, committed relationships around me too.

Here are 15 green flags to look for in a man if you’re looking to get married.


1. He respects you, your choices, and your boundaries.

He treats you like he would treat his mother or sister: with the utmost respect.

If you express your feeling or preference about anything at all, he listens to you, makes notes, and takes action on them. He takes your words seriously and he encourages you to be true to yourself.


2. He’s kind to people around him, even those who don’t benefit him.

He’s good to you not because he has an agenda with you but because it’s who he is.

He treats people around him with respect and care.

He’s polite to service people.

He’s a feminist.

He does not have gross patriarchal views.


3. He’s close with his family.

Not everyone is lucky enough to grow up in a functional, happy home, but it’s a good sign if he’s close to his family members, and he values the family bonds.

Even better, his mother is a feminist and his parents have shown him good examples of a healthy relationship..


4. He takes care of you before you even have to ask.

He understands your needs and finds ways to meet them without you even having to ask him.

It’s because he pays attention to you.

He can tell if you’re worried about something.

He remembers it when you mention something.

He observes you and does his best to make your life easier or better accordingly.

In other words, he’s emotionally intelligent!


5. His intention is clear and his effort is consistent.

He brings on his A-game (while being authentic) throughout and beyond the courtship. He makes sure you feel extra loved and valued on special occasions.

He’s there for you like a best friend does.

He never makes you doubt his interest in you or your place in his life.

He shows his serious intention with you through both words and actions.


6. He supports your career.

Your career is important to him.

It means he makes it as easy as possible for you to do your job and cheers you on when you need to make an important decision at work.

It means he picks up the chores more than usual when you need to hit a deadline; he makes decisions that give equal weight to both of your careers, and he’s proud of you and he lets you know that all the time.


7. He listens.

When you talk, especially about the things you’re interested in and knowledgable of, he gives you his undivided attention, and he learns from you.

He doesn’t question your expertise, belittles your interests, or interrupt you. He waits for you to finish and asks you thoughtful questions.


8. He treats people close to you well.

He’s respectful and kind to your friends, family, and your pets.

He cares for them like they’re his own.

He goes out of his way to help them when they’re in need.

Especially if you’re family-oriented, he doesn’t try to compete with your family for time or separate you from your family.


9. He comforts you without making it about himself.

When you feel bad or anxious, or even if you get into a fight, he puts your well-being and happiness before being right. He checks on you and tries to make you feel better.

He doesn’t tell you to calm down or that you’re overthinking. He makes you feel safe to let out your feelings and he doesn’t use your vulnerability against you.


10. He’s patient with you.

When you have a low moment or shut down, he doesn’t take it personally.

He lets you be and tries to understand why you’re the way you are instead of shaming or attacking you.

He gives you time and space and is there when you need him.


11. He’s generous with you.

He gives you what you need and what you know you deserve: his time, his love, his affection, his efforts, and his investments.

You should be so loved and cared for that you have plenty of positive energy to give to the things you enjoy doing and your loved ones.


12. He treasures you and prioritizes you.

He makes sure you know that you’re important and precious to him and that his words have weight. He does not do anything that risks losing you.

He takes into account your thoughts and feelings when he makes a decision.

Spending time with you should come before his other plans when you’re in a committed relationship.


13. He chooses you every day.

He makes a conscious effort to be loving and caring towards you.

He shows his commitment to you and your relationship through simple things such as making concrete plans for the future.

Even when it’s hard, he doesn’t just shut down and leaves you alone in the relationship. He works with you as a team.


14. He’s an inspiration to you.

He’s thriving outside of the relationship.

The things he does in his own life genuinely impress you.

He doesn’t get lazy as time passes.

He keeps showing up and making himself the best possible partner for you.


15. He meets your needs in bed!

He cares about your pleasure and makes you orgasm. He doesn’t make you do anything you don’t want to. He’s a giver.


Ultimately, these green flags point to one thing: someone who wants you wholeheartedly and is capable of building a relationship with you.


When it comes to traits, the most important one to look for is emotional intelligence.

If a man has high emotional intelligence, he will do well in his own life and he will do well in his relationships. This is well backed up by research.

It goes without saying that you should bring the same to the table.

To have a quality relationship, you will need to be a quality partner yourself.

It’s worth it.


?Download my FREE 5-step intentional dating approach that will get you a quality, long-lasting relationship

© Ellen Nguyen




I Made the First Move in My Relationship; Here’s Why You Should, Too.

Photo by Jonathan Borba from Pexels

I watched my friend's eyes widen with excitement and nearly burst from trying to contain herself.

“Yes!” she exclaimed while sitting across the table at our favorite cafe, “He’s so sweet and kind.

Ask him on a date!”


We had a mutual friend who I’d known for a few years.

I’d been between boyfriends so often or on a…


But my friend’s reaction confirmed that I was making a solid choice.

That’s the moment I decided to ask my now-boyfriend out on a date.

Well, he didn’t exactly know it was a date.

He believed me asking him to grab brunch — which was our first time hanging out alone, without anyone from our friend group — was simply because I wanted to catch up.


Little did he know, I was making the first move.

It’s funny to look back on now.

My boyfriend is outgoing yet reserved when it comes to all things romance.

I’d only once see him with a woman in the years I’d known him prior, and even then, he was pretty mum about her.

Since our first date, I’ve asked my boyfriend several times (because I’m annoying like that) if he ever would’ve asked me out if I didn’t ask him.

“Probably not,” he replied. “Not because I didn’t find you attractive, but I didn’t want to make things awkward with our friend group if you weren’t interested.

Plus, I never would've thought you’d say yes.”


In life, you really have to take hold of the proverbial reigns.

I’ve found that to be true in a lot of things:

  • I pitched my book to my publisher, which is how I landed a book deal.
  • I reached out to a successful freelance writer who helped me build my career.
  • I sought the professional help I needed to pull myself out of the deepest episode of depression I’ve been through.
  • And then there’s my favorite one: I asked my boyfriend out on our first date.

This might not seem like a big feat, especially if you’re a man.

You’ve been taught that making the first move is your biological duty.

And, to give you credit, there are still plenty of women out there who don’t make the first move. Essentially, it was the only choice you had.


But for women, things are different.

We grew up watching Prince Charming save Cinderella.

The TV shows we consumed were filled with young high schoolers waiting around for their male crushes to ask them on dates.


Most of us were taught not to be “bossy,” which essentially meant not having much of an opinion or trying to control things.

Forwardness wasn’t rewarded in nearly any aspect of our life aside from how we dressed (which is a whole other topic).


This article is two-fold. I want anyone who reads this to understand how important it is to make the first move, applied to whatever aspect of their life is relevant.

But it’s more specifically for women who still believe that love will happen to them, not because of them.


Before dating my current boyfriend, I decided to try a yoga studio near my Santa Monica apartment. But the class ending up being hot yoga, and I was poorly prepared, having only drunk a cup of coffee before.


Halfway through the class, I saw my vision start to blur. Rather than tough it out and potentially pass it out in front of a bunch of strangers, I quietly B-lined it for the reception area.

Once in the cool air, I felt my body regain full consciousness.


That’s when I realized I wasn’t alone.

The guy working the front desk was looking at me and asked if I was OK. He gave me some water, and we chatted until the class ended so I could grab my yoga mat.


This guy was charming, with a yogi’s body, but, more importantly, he had a kind, caring way of talking to me.

Before I realized it, people started flooding in for the next class.

Once mine ended, I grabbed my mat and left to walk home.


I immediately called my friend, “This guy I just met was so cute and sweet.

I wish he’d asked for my number.”


“Call the studio and ask for his! I’m sure he’s still there,” she reasoned.


After a lot of second-guessing myself and rehearsing what I would say, I rang up the studio.

Lucky for me, the guy answered.

I explained who I was and that I’d love to grab dinner with him sometime.


“Wow, I’d love to,” he replied, “I’m so glad you asked me.”


While he and I didn’t end up lasting past two dates, I felt empowered at that moment.

Instead of expecting the guy to ask me out, I’d done it myself.

Had I never called the studio, I would’ve been left to wonder what could’ve been.


You can’t sit around waiting for life to happen to you, especially when it comes to dating.

That’s how you end up dating people with bad intentions and feeling like you’re lucky to have someone, anyone, ask you out.


How I see shooting your shot is this: you have nothing to lose.

If the other person says they’re already in a relationship or just isn’t interested, then you’re back to where you were. But at least by asking, you have an answer.


This applies to everyone: friends, that cute girl at the coffee shop, or an old co-worker.

If there’s someone you’ve been waiting around to ask you on a date, do it yourself.

You’ll not only have an answer about how they feel, but you’ll be really f*cking glad that you took control of things.


I believe the best things in life come when you ask for them specifically because that’s true for me.

I wouldn’t have the career and relationship I do today if I didn’t go out there and get them.


Rejection can be scary but the way I see it is wondering “what if?” is much scarier.

I’d rather know, even if the answer is a no.

Living life with regrets is something I try to avoid, even if I feel terrified and uncomfortable in the process.


Receive my free Boundaries Guide by signing up for my newsletter and check out my new book, What I Wish I Knew About Love.




These 5 Things Are Non-Negotiable in a Relationship

Losing a relationship is better than losing yourself.

MakoHaru ♡ Makoto Tachibana x Haruka Nanase (Free! Iwatobi Swim Club, Free! Eternal Summer, Free! Dive to the Future and High☆Speed!) | Anime, Free anime, Makoto


They’re everywhere — driving, eating, behavioral, public safety, etiquettes, etc.

But when it comes to relationships, we accept everything in the name of love.



Love is blind.

It clouds our “power to discern and decide.”

Romance often makes it tough for us to decide what’s non-negotiable.


Of course, a forgiving heart is a good thing.

After all, no individuals are flawless, and we all tend to mess things up.

But, understanding your needs and respecting them helps you make a fulfilling relationship with anyone.


The deal-breaking behaviors in relationships, also known as intimate partner violence (IPV), gradually manifest in the form of physical, emotional, sexual, and psychological abuse.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four women and nearly one in ten men experience IPV of any form.


I have been a victim of IPV, and I know how it feels. But, I don’t want you to suffer from it.

I don’t want you to lose yourself in a relationship as I did.


So, here’re some of the behaviors, gestures, and activities that should be non-negotiable for the mental health, privacy, and freedom of individuals in any relationship.


I. Emotional Immaturity

Do you feel emotionally insecure because your partner doesn’t pay attention to your emotional needs?

Does your partner behave or say something insensitive to your emotions?

If yes, that’s an emotional need crushed!


Everyone has emotional needs. They can be anything like:

  • Respect
  • Kind gestures
  • Loving words
  • Household chores
  • Validation
  • Affection
  • Honesty
  • Candidness
  • Financial Support
  • Supporting your choices, etc.

Dr. Willard F. Harley, Jr., a clinical psychologist and author of His Needs, Her Needs, states,

“An emotional need is a desire that, when met, provides you with a sense of happiness and satisfaction, and, when unsatisfied, leaves you with a feeling of sadness and frustration.”


Emotional maturity can’t be taught, so don’t blame your partner for being emotionally unavailable.

As you work to overcome this obstacle, keep encouraging them and remaining emotionally available to them.


You can also inquire as to why they appear unavailable so that you can gain a better understanding of their mindset.

With knowledge, you may learn to handle the problem and overcome obstacles.

Even discussing the issue in this manner can encourage your partner to open up a little more.


Always remember, your partner is not obliged to fulfill all your needs.

Still, emotional needs are those needs that shouldn’t be compromised because it defines the mental health of individuals and the relationship’s strength.


II. Controlling Tendencies

Okay, what counts as “controlling traits” when you find everything cute and acceptable in romance?

  • They lie to your face to feel superior.
  • They’re unpredictable and lack adjusting ability.
  • It’s always their way or the highway.
  • They dictate what to do, what to wear, where to go, and whom to meet.
  • They take control of the finances and question you for every penny spent.
  • They limit your social presence.
  • They always decide what to watch on Netflix.

Controlling tendencies tend to grow, and you don’t even realize when you became a puppet to the perpetrator.

You often feel humiliated, angry, and inferior to them.


There can be many reasons for your partner having controlling attitudes.


Sometimes, they’re anxious, while sometimes, they have self-esteem issues.

They may believe that if they aren’t in command, things won’t be right.

A personality condition rather than anxiousness may also cause controlling tendencies.


Andrea Bonior, Ph.D., says in her article on Psychology Today:

“Toxic relationships may strike anyone at any time. And controlling conduct on the side of a partner knows no bounds — controlling relationships can involve persons of any age, gender, sexual orientation, or financial status.”


So, decide what you want to accomplish for yourself, and stay firm when you want to do something different from your spouse.

You should also attempt to make more decisions on your own.

Also, keep an eye on the areas of your life where your partner tries to exert authority.

It’s possible they might be insecure and uncomfortable about you or your life.


III. Double Standards

Have you ever experienced hypocrisy in your relationship?

Have you been a victim of “don’t do this” while your partner openly and unapologetically does the same?


Okay, let me be clear. I am talking about double standards. Here’re some of its examples.

  • Your partner makes judgments and commitments that have an impact on you (without informing you) yet insists that you consult them before making any decisions.
  • Your partner humiliates you in front of others yet erupts in fury if you say anything critical about them in public.
  • Your partner ignores your wants and needs while insisting on paying attention to theirs.
  • Your partner gets enraged and irritated if you don’t act according to their wish but suppress your sentiments and demands.
  • Your partner blames you for bad moods and abusive tendencies, but if you’re angry, they remind you it’s your issue, not theirs.

Physical, mental, and emotional abuse may be evident, but double standards aren’t.

Because of their subtle nature, they make you look like an emotional fool.


Randi Gunther Ph.D., says in her article on Psychology Today:

“In intimate relationships, partners who use double standards to win an argument manipulate the other by getting them on the defensive so that they lose sight of what the argument was about.

When “flipping” becomes the standard strategy, both partners are likely to get meaner, turning the double standards into wipe-out statements and character assassinations.

And, even though there are no intimate partners who can be respectful and fair to each other at all times, those who are able to leave double standard behaviors behind, rapidly increase their trust in the mutual integrity of their relationship.”


So, engage in just those actions that you would deem appropriate.

If what you’re going to say would insult you if uttered to you by your lover, bite your tongue.


Also, treat your lover the same way you want to be treated.

Communicate with your spouse in the same way that you would expect them to communicate with you.

If nothing changes, then it’s your cue to call it quits.

You deserve to be treated equally in any relationship.


IV. Constant Attention-Seeking Behaviour

Of course, in a relationship, you should feel loved and needed, but if you’re not careful, it may go too far.

Most individuals like having a spouse who occasionally asks for assistance or needs a hug or a shoulder to cry on.


These things, however, are totally natural; what isn’t normal is a clinging, dependent spouse who can’t seem to accomplish anything without you.

You should breathe “freedom.”

So a partner who lacks independence should raise warning flags.


For that, talk to your partner about it and make sure you’re both taking care of yourself.

Separately, do something you like and spend time doing it while your partner engages in their hobby.


You may also inform your spouse about your requirements and invite them to tell you about theirs.

As you attempt to overcome neediness, working together to identify each of your talents will get you started.

Avoid harsh comments or criticism since this process might lead to vulnerability before it improves.


V. Trust Issues

For a relationship to survive, it must have mutual trust in addition to respect.

If you don’t trust your spouse, talk to them about it or quit the relationship before it becomes too serious.


While some individuals are more ready to comprehend and repair a relationship, infidelity is never acceptable, and that’s quite understandable since it displays a degree of disregard— especially if the person doesn’t appear to care.


A renowned divorce attorney, relationship expert, author of The Pre-Marital Planner, and star of BRAVO TV’s Untying the Knot, Vikki Ziegler, says,


“It is not acceptable to be rude on a regular basis and on purpose.”

For a successful relationship, both partners must feel comfortable, open, and supported, and a lack of trust will destroy an otherwise good relationship.


No one is flawless; we’ve all made errors in our relationships, and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

We can learn from them and strive to avoid repeating them.


However, if someone is unwilling to learn from their mistakes or commit the same intentionally, it's imperative to choose what works best for you, even if it means ending a relationship because life’s too short to waste on unworthy people.


I will leave you with a powerful quote from Anurag Prakash Ray:


“Letting go of people out of your life doesn’t mean you hate them, it simply means you respect yourself.

Not everyone you meet is meant to stay.

Letting go of people out of your life doesn’t mean you hate them, it simply means you respect yourself.

Not everyone you meet is meant to stay.”



13 Tiny-Yet-Toxic Habits That Can Kill Your Relationship

Long-lasting love is made of the little things we do every day

Alexa V.S.
Lange Afstandsrelatie-beelden | Gratis vectoren, stockfoto's & PSD's

“What do you love about me?”

I asked my husband the other day.

A silly question, I know, but I like to ask it every few months.

I love seeing how the response evolves.

When my husband replied, two things stood out:

  • “I love that you remember the things I tell you about work.”
  • “I love that you know how to prepare my coffee.”

My initial reaction was: Really?

He loves me because I ask him questions and prepares him coffee?


But then, I remembered what I read in John Gottman’s famous book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert:


“Happy marriages are based on a deep friendship.

By this I mean a mutual respect for and enjoyment of each other’s company.

These couples tend to know each other intimately — they are well versed in each other’s likes, dislikes, personality quirks, hopes, and dreams.

They have an abiding regard for each other and express this fondness not just in big ways but through small gestures day in and day out.” (Emphasis mine)


My husband praised my small gestures, the tiny ways I let him know he’s special to me.

After all, long-lasting love is made of the mundane.

But the opposite is also true.


In his book, Gottman warns us to watch out for sneaky habits that erode relationships

Though they’re bound to happen from time to time, we have to be careful not to let them kill our love.

We have to be vigilant, work on breaking free if we spot any of the following thirteen toxic habits, and opt for healthier alternatives.


1. Lowering Your Expectations

According to Gottman, a common misconception is that huge expectations cause unhappiness in a relationship.


Couples who believe this to be true lower their standards to avoid disappointment.

They assume feeling bored or distant is what they have to get used to.

But this is a mistake.


Clinical psychologist Donald Baucom debunked this idea.

He found that “people with the greatest expectations for marriage usually wind up with the highest-quality marriages.”


In other words, instead of shrugging and saying, “That’s just how things are,” fight for what you want.

Is your partner distant?

Ask him or her why.

Are you bored?

Make a plan with your partner.

Are you angry?

Discuss the issue.


Don’t let a tiny rock become a mountain.

After all, like Gottman says, “by holding your relationship to high standards, you are far more likely to achieve the kind of marriage you want than you are by looking the other way and letting things slide.”


2. Sticking to “Errand Talk”

“Honey, remember to get the groceries.”

“Did you invite the Robinsons?”

“The kids leave in three hours.”



“Errand talk” is boring.


Still, slowly after the initial honeymoon phase, couples trade deep, meaningful conversations with questions and commands.

Instead of dates, they have logistics meetings, which are perfectly normal as long as they don’t represent the bulk of your interactions with your partner.


If that happens, the friendship at the root of your relationship starts to die.



For two reasons.


First, human beings evolve.

You’re not the same person you were a year ago.

Heck, perhaps you’re not even the same person you were yesterday.

And the same applies to your partner.


Second, you can’t be friends with someone you don’t know, so unless you include “non-errand talk” in your relationship, your partner can become a stranger as they grow older, weakening your friendship.

Successful, long-lasting couples play fun question games or take quizzes to deepen their understanding of one another.

They invest at least fifteen minutes each day to speak beyond “errand talk”.


3. Not Knowing How Your Partner Likes Their Coffee

When my husband told me he loved me because I know how to prepare his coffee, he was really telling me that he loves that I pay attention to him, that I know his preferences and quirks.


Conversely, when we have to constantly tell our partner what we like or how we like it when we have to constantly tell the same stories over and over because our partner doesn’t remember, we don’t feel seen.

We don’t feel special.

We don’t feel loved.

Just making the tiny effort of remembering that your partner likes vinegar in his salad and preparing it for him or her without needing to ask can build a sense of intimacy in your relationship.

After all, what do we love more than talking about ourselves?

When people remember what we told them.


4. Choosing Your Parents Over Your Partner

This is a touchy subject. And for some, controversial.

“Shouldn’t we put our families above everything?” some might ask, a valid question.


The answer varies.

If you’ve just started dating someone, it’s a clear yes.

However, once the relationship evolves, Gottman assures us the answer is no.


Because when our relationships evolve, our spouse, live-in partner, or whatever you want to call it, becomes our closest family.

So if you take your parents' side when a problem arises between them and your partner — provided your significant other isn’t clearly in the wrong — you tell your partner that they’re not your family.


On the other hand, when you support your partner, you tell them, “I see you. I choose you.” And when you choose your partner, you become an unbreakable team.


5. Not Practicing “Cherishing”

According to Gottman, “cherishing” is the art of thinking fondly of your partner when you’re separated.

It is what creates longing, what makes you swoon when you’re reading an email and your partner pops into your head.


Cherishing is very common when we start dating someone.

But after that initial rosy period, some couples either don’t think about their partners when they’re away, or they ruminate about their existing problems.


Both are dangerous.

The first can lead to indifference, the second to resentment.


Instead, Gottman encourages us to make cherishing a habit.

“By simply reminding yourself of your spouse’s positive qualities — even as you grapple with each other’s flaws — you can prevent a happy marriage from deteriorating.”


Better yet, you can experience the excitement of the first few months of dating again.


6. Using “Harsh Start-Ups”

Within fifteen minutes, Gottman can predict a marriage’s end with 91 percent accuracy.


By studying how a couple faces conflict.


Arguments by themselves are normal and even healthy, but when they’re filled with habits that breed criticism and contempt, they inevitably bring the end to love.


One of such habits is the “harsh start-up”.

This is when you start a discussion with sarcasm (“I really love how special I feel when you leave the dirty dishes on the sink”) or criticism (“Why do you always leave the dirty dishes on the sink?”).


According to Gottman, when couples use harsh start-ups, their arguments end on a sour note 96 percent of the time.

Done repeatedly, harsh start-ups lead to fruitless discussions that fuel resentment and emotional distance.


Instead, Gottman recommends we back off and resume the discussion later if we’re being sarcastic, and encourages us to use a “soft start-up”, which has four parts:

  • Shared responsibility. Making your partner feel like they aren’t completely to blame avoids defensiveness. For example, try starting an argument with: “I know this isn’t all your fault.”
  • Your honest feelings. Avoiding sarcasm, voice how you feel using an “I” statement. For example, “I know this isn’t all your fault, but I’m angry because….”
  • The specific situation. To prevent criticism, be specific when explaining what bothered you. Avoid words like always or never. For example, “I know this isn’t all your fault, but I’m angry because you left the dirty dishes on the sink.”
  • Positive need. Explain what you need. For example, “I know this isn’t all your fault, but I’m angry because you left the dirty dishes on the sink. Please try to be more mindful when you finish eating.”

Using a soft start-up increases the likelihood that your argument will end on a positive note.


7. Never Revisiting Your Problems

Most of us believe discussions are over when we reach a compromise. However, even if you end the argument with a satisfying solution, your relationship can suffer from emotional scars that make future problems escalate faster.


This is what Gottman calls an “emotional injury” or “residual damage”.

In simple terms, a previous argument can become a future emotional trigger that can make arguing with your partner unbearable.

Worse, it can lead to emotional distance.


Instead, long-lasting relationships don’t let resentment damage the relationship’s roots.

After every fight, they have open and vulnerable conversations to voice their feelings, apologize, and learn how to be better in the future.


8. Dismissing Your Partner’s Dreams

This is the most obvious of all the tiny-yet-toxic habits.

If we dismiss our partner’s dreams, they will feel hurt, a hurt that almost always festers into resentment.

But there’s more to this than meets the eye.

Dismissing your partner’s dreams goes beyond ignoring or belittling them when they open up about their hopes.

Dismissing also includes not taking an active stance.


True, I love that my husband listens to me when I talk about writing and offers me encouraging words when I’m down.

But what makes me believe he’s “the one” is that he not only verbally supports me, but he reads everything I write.


Though he’s not a writer, though he’s not much of a reader either, my husband goes through every article and chapter I write.

He’s my sidekick, and I am his.


9. Expressing Appreciation Sporadically

According to Gottman, we shouldn’t appreciate our partners sporadically; we should say “Thank you” or “I love this about you” every single day.


This is the fastest way to make you both feel satisfied as partners and people.

Human beings need to be acknowledged and praised, so if you want your relationship to flourish, satisfy your partner’s needs.


Every night before going to sleep, tell each other why you appreciate each other. Ask, “What do you love about me?”

I can guarantee the answer will make you smile.


10. Not Keeping Track of the “Big Days”

Nothing terrible will happen if you sometimes forget about your partner’s important meetings or medical appointments.

If it always happens, though, your significant other will feel like you don’t care enough to remember.

If you’re like me and know your memory isn’t reliable, get a planner.

Write down your and your partner’s big appointments.

Better yet, give them an encouraging call before, or ask them how it went.

With these tiny gestures, you tell your significant other, “You matter.”


11. Refusing Your Partner’s Influence

We live in a society that praises individuality, that tells us we’re supposed to be independent in everything.

God forbid you to let your partner influence your decisions.

Gottman, though, disagrees.

According to him, not letting your partner’s opinion matter, not letting them influence your life is a relationship-killer because it’s a sign of disrespect and an imbalance in power.


By accepting influence, even if it’s a decision that only affects one member of the couple, partners show each other that they trust their judgments, which further strengthens their relationship.


Next time you’re making a big decision, ask for your partner’s opinion.

Let him or her know you value his or her thoughts.


12. Allowing “Flooding” To Creep In

In the heat of an argument, flooding occurs, an intense emotional state characterized by a stampeding heartbeat quickened breaths, and zero rationality.


When flooded, people enter a fight-or-flight mode.

They either hurl insults to protect their ego (fight) or ignore their partners (flight).

But this is extremely dangerous.


According to Gottman, “recurring episodes of flooding lead to divorce for two reasons.

First, they signal that at least one partner feels severe emotional distress when dealing with the other.

Second, the physical sensation of feeling flooded — the increased heart rate, sweating, and so on — make it virtually impossible to have a productive, problem-solving discussion.”


Eventually, couples become emotionally disengaged because they can’t handle the stress.

Instead, Gottman suggests we learn how to soothe each other.

Create a safe word you and your partner can use to pause an argument whenever you feel flooding is creeping in.

Then, take at least twenty minutes to breathe.

Meditate or do something relaxing with your partner.

Most importantly, don’t resume the discussion unless you’re both calm.




The 4 Types of Boundaries You Need in Your Relationships

You deserve to express yourself and speak your limits.

Any happy, long-lasting relationship has boundaries as a foundation.

Setting boundaries is something emotionally mature people do naturally: they will respect your personal limits and they expect the same in return.


Before getting into what boundaries actually are, let me tell you this: if you have the tendency to feel drained, manipulated, or taken advantage of when dealing with other people, that’s a clear sign you need boundaries in your life.


That’s how I’ve felt for a very long time.

I’d say yes every time someone asked me anything, even if my whole being wanted me to say no.

It’s as though my body would take over my mind — I couldn’t even consider the possibility of denying other people’s demands.


This is what happens when our people-pleasing patterns are so strong that we have no awareness of our emotional, physical and spiritual needs.


Unfortunately, our society has normalized emotionally unhealthy behavior and, as a consequence, we think it’s normal to feel uncomfortable or inadequate for standing up for ourselves.

Well, it’s not.

Setting boundaries can be challenging, especially if we’re surrounded by people who are used to our empathetic personality, and they themselves have no awareness of how important boundaries are.

But remind yourself that you don’t owe anyone anything.


You have the right to speak your limits.


You have the right to live a fulfilling life that’s not dictated by others’ demands and expectations; to express your genuine thoughts and needs without feeling pressured to please everyone.


It’s not selfish — it’s your right.


According to Dr. Nicole LePera, whose work I really admire, there are 4 types of boundaries.

I hope this article makes you realize how crucial they are, and how your life and relationships can improve once you set them.


1.) Emotional Boundaries

Do you know when you’re not feeling the best, your friend comes for a visit and won’t stop talking about their life?

Or when you’ve had a very busy, draining day, and your mother complains that you’re not listening to her?

In these situations, boundaries are fundamental.

They allow you to make a conscious decision regarding how you feel and who you engage with.


Maybe this sounds strange to you, but it’s not your obligation to share your time and energy with others.

If you feel tired, depleted, or simply like you want to be alone, you deserve to take your time to recharge. Some examples of emotional boundaries given by Dr. Nicole are,


“I’m not in a good space to support you around this right now.”

“Do you have the ability to listen for about 15 minutes while I share what’s been happening for me, recently?”

“I’m going to pause from this conversation and take a break.”


2.) Resource Boundaries

I still remember how I’d get involved in a hundred projects, have a completely full schedule, and feel exhausted at the end of the day.

My inability to decline other people’s demands were clearly ruining my well-being.


Resource boundaries involve expressing your limits when it comes to your time.

When someone asks you if you want to go out, or if you can help them with their project, you can express your limitations.


When I first started speaking my limits, I’d get super guilty.

I felt like I was a failure; like I was disappointing everyone around me.


Now, I’m at a place in my life where I treasure my alone time so much that I plan my life according to my need to recharge.

I no longer say yes to everything; instead, I think “okay, if I’ll be super busy on Tuesday, then Wednesday will be my day”.


3.) Physical Boundaries

Physical boundaries refer to your personal limits in what comes to, for instance, your body, your house, your car, your room, your office — essentially, your personal space or physical reality.


My physical world was the first thing that made me realize my boundaries had never been respected by my family.

Not because they didn’t love me, but because they lacked emotional maturity.

That’s the thing about family dynamics: it goes from generation to generation, until someone questions what’s really going on.


My father would always open my bedroom door whenever I wanted to play alone or be with my own thoughts.

As a child, what this taught me was that I didn’t deserve to have my own personal space, or to set my own limits.


However, as adults, we’re no longer victims.

We have the power to change our reality and claim our rights.


Physical boundaries sound like,

“Please knock before coming into my office.”

“My room is my own little refuge — I will only share it with really close friends.”

“I don’t feel safe sharing my body with someone I don’t love deeply.”


4.) Material Boundaries

These boundaries help you get clear on what you will or will not tolerate regarding your material belongings, specifically the way they’re used.


Worrying about how your things are treated is not selfish.

You have every right to let people know that something is important to you, and to demand thoughtfulness.


Some of the examples Dr. Nicole gives are,

“I don’t allow people to drive my car, I’m uncomfortable with that.”

“You’re welcome to wear my clothes, just please bring them back the next day.”

“If you’d like to borrow my things, just please ask first.”


Setting boundaries is not easy.

Many people will either ignore you, become reactive or manipulate you into feeling guilty because they don’t know how to handle your individuality — but that’s their problem, not yours.


You don’t deserve to be taken advantage of, nor do you deserve to feel depleted, disrespected, and unfulfilled.


It’s okay if you feel remorseful in the beginning.

I did.

But time and practice will make it easier, and you’ll eventually get to a point where you love yourself so much that you can’t help but protect your well-being.



What Makes Emotionally Intelligent Partners so Attractive

Four things you can learn from them to improve your relationships.

Photo by Rafael Mota on Unsplash

Sophia, a good friend of mine, is the type of woman almost any man would love to have in his life. It’s not just for her appearance, but for how she behaves when in a relationship.


Also, Sophia has a high level of what we more commonly call emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence generally refers to the ability to identify and manage your own emotions — and place yourself in other people’s shoes.

It includes a few skills, such as perceiving other people’s emotions, regulating your own, discussing feelings, and helping others do the same thing.


Thanks to their core traits, such as empathy and self-awareness, emotionally intelligent people are usually great partners. What follows are a few things they tend to do differently in relationships — and also what makes them so special.


They Understand How You Feel and then Behave Accordingly

Years ago, Sophia was in a relationship with Jake, a guy she met at college.

He valued a lot his alone time. For him, spending time apart from Sophia was as important as their time together.


What he loved about Sophia is not only that she respected this need, but she was also able to recognize when he wanted some space and proactively left him alone.

He never had to ask to have some me-time.


According to an article published in Very Well Mind, the ability to perceive emotions, to understand how others feel, and to behave accordingly — especially in a relationship — is a skill emotionally intelligent people have in common.


Also, behaving in a certain way according to how your partner feels is an act of kindness towards them.


Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. — Leo Buscaglia

How to apply this:

Understanding other people’s emotions are not easy.

However, a great way to know how your partner is feeling is simply by asking them.

Remind them they can be honest with you because you’re not going to judge them.

If they don’t want to share their feeling, don’t insist.


If they share how they’re feeling, behave accordingly.

For example, if they tell you they feel angry or sad about something that happened at work, ask them if they need to be alone or if they want to talk about it.

Then, respect their choice.


They Are Able to Regulate Their Emotions

My friend Sophia rarely says things she regrets, because she is in control of her emotions and doesn’t let them rule her life and relationships.


The ability to control your own emotions is central to emotional intelligence — and it’s essential to healthy relationships.

Being aware of your emotions is great, however, you also need to learn how to manage them. Emotionally intelligent people have the ability to think before acting on their feelings.


As Arlin Cuncic explains in an article published in Very Well Mind, regulating your emotions is a skill that involves taking a pause between a feeling and an action — and a lack of self-regulation can cause problems in life.


Emotionally intelligent partners are not perfect at regulating their emotions, however, they tend to follow this process: they listen to what they feel, take their time to process their emotions and to think, and then, decide what to say or what to do.


How to apply this:

Regulating your emotions is challenging for anyone, even for emotionally intelligent people. However, it’s a skill anyone can develop and improve over time.

Whenever an emotion makes you feel uncomfortable, take a moment to identify it.

Then, if you can, take your time to process your emotions before acting on them, think about the options you have, and consider the respective consequences.


Tomás, a co-worker, once told me that whenever he had an argument with his girlfriend, instead of texting her, he opened the Notes app on his iPhone and started writing whatever was crossing his mind.

That helped him blow off steam and clear his mind.

That helped him take his time and avoid acting impulsively.

I’ve always found his piece of advice brilliant.


They are Willing and Able to Discuss Feelings with You

Some people are empathetic and in control of their emotions, but struggle to actually share these feelings with their partners.

According to a study published in BioMedical Central, a peer-reviewed journal, emotionally intelligent people are not only able to understand and identify their feelings, but they also know how to express them appropriately.


When it comes to relationships, this is an essential skill because healthy communication is key to intimacy and to creating a deep emotional connection with your partner.


How to apply this:

Sometimes discussing our feelings with others — especially with our partner — can be difficult simply because we struggle to identify what we feel in the first place.

We often find it hard to label our emotions, and that can make it difficult to externalize them.

As per the previous points, the best thing you can do before discussing your feelings with your partner is to take your time to actually understand how you’re feeling.

Take a pen and a piece of paper if you need it, or, as my friend Tomás suggested, write everything on your phone. It will help clear your mind.


They Listen to You Until You Feel Understood

My friend Sophia is a great listener, and this has always helped her build good and healthy relationships.


She is now in a relationship with Adam, and she said that listening to him and asking the right questions always helps her when conflict arises, because it makes him feel understood.

When she feels something’s wrong, she always tries to understand what’s behind his words or actions and puts herself in his shoes.

This helped her develop a strong bond with him.

Her behavior also set an example that, over time, encouraged and inspired Adam to behave in the same way with her.


People with a high level of emotional intelligence know how important it is to listen to their partner. When it comes to love, being willing to listen and to receive their feedback is key to build and nurture a healthy relationship.


How to apply this:

Stephen Covey said that most of us listen with the intent to reply instead of listening to understand the person in front of us. In his bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey explains that one essential habit everyone should learn is seeking first to understand and then to be understood.

And I couldn’t agree more with this.

In fact, I mentioned this point in other articles as well because — at least for me — listening with the intent to understand is the foundation upon which you can build healthy relationships.


Learn to slow down and listen to your partner to understand them, before even thinking of what you need to say; relationships are not about what you need, they’re all about mutual respect and understanding each other.


When you make your partner feel understood, you are opening a communication channel that was probably closed or where your voice somehow didn’t fit.

It’s by paying attention and understanding first, that you will also be listened to.


Final Thoughts

When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion. — Dale Carnegie


Understanding other people’s feelings and behaving accordingly, regulating their own emotions, discussing feelings with you, and listening until you feel understood, are all things partners with a high level of emotional intelligence tend to have in common.


Emotional intelligence can be developed by virtually anyone.+

It’s not easy, it takes time, it involves a lot of self-reflection, but it’s a path worth pursuing, as it can help you build healthy relationships — and most importantly it strengthens your relationship with yourself.



This Is How Far Out of Your Comfort Zone You Should Step

You need a push to change — but it’s counterproductive to push yourself too much

Girl at sunset holding a stick over her head, backlit by the sun.
Photo by Juan Jose on Unsplash

Do you know what angers me?

People shaming other people for staying in their comfort zones.


In our competitive, capitalistic culture, getting out of your comfort zone is glorified.

People who do it are pictured as brave and determined.

They’re the ones “getting ahead.”


Those who don’t “lean into their edge” are often labeled as weak or lazy.

Meanwhile, few people acknowledge that getting outside your comfort zone usually means risking something.


Not everyone can afford that risk.

When you have nothing to fall back on, the advice to “embrace failure” or “feel the fear and do it anyway” isn’t going to help much.


This applies to financial as well as psychological advice.

Whenever you’re trying to take a leap of personal growth, that’s an emotional risk.

If you fail, you need to gather yourself after that failure.

You need a certain level of self-esteem and mental health for that.


Not everyone has these psychological resources.

The good news is you don't have to take risks you can’t afford.

You don’t have to leap outside of your comfort zone just to experience discomfort.

You can learn how to push yourself just enough, without exhausting yourself.


Building Momentum Is More Important

Than Playing Big

To “go big or go home” isn’t the only way to progress in life.

Making small incremental changes is usually a more effective way.


You can see it clearly in habit building.

There are a reason books like “Tiny Habits” or “Atomic Habits” gained so much influence.

That reason is that if you start small, you have a much better chance of maintaining the habit and building momentum.


Do you know why?

Because it allows you to see yourself differently pretty quickly. When you’re consistent with a tiny habit — such as doing one push-up a day, a one-minute meditation, or one act of kindness — an identity shift is taking place.


This is what momentum is all about.

You reinforce the idea that you’re capable of changing.

The energy of that change starts accumulating like a snowball.

You start adding push-ups, or minutes to your meditation practice, over time.

Before you notice, those habits start making a tangible difference in your life.


It’s more beneficial to go small and succeed than go big and fail.


But the former is usually harder to do — especially for high achievers.

People who are used to seeing themselves as A students don’t want to accept the instructions for C students.

They want change — and they want it big and fast.


You may have done it before.

You jumped at an ambitious challenge because you wanted to push yourself.

But as you faced the reality, you realized it was hard.

If you’re like me, you quit and then beat yourself up for it.


This isn’t unusual.

When it happens, it typically means you step too far out of your comfort zone.

Maybe you wanted to prove something to yourself or you simply took on too much too soon.


Either way, failure was just the natural consequence — not a sign of weakness.


The Three Zones of Experience

Look, I do this all the time.

I set myself up for failure by going out too far out of my comfort zone.

I take one step forward and then two steps back.


That’s what happened when I went on a solo journey to Nepal and came back early, scared and crying.

This is what I did a couple of months ago when I set out to walk the famous Scottish West Highland Way without preparation.

I dropped out midway.


Heck, even this very article is a part of a failed challenge.

I decided to write a blog post every single day for the whole month of July.

While I was at it, I realized that it was way too much with all the other commitments that I have.


I’m now learning to take such “failures” lightly.

Not living up to your challenge doesn’t mean you’re weak or lazy.

Typically, it’s either because the challenge is too hard or because your motivation isn’t coming from the right place.


Karl Rhonke, a life-long educator and facilitator of outdoor experiences and personal challenges, understood it well.


While working on his Project Adventure, he developed a model of the three zones of human experience: comfort, stretch, and panic.

  • In the comfort zone, you’re engaging with the familiar. This is the rest-and-digest mode when you can also process and integrate experiences and learnings.
  • The stretch zone is where learning typically occurs. This is when you get a chance to use your full competencies to deal with an unfamiliar situation. The flow state usually happens in the stretch zone.
  • Finally, there’s the panic zone. You experience it when you’re faced with challenges you’re not equipped to deal with. This is where you’re bound to focus on survival (fight-or-flight mode), not growth.

With the mainstream self-improvement narrative, it’s easy to get an impression that the more your push yourself, the better.

That’s what I did by taking on challenges that felt super uncomfortable.

I thought that I’d grow through the sheer amount of discomfort.

But that’s not what happened.


Instead, I set myself up for failure, which undermined my self-belief.

I was doing the opposite of building the momentum.


Additionally, my motivation to enter those challenges wasn’t always coming from me.

I did things just because other people did them. I thought I needed to do them too, to prove my worth.

This is another aspect that Karl Rhonke addresses in his approach. He calls it a “challenge by choice.” In his outdoor adventure training, Rhonke observed that when people were free to decide about the extent of their challenges, they were much more engaged and committed.


This brings us to the “how” of assessing a challenge for yourself.


3 Questions To Help You Step Out of Your Comfort Zone Just Enough

To sum it up: A good challenge needs two elements in order to help you grow.

The first is to push you just enough so that you stretch yourself but do not enter the panic zone.

The second is to decide the scope of a challenge based on your standards and needs, not someone else’s.


As you’ll read on Rhonke’s Project Adventure website,

“Real success and learning occurs only when individuals choose and commit to their own standards and goals that are personally meaningful.”


So how do you set it up so that you know you’re committing to your own standards?

How do you make sure you’re not pushing yourself too much?


Here are three questions that’ll help you assess that.

1. What drives me to take on this challenge/change/project? Is it my sincere willingness or is it that I saw someone else doing it?

Here’s where you do a motivation check.

A lot of the time, we sign up for something we think we honestly want to accomplish.

Only later do we realize that we were motivated by peer pressure, the envy of someone else’s success, and so on.

When I decided to go to Nepal on my own, I thought it was because I was passionate about traveling. Only months after, as I was processing the experience, it got to me that I’d seen a lot of my friends doing this type of trip.

I didn’t want to miss out and thought I “needed” this experience to measure up.


Had I asked the question about my motivation, I might have a chosen a different format for my trip.


2. Do I attach my self-worth to the outcome of this challenge?

This is a big one for the so-called high-achiever personality.

I include myself in this category.

And let me be clear on this: To be a high achiever doesn’t necessarily mean you always achieve more than others.

Rather, it says something about your relationship to achievement.


Put short, high achievers are prone to identify themselves by how much they’re able to accomplish their (usually ambitious) goals.

This often means they attach their self-worth to the outcomes of their endeavors.+


When setting a challenge for yourself, it’s healthier to avoid that mindset.

Try framing your challenge without making it into a means of self-validation. You’re worthy regardless of the outcome.


3. Will I be able to find joy in the challenge, or am I going to be focused on just surviving it?

For any challenge you voluntarily undertake, you want to be in the stretch zone.

This means that there will likely be some discomfort — but also, some room for enjoyment.


When I was setting out to walk the West Highland Way, I realized I got this part completely wrong. What was supposed to be a nice nature outing turned into a survival camp.

Or at least, that’s how I perceived it.

Every day, I needed to cover a specific distance to get to pre-booked accommodation — and I was just making it to my destination before dusk.

I was always counting hours, exhausted and stressed to make it on time.


When you enjoy your challenge, it’ll be easier to make progress and complete it.

That’s why so many coaches recommend starting smaller rather than bigger.


Remember: It’s more beneficial to go small and succeed than go big and fail.


By now, everyone understands the importance of leaping outside your comfort zone.

But not everyone sees how it’s possible to go too far out and into the panic zone.

  • To reap the rewards of personal growth, the stretch zone is the place to be.
  • Then you also need to spend time in comfort to integrate your learnings and experiences.
  • Equally important, you should be the one choosing the scope of your challenge.
  • Do it based on your standards and abilities, rather than other people’s.

Any leap outside of your comfort zone is an emotional risk.

You’re wise to take a risk assessment before you set yourself up for a new goal or challenge.

Aiming too high and failing is a common plight of high achievers.


But, it doesn’t have to be yours.

As soon as you learn where your comfort, stretch, and panic zones lie, you’ll be better at assessing emotional risk.

And you’ll take those risks that you know you can handle.



5 Little-Known Signs Someone Is Worth Your Time and Energy

Life’s too short to spend it with the wrong people.

Image by Nikola Pešková from Pixabay

Connecting with others can be a huge source of joy, but also means investing time and energy — and as any good investor, you want to get the most bang for your buck.


New friendships are like wine.

No matter how fancy the bottle, if there was contamination, in the beginning, it will turn into sour vinegar.

You don’t want to pour blood, sweat, and tears into something only to flush it down the drain.

But if you screen people right, you can forge a strong connection that lasts a lifetime — here are five signs someone’s worth bonding with.


They Share This Characteristic with Dogs

Have you ever noticed how a dog gets excited if you act like something awesome happened, even though they have no clue what’s going on?

They’re happy because you’re happy — which is one of the most accurate indicators of a true friend.


When I got into writing and coaching, most people were supportive.

They encouraged me, wanted to know more, or even offered to reach out to someone who had taken the same path so I could ask a few questions.

However, there was one guy who didn’t share the euphoria.


When I told him, he said the idea was doomed from the beginning and I’d never make money from it. Being skeptical is fine and I don’t want my friends to kiss my ass, but that was a red flag.

Despite my excitement, he was dismissive — he wouldn’t let me be happy because he wasn’t either.


If someone doesn’t get excited when things go well for you, chances are they secretly want to see you fail.


It’s a cliché, but life’s too short to deal with haters.

Surround yourself with people who root for you.

You can’t always succeed, but at least people will have your back instead of stabbing it.


“A friend is someone who makes it easy to believe in yourself.”

— Heidi Wills


They Focus on Giving Instead of Getting

This isn’t about having the best birthday gifts, but a better attitude.


People who constantly worry about getting their fair share operate from a scarcity mindset.

To them, there aren’t enough resources — which means one has to lose for another to win.

Not only do people with a scarcity mindset have lower intelligence, limited problem-solving abilities, and a harder time controlling their impulses, but they also focus on what they lack.


An abundance mindset is the complete opposite.

These people aren’t just more fun to share the pizza with, but also celebrate your success, look for solutions instead of problems, and focus on appreciating what they have. It’s a much more positive view of the world.


In the past, I focused on what I could get out of a relationship instead of giving, which led me to people who operated from the same place of scarcity as me. But when I started my Instagram account six months ago, I focused on providing value to others.

This led to awesome connections that skyrocketed my growth and business.


The next time you meet someone, pay close attention to their behavior.

  • Do they give without expecting anything in return?
  • Do they compare themselves to others or are they happy being themselves?
  • Are they grateful for what they have or do they complain about everything they don’t?

Life is full of goodness, so connect with people who see it that way.


They Deal with Problems and Drama the Right Way

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

— Mike Tyson


Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

Shit happens, but how people deal with it tells you a lot about them.


I’ve lived on three continents and met thousands of people.

I’ve bawled my eyes out when I hit rock-bottom and watched others do the same.

I’ve faced tons of problems and challenges, whether in my own life or with the people I coach.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

The only way to deal with problems is to look for solutions.

The only way to deal with drama is to avoid it like a vegan a butcher shop.


After I broke up with my ex, a personified drama queen, I introduced a strict zero-drama policy.

If I meet someone who likes to complain, I turn around like Bonnie Tyler and run like Usain Bolt.

My life has been better ever since.


You’ll never run out of problems, but you can choose if you sulk in the negativity or look at the bright side.

Drama doesn’t improve the situation but amplifies the negative aspects.

Stay clear of it.

When you meet someone, pay attention to their attitude — do they want to solve their problems, or do they enjoy the mud bath?


They Stand by Their Word like a Redwood Tree

Trust is the most important ingredient in any human relationship.

What good is it if Leonardo DiCaprio wants to be your friend, but doesn’t show up or tells your deepest secrets to Robert De Niro?

The rule is simple: If you can’t rely on someone, don’t hang with them.


Unfortunately, you often don’t know this until shit hits the fan and you need to call them at 3 am to help you hide a body.


However, there are a few clues to look for.

  • Do they show up on time?
  • Do they follow up with what you agreed on or do you need to remind them?
  • Are they there for you when you need them or does their goldfish need intensive medical care all of a sudden?

I’ve had a few serious talks with my friends about integrity before — because if you can’t rely on someone’s word, what’s the point in the friendship?

Surround yourself with people you can trust.


They Treat Service Staff Well (Because That’s How They Will Eventually Treat You)

This one can tell you a lot about a person in three seconds flat.

I’ve worked in cafes and bars for years, serving anyone from crying 4-year-olds over raging alcoholics to lovely grandmas with yappy dogs.

Regardless of who you are, nothing screams “I’m an asshole with self-esteem issues” more than being condescending to service staff. Yet, most people are completely oblivious to it.


“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

— J.K. Rowling


Service staff gets paid to make the customer feel good, so they have a disadvantage in the game. The customer has more power, which contrary to popular belief doesn’t corrupt, but merely shows someone’s true face.


In any relationship, there will come a time when the other holds more power — whether it be because you need something or owe them a favor.

If you want to know how they’ll treat you, look at how they treat the ones carrying the trays.


Please and thank you aren’t just basic courtesy but should also be a requirement to enter your circle of friends.


Bonus: Your Interactions Give You That Certain Feeling

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell a person’s true character by just watching them.

Some people are great con artists.

They’ve played the social game for long enough to know what they have to say and do to come across as sympathetic.

But there’s a clue that’s hard to fake.

Pay close attention to how you feel after the interaction.

Do you feel energized, happy, and better than before?

Or do you feel drained, down, and worse off?

There are two reasons why you should pay close attention to this.


First, there’s a hearty amount of neuroscience explaining how and why your gut feeling can be a great indicator of what’s good for you.


Not every piece of information reaches you on a conscious level — some exists only in the subconscious, but that doesn’t make it any less important.

You often pick up on seemingly insignificant cues and your gut feeling brings them to your attention.


Second, life’s too short to spend it with people who don’t make you feel good.


Even if someone is great on paper — what’s it worth if you aren’t a good fit and you feel drained every time you talk?

The people you hang out with should enrich your life, not take away from it.

Human relationships aren’t always rational — sometimes, you have to go with what feels right.


Summary to Help You Find the Right Tribe

It’s hard to tell in the beginning if someone is worth connecting — but there are a few signs that will make the decision easier.

  1. They get excited when you’re happy
  2. They focus on giving instead of receiving
  3. They solve problems and avoid drama
  4. They have integrity and you can trust their word
  5. They treat service staff well
  6. You feel better after you spent time with them

The people you choose can make or break you, so choose wisely.



5 Simple Ways to Show Your Man You Respect Him

Your partner should’ve already earned your respect, so show it to him regularly.

Early on in our marriage, my husband said, “I don’t feel like you respect me.”

I had no idea what he was talking about.


He then tried explain, “It’s about making me a priority!”

“You are a priority!” I retorted.


But it didn’t matter what I felt because that’s not how he felt.

He felt like I didn’t respect him, and he wanted to feel respected.


I didn’t understand how I wasn’t giving it to him.

I show him I loved him all the time.

I stop what I’m doing to listen to him when he’s talking to me about his day.

I go to him whenever I had trouble and listen to his advice.

I thank him for all of the things he does for me and my children.


But I’m pretty critical.

I can also be independent, headstrong, self-centered.

I hate letting people do things for me, and while I may listen to your advice, I’m going to do whatever I decide to do.


I’ve always felt people need to earn my respect and keep earning it.

You’re an asshole one day and you better be kind for weeks before you get that respect back from me again.


But that’s not fair in a romantic relationship. No one should have to spend weeks earning love or respect back just because they had one bad day.


That’s where it finally clicked for me: I needed to show my partner regular respect.

Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, author of Love & Respect, suggests trying the following test to see if respect is what your partner wants:


1. Think of a list of things that your partner does that you greatly appreciate.

Your partner likely does a lot of things that you are so grateful he does.

He mows the lawn, gets down and plays with the kids, does the cooking, or loves folding laundry. Make sure to have a list in your mind of all of the things that your partner does.


What really struck me is how wrongly I’d been thinking about some of the things my partner does that are really great.

My partner routinely neglects himself for the sake of me and my children.

He will skip going to the gym, eating, bathing, etc.

if it means we are taken care of.

I could be hard on him for this (and I have been), but at the end of the day, it comes from such a good place that I can’t ignore.


2. Wait until your guy isn’t busy and then casually say something along the lines of…

“I was thinking about you today and several things I appreciate about you, and I just want you to know that I respect you.”

Then walk away to do something else.


3. See what happens.

Depending on his reaction, you can gauge just how much your partner longs to hear and feel that you respect him.

When I did this with my own partner, he didn’t allow me to walk away.

He followed me into the laundry room and said, “Really?!?

Like what?”

I then told him my list, and he was soft with me for days after.

His reaction made it so easy to keep complimenting him, and I’ve since made it a regular practice.


Here are 5 ways you can begin to show your partner respect.

1. Affirm him.

Let your partner know how much you support and appreciate his efforts, may they be at work or at home.

Let him know that you see how much hard work he’s putting in and how much you appreciate him for it.

Tell him the lawn looks amazing or that you can tell he’s lost weight.

2. Ask him for advice.

When you find yourself struggling with work, the kids, a friendship, ask your partner for feedback and listen to his feedback.

Consider his advice thoughtfully and thank him for his input.

3. Take time to be friends.

The best romantic relationships are also the best friendships.

Hang out with your partner.

You pick the movie this time, and he picks it next time.

You suffer through a hockey game and then he has to watch an episode of The Bachelor.

The important thing is that you’re making time together that shows that you value each other and what each other cares about.

4. Let him be a leader.

We all have our strengths and weaknesses, so let your guy be a leader in his areas of strength.

My guy can’t handle paying the bills on time, but I can depend on him to get a late charge taken off or negotiate an upgrade.

Thank your guy too for his efforts.

5. Have sex with him.

I realize that sounds sexist, like I’m telling you to lie down and “just take it.”

Please don’t think that.

Please don’t do that.

Sex is an important part of any healthy romantic relationship, and men and women need to develop and sustain a sexual relationship that they are both comfortable with.

The way to do that?

Honest and open communication as well as both partners prioritizing it.


Since being more active about showing my husband respect the way he will see it, he feels so much more appreciated and understood.

I also see his actions in a different light that gives me a lot more insight into his intentions and movitations.

He, in turn, has been so much more loving and present with me.

It’s been a win-win.

16 Little Lessons I Learned From Dating A “Nice Guy”

Because nice guys don’t always finish last.

Photo by André Luís Rocha on Unsplash

Two years ago, I went on a date with a guy who I knew through a group of friends from college.

He’d always been one of the nicest people I’d known.

And as much as I’d like to say I was attracted to him because of his kindness, his height and cute smile are what got me.


But after our first date, he left for a six-week work trip to India.

I wouldn’t fault you for assuming that our connection fizzled out, that we texted every now and then, or when he got “signal.”

Or that work consumed his life, and he was just too “busy” for a relationship.


But you’d be wrong.


Instead, we texted each other every day.

We didn’t miss a single one.

We got to know one another, from our biggest dreams in life to our favorite foods to that time when I accidentally became friends with a gangster in China (long story).


Our connection stayed strong, even with 8,711 miles between us.

That was two years ago, and since then, he became my boyfriend.

We celebrated our two-year anniversary recently.

We moved in together.

And, most importantly, we’re really freakin’ happy.


I had my reservations, though. He was your typical “nice guy.” I’d heard every cliché about the stereotype, from being a pushover to lacking passion.


And to be frank, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to date a nice guy.

I’d been so used to dating assholes that my current boyfriend’s consistent texts felt awkward and a little scary. But I stayed in the relationship, and I’m beyond glad I did.


From choosing to date a nice guy — which went against my entire dating history — I learned a few lessons about life, myself, love, and what a real “nice guy” is like.


Being respected feels pretty damn refreshing.

Not once has my boyfriend raised his voice at me. Not once has he called me a jerk or stupid or a bitch (which I can’t believe I ever put up with).

I didn’t realize it before, but respect is now a non-negotiable in my life.


On that note, I need to work more on being respectful.

I’ll be the first to admit that I picked up some nasty relationship habits over the years.

My worst one?

That I’m the one who will call my boyfriend a jerk during arguments.

It’s not nice.

And when he doesn’t retaliate by calling me names back, I realize how I need to change the way I argue because it’s not fair to him.


If I’m not careful, I’ll take his kindness for granted.

Sure, he’ll get me a cup of water whenever I ask, but there’s nothing wrong with my legs.

I can get up and pour myself a cup of water.

My laziness isn’t a reason to take advantage of my boyfriend’s generosity.


When my body changes, my boyfriend’s love doesn’t.

I don’t weigh myself, but I imagine my body has morphed from the months of spending nights at home, watching Avatar and Schitt’s Creek.

And though men in the past have criticized my body and made me feel less worthy of love, my boyfriend never has.


It’s OK to do our own things.

As a result of my boyfriend’s revival love story with gaming on his computer, I’ve also had a spark rekindled with my old hobbies.

I’ve drawn and painted more this year than I have in the past five.

And while I love spending a night cuddling with him on our couch, I also relish alone time doing what makes us happy.


My love isn’t too much; I just gave it to the wrong people.

Who would’ve thought!

All those times when my partners said I was “too emotional” were just their inability to talk about and experience emotions.

Having my emotions respected, validated, and given space has been an eye-opener for the crap I put up with in the past.


I thought I was myself with my past boyfriends, but boy was I wrong.

I was merely a tamed version of myself with my past boyfriends.

I mean, my current beau and I talk like babies half of the time we’re together.

We wrestle and make poop jokes, and I sing silly songs well into the night.

And neither of us ever tries to stop the other from being our weirdest selves.


Arguments don’t mean his love for me changes.

My anxiety used to make me assume the world was freakin ending whenever the slightest bit of chaos ensued.

An argument with my boyfriend would send my mind spinning.

But, from the beginning of our relationship, he told me, “An argument isn’t going to change how much I love you.”


Sometimes, we really do need our opposite.

Going back to my lovely anxiety, I’ll be the first to imagine the worst-case scenario whenever I read stories of people dying on the internet.

I’ll feel sick to my stomach, imagining something happening to my boyfriend.

But his positivity helps calm my worries.

He’ll be the voice of reason while I’m the voice of doom.


I had absolutely no idea what would make me happy in love.

That blonde-haired, outdoorsy surfer I wanted to date?

Yeah, no.

Been there, dated that.

He didn’t make me happy.

And trying to stick to a “type” while dating never did me any good.

My boyfriend now is nothing like the person I thought would make me happy, and I’m glad I opened my mind to the possibility of love looking different.


A “nice guy” isn’t a pushover or boring.

Seriously, why is this stereotype a thing?

A truly nice guy (not a jerk whining about how he is one and women never give him a chance) is an emotionally safe space.

He’s fun without having to hurt people along the way.

He’s able to set boundaries without being an asshat.

He’s simply a nice f*cking human being.


Playing games really sucks.

Wonder if you’re interested in me?

Worry about when, if ever, you’ll text back?

Be mean to me, so I try to gain your validation harder?


Please move on.

You know what’s sexy?

A man who knows what he wants.

A guy who makes plans for when they’ll see you next before your current date is even over.

Regular communication. A

ll of that is sexy.


You have a ton of energy for other parts of your life.

Instead of feeling drained over a fight where your boyfriend called you “crazy” and ignored you for hours, you can use that energy for other parts of your life!

Maybe you’ll bake something.

Perhaps you’ll take up a new hobby.

Or maybe you’ll run for mayor because the newfound energy you’ll have from a relationship where your partner respects you will feel like you can conquer the world.


Walking on eggshells is a thing of the past.

I don’t have to worry about my boyfriend blowing up on me because I forgot to empty the dishwasher.

I don’t need to worry that an argument means he’ll threaten to leave me.

I can relax in our relationship.

I can experience peace and calm with another person that I’ve always wanted.


Their success doesn’t feel threatening.

I used to worry that my boyfriends’ success would make them think they’re better than me, most likely because I had boyfriends who said that exact thing.

But in my current relationship,

I’m proud of my boyfriend’s achievements.

His happiness makes me happy.

And vice versa.


We all deserve a nice guy.

Not a single person deserves someone who mistreats them.

When you choose to give your affection to someone, it should be met with kindness and genuine care for your emotional well-being.

My younger self couldn’t see it then, but I always deserved the kind of nice guy I’m with today.


Let me be clear: not every nice guy will make for a great partner.

You still need chemistry, the right timing, and sexual attraction.

But think of the above as guides to experiencing a new kind of love—a sort of standard.


Because nice guys get a bad rep when, in reality, everyone should be dating someone who is a good person.

The fact we run away from these kinds of people says a lot more about us than it does them.


So now that you’ve learned these lessons, it’s time to go out into the world and hopefully find your own nice guy.



Want to Feel More Connected with Your Partner? Don’t Overlook These.

Kirstie Taylor

Kirstie Taylor



Photo by Gabriel Bastelli from Pexels

I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued.”

— Brene Brown


Why do most relationships fail?

Sure, you could chalk it up to a bad match.

But I’d venture to say that there’s an extra layer to it than that.

Chemistry is important and all, but there’s something that matters a lot more.


The right kind of effort.

You see, happily ever after is a farce; no two people come together and have zero arguments or clash of opinions.

The good should definitely outweigh the bad, but that only happens with effort.


To maintain a happy and solid connection with someone else, you both have to do some work.

And I’m talking about more than a simple “how was your day?” whenever one of you comes home.

But I’m also not talking about anything big or grand.

In fact, you’ll probably be surprised to hear that connecting more with your partner lies in your everyday choices rather than grandiose gestures.


If you want to connect more deeply with your partner, then don’t overlook these small ways to do just that.


The small moments.

“Love is an action. Never simply a feeling.”

— Bell Hooks


I never talk about taking big action to help your relationship beyond therapy because that’s not where change happens.

Sure, a trip to the South of France is fun at the moment, but your everyday life matters most.


Don’t overlook how much you can connect with your partner in the small moments.

That could be grabbing them a cup of water when you go to grab yours or putting your phone down when they’re talking to you.


My boyfriend and I cherish small things that we do for each other.

Not a morning goes by where we don’t hug and kiss each other.

We also always spend at least an hour a night in our bed, watching Netflix.


You might think that since those moments are tiny, they don’t matter that much. But when you add them up, their meaning tends to be what holds most relationships together.


Your partner’s past.

Relationship researcher, John Gottman, discusses how important it is to build something called your love maps within a relationship.

Essentially, the more you know about your partner, the better you can love them.


Think of it this way: when you met your partner, they were a blank map.

Every time you learned more about them, you filled out parts of that map. But no matter how much you learn, there’s always more of the map to fill out.


That’s why it’s important not to overlook your partner’s past.

In those memories lies a plethora of ways to connect and understand them.


Simply asking questions like, “what’s your favorite childhood memory” or “tell me more about your middle school best friend” can help you understand your partner’s inner world a little better.


Showing appreciation for the positives.

Wanna know a fact that seems pretty counterproductive?

Our brains are wired to more readily notice negative things than positive ones.

At one point, it helped the survival of the human race.


But what doesn’t help is your relationship.


What you focus your mind on affects your mood.

So when you only criticize your partner, you nurture a negative environment in your relationship.

But that’s not even the worse part of it all.


By only pointing out everything your partner does wrong, you make them feel judged.

And, like the Brene Brown quote, I included at the beginning of this article, acceptance is necessary for connection between two people.


Instead of being quick to point out everything wrong, start showing appreciation for everything your partner does right.


Small moments of touch throughout the day.

One of the beautiful aspects of a relationship is intimacy.

And while the idea of “touch” in a relationship may only make you think of sex, there are many other ways that touch can (and should)play a role in your relationship.


Touch between you and your partner causes your brain to release the feel-good hormone oxytocin.


Studies have shown that this chemical reaction creates trust, attachment and is a strong form of emotional communication.


Aside from sex, there are plenty of ways to touch your partner more.

Hand holding is a great idea, whether you’re outside or sitting on your couch at home.

The same goes for massages, head scratches, and cuddling.

Personally, my favorite is a good ole butt squeeze when my boyfriend least expects it.


Weekly or monthly check-ins.

It boggles my mind how more people don’t do this.

No matter how great your communication is or seemingly “perfect” you view your relationship; it’s always a good idea to take inventory of how things are going.


A weekly or monthly check-in creates space for both of you to bring up whatever is on your mind.

You don’t have to look for the “right time” because you have a set time.

Sure, there may be check-ins where neither of you has something to say, but better be safe than sorry.

Now you may be thinking, “but I don’t want to wait days or weeks to bring something up!” which is far; you shouldn’t.

Still bring up issues when they happen at that moment.

Your check-in is for bigger, lingering issues like a need not being met or unhappiness with how busy you’ve both been.


Regular date night.

Almost any couple would say that they felt the most excitement in their relationship at the beginning of it.

Things are new.

You’re learning about who your partner is. Even on a chemical level, things are more exciting.


So what better way to bring those kinds of emotions back into your relationship than dating your partner as you did in the beginning?


A rule of thumb I always tell people who come to me for advice is to never stop date night.

It’s the ultimate way to keep your connection thriving.

One day a week or month is all you need to remind each other that your relationship is special and still deserves attention.


Your partner’s imperfections.

“There’s something very full in knowing your partner accepts you as is.”

— Esther Perel


The best-kept secret for feeling deeply connected with your partner is to accept one another, flaws included.

Your partner will never feel at ease with you or truly comfortable if you’re judging them.


Sure, no one is perfect.

I’m not.

My boyfriends not.

You aren’t.


But a healthy relationship doesn’t mean finding a flaw-free partner.

The best relationships are the ones where you still love your partner exactly as they are.

Acceptance creates a loving, secure foundation for both of you to try new things, make mistakes, and still feel loved.


A relationship is like a little house plant.

You can’t give it care every now and then and expect it to thrive.

You need to give it constant care to watch it go from a tiny fledgling you bought at the grocery store to a thriving, luscious plant.


Most people won’t ever understand this.

They lose their connection and think that spells the end of their relationship.

But by knowing these overlooked ways to connect, you can ensure that you won’t be one of those couples.


The Top 5 Relationship Questions People Ask in Therapy

What a psychologist hears most often.

Karen Nimmo
Photo by Wedding Dreamz on Unsplash

Welcome to the therapy room.


I spend a lot of time talking about relationships with my clients.

Sometimes couples.

But, far more often, individuals who’re struggling with relationships in one way or another.


Maybe they’ve been left, cheated on, rejected.

Or they’re on the rocks with their partner.

Or they want to leave but can’t.

Or they’ve left and are finding it hard on their own. Or they’re dating and hating it.


There are myriad scenarios.

On their own, people are complex mashups of their biology, history, beliefs, emotions, life experiences, and ways of being.

Relationships add another layer of difficulty, simply because two sets of everything is harder to navigate than one.


What Everyone Wants to Know

The therapy room is like a qualitative research lab: People’s stories tell you so much.

But it’s up to the therapist to gather and analyze the data to understand concepts, opinions and experiences. To help people make sense of it.


Everyone, naturally, has their own lens, story, and spin.

No two stories are alike.

But, when you peel off the layers, the questions underneath don’t vary too much.


In order to help someone, you have to know what they’re seeking.

You have to know what their real question is.


Here are the five I hear most often.


Top 5 Relationship Questions People Ask in Therapy

While these questions are all valid, it’s important to remember that there are other ways to frame your situation.

So, if any of these questions relate to you, I’ve included another question to help you look at it from a different angle.


1. Is this as good as it gets?

Most commonly, people are down in the dust and dirt of domestic life when they’re pondering this. They’re usually a few years in, often (but not always) with kids, and their relationship has lost its spark.

They’ll describe feeling disconnected from their partner.


They’re feeling caged and a little bored — and they know this is a red flag.

People in new relationships can also struggle with this, particularly when dating apps cultivate the belief that there are so many options and that the Great Love of your Life could be just a swipe away.


A young woman I saw enjoyed being with her partner but felt like she was “settling for less”.

She may have been.

She may also have had particularly high standards.


There’s no ideal answer to this question, just some advice: If you are with someone, you should give your best to them.


Alternative question: How can I improve what I have right now?


2. How can I stop feeling insecure?

This commonly relates to people who are in newish relationships and are doubting themselves.

It’s understandable but it’s a mistake — potentially a big one.

When you focus intensely on your own flaws it can blind you to the flags fluttering from the top of your new partner’s head.


Trusting yourself is an underrated component in any relationship.

It stops self-sabotage, allows us to be vulnerable with others, helps us to rate ourselves as partners, and to believe we’re worthy of love.

And when a relationship crashes and burns it helps you to rise again from the ashes.


Alternative question: What are my good qualities as a partner (what am I bringing to this relationship)?


3. Should I stay or leave?

An obvious question for someone who is burnt out by their relationship or with someone who is not good for them.

Lots of people ponder this, but only a few act on it.


If your physical/sexual/emotional safety is being compromised or you’re being hurt you should leave. But it may not be that simple because so many things come into play: e.g. kids, money, living circumstances, culture, religion, emotions, timing, and life stress.


Alternative question: What is my (realistic) options right now?


3. How will I cope?

This is probably the number one question of ALL therapy.

But in relationships, it mainly relates to a relationship that has ended: the person has been rejected or had their trust broken.

It’s also top of mind for people whose partner is terminally unwell (coping with moving into the caregiving role) or has died (coping with grief).


I’ve also heard it from people who are in toxic relationships but are not yet ready, or able, to leave.

Plenty of people seek therapy on the other side of relationships, wanting to make sense of what has happened, but also to find strategies that will help them


Alternative question: What can I do right now (to make things better)?

If you’ve just broken up: The 10 Things you must do after a breakup.


Will I love again?

I’ve taken some licenses here because no one asks this directly.

People skirt around it.


When should I date?

What’s the best way to go about finding someone?

Who should I date? Who can I trust? What does a healthy relationship look like?


But underneath all those questions sits this: Will I love again? And it’s not really about love, it’s about hope.

Finding Someone is a fair wish but a poor aim.

It’s better to keep striving to be a warm, loving person which means you are open to love in whatever package it comes to you.


Alternative question: How can I be a more loving person — beginning with myself?




Why Human Attraction Is More Complex Than You’d Like to Think

Why we want who we want (and why looks are important)

Photo by Ana Paula Lima from Pexels.

Sometimes, attraction is a disappointing no-show.


How many times has it happened to you that you’ve been insanely looking forward to meeting someone, only to find that there’s no attraction?


You’re floored — disappointed that the great text message exchanges and long phone calls didn’t translate into a great new love story in real life.

Just think of all the great phone calls and shared laughs going nowhere.

However, the opposite just happens as well.


Today, my boyfriend and I joke that we’re glad that we didn’t talk on the phone prior to meeting up. Because in all honesty, we’re not compatible phone conversationalists — we tend to drift off and think of our to-do lists instead of keeping the conversation going.

To top it off, our text messages before meeting for the first time hardly make for Pulitzer content.


When I first saw him, the attraction was simply there.

Our first date was super, and we hit it off right away.

We had such a great time that we haven’t stopped dating ever since.

That’s why I keep thinking that we can do so little about who we find attractive.

But is this true?

According to science, we have more control and volition than we’d like to think.

Here’s why.


We want someone alike — assortative mating

When we are looking for someone to share our lives with, we want someone just like us.

This tendency to choose partners with more similar characteristics than could be expected by chance is called assortative mating.


This makes perfect sense when you consider that attraction often arises from patterns and experiences in life, some of which reach far back into our childhood.


For example, some studies suggest that opposite-sex parent’s physique influences the preferences of potential partners in heterosexual women and men.


Because it’s what we’ve always known growing up.


We want someone who, more or less, is as attractive as we are and has similar experiences and backgrounds.

Therefore, it’s more important to be well matched rather than being with the most beautiful person on earth.

Furthermore, research has shown that couples, same-sex or heterosexual, tend to fall within similar ranges of size, education, values, religious beliefs, and socioeconomic status.

It goes even further, whether consciously or subconsciously, we also look for someone who resembles us in terms of appearance, height, or IQ.


We can name what we are drawn to

If we are honest with ourselves, then we can usually say exactly what attracts us.

We have ideas about the exterior and an idea of what values our partner must also represent.

When I saw my boyfriend for the first time, I liked his style and positive charisma.


I’ve always been drawn to tall men with dark hair.

And just as when meeting my boyfriend for the first time in real life, the first thing I could judge was his looks.

Therefore, it is not surprising that physical attractiveness always plays a key role whether we want to enter into a relationship or not.


However, there are further things that attract us to someone.

For instance, you might be drawn to someone’s availability since someone who doesn’t give us a sense of security in our eyes is less attractive.


Because we protect ourselves from potential rejection.

And also, we like people who like us too.


Even before we met for the first time, my boyfriend made it clear that he was looking for a relationship.

Not only did I know that he was looking for something long-term, but also he made sure to tell me how much he loved spending time with me.

But what sealed the deal for me was the fact that we have a great and intimate conversation.


Human attraction is complex; love is mysterious

I think that love only works if you are at peace with yourself.

If you know what you find attractive, it is much easier to get involved in something new.


While there are some things, we can’t influence, like good communication, is possible or if both are looking for the same thing, we can influence how we stand in life and feel in our body.

Whatever attraction is, why we are attracted to some and appalled by others is explained beyond any doubt — I am very glad I met my boyfriend.


“Love is a journey and a destination — long and excruciating on the way, unexpected and ecstatic if found.” Stewart Stafford.


We have to put a lot of effort into falling in love.

What we think beautiful is subjective; the secret to attraction is to love yourself.

When we are at ease in our skin, we exude that and don’t focus on other people’s features.

We learn to value excellent discussion, define love gestures appropriately, and be open to whatever comes our way.



5 Bad Habits Happy Couples Avoid

Let them go and watch your relationship thrive


As a therapist, I hear a lot of stories about very unhappy couples:

  • We fight constantly…
  • I haven’t felt close to him in years…
  • She’s so negative all the time…
  • At the best of times it feels like we’re roommates…
  • I just dread having to spend time with her…
  • He’s just totally checked out and uninterested…

To paraphrase the great Russian novelist Tolstoy:

All happy couples are alike, but every unhappy couple is unhappy in its own way.


So what is it that consistently happy couples do differently than unhappy ones? Well, I’m not sure it’s what they do that’s different…

Maybe happiness as a couple is about what you should avoid doing...

Many of the most unhappy couples I’ve seen fall into a handful of bad habits that seem to sabotage their relationship in a deep way. While generally happy couples seem to avoid falling into these patterns in the first place.


1. Playing Doctor with Your Partner’s Problems

It natural to want to help when someone we love is feeling bad:

  • When our spouse is stressed because of work, we want them to feel calmer.
  • When our partner is still angry about yesterday’s fight, we want them to let it go.
  • When our husband is down and depressed, we want him to cheer up and get back to his normal self again.

But the crucial question is this…

Do you really want them to feel better or are you really more concerned with yourself feeling better?


Because as much as we don’t want our partners to feel bad, the uncomfortable truth is, usually when our partner feels bad so do we!


Here’s an example from my own life:

  • When my wife feels stressed, it makes me uncomfortable because things don’t feel as smooth and fun as they normally do between us.
  • So when I try and help her be less stressed, often the real motivation is my own feelings… Specifically, I don’t want to feel stressed as a result of her feeling stressed.
  • This means that it’s very easy for me to fall into the trap of trying to “fix” her painful feelings by giving advice or telling her what I think she should do to feel better.

Here’s the problem with playing doctor with your partner’s feelings:

When you try to fix your partner’s feelings, you invalidate those feelings and make them feel bad about feeling bad.


Often the best thing we can do when our partner is feeling bad is to accept it, which means accepting that they feel bad and that we will feel bad to some extent too.


But to be genuinely accepting, you have to remind yourself that just because something feels bad doesn’t mean it is bad.


It’s hard feeling helpless.

But sometimes we are helpless.

People feel bad.

And when our partner feels bad, it’s almost inevitable that we will feel a little bad too.

The best we can do is not make things worse by forcing them to get better.


Resist the urge to give advice and play doctor, and instead, try your best to just listen compassionately and be patient.

“Never miss a good chance to shut up.”

― Will Rogers


2. Weaponizing Ancient History

We all get into arguments and fights with our partners.

But how those arguments and fights happen makes all the difference to the health and happiness in a relationship.


One of the most toxic habits I see couples fall into in their arguments is weaponizing ancient history…

Weaponizing ancient history means bringing up your partner’s mistakes or transgressions from the past in order to win an argument in the present.


The main problem here is that it kills trust in the relationship.

Specifically, it kills that essential form of trust that any happy relationship needs: The ability to trust that we can move beyond our mistakes and not be held prisoner to them.

But they did do that thing… If they didn’t want to be reminded of it they shouldn’t have done it in the first place!


Dredging up ancient history may be accurate and true, but it’s almost never helpful.

In reality, when you insist on revisiting ancient history in your relationship, it’s usually just a cheap defense mechanism for boosting your own ego and feeling better about yourself or avoiding doing really hard work in the relationship.


If you really care about the long-term health and happiness of your relationship, resist the urge to “win” an argument in the present by weaponizing ancient history.

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

― Mother Theresa


3. Keeping Score

It’s easy to get competitive in your relationship.

But once you do, you’ve already lost.


By and large, happy couples feel like partners and teammates who struggle together through the challenges of life (and celebrate all the good stuff along the way:)


But it’s surprisingly easy for couples to move from working together to working against each other:

  • Trying to win arguments instead of really listening to the other person’s side
  • Refusing to compromise when you can and stonewalling your partner until they give in
  • And like we discussed in the point above, using ancient history as a weapon against them to score points come out on top

Keeping score in a relationship means mentally tracking how many wrongs the other person has committed so you can keep yourself in a position of moral authority.


When one or both partners get in the habit of keeping score in the relationship it’s usually a sign of insecurity.

Because you feel bad (guilty, ashamed, afraid, etc) you temporarily make yourself feel better by reminding the other person of their mistakes and presenting your (apparent) superiority.


This feels good at the moment — it’s an ego boost.

But in the long term, it’s usually both untrue and unhelpful to your happiness as a couple.

Instead of obsessively keeping score about how many times your partner has slipped up or wronged you, try giving them some grace.


This doesn’t mean you should be a pushover, of course.

It’s important to be assertive and maintain healthy boundaries (see #5 below).


But healthy relationships need a little buffer.

We all make mistakes.

But if every time we make a mistake, we’re reminded of it and how we’re “losing” to the other person, it’s hard for genuine trust and caring to grow.

If you feel the need to keep score in your relationship, ask yourself why you feel that need in the first place and if there isn’t a better way to get that need met in a healthier way.


“Genuine self esteem is not competitive or comparative.”

― Nathaniel Branden


4. Gossiping About the Relationship

One of the biggest complaints I hear from people about their partners is that they gossip about them and the relationship with other people.


A few quick examples:

  • My wife just won’t stop talking to her girlfriends about all our problems…
  • He tells his mother everything, which is just so weird, right?
  • I know she’s her sister, but does she really need to know about how we’re having trouble in our sex life?

Now, everyone has a different threshold for what they think is acceptable information about their spouse or the relationship to share.


For example:

  • Almost everyone can agree that there’s probably nothing wrong with talking casually about what you had for dinner last night to your coworker.
  • But would you be okay with your partner talking to their best friend about that fight you had recently over your fears and inadequacies?

Of course, reasonable people can disagree personally on these things.


But here’s the deal:

It becomes problematic if you and your partner disagree about what’s okay to share and with whom.


Gossiping about your relationship means talking to other people about aspects of your relationship or your partner in a way that your partner is not okay with.


This is problematic for a couple of reasons:

  1. It destroys trust, creates resentment, and kills intimacy. If I can’t trust that my partner will not talk about certain things, pretty soon I’m going to stop sharing things with my partner. Eventually, I’ll begin to resent this and that resentment will lead to major intimacy problems.
  2. It’s a form of procrastination on the hard work of maintaining a healthy relationship. When you gossip about your partner or relationship issues, it feels like you’re doing something productive. But 9 times out of 10, that feeling is an illusion. And really it’s just a way to avoid doing the hard work of actually addressing the issues in your relationship.

If you want a happy, healthy relationship, you and your partner need to be very clear about what’s okay to share outside the relationship and what’s not.

And if you fundamentally disagree here, it’s hard to see how that relationship can flourish long-term.


In general, it’s my observation that couples tend to do better when they keep sensitive relationship issues within the relationship.

If you need to, hire a professional therapist or counselor who can maintain confidentiality.


But be very careful about gossiping outside the relationship.

Venting your relationship frustrations to others can feel cathartic in the moment. But the long-term effects on the health of the relationship are frequently toxic.


“We reveal most about ourselves when we speak about others.”

― Kamand Kojouri


5. Going with the Flow

Resentment may be the #1 relationship killer out there.

But identifying what causes resentment in the first place can be difficult.


In my experience, a common cause of resentment between couples that most people miss is going with the flow.

Going with the flow…?

I know it sounds a little strange but hear me out…


In some ways, the ability to just go with it sounds like a good thing, right?

  • You imagine someone who’s laid-back and easy-going…
  • Or someone who’s good at compromise — something we’re told is essential for a healthy relationship.

While the ability to go with the flow can be nice, it can just as easily be a toxic habit that builds resentment and erodes happy relationships.


And the reason is actually pretty simple:

The habit of going with the flow is often a sign of poor boundaries and low assertiveness.


For example:

  • Your spouse asks what you want for dinner. You say How about Chinese?They respond with You know I don’t like Chinese… What about Italian?
  • To which you reply back Oh, sure.
  • That sounds good not because it actually sounds good but because you’re trying to keep the peace and go with the flow.

Here’s another higher-stakes example I heard from a client recently:

  • My client’s husband told her he wanted to explore having an “open marriage.”
  • And even though my client felt profoundly uncomfortable with the idea, she was so afraid of disappointing him and coming across as insecure, that she immediately said okay.
  • Needless to say, this led to some pretty significant resentments and conflict in their relationship.

Going with the flow might seem noble or less stressful in the moment, but it’s almost always a setup for future resentment and conflict in the long run.


If you suspect your habit of going with the flow is leading to problems, you probably need to learn to communicate more assertively and get better at setting healthy boundaries.


“You wear a mask for so long, you forget who you were beneath it.”

― Alan Moore


All You Need to Know

If you want to improve the quality of your relationship, look out for these 5 habits and work to eliminate them as much as possible:

  1. Playing Doctor with Your Partner’s Problems
  2. Weaponizing Ancient History
  3. Keeping Score
  4. Gossiping About the Relationship
  5. Going with the Flow



2 Reasons Why You’re Attracting Someone Less Than You Deserve

You can improve your choices with a new way of curiosity.

19 Thoba ideas | wallpaper for facebook, whatsapp profile picture, pics for fb

My roommate and I have been looking for a new tenant to live in our flat for the past few months.

It’s a difficult process, to say the least. Next to no applicants have been reaching out to us given the untimely nature of our situation.

Despite only receiving a couple of applications within the first few months, we still had non-negotiables.

We weren’t exactly looking for a new best friend, we just wanted a nice, well-rounded tenant that wouldn’t interfere with the harmony we’d created in our living space.


In our search for the perfect roommate, I noticed something.

That is, we’re so pedantic about the values and characteristics of a potential tenant that’ll live with us for, at most, perhaps one year.

And yet, when it comes to dating, most of us are far less picky.


We settle for people much more readily. Our standards drop, despite the fact that this person may well be in our lives for as long as we live.


It’s as if we accept people into our lives based upon how we see ourselves.

Or, like Bill, the English teacher said in The Perks of Being a Wallflower,


“We accept the love we think we deserve.”


Is this true? Perhaps.

Regardless, it sheds light on an important issue that many of us ignore.

Are we entering relationships with people that are right for us or people that seem right at the time?


Invest in your self-worth.

The mistake we often fall into is putting other people’s worth before ours.

Why is this?

Perhaps, for many of us, it’s simply that we were praised for being too kind or too good when we were kids.

These qualifications made us see ourselves as good people. And, in our efforts to remain a kind-hearted individual, we often strive to be morally more acceptable even when it’s detrimental to our own wellbeing.


I used to believe if we’re blindly altruistic, it doesn’t matter if our heart falls into pieces.

Our heart would heal itself.

And yes, sometimes it heals eventually, and it should be our daily goal to show up as a good individual in the world.

But this doesn’t mean we should abandon our duty to care for ourselves.


“When you say ‘yes’ to others make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.” — Paulo Coelho


So what’s the alternative?

Are we doomed to a lifetime of self-sacrifice in the name of love, or can we do something about it?


The good news is that we can.

It all comes back to self-love.

That is, investing in our sense of self-worth.


It’s important that we learn to love ourselves deeply.

Not only how we look, but how we walk, talk, sit, laugh — everything about ourselves.


Why is this important?

Because, unless we’re able to feel comfortable in our own skin before entering a relationship with another person, we’ll always feel insecure and as though we have to lean on them for support.


Cultivating self-love enables us to become our own support system — a support system that will never leave our side.


When we think our life isn’t as glamorous as other people’s, it’s hard to not put pressure on ourselves.

If you’re mentally in that place right now, know that you’re worthy even when you don’t feel that way.


Start by changing your beliefs about who you’re. Remember the right things you’ve done or things that other people have appreciated about you.

Your worth can manifest from your strength, talents, and kind heart.


As you become aware of yourself this way, you’ll act on knowing your worth and your needs rather than what others want from you.


Be curious about yourself.

During the initial stages of courtship, we tend to focus more on the other person than we do on ourselves.

What are they going to look like? How is their personality going to be? Do they play sports?

Do they read?

Are they trustworthy?

What if they break my heart?

Am I going to feel safe with them?


All these questions relate to only one person.

And they’re not about the person we should be most worried about.


We’re the ones who will be destroyed when our heart is broken. We’re the ones who need to match the other person’s interests.


It’s not all about them.

In our efforts to find the perfect suitor, perhaps we should be flipping these questions on their head. That is, to question whether we are ready for them. Are we where we need to be in life? Are we secure and comfortable enough in ourselves?


In the end, we can only ask for what we have in return.

If my roommate and I weren’t living respectfully, we wouldn’t be able to demand it in our new potential roommate.

Approach dating in the same way.


Become the person you want to attract every day.


How do you do that?

Question what parts of your life don’t align with what you look for in a relationship.

If you feel safe only in others’ presence, create a sense of safety within yourself first.

If you want your potential partner to take care of his mental health, ask yourself if you do the same for yourself.


Fill the void before expecting someone else to do that.


Final words.

When it comes to love, we usually focus only on what the other person does and who they’re.

It’s like our world starts to turn around them and they’re the only person who is in the relationship.


But relationships aren’t only about the other person. It’s also about us and how we perceive ourselves.

While you’re curious about them, also be curious about who you’re.

While you want to make them happy by meeting their expectations, also invest in the person you should be most concerned about.


Why is it important that we don’t forget about our needs?

Because as James Allen said, “We do not attract what we want, but what we are.”

So, discover yourself and become the person you want to attract.

Make choices that match your real self-worth, not the level of self-worth you think you have.



5 Signs You’re Settling For the Wrong Person

Ending up with the wrong person is worse than ending up alone.

3,499 Rejected Love Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images

In 2014, I dated a man who said he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.

Usually, a person in love would respond in kind.

I just grimaced and tried to think of something to say.

Finally, I came up with and semi-enthusiastic, “Cool!”


It turns out he was not cool with my lack of reciprocation.

Do you know what else wasn’t cool?


Allowing the relationship to go as far as it had while knowing in my gut that this was not a person I could love for the long haul.

I don’t like the phrase, “Leading someone on,” but in this case, I was guilty of allowing the man to believe I was into him.


We went to dinners, house parties, game nights, and other events together, with me posing as the smitten partner.

The smile pasted on my face belied my inner thoughts which scratched and clawed my brain, trying to make me see reason.

They screamed, “He’s a good man, but he’s not right for you!”


There were so many signs that I wasn’t happy. Here are some ways to tell if you are settling for the wrong person.


1. You have to justify more than normal

Being able to compromise is the hallmark of a good partner.

However, if you are justifying every little thing about that person, especially if it involves the way they treat you, you’re settling for something that won’t last.

Or even if it does last past expectations, you’ll never be happy. Many fear they will end up alone and so they stay with someone who treats them like garbage.

Don’t make excuses.

Make your exit and find someone you won’t have to justify.


2. You’re daydreaming about other people, and not in an open relationship kind of way

It’s one thing to have a list of celebrities or unfairly attractive people you daydream about from time to time.

That’s simply a part of being human with sexual desires.


Some couples are actually pretty open about their fantasies and jokingly give each other cheating passes if the other person were to ever get a chance to sleep with an unattainable celebrity.

But when you stop imagining just sex, and start imagining a relationship, with a real person who you know and see quite often, you’re pushing a boundary.


You’ve got one metaphorical foot out the door already, and that’s not a good sign.

Sex is one thing, but dreaming of grocery shopping together or holidays in matching sweaters means there is something unfulfilling in your own relationship.


Stop settling for a life of daydreams.


3. You feel weary when they text you something sweet

Another sign that you are settling is that you feel guilty when you receive a sweet text from that person. Instead of being overjoyed at their thoughtfulness, you are resentful.

Now you have to send them something in return that is just as sweet and you really aren’t inspired to do so.


Once you lose the desire to make your partner’s day a little brighter with a kind message or two, you’ve lost the spark.

While you can reignite it, there is a chance that the flame has died out for good and you’re simply on autopilot, sending scripted responses but not meaning them.

Stop settling, and start finding what you really want.


4. Your relationship feels like a chore

Relationships take work.

Everyone knows this.

Yet at the end of the day, if you feel like it’s almost a full-time job to find reasons to love someone, you’re in the wrong relationship.


Feeling tired and exhausted after a fight is normal.

Having to work up the energy to spend time with someone and find things to talk about isn’t something you should be experiencing.

True, it could just be a phase, and maybe there is something deeper going on that needs addressing.


Talking to a counselor can help you sort through this issue.

Do the work if you believe your relationship has a chance.

Yet if you resent doing that work, you won’t magically stop feeling the anger at constantly needing to try harder.

It’s difficult to admit when a relationship simply isn’t working, but everyone involved will be better off if you don’t settle for lackluster love.


5. You feel like you can only be the OK version of yourself

The person you end up with should bring out the best part of you.

They should inspire you to be better, go for your goals, and support your crazy dreams if you have them.

Or at the very least within reason, because quitting your job to join a quilting community in the mountains may bring up questions about finances.


When we settle it’s often with someone who likes us as we are.

They don’t want to upset the status quo.


As a result, they keep us down and don’t want us to rock the boat for fear that you’ll change and stop loving them.


For every dream you have, they point out several possibilities of how you might fail.

They insist they believe you can do whatever you set out to do, but maybe after you plan more, like in a year or so.

Maybe they encourage you to skip working out, or they always make plans that interrupt the time you set aside for writing your screenplay.


For example — that guy I was dating in 2014, sweet as he was, constantly reminded me that most authors fail.

His encouragement was tempered by ominous warnings that I’d be a starving artist if I quit my day job.

This, combined with my own lack of desire to enjoy the small moments with him, resulted in our separation.

I don’t miss him.

I had learned not to settle for my average self or an average relationship when I wanted so much more.



Questions That Happy Couples Ask Each Other Often

Pin on Together

The puppy love stage of a relationship is exciting.

You’re constantly on each other’s minds.

You hang out non-stop.

Emotions are flying.

The sex is great.

But, inevitably, you become comfortable with each other.

You move out of the phase where everything is new and exciting and move into being able to be silent around each other and binging Netflix shows.


And while many couples swear they’ll never be the ones to lose that fiery connection they have, a lot do. Because, like a fire, the connection between two people needs to be cared for.

You can’t assume it’ll burn by itself.


I say all the time that a healthy relationship doesn’t happen by accident; it happens with intention.


The best couples are the ones who care for their relationship and put in the work to keep their fire burning.

And that starts with great communication; the happiest of couples know that they need to express their feelings, desires, and fears with their partner. And while that might seem scary or a bit awkward to start back up, several questions can make things easier.


“What do you need from me?”

Every single person has needs.

You have needs.

I have needs.

But not everyone is great at expressing them; that, and sometimes your partner does express them, but you’re distracted or miss what they say.


That’s why the happiest couples often ask each other what they need from one another.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs explains that when people have certain needs met, they can be their happiest selves.

The same rings true for your relationship throughout the span of its lifetime.

This simple question helps a lot of couples avoid things like resentment in their relationship. Simply asking what your partner needs can uncover the solution to both of you feeling more satisfied in your relationship.


“What do you need outside of the relationship?”

Staying on the topic of needs, not all of a person’s needs can be or should be met within a relationship.

Healthy couples know that a thriving life outside of their relationship is better for their individual happiness.


But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a better understanding of where your partner’s head is at. Perhaps they miss going hiking with their friends, but your schedules have been so busy, they don’t have time.

You can help carve out that time for them to get some fresh air with people they haven’t seen in a while.


It’s healthy for your partner to look for certain needs to be met by other people. Accepting and supporting that will help your partner feel fulfilled.


Emily Blunt & Natalie Press | My summer of love, Summer of love, Emily blunt


“How do you feel about the relationship?”

Once a week, my boyfriend and I check in with each other.

I like to think of it as both of us taking inventory of our relationship.

Whatever is on our minds, we create the space and time for both of us to talk about things.


Because sometimes, issues are present in the relationship but, since there’s no specific incident that brought them up, the time never seems right to talk about them.

Asking your partner this question can solve that.


Decide on whatever frequency works for you, or simply bring this question up at random times.

But let your partner know what your intentions are for asking it.

Let them know that time is for issues to be brought up without judgment.


“What’re ways we can improve our sex life?”

Sex can be one of the most vulnerable aspects of a relationship.

People place so much emphasis on having thriving sex lives; if theirs doesn't compare to what they think is ideal, they think the relationship is failing.


So it’s worth having two conversations with your partner.

The first is asking them what an ideal sex life looks like to them.

Because I’d always assumed three times a week was what I wanted, but when my boyfriend and I thought about it, we were happier with once a week.


The second is to ask them how things can be improved.

Maybe your partner wants more foreplay.

Perhapse they’ve been considering a fantasy that they want to try with you.

Maybe people think sex inevitably gets stale, but I’d argue it’s the communication that becomes stale.


“What’re your biggest goals and dreams right now?”

Think about the person you were five years ago.

Now think about who you were a year ago.

Compare those people to who you are today.

Chances are, you’re a much different person now than you were then.


The same goes for your partner.

People constantly grow and change throughout their lives.

With that growth, their dreams and goals change, too.

The happiest of couples stay on the same page of what those are for each other and help support one another.

Because people who achieve their goals and chase their dreams are the happiest, it’s one of the best parts of living.


Couple Kiss Sparkler by Rolfo


“How are you feeling today?”

This seems like a simple question, but when was the last time you asked your partner how they’re feeling with a genuine interest in hearing more than just “I’m ok.”

Yes, it’s up to your partner to express their emotions, but it can’t hurt to create space for them to open up by asking.

Everyday stress can take a toll on couples, even if the stress doesn’t stem from the relationship. Checking in with each other helps couples not only connect but vent about whatever is going on at work or in their personal life.


Communication will always be the key to improving your relationship.

You can’t know what’s wrong or how your partner needs to be supported unless you both talk about it.

That’s why the happiest of couples ask each other these questions often

Because they don’t have one-and-done answers, you and your partner will have different responses all throughout your life.


Want to feel more confident in your relationships? Sign-up for my newsletter and receive a link to my free Boundaries Guide.



The Psychology Behind Successful Attraction

It is not just about being good looking

Do you ever wonder how someone starts a relationship with somebody that is less attractive than them?


Maybe you’ve caught yourself thinking how a mismatched couple got together, or maybe you’ve wondered why someone with model looks doesn’t always date a person with similar looks.


The truth is that physical appearance, while important only plays a small part in what people find attractive.

Attraction is complex and while physical attraction may work in the initial stages of meeting someone, it is not enough on its own to make somebody feel completely attracted to you. If physical attraction was enough, then no beautiful person would be single.


“Once you get attracted to someone’s mind you’ll find beauty in everything they do.” —


Colour Psychology

The surprising truth is that the colour you wear can affect the degree that a person becomes attracted to you.


Red is the colour that attracts people the most.

Studies have found that men find the colour red attractive based on primal instincts, while women find red attractive because they associate it with status and dominance.


Many people choose to wear red because it makes them feel sexier, and this belief could also play a part in making somebody feel more confident, which in turn makes them more attractive.


Colours that people feel attracted to also differ depending on age and gender.

It is thought that men also respond well to the colours green, black, and blue, while women respond well to purple, yellow, and green.


Tone of Voice

Have you experienced times where you have liked the sound of someone’s voice?

Well, that is part of the attraction process.


It has been identified that men like the sound of higher-pitched voices in women.

This is based on a study that was done where males listened to two voices and commented on which they found most attractive.


Unlike men, what women find attractive changes depending on where they are in the monthly menstrual cycle.

Women prefer men with higher voices when ovulating.


People with voices that are considered attractive are put in higher esteem by people.

An attractive voice is associated with having a better personality and being more interesting.

Voices that are considered less attractive have an impact on how a person is seen.

People also prefer the more dominant sounding voice, rather than a non-assertive voice.



The way that somebody smells can make a difference between attraction and non-attraction.

Natural scents and fragrances both play a part in attraction.


Every person has a unique natural odour and sometimes when people meet they may find that their natural body odours are compatible with each other.

Because of odour compatibility, two people may find that they are attracted to each other.


Deodorants and over-the-counter fragrances also impact attraction.

Wearing fragrances can influence if people see you as attractive.

In males, wearing nice scents can make them come across as more masculine.

Certain smells also trigger different feelings.

Lavender and citrus smells are said to be appealing to women, while men find vanilla and rose oil appealing.

Doctor Alan Hirsch from the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation has backed up this theory.

Scents can help with attraction because they are connected to memory.

You may remember somebody by how they smell or certain smells may trigger positive memories of a person.

“Perfume is like music that you wear.”

— Mathilde Thomas


Self Disclosure

Attraction is also based on self-disclosure, which involves expressing your thoughts and feelings.


By discussing your true thoughts and feelings with somebody, it creates feelings of trust, which makes it easier to feel attracted to someone.

Self- disclosure has been researched by Altman and Taylor who claim that by revealing your feelings over a period of time and listening to the other person sharing their feelings, a bond can be achieved.


Studies have been done in heterosexual and gay couples and found that self- disclosure was important for both.


Most of us are the same and would be wary of somebody that is secretive and does not reveal anything about themselves.

Non-disclosure would leave us asking questions about if the person is trustworthy and what they are hiding.



Research has found that people are more attracted to people that are in the same area as them.

This is because they meet each other more and have the chance to interact face to face, which increases the chances of attraction.

Examples of being in close proximity are somebody that you work with every day or somebody who is at the same university.


An example of when proximity stops attraction is when using dating websites.

You may avoid speaking to somebody on the other side of the world that you feel attracted to.

This is because you feel that you would never get the chance to meet them.


Because of the proximity and seeing the person more regularly, you become more familiar with them. This is called “the exposure effect”, which is a theory that was created by Robert B. Zajonc, who is a psychologist.



We are automatically drawn to people that show us they like us.

It is flattering to discover that somebody has an attraction towards us.

One reason for this is that it makes us feel appreciated.

Reciprocity also involves being told by a third party that somebody is attracted to you.


If people do not respond to a person that is showing them affection, then the feelings can be lost, because they assume that the person is not interested in them.


Even though reciprocity works, it has also been discovered that playing hard to get also works for some people, too.

This is because some people enjoy the thrill of the chase, and pursuing someone that is more unobtainable.

Females tend to prefer reciprocity, while men are more likely to enjoy pursuing someone.



Surprisingly, diet can affect if somebody is attracted to you.

Women prefer men that have a diet that is high in produce like fruit and vegetables, grains and oats, and tend to be less attracted to men that have a carbohydrate based diet.


According to researchers, it was found that orange, yellow, and red food affects skin tone slightly.

The skin is also positively impacted by realising a healthy glow the more we follow a healthy diet.

This changes your appearance slightly and can have an impact on attractiveness.

It is also believed that eating healthier foods causes people to give off a more attractive body odour.


Losing Attraction

There are many things that can cause loss of attraction.

Although familiarity can help with attraction, it can also cause loss of attraction.

Too much familiarity over a long period of time can become too routine and boring.


To keep attraction alive in this situation it is important to try new things and go on new adventures.

Lack of self care has also been found to be a cause of loss of attraction in relationships.

If somebody stops taking care of themselves in the way that they used to, this can cause the other person to feel less attracted to you.


To overcome this you should make time for yourself every week.

Spend a pamper day at the hairdressers or get your nails done.

Also wear nice fragrances and make an effort with your outfits.


If one person has confidence issues, this can cause their partner to lose interest.

The majority of people find confidence attractive.

People that are lacking in confidence are often less appealing.

Some reasons for lack of confidence can come from bad past experiences or fear of losing a relationship.

To overcome this, understand that it takes time to improve confidence and face your fears, and consider what you can do to stop you feeling that way.


Attraction is a complex thing.

Every person is different but research over time has found that there are a number of factors that can influence attraction.

Start today on some of the techniques discussed and see if it makes a difference to your life.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this article follow me for more great reads.



Stop Doing This If You Want To Build Healthy Relationships

Spoiler: You need to get out of your own head.

Coronavirus: Tips for a happy relationship — even during lockdown | Science| In-depth reporting on science and technology | DW | 23.12.2020

A lot of what makes our life, are the relationships we share with those who cross our paths, every now and then.


It is through relationships that we are able to give meaning to the lives we live, and it is through those meanings that our lives transform as we go along.


There is someone in your life, who has a natural instinct to keep getting in the way of cultivating healthy and meaningful relationships;

And that person is, You;

You in your life, I in mine, and everybody else in their own lives.


The way it feels so natural to be our little hurdles, is exactly what makes it harder for us to figure out why is it that we could be wrong.

If we are able to consider the possibility of why we could very well be wrong, we can then begin to create relationships with our loved ones, that are built on foundations of authenticity, healthy well-being, compassion, and love.


There are some aspects of relationships of any kind (family, friends, romantic, professional), that make it healthy and meaningful.


We are not meant to know all the right things that need to be done, all the time, but we can learn from trial and error, and we can learn to better ourselves for those we share relationships with.


There is something we can learn to stop doing, so that we can grow (and add to) our relationships healthily;


We need to (learn to) stop assuming.

How easy is it for us to think;

“Oh, this person did that because they must have thought this…”

We have other such similar inner monologues very easily, because we assume everything in our head;

And what’s more?

We might even act (and respond) based on what we have already thought and assumed.


Assumptions are just not worth the effort it takes to make them.


Think about it, everything that you are making up in your mind, has nothing to do with the reality of the other person involved.


You can think all you want and get nowhere close to the reality of the situation;

Until you actually communicate to that person;


Ask them;

Ask them what exactly bothers them…

Or what made them feel a certain way…

Or why did they react a certain way…

Or why did they do a certain thing…

Or ask them anything that would replace your assumptions with the reality of their actual response.


It is possible that people may not be willing to answer what you ask;

In that case, teach yourself to respect their choice and their decision;


But please, don’t let that be a reason for you to assume any further.


We need to learn to be kind (and patient) enough to ourselves, to restrain ourselves from assuming what’s unknown to us, so that we can learn to extend that kindness (and patience) to others we share relationships with, who need to be given a space for turning around the unknown into a known, if (or when) they choose to do so.


Assumptions have the power to silently kill the potential of relationships to grow into something healthy and beautiful.


If we keep allowing ourselves to make up stories in our head, we will not only be deceiving ourselves in the process;


But we will also not be doing right by those who we share relationships with.

We can learn to stop assuming by getting out of our own head, so that we can learn to begin allowing the reality to make its way to us.


People we share relationships with, already have (more often than not) so much going on in their lives to attend to, that it only makes sense for us to be kind enough to not assume things on their behalf.

So, the next time you have an urge to really make an assumption of any kind, with respect to someone;


Stop yourself in the tracks, and remind yourself, “I should not assume, because the thoughts in my mind are not the reality of someone else.”


We can cultivate relationships that are healthy and meaningful, when we begin to replace our assumptions with the ability to be open to the reality of situations.

Change Your Mind Change Your Life

Read short and uplifting articles here to help you shift…





How to Know If the Person You’re with Is the One

Sometimes the signs are subtle.

2 person sitting on beach sand during daytime

I always believed I’d find The One at a coffee shop.


Our eyes would lock the moment I looked up from the book I was reading; he’d smile in a way that would make my heartbeat quicken, yet I’d remain cool and collected.


In reality, it happened sort of like that — but not really. We met on Instagram, and I lived in a different state.

We met in person at a Starbucks, and I wasn’t cool and collected.

I managed to trip over my own flip-flop not once but twice.


I knew he was it was for me early on in our relationship.

Maybe it had to do with how much I prayed for the right man to come into my life; maybe it was pure luck.

Whatever it was, the experience with my partner helped me identify some of the signs of what it looks like when you meet the person you’re meant to be with.


My single girlfriends ask about our relationship frequently, and there are sweet moments we often share that make me wonder if other people experience this type of love and affection.

I hope they do because love isn’t something you should ever have to settle for.


I’ve written about the signs to look out for when the person you’re with isn’t The One, but talking about the aspects in a partner that can help you identify whether or not you’re with the right person is beneficial too.


With that being said, here are a few signs that showed me that my partner was The One, and maybe it’ll give you something to look out for in your current or future relationships.


Ordinary moments feel special.

This is huge — because life isn’t always exciting.

Monday rolls around, and you have to do a crapload of work that’s dull.

Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do; sometimes, you go to bed feeling like you didn’t do a single thing that served a bigger purpose other than yourself.


Mundane activities become a little sweeter with the right person by your side.


Grocery shopping feels a little bit more fun because you’re thinking about ways to nourish both of your bodies.

Taking a walk that would otherwise feel extremely normal feels more fun because you’re doing it with your best friend.


You see the world move around you together.

They point out the colors in the sky that evening; they remind you of something silly you said the other day.

They make you feel less alone in a world with over 7 billion people.


Watching TV doesn’t feel repetitive, especially when both of you have different tastes in movies.

For instance, I love old movies and comedies, my partner prefers documentaries, and whenever I relinquish my remote control power, I’m always impressed by whatever he puts on.

I feel like I get something out of it.


Be with somebody who makes you feel good during the simple moments of life.

Not somebody who is constantly chasing excitement and highs.


You can see the two of you doing life together.

I’ve always loved the phrase, doing life together.

You can stay with someone forever but doing life means something more.


You’re exploring the world with one another, seeing things you haven’t yet seen before. You’re trying different types of foods, cuisines, learning what makes things taste the way they do.


You’re moving your body differently.

You’re in sync.

Your partner likes snowboarding, and you’re more of a beach person, but you’re willing to try it out to make them happy.


You might not know exactly what the future holds, a white picket fence with a house or an apartment overlooking the city, but you can see the two of you making these types of decisions together.

You can picture the kids you’ll have and how the both of you will raise them into kind and intelligent human beings.


Maybe you don’t want kids, and your partner feels the same way.

It doesn’t stop you from living the life you’re building together and all of the adventures you can see the two of you going on.


For me, this was important. I remember lying in bed asking myself these questions.

What would our life look like together?

I didn’t see any concrete pictures.

I didn’t know what the future held, but what I did see was color.



I saw us traveling, or grocery shopping, going to the movies, having dinner, and talking about the days’ events.


Relationship expert Dr. Chloe Carmichael says:

“I believe that people evolve, and their goals and visions for their future sometimes change, which can cause some couples to grow apart. But when you’re with The One, you’re able to picture the day-to-day in pretty similar terms.”


You feel at peace in your mind, body, and soul.

When some people fall in love, it’s chaotic.


Your heart feels like it’s going 100 mph when they walk into the room.

You don’t see anything but them.


You give up your friends; you miss out on family parties; people say you’ve become one of those couples, the kind that doesn’t have a life outside of their partner anymore.


Then, that fades, and you might fall into a steady harmony with one another, and you go back to your friends, and you fight like normal couples, and sometimes you have dinner together other times you don’t.


The honeymoon phase has faded, leaving you feeling a bit empty.

It’s like when you have an energy drink, you feel good initially, but that crash makes you feel like crap.

I knew my partner was The One because I didn’t feel any of those things.

Instead, I felt peaceful.

A calm washed over me and has laid itself in me over the last three years.


When you feel this way, you know your partner won’t hurt you.

You make them happy.

They make you happy.

You know what you have is a powerful human connection that worldly things can’t break.

You’re compatible in more ways than one.


When you’re with someone who complements you and is compatible with all your flaws and imperfections, you feel like the puzzle pieces fit smoothly into one another.

You don’t have to try so hard to make it work; it feels effortless.


You feel like it’s the two of you against the world.

Everybody wants someone in their corner.

You want someone to make you feel safe and understood.


When you’re single, you go out looking for someone to give you attention.

You bring them home, hoping this might be something.

You dress up for them on dates hoping they’ll notice the effort you put into your hair and makeup.


You have friends, you spend time with them, vent to them, but deep down, you want someone who makes you feel understood and adored.


When I entered my relationship, I struggled a lot in this area because I’ve always felt very alone in life.

When I was younger, and my mom and I would argue, she would ask me why I acted like she was against me; in reality, I simply felt like I didn’t have anybody in my corner.


My partner diminished that feeling for me over time, giving me the space I needed to heal from my wounds but always being there for me when I needed him to be.


You feel inspired to do and be better.

I’ve been an avid gym-goer for a few years now, I train to the best of my ability, and I pride myself in knowing I’m not the type of person to skip a workout or short my reps.

If I know I need to do 10, I’m doing 10 — not 8, not 9 — but 10.


However, when my partner trains me, he pushes me to do 12 reps.

Sometimes 15, and you know what?

I do them.

Without fail, and I always surprise myself at how much I’m truly capable of when I have someone rooting for me in my corner, inspiring me to do and be better.


Here’s the thing, in life, you push yourself to be the best possible version of yourself, but sometimes you meet someone who sees this whole other side of you that you haven’t yet met.


Where you see weaknesses, they see strengths.


The One inspires you to do better and be better.

They don’t force you to change, and neither do you.

They simply see parts of yourself that you’ve been blinded to.


These are just a few of the many subtle signs you can look out for when you’re getting serious with your partner.

Everybody looks for different qualities and different traits in an individual but it should always boil down to the most important aspects.


Do they respect you?

Do they make you feel fulfilled?

Do they inspire you?

Do they bring peace into your life or more chaos?


If you’ve answered yes to those questions, you might have found someone who might just be the right fit.



5 Surprising Physical Traits That Predict Cheating

Science says people with these physical traits cheat more often.Christopher KokoskiChristopher Kokoski


Cheat Images · Pixabay · Download Free Pictures | Married men, Happy relationships, Why men cheat


“The human body is the best picture of the human soul.”–Ludwig Wittgenstein


Your body is a human library overflowing with secret stories to tell.


This wouldn’t surprise Leonardo Davinci.

He believed noses revealed the character of his human portraits.

Turns out, he was way ahead of science.


From Pinocchio to politics, researchers uncovered five physical traits proven to predict cheating in relationships.

Characteristics like the length of our fingers, our hair color, and the shape of our faces.

Not to mention the size of…other body parts.


As someone who taught evidence-based body language skills for over a decade, this research fascinates me. Just like with body language, it’s important to note that predictions don’t equal prophecies.


The only thing that guarantees cheating is personal choice.


Don't Date Men With Long Ring Fingers

If you want to know if your man will remain faithful, check out the size of his…fingers.

Yes, male finger length positively correlates to faithfulness in relationships.


Oxford University researchers found that men with long ring fingers cheat more often. An article on explains:


Longer ring fingers indicate greater testosterone exposure in the womb, and previous research has found that higher testosterone levels can go together with greater sexual promiscuity as an adult.


It’s not simply long fingers in general.

It’s specifically the length of his ring finger compared to the length of his index finger.

This ratio difference in finger size means he is more prone to cheat.


Don’t Trust Women With This Hair Color

An internal study by found that women with blonde hair cheated more than women with any other color. Brown hair was also associated with cheating.


The internal study reported the following anecdotal findings:

  • 42% of female cheaters have blonde hair.
  • 40% of male cheaters have brown hair.
  • 43% of the victims (both male and female) had brown hair.

Apparently, having brown hair might be a huge risk factor for infidelity either as the cheater or the victim of cheating.


James McGibney, the founder of the website, acknowledges that it wasn’t the most scientific of studies. Interesting, perhaps, but by no means conclusive.

For example, the study relied on self-report and didn’t take into account baldness, temporary hair color, or race.

While the CheaterVille report may be questionable, other studies support the power of hair color.

An article in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology suggests that men view blonde women as more approachable.


On average, blondes earn more than any other hair color.

Hair color is so ingrained in some cultures that there is even a popular adage that exclaims, “Blondes have more fun!”

Not all blondes cheat, nor are all brunettes victims of cheaters.

Anyone of any hair color can cheat.

However, certain hair color seemingly correlates to a higher likelihood for unfaithfulness.


Watch Out for Men With Big Testicles

I’ve written before about the connection between testicle size and fidelity.

A study from the University of Oslo in Norway suggests that men with larger testicles are more likely to be non-monogamous.

This certainly seems to be true in the animal kingdom, especially with primates.


Another study in PNAS reported that men with smaller testicles displayed more nurturing brain activity, and therefore, might make better caretakers.


However, surprising research flips conventional wisdom about penis size. In a study published in the journal, PLOS One, a bigger penis size predicted partner infidelity.


Meaning, the female partners cheated.

The authors of the study wrote:

Every one-inch longer penis increased the likelihood of women being involved in extra-marital partnership by almost one-and-half times. Women associated large penises with pain and discomfort during sex which precludes the enjoyment and sexual satisfaction that women are supposed to feel.


I can neither confirm nor deny if I’m happy or sad with this research.

However, it finally makes sense why all of my former girlfriends cheated on me. ?


Be Super Suspicious of Unattractive Women

A study by Jim McNulty published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that less attractive women are more likely to cheat.

It wasn’t clear how they defined attractiveness.

According to the study, the more attractive the woman, the more likely she is to remain faithful.

The same attractiveness results were not true of men.


However, men who viewed their partners as less attractive did cheat more often.

“The body never lies.”–Martha Graham


A separate study looked at the connection between female breast size, attraction, and perceived infidelity.

In the study, men rated women of average and slightly above average breast size as more attractive. Women with small or large breasts were generally viewed as less desirable for long-term committed relationships.


For flings, men preferred women with bigger breasts.

Men also perceived women with bigger breasts as more likely to cheat.


Men With This Face Shape Will Cheat on You

Experts found men with “masculine” faces were perceived as more unfaithful, and those same men also self-reported more cheating.

Further, these men also reported stealing other men’s partners more often.


Based on this data, I would hereby like to borrow the term, “Mass-holes”.

Masculine faces were defined by features such as a “strong brow ridge, strong jaw, and thinner lips”.


Conversely, the perceived femininity of female faces did not similarly predict unfaithfulness.

The study was published in the Royal Society Open Science journal.

The traditionally masculine features of men also translated to voices.

A 2017 research study published in Evolutionary Psychology found that men with deeper voices (perceived as more masculine in the study) correlated with cheating.


Deeper voices, like longer ring fingers, typically signify increased levels of testosterone.


Summary of Takeaways

In this article, I jump back and forth between genders and scientific studies.

It’s easy to lose the common threads pulling through the research.

So, I thought a short summary might help.


Characteristics of men more likely to cheat:

  • Long ring fingers compared to index fingers
  • Brown hair
  • Big testicles
  • Masculine faces
  • Deeper voices

Characteristics of women more likely to cheat:

  • Blonde hair
  • Unattractive
  • Small or large breast size
  • Romantically involved with men with large penises

Final Thoughts

Physical traits alone only predict the odds of infidelity.

Be careful not to jump to conclusions.


Remember, predictions do not equal prophesies.


The five physical traits in this article only point you in the right direction.

It’s about the statistical probability of cheating, not actual cheating.

Despite all the science, anyone can cheat and anyone can remain faithful.


Ultimately, a person's actions matter most.

“Our bodies are apt to be our autobiographies.” — Frank Gillette Burgess



Caught in an Almost Relationship? It’s Time to Set Boundaries

Advice that will get you back the power over your life.Manuela PutzManuela Putz

The Guide to Strong Relationship Boundaries


Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you thought that your feelings don’t have legitimacy?


I guess many of you will answer these questions with yes.

Welcome to the club!


Recently, I experienced a romantic liaison with a man I really liked.

Because of long-distance, lockdowns, and other incidents, it seemed unlikely that we would ever have the possibility to get to know each other better.

Additionally, I got the feeling that our priorities were just too different.


It bothered me that we were still in contact even though we knew that our connection would lead nowhere.

Don’t get me wrong!

Not all affairs have to end in a relationship.

But it just didn’t make sense to me to be in a friendship with someone I had feelings for.

I didn’t want to complicate things, so I decided it’d be healthier to cut off the contact.


However, it was (and still) is so hard for me to set boundaries with someone I never had a relationship with.


It is like my feelings don’t have legitimacy.

We never spend more than one night together.

We had sex only a few times.

And most of all — we haven’t seen each other in a really long time.


I don’t want to be the stupid girl who falls in love immediately after a couple of beautiful nights.

I want to be cool with it and live my life without even thinking of him.

I’m almost 29.

I made some quite mature and healthy decisions in the last few years.


That’s why I’m wondering:

Why is it so hard to tell him that I don’t want him to turn my life upside down?

Even though it was a hard decision, I decided that a contact ban would be the best for me.

There were warning signs that showed me that I had to change something to give myself back the power over my own (love) life.


Here’s how I recognized the red flags and some practical tips on how to set boundaries:


How do you know that it’s time to set boundaries?

In general, you should always trust your gut feeling.

When the other person’s actions hurt you, and you aren’t sure where you both stand in your relationship, always make sure to rethink your connection.


Communicate your boundaries to the other person and be clear and consistent about your values.

I’ve observed some patterns in my own love life during the past years.


The following signals showed me that it’s necessary to change something:

1. Your mood becomes dependent on how often the other person writes you.

I’ve experienced the following situation several times in my life: You have a great connection to someone, and you feel comfortable in their surrounding.

You text regularly, and suddenly you don’t get an answer for many days or even weeks.


It hurts because it is a sign the other person doesn’t value the connection as much as you do.

In the past, I blamed myself for this reaction. I thought that I was too clingy, annoying, or boring.


Today I know that it has nothing to do with me.

Whatever reason there may be, it’s never your fault that the other person doesn’t text you back.


Still, your mood may become dependent on the frequency of answers the other person is giving you.

That’s one of the first signs that you should overthink your connection.

You should ask the other person directly how he/she feels about you.

It may be helpful as some people don’t like writing text messages or have other plausible reasons to act this way.


You’ll likely learn the reasons for their behavior in this way.

Even though the other person is telling you that they cannot imagine a shared future, don’t blame yourself. This decision has something to do with them, not with you.


You deserve someone great who loves you as you are!


I assure you that you’ll find that person if you are consistent about your boundaries and only commit to someone who meets your expectations.


2. You are afraid to make mistakes.

You like the other person so much that you don’t want to mess it up.

That’s normal.


But if you change your behavior, interests, or even your values because you think that you’ll please the person in this way, you should be careful!


When I was 19, I dated a man who told me that he would never move to a bigger city.

I was already thinking about a shared future, and even though I always loved urban life much more than living in the countryside, I agreed with him just because I was afraid that he wouldn’t want to date me anymore if I told him the truth.


Instead, I should have used this disagreement to evaluate our current situation and to talk to him about what we both wanted in life.


Remain loyal to yourself!

It doesn’t mean that you cannot show interest in the other person’s life, but don’t change who you are just because you want to please someone.

In this way, you’ll never be happy in a relationship or with yourself.


Find out what makes you genuinely happy and where your values and interests are.

Stick by your intentions, and don’t be afraid to do or say something the other person wouldn’t like.


3. The other person is turning your everyday life upside down.

Even though I’m an active person who loves running and exercising on the weekends, I like sleeping in and staying in bed on Sundays.


I sit in my bed with my laptop or a good book, spending my time reading, writing or watching a TV show.

Often, I don’t get dressed until 1 PM.


My first boyfriend never liked it to stay in bed on Sundays.

Instead, he made me feel guilty to be “so lazy” and mostly convinced me to go for a walk with him.

I hated it!

I just needed a break from everyday life, and Sunday morning was my time to relax and recharge.

It didn’t help me at all to walk through the cold and empty streets of the city with my body just needing some rest.


I let him change many habits even though I knew it wasn’t right for me.

I thought that I had to suit him.


You may see this kind of behavior from the beginning, even though you aren’t in a relationship yet. If you feel that the other person influences your habits and your everyday life negatively, it’s time to set boundaries!


Don’t let someone change your life completely!

It’s okay to adopt new everyday rituals and habits, but only if you feel comfortable with it.


4. You don’t feel comfortable and safe in his presence.

Fortunately, I never experienced abusive or offensive behavior in a relationship.

But I have a friend who used to date a former Marine who had PTSD.


One day, she found herself locked in the bathroom to protect herself from him.

He brutally beat her, and she had to call the police to avoid the worst.


She loved him genuinely, but she ignored many warning signals and fought for the relationship again and again.

If you sense aggressive behavior, end the connection immediately!

It is not about boundaries but protecting yourself from mental and physical abuse in the future.

There are considerate, mentally healthy, and loving men out there who’d love to be in a relationship with you!


How can you set healthy boundaries even though you never dated?

As mentioned above, it can be tough to set boundaries with someone you never had a romantic relationship with.

You are about to get to know each other, and mostly you enjoy your connection.

Still, there’s something that’s bothering you, and your concerns become stronger and stronger. It’s time for you to speak up!


Here are some practical tips on how to do it:

  1. Write down your thoughts and structure them so that you see clearly what you want to say.
  2. If you feel insecure about telling others what’s important to you, practice it in front of the mirror.
  3. Record a voice message for yourself and practice your statement several times. You’ll feel more and more comfortable with your boundaries. This exercise can be quite empowering!
  4. When you are ready to talk to the other person, be clear and concise about your boundaries. Explain how crossing your boundaries makes you feel like and what kind of behavior you need from your counterpart to feel comfortable.

Don’t wait until you can’t hold it back anymore!

It’s crucial to speak your truth and to tell the other person how you feel as soon as possible.

Be brave, and don’t be afraid of the outcome.


If you set healthy boundaries you’ll give your feelings the validation they deserve. Whatever happens, it’ll be for your good.

It doesn’t matter if you know someone only for a week or even hours.

Your feelings are always important!


If the other person respects your boundaries and still wants to be with you, it’s the first step to a healthy, long-lasting relationship.

If the other person respects your boundaries but doesn’t want to be with you, you’ll be better off on your own.

You’ll find someone who loves you just the way you are.


If the other person doesn’t respect your boundaries but wants to be with you, you should end the connection.

It makes no sense to be with someone who doesn’t value what’s important to you.


There’s no need to hold back your truth! You are perfect as you are, and your feelings are important.

Let the world hear them!




20 Things to Remember When Rejection Hurts

Written by

20 Things to Remember When Rejection Hurts


Be OK with walking away. Rejection teaches you how to reject what’s not right for you.


As you look back on your life, you will realize that many of the times you thought you were being rejected by someone or from something you wanted, you were in fact being redirected to someone or something you needed.


Seeing this when you’re in the midst of feeling rejected, however, is quite tough. I know because I’ve been there.


As soon as someone critiques, criticizes, and pushes you away – as soon as you are rejected—you find yourself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I’m not worthy.” What you need to realize is, the other person or situation is not worthy of you and your particular journey.


Rejection is necessary medicine; it teaches you how to reject relationships and opportunities that aren’t going to work, so that you can find the right ones that will.

It doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough; it just means someone else failed to notice what you have to offer. Which means you now have more time to improve yourself and explore your options.


Will you be bitter for a moment?



Of course—you’re human.

There isn’t a soul on this planet that doesn’t feel a small fraction of their heart break at the realization of rejection.

For a short time afterward, you will ask yourself every question you can think of:

  • What did I do wrong?
  • Why didn’t they care about me?
  • How come?

But then you have to let your emotions fuel you in a positive way!

This is the important part.

Let your feelings of rejection drive you, feed you, and inspire one heck of a powerful opening to the next chapter of your story.


Honestly, if you constantly feel like someone is not treating you with respect, check your price tag.


Perhaps you’ve subconsciously marked yourself down.

Because it’s you who tells others what you’re worth by showing them what you’re willing to accept for your time and attention.

So get off the clearance rack.

And I mean right NOW!

If you don’t value and respect yourself, wholeheartedly, no one else will either.

I know it’s hard to accept, but think about it…


All too often we let the rejections of our past dictate every move we make thereafter.

We literally do not know ourselves to be any better than what some intolerant person or shallow circumstance once told us was true.


It’s time to realize this and squash the subconscious idea that you don’t deserve any better. It’s time to remind yourself that…

  1. The person you liked, loved or respected in the past, who treated you like dirt again and again, has nothing intellectually or spiritually to offer you in the present moment, but headaches and heartache.
  2. One of the most rewarding and important moments in life is when you finally find the courage to let go of what you can’t change, like someone else’s behavior or decisions.
  3. Life and God both have greater plans for you that don’t involve crying at night or believing that you’re broken.
  4. The harsh truth is, sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been to stand up taller and emotionally stronger than you ever were before.
  5. It’s not the end of the world—it’s never the end of the world – and yet rejection can make the loss of someone or something you weren’t even that crazy about feel gut-wrenching and world-ending.
  6. Sometimes people don’t notice the things we do for them until we stop doing them. And sometimes the more chances you give, the more respect you lose. Enough is enough. Never let a person get comfortable with disrespecting you. You deserve better. You deserve to be with someone who makes you smile, someone who doesn’t take you for granted, someone who won’t leave you hanging.
  7. Some chapters in our lives have to close without closure. There’s no point in losing yourself by trying to fix what’s meant to stay broken.
  8. Take a deep breath. Inner peace begins the moment you decide not to let another person or event control your emotions.
  9. You really can’t take things other people say about you too personally. What they think and say is a reflection of them, not of you.
  10. Those with the strength to succeed in the long run are the ones who build themselves up with the bricks others have thrown at them.
  11. Let your scars remind you that the damage someone has inflicted on you has left you stronger, smarter, and more resilient.
  12. When you lose someone or something, don’t think of it as a loss, but as a gift that lightens your load so that you can better travel the path meant for you.
  13. You will never miss out on what is meant for you, even if it has to come to you in a roundabout way. Stay focused. Be positive.
  14. Rejections and naysayers aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things; so don’t let them conquer your mind. Step forward! Seriously, most of us do not understand how much potential we have – we limit our aspirations to the level someone else told us was possible.
  15. Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are. Don’t be one of them. Ultimately, you are who you are when nobody’s watching. Know this! And dare to be yourself, however awkward, different or odd that self may prove to be to someone else.
  16. Comparing yourself with others, or other people’s perceptions, only undermines your worth, your education, and your own inner wisdom. No one can handle your present situation better than you.
  17. The more we fill our lives with genuine passion and purpose, the less time and energy we waste looking for approval from everyone else.
  18. You can use your struggles, frustrations, and rejections to motivate you rather than annoy you. You are in control of the way you look at life.
  19. Sometimes transitions in life mean something even better is coming your way, so embrace them and don’t be afraid to let go.
  20. Right now is a new beginning. The possibilities ahead are endless. Be strong enough to let go, wise enough to move forward, diligent enough to work hard, and patient enough to wait for what you deserve.


All details aside, you don’t need anyone’s constant affection or approval in order to be good enough in this world.

When someone rejects or abandons or judges you, it isn’t actually about you.

It’s about them and their own insecurities, limitations, and needs.

So you don’t have to internalize any of it! Your worth isn’t contingent on other people’s acceptance of you.

You’re allowed to be yourself.

You’re allowed to voice your thoughts and feelings.

You’re allowed to assert your needs.

You’re allowed to hold on to the truth that who you are is more than enough.

And you’re allowed to let go of anyone in your life who endlessly makes you feel otherwise.


Sometimes we need to be reminded to actually practice the little habits that allow us to better understand and nurture the right bonds, or let go of the wrong ones.

We need to be reminded to be selective in our battles, too.

Oftentimes peace and love in our lives and relationships are both better than being right.

We simply don’t need to attend every argument we’re invited to, especially when our sense of self-worth is on the line.




The Hugely Underrated Key to a Healthy Relationship

You need to trust yourself more than you trust your partnerKaren NimmoKaren Nimmo


104,651 Relationships Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from Dreamstime


“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.”

            — George MacDonald


“I’ve got trust issues” is a common phrase in therapy.


It makes sense: when you’ve been cheated on, or hurt, or let down in life, it can be hard to know who to trust.

For some people, it tracks all the way back to the cradle, to parents who weren’t emotionally equipped to raise them.

Who also had parents who weren’t emotionally equipped to raise them. (Ah, the circle of dysfunctional life.)


While normal in the wake of hurt, trust issues can have wider implications for your life.

They can lead you to look suspiciously at others — even those with good intent — and at the world generally, which can be life-limiting.


When you’ve been hurt it’s easy to heap the blame on your partner.

After all, they (probably) deserved it.


But there’s can be an even greater fallout. And that’s that you start to mistrust yourself. You start to believe you’re not deserving of a great relationship — when you are.


Here are the signs of good self-trust and some tips for doing it better.


How to Know You Trust Yourself

Take this quiz. Answer yes or no.

  • I’m generally good at reading people.
  • I’m not afraid to open up with my partner.
  • I don’t assume everyone I meet has bad intentions.
  • I back my decision making.
  • I am able to fully relax when I’m in a relationship.
  • I make decisions without seeking multiple reassurances.
  • When I’ve made poor choices with people I make an effort to understand why.
  • I am present in my relationship, not focusing too much on its future.
  • I generally choose good friends.
  • I’m able to trust a partner when they’ve given no evidence otherwise.
  • I maintain my own friends and independent interests when I’m with someone.
  • I am relaxed with my partner maintaining their own interests/friends.
  • I am able to honestly express my needs to my partner.
  • I am able to appreciate my good qualities.
  • I am able to take (genuine and fair) criticism from my partner.
  • I accept compliments graciously and without question.
  • I’m compassionate with myself.
  • I like who I am.


If you found yourself ticking way more than crossing, you’re in good shape.

Either you haven’t been too badly hurt, or you’ve been able to make a comeback from it.

You have a good baseline for self-trust. You know what to do — you just have to keep doing with it.

If you struggled with your answers, it’s okay.

It’s also understandable if you’ve had a shaky start or you’ve been hurt by someone you loved or trusted, especially if it’s happened more than once.

The important thing to know is that trust issues can be worked on and overcome. Here are some ways to help.



Building Self Trust in Love: The Key Principles


“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” — Earnest Hemingway


Trusting someone involves risk. Here are the key things to think about:

* Don’t believe everything you think.

Our minds are mini-monsters, sometimes. They can take us into places we have no right or need to go. Don’t buy into the truth of everything that passes through your head — some thoughts are dumb, wrong and mischievous. It’s folly to cling to them.

* Take your time getting to know someone.

Just do. People take time to reveal themselves. Wait to see the truth of who you’re with. And don’t be blind to the Big Red Flags.

* Learn your body’s physiological signals.

If you let it, your body will often tell you what’s going on for you. Learn to read the signs — especially anxiety. Being with someone shouldn’t make you anxious or scared.

* Make decisions without seeking multiple input.

Sometimes we need other’s opinions, but often we don’t. Wherever you can, practise making decisions by yourself.

* When you make a promise to yourself, keep it.

If you said you’d go for a walk this evening, why are you lying on the couch? If you said you’d go to the movies with your friend tonight, why are you cancelling to be with your partner? Trust begins with yourself. If you make a promise to yourself, get behind it.

* Be vulnerable by small degrees.

You don’t have to drop your emotional guard altogether, especially if you barely know someone. Let it down slowly.

* Invest in maintaining your own interests/friends.

This is your insurance, if things don’t work out. More than that, these things are who you are. Hold onto them.

* Be bolder in your life outside relationships and bank your progress.

Take mini risks, wherever you can. And then congratulate yourself for your boldness.

* Take compliments shamelessly (not gloatingly).

This one doesn’t need an explanation. And if your partner never compliments you? Hmmm.

* Use your strengths and gifts.

Daily, if you can. Because that’s why you have them.

* Persist.

Consistent action in your work/hobbies gives you confidence. Keep going. Unless it’s an unhealthy relationship.

* Embrace the risk.

A long time ago a friend asked me if he should ask his girlfriend to marry him. In my early 20s, I knew nothing about relationships so I said blindly: “I don’t know, all of life’s a punt, anyway.”

Turns out my advice to him wasn’t that great. But I wasn’t wrong about the risk. Everything’s part punt. Loving someone is always part risk. Remember, though, it should be a calculated one. Not everyone is amazing. Not everyone is good for you. But someone — somewhere — will be.




The Halo Effect: Loving Your Partner More Than They Love You

How to make sure it’s not hurting you.

Karen Nimmo

Relationships are not perfectly, evenly formed.


That’s because the people in them are, er, people.

We all have our quirks, our vulnerabilities, and triggers, our flaws and strengths; our own brands of crazy.


So it makes sense that we don’t love in equal measure; that one partner in a relationship is more devoted than the other.


I recall one woman who couldn’t stop talking about her husband.

He was so charming, so tall, so handsome, so funny, so hot in a suit, everyone loved him, he could light up a room, such a good cook, so socially skilled, she was so lucky to have him….


Trust me, the list was long.

When I saw a gap, I took it.

“But what about you?” I asked.

“Isn’t he lucky to have you?”

She paused. Blinked.


“I don’t really think about that.”

Welcome to the Halo Effect.


What’s the Halo Effect?

“I think the perfection of love is that it’s not perfect.” — Taylor Swift


The Halo Effect is a cognitive bias in which we’re heavily influenced by our idealized views of someone.

In the simplest terms, if we believe a person is great, we’ll think whatever they do is great (even if it’s not).


The Halo Effect is common in marketing — but it has interesting implications for relationships: If you put a “halo” on your partner, you’ll see the good in everything they do.

And, while that can promote harmony, it can also blind you to their flaws; it can lead you to justify poor behavior.

And it can cause you to see yourself as inferior.


There’s nothing wrong with adorning your partner — as long as it doesn’t come at the expense of yourself.


In meeting your partner’s needs, striving towards their goals and dreams, you can slowly lose sight of yourself.

This means you can end up not knowing who you are as a person in your own right.

When this happens (or ideally well before it lands here), it’s time to back up the truck and redress the balance.

It’s never too late to find and express yourself as an individual.


Here are some things to think about.

1. Your partner is just a person.

No better than anyone else — and certainly not better than you.

They are vulnerable and flawed in their own ways.

Make sure you see their imperfections too.

And, just as they don’t need a constant ego stroke, they don’t need the pressure to be Amazing.

Inputting a halo on someone, you’re telling them they’re the best they can ever be.

They’re not: it’s healthy for everyone to be given room to change and grow.


2. You’re training your partner in how to treat you.

When we begin a relationship, we’re negotiating the other person’s landscape — their thoughts, feelings, behavior, and history.

We’re trying to get a “read” on them, work out the lumps and bumps, figure out how to successfully walk alongside each other.

So the way you treat yourself is important because it’s a guide to your partner as to how you expect and want them to treat you.

If you position yourself as inferior, think about the message you are sending out.

You are more important than me.

Is that what you want?


3. Know what YOU bring to the relationship.

This is challenging for people who struggle with low self-esteem.

My client in this case was a lovely person, a devoted wife, and mother, she had brought a huge amount to her relationships and family — and made a lot of sacrifices.

But, when asked, she was dismissive about her role and input: she said, “it’s just what I do”.

While that’s true, you’re allowed — and need to — appreciate yourself within the relationship.

More than that, you must.


4. Don’t dodge the praise — welcome it.

Anyone who is in the habit of deflecting attention away from themselves will find it hard to take praise.


They’ll brush aside compliments or thank-yous or anything that builds them up — but be quick to absorb (and be hurt by) words or actions that bring them down.

And this fosters low self-worth.

So allow yourself to be praised/thanked: Notice it and accept it graciously.

When people know you appreciate it, they’ll do it more often.


5. Name what lights YOU up.

People who’ve been giving a lot within their relationships or families often say they’ve lost their identity: I’m not sure who I am, anymore.

I need you to get back to me.

Having free time can make them feel anxious and insecure because they don’t know what they want/like to do.

So write yourself a list of your interests — including those you had in the past and would like to revive.


Just seeing it written down gives you a starting point for reclaiming your identity.


6. Put the relationship first — not the person.

Relationships work best when each person acknowledges the importance of the partnership AND each believes they are making a valuable contribution.

So prioritize your relationship.

Create time to be together, to do things you both enjoy.

Make sure your partner knows they matter.

And, if you want their full respect, show them you matter too.




The manipulative behaviors you’re confusing with love

Are you mistaking toxic or manipulative behavior for love?

These are the warning signs we often get wrong.

E.B. Johnson, NLP-MP
Colored Pencils, Colorful, Heart, Love

For some, falling in love with someone forms a big part of their future happiness.


Humans are social creatures, and a lot of us seek that social fulfillment in our intimate relationships. Unfortunately, though, true love isn’t always easy to spot.

Many of us struggle for years with that special someone, only to realize they were never the person we thought they were.

There are a number of toxic, manipulative behaviors that we’ve been taught to treat as love.

Rather than seeking to build equitable, stable, and steady relationships — we rush headlong into our passions and can find ourselves crashing into a wall.

To be truly happy in a love that suits, we have to be honest.

Are they actually treating us with love? Or are they seeking to control and take advantage of our happiness?


Love shouldn’t create discomfort.

We have to get a handle on our definitions of true love before we can find it in someone else.

That doesn’t come from the movies, or what our friends and family tell us should make us happy.

Love can only be defined by us, but within that definition should always come a base of understanding, respect, and compassion.

Our parents should love us for who we are, not who they are able to mold us into.


Love shouldn’t create discomfort.

We shouldn’t have to suffer for it, or give up who we are and what we love for it.

Sure, every relationship faces challenges.

The relationship itself should not be the primary challenge in your life, though.

It’s time to be honest with ourselves.

Brutally honest.


Are we hopping from one relationship to the next?

Do we find ourselves struggling against partners who keep tabs on us?

Demand that we give them our power?


Is your loved one overwhelming you with gifts or an obsessive presence that’s forcing you to lose touch?


This isn’t loving.


It’s toxic behavior that will undermine your long-term autonomy and joy.

If you want real love, you have to get real.


The toxic behaviors you’re mistaking for love.

Does your partner keep constant tabs on you?

Do they overwhelm you with gifts, or insist on hoarding all the power in your partnership for yourself? While these can seem like loving or flattering behaviors in the early days, they can become corrosive and toxic over time.

If we want to safeguard ourselves from this kind of manipulative behavior, we have to first be honest about how we’re being treated.


Keeping tabs


Does your partner insist on knowing where you are at all times?

Do they demand constant updates, or blow up your phone whenever you go out with friends?

While this can seem like a caring gesture, it’s actually quite controlling.

Of course, our partners should know where we are, but they don’t have to be in the middle of every experience that we have.

That’s unhealthy.


Overwhelming with gifts


Are you in a relationship with someone who showers you with gifts?

We’re not talking a little something here-and-there to make you feel special.

We’re talking about the kind of gifts which make you feel bad.

The kind of gifts that make you feel guilty or powerless; the gifts that keep you quiet.


Believe it or not, our partners can shower us with presents in order to overwhelm us or keep us from confronting them.

It’s a power play and distraction from the real issues.


Backhanded humor


A sense of humor is so important in any relationship, but as with anything else, there’s a line that can’t be crossed.


Does your partner weaponize their humor to make you feel small?

Do they use backhanded jokes and then brush it off as “nothing serious”?

Jokes made at your expense are serious, and they can erode your self-esteem.

You should feel safe enough with your partner to know that you’ll never be the butt of their jokes.


Post-argument affection


Over-the-top affection after a conflict can be a very toxic warning sign of a partner who’s trying to manipulate you.

While coming back together after a fight is important, it’s equally important to do it in a measured and healthy way.

A partner who tries to smooth things over with extreme affection can often be one who wants to glaze over much-needed resolutions.

Maybe they lean into physical affection rather than talking things out when there are issues.


Over-the-top jealousy


Jealousy is one of the most common behaviors that we can mistake for love.

Being jealous is not being in love.

That’s because our jealousy comes from a place of insecurity.

When we doubt that we’re worthy of love, we start to fear that our partners are moving toward someone more worthy.

This inspires jealousy, which causes us to lash out.

We don’t rage at our partners with jealousy because we love them.

We use jealousy because we’re afraid they won’t love us.


Becoming the boss


Every relationship has its own power dynamics, but happy relationships recognize the value of equality.

When we come to the table as equals, we are able to resolve conflicts and face adversity together. Handing one partner all the power leads to resentment and heightened conflict.

We don’t always realize the imbalance either.


Many of us find ourselves very willing to give up our own power for the simple gift of someone agreeing to “care” about us.


Rushing the finish line


When you’re someone who has really specific visions for your future, it can be great to meet someone with the same visions.

The excitement of meeting this person can often blind us to some hard truths, though. Is your new partner rushing you to the finish line?

Do they tell you how much they can’t wait to be married or start a family (even though you haven’t been together very long)?

Tread cautiously.

Question their motives and why they’re so intent on getting you across the finish line.


Obsessive closeness


Does your partner demand to be physically close to you at all times (especially when it comes to other people being around)?

Is it bordering on obsessive?

Do they refuse to go anywhere without you?

Do they refuse to let you go anywhere without them?

Rather than a loving behavior, this is an insecure and controlling behavior and one which will lead to major resentment and contempt in your relationship.


Inability to go without


One of the most toxic behaviors we often confuse for love is the age-old “I can’t live without you” manipulation tactic.

This is used most often when you find the courage to stand up for yourself.

Your partner will tell you that they can’t live without you (which implies that they would also take extreme measures if you were ever to end things with them) and then expect you to back down on whatever demands you were making.

When they see you walking away, they’ll use this technique to pull you back in.


What you need to do next.

Are you waking up to a relationship (or partner) that is less than ideal?

Have you realized just how unhealthy their obsession with you is?

You’ve got to own it and take action, and that starts with rebuilding your self-esteem and getting focused on your own happiness and wellbeing.


1. Build a base of self-esteem

Waking up to the reality of a toxic partner isn’t easy, but it is necessary.

Unless we learn to see them for who they are, we’ll stay stuck forever in a cycle that leaves us miserable and broken.

We have to wake ourselves up and find the courage to stand up for ourselves, but that requires first building up a solid base of self-esteem from which we can launch a defense of self.


Separate yourself from your relationship and learn to love who you are inside and out.

Your body is beautiful.

Your soul is gorgeous.

You have so many skills and so many talents that can bring the world (and the people around you) joy.

Identify those things and love them, embrace them, and start celebrating yourself.


Fall in love with yourself for a while.

Learn how to love every inch of who you are and celebrate the gifts you possess. Look in the mirror every morning and name 3 physical characteristics you love.

Each night, write down 3 things that you do well.


As you fall for your strengths, learn how to embrace your weaknesses and see them as the full picture of who you are.

You are worthy and deserving of happiness, but it will continue to elude you until you embrace this truth.


2. Be honest about their behavior

Self-esteem is a great place to get started when it comes to assessing your relationship, but it’s only a first step.

Once you’ve started believing in your right to be happy and loved, you need to step back and take an honest look at your partner’s behavior.

You need to look beyond the “I love you” and the “It’s just because I care.”

Rather than listening to their words, look at their actions.

Who are they proving themselves to be?


Question the motives behind their need to be close, their need to control what you do or who you see.

When you imagined being loved by someone, did you imagine that it would make you feel so bad?

Or that it would make you feel anxious or nervous?

Be honest about their motives.

Do their demands serve you or them more?


When you start to see how one-sided things are, you’ll be able to better stand up for yourself and take action.

Fixing things isn’t going to happen overnight.

You need to first acknowledge their behavior and the impact that it’s having.

Toxic partners aren’t inspired out of a desire to make us happy.

They’re motivated by a need to get their own way in the world.

Peek behind the curtain and question every motive.

See them for who they are.


3. Consider the future you want

We cannot build long-term relationships without simultaneously considering the quality of our futures. They go hand in hand.

The person you decide to build a life with is the same person you set-forward facing goals with.

Our partners play into our happiness in a big way, and a bad partner can cause damage that costs us decades of joy.

Rather than settling for someone who doesn’t treat you well, you need to consider the future that you want.


What does your ideal relationship look like?

When you consider your future, what do you imagine?

For us to get where we want to be in this life, we have to have a very clear vision of the relationships, careers, and even families that we want to build.

Does this person treat you like the perfect partner would?

Do they value you and respect you?


You can’t change anyone but yourself.

Holding on to someone toxic will only bring more toxicity into your future.

Who they are now is very well who they could be forever.

Are you willing to settle for that?

Do you want this person to treat you this way for the next 40, 50, or 60 years?

You need to look to your future and safeguard by taking action in the name of your authentic happiness.


4. Set boundaries for yourself


Boundaries are so important in every relationship, but they become especially important when we find ourselves dealing with a toxic partner.


Our boundary lines are the limits by which we protect our wellbeing and our needs.


They allow us to communicate our expectations, and to keep our environments free of the things that erode our happiness.

Are your relationships turning toxic or vile?

You need to start setting boundaries for yourself.


Instead of wasting more time and energy with conflict, spend some time setting boundaries for yourself and building the courage to communicate them explicitly.

Think about what your ideal relationship looks like. How do you want to be treated?

Where is the “do-not-cross” line for you?


Take time setting boundaries that matter.

Once you’re clear on where your limits lie, sit your partner down and communicate with them.

Tell them how their behavior makes you feel and tell them that you’re not willing to settle for feeling inferior or unhappy anymore.

Communicate that you have a right to stand up for yourself and also make it clear that disrespecting your boundaries will result in removal from your environment.


5. Put your happiness upfront


When we chase love, a lot of us chase this idea that someone else can (or will) make us happy.

It’s understandable.

From the youngest age, we’re taught by movies and even our parents that the love of another person is the ultimate means of validation.


Unfortunately, though, this just isn’t true.

We are the only ones who can make ourselves happy, and we are the only ones who can validate our sense of self-worth.


Start putting your happiness up front.

You deserve to be happy just as much as your partner does, just as much as anyone else on this planet.

You don’t have to settle with being a second-class citizen in your own relationship.

Prioritize yourself and know that you are just as worthy and worthwhile as anyone else.


Stop chasing your partner’s approval.

Stop worrying about whether they will love you or not if you stand up to them.

Do you love yourself?

No one else’s opinion of us should matter more than the one we have of ourselves.

We deserve to be happy.

We deserve to have fun, and we deserve to be respected and honored by the people that we love.

You have to put your happiness first and do what it takes to protect yourself and provide the future that you want.


Putting it all together…

While many of us spend our lives chasing love, we often find ourselves settling for partners and behaviors which are anything but loving.


An inability to live without you isn’t romantic.

Insulting jokes and constant criticizing aren’t aimed at making you better.

These are all toxic behaviors that we confuse for love, and in order to overcome them, we have to accept them (and our own self-worth).


Rebuild your self-esteem from the ground up.


You need to believe in your self-worth to see how you’re really being treated and how it’s truly affecting you.

Be honest about their behavior.

Are they showing signs of love, or are they proving that they want to possess you?

Look to the future and consider what you really want.

Is this the partnership you imagined?

Are you willing to accept this level of unhappiness for the rest of your life?

Set some boundaries for yourself and communicate them explicitly.

If your partner can’t respect these limits, take a step back and make some more serious considerations.


Above all else, make sure that you’re happy.

Your joy is valuable and deserved.

Only you can guarantee you get the future that you want, though.




12 Tiny Changes To Help You Get Your Life Together

5. Eat the frog.Kirstie Taylor

Kirstie Taylor

ᐈ Change life stock photos, Royalty Free change your life photos | download on Depositphotos®

“Life together” feels kind of subjective, right?


What makes you happy won’t be the same as what makes me happy.

One person could strive off climbing the corporate ladder while you could be thrilled working at your local coffee shop.

So no, this won’t be a generic guide on how to make your life fit into the stereotypical mold of what society deems “the dream.”

This article is to help you live a life that’s authentic to you in the most effective way possible.


Because, if we’re honest here, without a little effort and organization, life can quickly get ahead of us.

We can feel lost in the chaos.

Like we’re barely treading water instead of flowing with the current.


That’s because life is an unpredictable journey.

You can’t prepare for what you don’t know is coming.

But what you can do is set yourself up for the best possible chances for success.


With a few tiny changes to your habits, you can feel like you’re floating with life rather than fighting against it.

You can finally “get your life together” in ways that feel authentic to you.


What are those tiny changes? Let’s dive into them based on the different aspects of your life they can help:


Mental Health

Write things down.

We’re said to have at least 12,000 thoughts a day.

Numerous studies show our thoughts affect our reality and, therefore, our mental health.


If you don’t take inventory of your thoughts, they can slowly eat away at your happiness.

Once you feel consumed by self-criticism, doubt, and negative thoughts, it’s hard to accomplish much of anything, ever.


So I pose to you this: start writing your thoughts down.

It can be as simple as a few stream-of-consciousness sentences in the morning.

Or perhaps you journal what you’re struggling with most.

Maybe even start a gratitude practice to bring some positivity into your life.


Stop wasting time on things that don’t add to your life.


You don’t need to say yes to everything, plain and simple.

In fact, agreeing to every plan that comes your way may make you feel like you’re less connected to your life, simply because others dictate your schedule.


It’s OK to say no to your co-worker’s holiday party.

You can let your friend know that you can’t make it to their gender reveal party because you need to take that day on other things.


Once you stop allocating your time to everyone but yourself, you can finally do the things that feel like they’re piling up, like building that Ikea nightstand that’s been sitting in your room for months.


Or simply relax. Sometimes, we all need a day off to unplug, disconnect, and do whatever we please.


Reflect more.


If you don’t reflect on your life, you’re bound to make mistakes or choices that hurt you over and over. What brought you to the point you’re currently at is the culmination of your past.


So when was the last time you learned from it?


I changed my love life by taking note of what went wrong in my relationships.

I found a career I love by considering how much fulfillment I felt in my past jobs.

I worked through bouts of depression by making peace with painful memories.


But I wouldn't have accomplished any of that had I not taken the time to reflect on how my life had gone thus far.

The same applies to your situation.

If you want to feel like you’ve got your life together finally, consider what lessons you can learn from the life you’ve already lived.



If you want to make moves, make plans.


I mentioned above that I changed careers.

And that wasn’t even the first time.

I’ve changed careers twice in the short time I’ve been alive.


But let me be clear: I wouldn’t have been able to make either of these changes without a plan.

I took a coding course to gain that skillset, and I worked as a nanny until I made enough money from writing that I could do it full-time.


If you want to make big moves in your professional life, you need the stepping stones to get there. Sit down, plan those out, and then move forward towards something more rewarding for you.


Eat the frog.


I came across this term when my friend and fellow writer,Eva Gutierrez

, posted it on Instagram.


When you wake up each morning, start your day with the hardest or most annoying thing on your to-do list.


When you’re hung up on the things you need to do but don’t want to do, you’re more likely to procrastinate.

That scroll through Instagram becomes a scroll through TikTok, which somehow ends up with you binge-watching The Office.


See what I’m getting at?

When you tackle the hardest parts of your to-do list (or life in general), you feel more motivated to accomplish other things rather than putting them off.


Make schedules the night or week before.


Whether this applies to your full-time job, side hustle, or fledgling career aspirations, save yourself some time and headache; make schedules.

There’s nothing that eases my foggy morning brain, like knowing exactly what I need to get done that day.

If you find it hard to start your mornings or don’t know how to organize your days to fit in all your goals, adopt the idea of schedules.

It doesn’t have to be anything crazy complicated. I keep mine in the Notes app on my phone.

That way, each morning, you’ll be able to hit the ground running, rather than feel overwhelmed by having everything and nothing to do.


Physical Health

Get more sleep.

When you’re deprived of sleep, you’re in a worse mood, make crappier decisions, and your memory is impaired.

It’s not a badge of honor to boast that you only slept four hours; it’s shooting yourself in the foot.


Prioritizing my sleep is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself.

At the very least, I know that being cranky and exhausted won’t be an issue when I’m enjoying life and working through my goals.

Experts suggest getting an average of 8 hours of sleep per night.

Begin prioritizing your time in bed and watch your overall mood about life begin to change.


Use the Pomodoro Technique.


The fact that humans sit for hours and hours during the time they’re awake is slowly killing us all.

But I understand to an extent; most of us have to sit to get our work done.


But what you can control is how long you sit.


So I want to introduce to you the Pomodoro Technique.

The method is used to instill a sense of urgency in people to improve productivity, but I want you to implement it to improve your health.

Every 25 minutes, stand up and stretch. If you can walk around your apartment or work desk.

The goal is to break up how long you sit for, rather than being slumped over in a chair for hours of your day.


See a doctor.


You know that ache in your back you’ve been having for months?

Or that mole you’ve been meaning to get checked but are too afraid to? Or the fact you feel dizzy easily when you stand up?

It’s finally time to stop putting it off and see a doctor.

Part of getting your life together is being in your best physical health. But you can’t do that if it’s been years since you last saw a doctor, dentist, etc.

Scheduling an appointment is essentially eating the frog of your over-arching life to-do list.

Once it’s over, you’re going to feel a lot more at ease.



Talk about your feelings more.

There will never come a day when you’ll regret learning how to talk about your feelings with those closest to you.

You’ll strengthen your relationships and move through any resentments that might be lingering.


You’d be surprised how much more fulfilling your relationships are, friends and family included when you can talk about deeper things than what’s been going on with sports lately.


Or the fact you’ve been “fine” whenever someone asks how you’ve been.

So the next time you’re talking with someone, don’t shy away from speaking up about your experiences and how people affect you.

Sure, you might be met with some resistance at first, but it’ll be better for all your relationships in the long run.


Learn better conflict skills.


Everyone argues, plain and simple. In relationships.

In families.

At work.

Between co-workers.

But when you learn better conflict skills, you can take a disagreement from a full-out fight to a constructive argument.

Plus, your relationship with that person will sustain less injury from doing so.


This looks like learning how to communicate issues without name-calling, deflecting blame, or belittling someone.

It’s learning to solve problems with a team mindset, rather than pitting yourself against everyone.


Listen with intent.


How good are you at listening to people?

I’m not just talking about hearing what someone says.

I want to know how much you process, understand, and empathize with the people in your life.


Because not many people do this.


Between having our attention span glued to our phones and always wanting to get the next word in, not many people have solid listening skills.

You’ll strengthen the bond with people closest to you when you learn to silence distractions and listen with intent.


When you start implementing these tiny changes into your life, you’ll start to notice a domino effect. Improving your health makes you a better friend. Being a better friend helps your mental health. Your mental health improves your work-life. And so on.

These might be tiny changes, but they’re powerful. Because, with only one life to live, there’s no better time to get it together in a way that feels authentic to you, then the present.


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Better Advice

Experts Advice on Self Help and Self-Improvement




Think Better, Live Better



Two (incredibly common) toxic, confidence-killing behaviors to avoid:


1. Subconsciously seeking approval from everyone around you.

Some people love to stir up controversy and drama for no apparent reason.

Don’t buy into their propaganda.

Instead, imagine what would happen if you spent this entire day, and every day hereafter, with all your energy directed toward your most positive possibilities.

Rather than being annoyed, be amused.

Instead of getting angry, become curious. In place of envy, feel admiration.

Life is too short to argue and fight for the approval of those who can't be pleased.

Stop focusing on them, and start focusing more on YOU!

Believe in yourself and your ability to succeed.

Believe in your intuition, especially when you have to choose between two good paths.

Believe that the answers are out there waiting.

Believe that life will surprise you again and again.

Believe that the journey is the destination.

Believe that it’s all worth your while.

Believe that you are confident enough to see it through, without everyone's approval.

2. Disempowering yourself with weak self-talk.

“Why me? Why me?”

That's the kind of self-talk that holds so many of us back.

What we need to be thinking is, “Why not me? And why not NOW?”

But, again, so many of us feel like we have to wait: to be hired, to be good enough, to be chosen—like the old Hollywood cliché, to somehow be “discovered.”

Discover yourself!

What you’re capable of achieving from this point forward is not a function of what happened in the past, or what other people think is possible for you.

What you’re capable of achieving depends entirely on what you choose to do with your time and energy starting now.

In every situation you have ever been in, positive or negative, the one common thread is YOU.

It is your responsibility, and yours alone, to recognize that regardless of what has happened up to this point in your life, you are capable of making choices to change your situation.

And it all starts with changing the way you think about it.
When you think better about your circumstances, you are able to live better in spite of them.





6 Signs Someone Isn’t Worth Your Time

Pay attention to the subtle red flags.

Eric Sangerma
Whats your story Pictures, Whats your story Stock Photos & Images | Depositphotos®

During my first few weeks at college, I made friends with a guy who seemed really smart and proactive. We barely knew each other but we got along well — we exchanged notes, drank coffee between lectures, I lent him some of my CDs (yeah, those were still a thing at the time).

But there was one thing about him that kept pecking at the back of my mind and I couldn’t quite make sense of it.

Whenever I asked him about the time, he would give a vague approximation.

For example, if it was 3:20, he’d just say it was 3.

If it was 6:35, he’d say it was 7.

It was like he was too lazy to use more than one word to respond to my question.


Plus, he was always short on change.

Whether it was for the vending machine or the bus, he’d always need a few bucks.

He wasn’t struggling financially or anything, he was just careless like that.

Although I didn’t mind it at first, the trend slowly became highly irritating, up to the point where I needed to address the matter.


That conversation didn’t end well.

Long story short — we stopped being friends from that point on.


It took me some time to really understand that episode in my life.

It wasn’t until much later that I understood my ex-friend.

Life taught me a few valuable lessons on personality tell-tale signs, and that helped me make sense of it all.


Here are a few signs you should be careful around a friend, coworker, date, etc.

Don’t trust them too easily, and don’t be surprised if the relationship crumbles.


1. The Small-Things-Don’t-Matter Mentality

My ex-friend couldn’t be bothered with the small things in life. Extra change or a quarter of an hour meant nothing to him.

I didn’t realize it at the time but this was a flaw of character.

How can anyone expect to keep relationships alive if they don’t pay attention to detail?

This trait indicates that you’re dealing with a person who’s only interested in their own comfort.

They may have lofty goals, but they think this gives them the right to be self-centered.


Selfishness warps all relationships, close or distant, old or new.

He was obviously disrespectful of my time and money (no matter how small the amounts were), and it was about time I realized I didn’t need that kind of toxicity in my life.


2. Resolving Conflict By Deepening It


I already mentioned that I brought up the issue with my ex-friend the moment it started bothering me. When I tried having a serious conversation with him, all hell broke loose.

He started throwing insults at me without even considering my words.

Although I raised the issue by tiptoeing around his feelings, it made no difference.


People who fiercely react to the slightest hints of criticism might have a problem with their ego, says Psychology Today.


This exaggerated sense of self-importance may also be responsible for ingratitude and callousness.

My ex-friend surely had his fair share of self-centeredness, and he was too immature to have a reasonable discussion.

Some conflict is healthy in friendships and other relationships.

But if someone overreacts and goes straight for insults, you’re better off without them in your life.


3. Money Matters

How people handle their finances is a personal matter and it’s very culture-dependent.

Where I’m from, we seldom show the insides of our wallets to others.


But generally speaking, observing how people handle money can tell us a lot about their character.

Some people are financially toxic and that is a fact.

They may not appear to be at first glance, though.

Certain people are always able to slither out of paying their due.

The habit is impossible to catch at first because the amounts of money you give them are so small you don’t even notice.

Lending someone five or ten euros from time to time — it’s no big deal, right?

It’s no big deal as long as it’s reciprocated.


But these people are happy to be hangers-on and this is because they see you as a convenient source of money (or coffee or rides to work, etc.), not as a person.


I want to be very clear about this — the behavior I’m talking about has nothing to do with people who’re struggling with money.

Studies regularly show that poor people are more generous than others.

In my experience, those who have to make do with a small budget are very careful to think about their daily expenses.

They almost never forget to bring their wallet or run out of money for the bus.

The worst financial leeches I’ve met in life were financially comfortable, spoiled people who simply didn’t care about others.


4. No Joking Around

Everyone loves a good joke, even when it’s on them.

Oh, wait.

Not really.


Humor can be a great litmus test for relationships.


Some people just can’t take a joke, no matter how trivial it is.

That is a sign of a big ego.

Egotistical people are seldom capable of joking at their own expense because their sense of self-importance doesn’t allow them to do so.


But that’s not all.

Even the type of humor someone prefers might tell you a lot about their personality.


High self-esteem was associated with higher use of affiliative, aggressive, and self-enhancing humor styles but lower use of self-defeating humor. High interpersonal competence predicted greater use of affiliative humor and low interpersonal competence predicted greater use of aggressive humor” (McCosker & Moran 2012).


In my experience, people who make cruel jokes like testing the waters.

If you react negatively, they’ll take it back and insist they were just joking and you should just lighten up.

But if you agree, they’ll let the cruelty run free.

On the other hand, people with a wry, self-deprecating sense of humor are generally easy to talk to. They can make dark situations a little better by joking about them.


5. Gossipping

We all enjoy sharing some juicy gossip every once in a while.

The purpose of gossip is complex.

It gives us validation and new knowledge, but it also helps us build relationships, find protection… and there’s a natural element of social enjoyment as well (Hartung et al. 2018).


However, when gossip starts occupying the central place in someone’s communication, it’s a big red flag.


The dark triad of personality traits — narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy — show consistent associations with the tendency to gossip.


It’s been indicated that “psychopathy and narcissism had a positive relationship with social enjoyment and negative influence gossip, whereas Machiavellianism was positively correlated only with negative influence gossip” (Lyons & Hughes 2015).


In layman’s terms, people who have these personality types have a greater chance of engaging in gossip only for the sake of enjoyment or to harm the target.


So if you have a friend who loves to gossip, consider the specifics.

How often does the person bring these stories up?

What are they getting out of it?

Is anyone likely to be harmed by this?


Additionally, it’s important not to trust these people with sensitive, private information.

They have a gift for making you feel included — you may feel like a co-conspirator when you’re talking about someone else.

This builds trust.

But chronic gossipers will take everything you tell them and turn it against you sooner or later.


6. Obsession with Self-Image

When you befriend someone in real life, you’ll probably start following them online too.

This may reveal that they’re different from what you were expecting.

In fact, you might find out that they present a different face to everyone they meet.


Sometimes you don’t even have to see someone’s Facebook wall or their Instagram feed.

You can just take a look at their profile photo.


Narcissism was found to be a predictor of profile pictures that emphasize attractiveness and personality (Kapidzic 2013).

So if you run across a profile picture that looks like a glamor shot, that might be a hint that this person is prone to narcissism.


On the other hand, some people are just awkward about choosing profile pictures and they go for the best pic they have — so photos alone won’t tell you all you need to know.

More important is the behavior people exhibit online.


It’s awkward to catch someone lying to their followers but it’s happened to me more than once.

Some pretend to be more wealthy than they are, others exaggerate wildly about their romantic relationship(s).

Some pretend their children are geniuses and makeup stories about them.


Using social media enhances everyone’s natural desire to impress strangers.

But some people get entangled in lies — and this leads to unhappiness and hollow relationships.

It’s safer to keep your distance from people who are obsessed with seeming perfect 24/7.


Not Everything Is a Red Flag, But…

Did you know that our food choices and eating styles also reveal a lot about our personality?


A study found that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables (and low on meat and soft drinks) was characteristic of high openness.

Also, they found that conscientious people were less likely to overindulge in sweet and savory foods. Another study linked neuroticism with slow eating and low enjoyment of food.


Still, you probably wouldn’t choose your relationships based on this information alone.

How someone eats won’t really determine how they treat you.

It’s not always easy to decide whether someone is worth your time.


You don’t want to make snap judgments and unfair generalizations.

But you also don’t want to spend time with people who make you uneasy.


Don’t worry too much about detecting personality flaws in advance — at the same time, you should never ignore the small details that stand out to you.


Even though some people are good at hiding their ugly side, these things always find their way to the surface.

After all, everything we do mirrors our state of mind and personality.


If someone gives you a bad feeling or irritates you for no obvious reason, honor your intuition.


You don’t need to immediately cut ties but start paying attention.

Most of the time, all the small hints will add up and start making sense.

Once you figure out what makes the person tick, it’ll be easier to decide whether they’re worth your attention, trust, and affection.


Monogamous heterosexual marriage is just one of many ways humans can live.



If you haven’t seen the link making its way through social media, I highly recommend Rosemary Joyce’s piece Ask An Anthropologist about Marriage.

It’s an excellent anthropological analysis of the empirical claims made in the oral argument over proposition 8 in the US Supreme Court. In addition, it does a good job of linking back to earlier public statements by anthropologists about this issue.


Joyce is exactly right when she writes that

 Stable societies have been based on many different kinds of social relations that provide for the birth, care, and education of children, as well as the many other activities that marriage covers in modern US society: joint property ownership, joint medical and end of life care, joint taxation, none of which– contrary to the somewhat bizarre, reductive view of marriage argued before the Supreme Court– are about “procreation”


She also cites the AAA’s public statement that

The results of more than a century of anthropological research on households, kinship relationships, and families, across cultures and through time, provide no support whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies.


There may be many good reasons based on one’s personal opinion, religion, or what have you that gay marriage is wrong and should be outlawed.

But the claim that monogamous heterosexual marriage is written into our biological constitution is plainly false.

Anthropologists have shown this again and again.

On one end of the spectrum, the postmodernists challenge the idea that the body can ground gender identity at all.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have hard-core sociobiologists who have shown that our species is so successful because pretty much anyone will raise pretty much any child – you can just pop them out of one relationship and into another. It’s because they are so damn cute — Sarah Hrdy calls babies “sensory traps” designed to make you be all snuggly with them.

A study in 1971 by Barry and Paxson using HRAF and a ridiculously scientific methodology found that in a controlled sample 186 societies, 54% of infants were not raised primarily by their mother.

By the time they’re out of the larval baby stage, that number increased to 80%.


What is human nature when it comes to raising kids?

The old anthropological lesson applies here as well: there is no one form of marriage or family that is natural to humans.

There are a wide variety of possible forms, and we have not finished experimenting with new forms yet. It’s that simple.



Contrary to popular belief, relationship health and quality is quite similar across gay, lesbian, and heterosexual partnerships.


For example, partners in each of these relationship types report almost identical levels of satisfaction with and commitment to their romances on average.

Relatively few differences have been discovered, and most are rather small.


Of the differences identified to date, some suggest that gay and lesbian partners are slightly better off than their heterosexual counterparts, while others imply that they are slightly worse off.

One noted advantage of same-sex couples is that they are nicer and use more humor during arguments compared to heterosexual couples.


This may have something to do with the fact that gay partnerships tend to have much greater equality (i.e., power-sharing) within their relationships, perhaps because they do not adhere as strongly to traditional gender roles.


Although it is often assumed that one partner must play the “wife” in a same-sex relationship (à la The Birdcage and most other depictions of gay couples in the popular media), gay partners feel less pressure to adopt strict roles and tend to be on more equal footing, which may result in lower intensity arguments.


Despite having less heated debates, same-sex couples tend to break up more frequently.


Part of the reason for this is likely due to gay and lesbian partners perceiving fewer “barriers” to leaving their relationships.

Barriers refer to the potential losses you might suffer emotionally or financially if you were to end a romance.

For example, if you and your partner had been introduced to each other’s families, had a shared mortgage and bank account, and had a child together, you would probably be more inclined to try and save that relationship when it hits a rough patch because the meaning and value of these things would change if you were to break up.


Why do same-sex couples report fewer barriers?

One reason is that most same-sex partners do now have the legal option of getting married.

Marriage solidifies a lot of barriers, particularly those of a financial nature, making it more costly to split up (ever hear of this thing called “divorce?”).

Thus, it could be that certain barriers are weaker in gay relationships because they usually do need to consult attorneys and appear in front of a judge if they want to end their partnerships.


Although I have focused most of this entry on the topic of differences, please keep in mind that basic relationship dynamics are largely the same across most couple types.

Thus, when comparing same- and opposite-sex relationships, there are actually far more similarities than there are differences.

Interested in learning more about relationships? Click here for other topics on the Science of Relationships.

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I am Gay/Straight/Lesbian/Bisexual/Trans I am Human card I am Gay/Straight/Lesbian/Bisexual/Trans I am Human bisexual stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images


Staying Seen: Being Bi in Relationships with Straight People


super fancy glasses in bisexual pride colors and the title of this piece


When you identify as queer but enter into relationships with heterosexual people, or those of a different gender to your own, it can feel odd to consolidate these two parts of your identity.

You’re not straight, but society can perceive you that way – where do you fit in, exactly? 


I knew that I wasn’t straight when I was in my teens.

I knew that I wasn’t gay either; if we were to go by the Kinsey scale – for all its faults – I’d hover around a 1 or a 2.

This was confusing for me to come to terms with.

I was surrounded by casual homophobia and toxic masculinity – the sort of "locker room culture" that is so damaging to young men, yet didn’t feel able to really challenge it despite knowing inside that I wasn’t heterosexual.


It was a weird situation where I felt as if I was in some sort of purgatory, drifting in a weird zone between different concrete identities.


Despite identifying as bisexual, the vast majority of my sexual and romantic experiences have been with people who identify as women.

This wasn’t ever something I had consciously planned: it’s just so happened that I lean more towards women than men in my attractions and opportunities, and this has been reflected in the makeup of my experiences.


As a result, I’ve variously been straight-passing when in relationships with women, and have also had people assume that I am gay when my relationship status hasn’t been disclosed.

Regardless of my sexuality not being anyone’s business, this brings in tropes that demonstrate how society often perceives and represents bisexuality.


There often seems to be an assumption that men who say they’re bisexual are actually gay, for example, and that women who say they’re bisexual are actually straight.

Is attraction to male bodies considered the default?

Those assumptions sure make it sound that way.

There’s almost an expectation that eventually, you’ll pick a “side” when such narratives are incredibly damaging.

It can make us feel pressured to “pick” when there’s really no reason why we should need to.


A bisexual man could be with a woman his entire life – but that doesn’t for one second mean that he’s straight.

Alternatively, he could be with men and men only, and this wouldn’t make him gay if he didn’t identify as such.


Bisexual men have to deal with toxic masculinity, homophobia, and biphobia, too. 


Biphobia exists amongst people of every sexual orientation and identity, and it can leave us feeling unsure as to where we fit in.

Acquaintances and peers may assume you’re straight if they only see you in relationships with women, and also might assume that you’re down with their casual homophobia.


Alternatively, they may think that you’re gay, and trying to come out gradually by identifying as bisexual. The revolutionary notion that you could experience attraction to people of more than one gender isn’t often even considered – people often think in binary terms, and it can be difficult for them to unlearn those patterns of thinking.


The sad reality is that because of ignorance and bias about bisexuality if you’re open about your queer identity, you may also risk deterring some potential partners.


Studies have shown that some straight women perceive bi men as being less attractive than straight men, so it’s easy to see why a queer man in relationships with heterosexual people could feel the need to keep quiet.


Unfortunately, it’s perhaps unsurprising that bisexual men are considered to be less attractive by some, as bisexuality can invite connotations of femininity.

These ideas are generally rooted in biphobia, and even if your partners don’t realize it, they may harbor certain biphobic ideas like this.


At school, in the locker room, or on the field, young men are constantly policing each other in terms of expressing masculinity, and at a time often when insecurities are often at their highest, it can be hard to come to terms with your sexuality on top of that.

Particularly if you’re treated as one of the guys, you may be worried that coming out will change how you’re treated, whether or not you have any sort of romantic or sexual attraction to your friends.


How many queer men have had a conversation with male friends that’s gone something like, “It doesn’t bother me that you’re, you know, bi or whatever - just as long as you don’t try anything with me!” or, “You’re cool – you’re not one of those gays who are like, ‘in your face’ about it”?


A stereotype remains that bisexual people are hypersexual, and want to sleep with anything that moves – it can get to the point where you’re telling friends of the same gender that actually, you aren’t even attracted to them in the first place, which can be pretty awkward.


Growing up, dating, and entering into relationships while bisexual can be an absolute minefield.

While bisexuality forms only part of your identity, it can often feel as if people see your sexuality before they see you as a whole person.

In short, don’t shy away from owning your identity. Whether you identify as bisexual, queer or even questioning – you shouldn’t hide who you are.


There are some things you can do to help manage tricky situations that may arise while dating, as difficult as they may seem.


Talk to your partners – Although it’s not your responsibility to educate them if your partners ever harbor biphobic or heteronormative ideas, it can be beneficial to try and talk things through.

Tell them how you feel: they may not understand what it’s like to be in your shoes.

They might not even be aware of their own biphobia at all, so this can be a good starting point.


Be open about your identity (where and when it’s safe for you to do so) – Work on being proud and confident in who you are. Embrace your identity, as ultimately your partners should love and respect you for who you are, your bisexuality very much included.

Rather than locking away parts of yourself, it’s always better to be open and honest about yourself. Essentially, if your partner doesn’t accept your sexual orientation, they probably aren’t right for you.

You can start the discussion around intersectionality, looking at both your own identities and those of your partner.


Encourage your friends and partners to be open with you – Maybe your friends want to become better-informed or have questions or worries.

It’s best if you can be open with each other, and that includes opening up to you.

Conflict is a healthy element of all relationships – what matters is how you handle it.


Address your own internal biasesInternalized biphobia is a real thing experienced by many bisexual individuals, not just men.

Is your internalized biphobia stopping you from expressing yourself fully?

This is a journey that you and your friends, family or partner might be able to travel on together.

As you grow and unlearn ideas, the people around you may be able to do the same.


Heres some links for you to explore:

originally wri


Your Opinions Are Not Facts

How to share your experience without forcing it on someone elseDon JohnsonDon Johnson


There’s a lot to disagree about these days: politics, shutdowns, masks, travel restrictions, vaccines—you name it.

And then there are the more mundane disagreements in everyday life, the little things, like setting the thermostat.

Someone wants to turn it down.

You want it up.

Someone says, “It’s too hot in here.”

You say, “It’s not hot.

It’s cold.”

Before you know it, you’re in a silly argument.

None of us need more aggravation, especially right now.

In order to express yourself respectfully and diffuse arguments before they start, it’s important to understand the difference between facts, opinions, and toxic opinions.


A fact is a thing that is known or proven to be true:

  • The Earth is round.
  • Google is a search engine.
  • Water is a simple molecule of positively charged hydrogen atoms and one large negatively charged oxygen atom.

An opinion is a view or judgment that depends on your assessment:

  • I like pizza.
  • I feel happy when I take a walk.
  • I prefer to wear dark colors.

A toxic opinion is an opinion disguised as a fact:

  • That project will never work.
  • There’s a worldwide shortage of jobs right now.
  • There’s no hope for a better life today.

Here’s why toxic opinions are problematic:

When someone says “It’s too hot in here,” it’s easy to get defensive because the statement excludes any possibility that your experience might be different.

It doesn’t consider that you might be cold.

“Too hot” is a relative term.

It’s not a universally accepted fact.


It might be cute when a child says “Brussels sprouts are gross.”

But it’s not cute when adults speak in toxic opinions.


Expressing an opinion disguised as a fact makes it toxic because it diminishes anyone else’s perspective.


This is how many arguments start: one person imposes their opinion on someone else.



The typical reaction is to push back aggressively, turning your own opinion toxic in response: “It’s not hot in here. I’m freezing!”


Toxic opinions invite defensiveness and open the door for arguments.


When I teach this concept to my clients, I ask them to argue with me.

I say, “The room is hot.”

They say, “No, it’s not.

The room is fine.

What’s wrong with you, anyway?”

Then I say, “Argue with me now: ‘I feel hot.’” I get blank looks.

People try to argue, but it’s impossible to argue with “I feel hot.”+ You can disagree by saying “I feel cold,” but that’s not arguing.

That’s just stating how you feel.

By saying “I feel hot,” I’m not suggesting everyone else should feel that way.

I’m merely describing how I feel and what I’m experiencing.


“I” statements demonstrate personal ownership, accountability, and taking responsibility. By using an “I” statement, you can defuse an argument before it happens.

Research has shown that “I” statements can reduce defensiveness and aggression.


Toxic opinions invite defensiveness and open the door for arguments.

Arrogance and believing one version of reality—yours—is the only possible view that underlies toxic opinions and could be the single largest creator of arguments.


There are two types of toxic opinions: impersonal and personal.


  • “Conservatives don’t care about the poor.”
  • “Technology is ruining our lives.”
  • “Wealthy people are selfish.”


  • “You’re lazy and leave all the housework up to me.”
  • “You don’t listen to me.”
  • “That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.”

You can rephrase a toxic opinion by saying “I think…,” followed by supporting facts or by stating what you experience and how you feel.

An opinion or your point of view, when grounded by the facts as you see them and the knowledge that others may see it differently, is a powerful, direct, and respectful way to communicate.

It’s empowering to say, “Look, this is my opinion on the subject.

You may disagree, but I want you to know what I think.”


For example, “I feel hot.

The thermostat says it’s 75 degrees in here,” expresses your experience and states a fact. “I think technology is ruining lives.

I read a study from Harvard citing cellphone use by small children reduces cognitive brain function.” “When we agree to sit down to watch TV together, and you get on your iPad, I feel disrespected and unappreciated.”

The purpose of an opinion is not to prove someone wrong or convince them of your point of view.

The goal is to speak truthfully and accurately about what you know or believe without discounting others’ experiences.

Without opinions, we would have no creative dialogue or problem-solving. We would be empty shells with little or nothing to say.


Instead of creating defensiveness, an opinion invites dialogue, because you take responsibility for your point of view by saying, “I think, I believe, I propose, I suggest.”

When you speak this way, it encourages others to do the same. Whether they follow your lead is up to them.

You’ve done your part.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and we all have the right to express our point of view.

We may agree with each other or not.

But no one is entitled to impose their opinion on anyone else—whether about politics or the thermostat.


My wife and I have had numerous conversations about the thermostat in our house.

She often feels hotter than I do, and we’ve had our moments.

Now I wear an extra layer on cold days.

She dresses more lightly.

When she says, “It’s too hot in here,” I smile and say, “Oh, so you’re feeling warm?

Let’s turn it down for a bit.”

She looks at me and laughs and says, “Right, I am feeling warm.”


I smile because even though we both teach this stuff for a living, we don’t always get it right.

We’re just humans, after all, living, learning, and trying to be the best versions of ourselves.