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4 Behaviors That Predict Divorce

Your relationship is not perfect.

But no-ones perfect, so expecting your relationship to be perfect is probably not the right approach.

However, relationship psychologists can predict which marriages will end in divorce 93% of the time.

How? By looking out for these 4 ‘relationship-killing’ behaviors. Learn them & avoid them at all costs:

  1. Contempt:  a virulent mix of anger and disgust, contempt is far more toxic than simple frustration or negativity. It involves seeing your partner as beneath you, rather than as an equal. Basically, contempt is “the kiss of death” for a relationship.
  2. Criticism:  like contempt, criticism involves turning a behavior (something your partner did) into a statement about his or her character (the type of person he or she is). Over time, these personal detractions can add up, feeding darker feelings of resentment and contempt.
  3. Defensiveness:  if you find yourself regularly playing the victim in tough situations with your partner, you might be guilty of being defensive. Couples who divorce within the first several years of their marriage — one of the times when divorce rates are highest — “entering negativity is like stepping into a quicksand bog. It’s easy to enter but hard to exit.”
  4. Stonewalling:  you know when an argument is about to start. You can feel your heart rate increase and your voice get just a tiny bit louder. But the moment things start to get heated, do you pull out your phone, walk away, or simply ignore your partner? Blocking off conversation can be just as toxic for a relationship as contempt because it keeps you from addressing an underlying issue.

Now, here’s the good news: Don’t panic!

It’s important to keep in mind that occasionally displaying any one of these behaviors — or all of them, even — is completely normal. It’s when these negative behaviors happen so frequently that they replace more positive interactions with your partner that can be cause for concern.

Simply recognizing that you’re doing something that could be hurting your relationship is the first step to actively combating it. If you can figure out how to avoid the behavior or replace it with a more positive one, you’ll probably make the relationship even stronger.

 

7 Essential Relationship Skills

We’ve all seen the movie: boy meets girl, sparks fly, and they live happily ever after. But is that REALLY the way love works?

Actually, no. The truth is that you can and must IMPROVE your relationship skills – to help you find and build happiness in a long-term relationship.

Here are the 7 essential relationship skills:

1. Communication:  This category involves critically important skills: knowing how to listen, sharing your thoughts and feelings honestly, refraining from criticizing and encouraging your partner to share his or her feelings.

2. Conflict Resolution:  Conflict-resolution skills include techniques such as staying focused on the topic, staying focused on the present, being ready to forgive or apologize, knowing when to take a break.

3. Knowledge of Partner:  What’s his shirt size? What’s his favorite food? After communication, simply knowing a lot about your partner is a powerful way of showing that you care, and makes you better equipped to tend to his or her ongoing needs.

4. Life Skills:  Do you plan for emergencies? Do you exercise and stay fit? Studies show that people usually want their partners to contribute a degree of security to a long-term relationship. People also want their partners to take good care of themselves.

5. Self-Management:  This is not the same as life skills. People who are skilled at self-management take inventories of their strengths and weaknesses and always strive for improvement. They know how to interpret disturbing events in positive ways and they work hard to reach their goals.

6. Sex and Romance:  People with strong skills in these areas inquire and care about how to please their partner sexually, set aside time for intimacy, refrain from blaming their partner when sex doesn’t go smoothly, and try to stay physically attractive for their partner.

7. Stress management:  Do you know how to use breathing, meditation, or imagery techniques to help you fight stress? If you know how to avoid or fight stress, you’ll be better able to love and support your partner.

5 “Relationship Red Flags” That Aren’t As Big A Deal As You Think

Your perfect match is out there, but they’re probably not perfect.

Those qualities that you THINK are the most important for your relationship success, probably aren’t.

Most importantly, beware of false ‘relationship red flags’ – start by ignoring these 5:

  1. “Fit” to be tied?:  a lot of people think that it’s necessary to date someone who shares their same exact health and exercise values, but you don’t need that for a good relationship. As long as your partner respects your fitness goals (or lack thereof), and you respect theirs, your relationship should be fine.
  2. Miseducation?:  not all education happens at a prestigious university – there’s lots of successful & very smart people who were too busy building a successful life or business to spend years in a university or college.  Instead of getting fixated on degrees and pedigree, try to focus on what your potential partner is doing with their life now.
  3. Out of fashion?:  just because fashion is important for you, it doesn’t mean it has to be important for your partner, and it doesn’t mean you won’t have a great relationship. There is one standard that you should always hold your date to, however – hygiene. Clothes can change. Hygiene is harder.
  4. Living separately together?:  having separate friends is healthy and it will only benefit the relationship in the long run if you don’t do everything together.  Making a point to spend some time with your friends without your partner, and vice versa, is a great way to avoid isolation and losing touch with your friends in your relationship.
  5. Reaching for greater heights?:  if you’re looking for a lasting relationship (not just a casual fling), height should not be a huge concern. Personality, character, values & shared life goals are far more important for a successful relationship than someones height could ever be.

4 Ways To Make Dating Small Talk Without Seeming Awkward Or Boring

In life (and in love) you have two options:
  1. Wait for good things to happen. Or,
  2. Make good things happen.

Now, which sounds like a better plan?

Dates usually go one of two ways: they start well and get better; or they start poorly and get worse.

So what’s the key to a successful date? It’s all in the conversation – here’s 4 ways to make it great:

  1.  Ask open-ended questions — people like to talk, so give them an opportunity:  don’t ask where someone is from; ask where they are from and how it compares to the place they are now. If they live near where you’re meeting, try asking what other places they have lived and what they liked or didn’t like about the various locales. Don’t ask if they are enjoying the drink or meal; ask about their favorite restaurants, pubs, and so forth.
  2. Listen before you talk:  the best conversation topics are ones that your date is really interested in. How can you tell what those are? By listening to them of course! If he/she comments on some specific menu items, ask them what type of food they love; do they/can they cook; where’s the best (specific food item) they’ve had in the city recently?
  3. Use your common ground — there’s always something two people have in common:  whether it’s something as basic as what you think of the restaurant, or as specific as identifying a shared love of the outdoors, you can always find something you and another person have in common to start a chat. Just be ready with open-ended follow up questions once you’ve broken the ice using the common ground.
  4. There are certain safe things we all love talking about — travel, activities, pets, movies, food come to mind:  shared stories is one of the easiest ways to start a conversation that will keep on flowing, but talking about the crazy things pets do, funny travel stories, and anecdotes from your day all work well. One “Can’t Miss” conversation topic: asking your date their favorite place to travel (and why?) or a recent travel story; then tell them yours.

4 Things That Ruin Relationships

Matchmakers will tell you this about successful relationships: communication means more than immediate physical chemistry. Ideally, you want both, but finding someone with whom you can communicate openly with SIGNIFICANTLY increases the chances of a successful match.

But, above all else, AVOID these four “relationship killing” communication traits (Source: John Gottman, PH.D.):

  1. Criticism:  complaints are fine. Criticism is more global — it attacks the person, not their behavior. They didn’t take out the garbage, not because they forgot, but because they’re a bad person.
  2. Contempt:  “…name-calling, eye-rolling, sneering, mockery, and hostile humor. In whatever form, contempt – the worst of the four horsemen – is poisonous to a relationship because it conveys disgust. It’s virtually impossible to resolve a problem when your partner is getting the message that you’re disgusted with him or her.”
  3. Defensiveness:  “…defensiveness is really a way of blaming your partner. You’re saying, in effect, ‘The problem isn’t me, it’s you.’ Defensiveness just escalates the conflict, which is why it’s so deadly.”
  4. Stonewalling:  tuning out. Disengaging. This doesn’t just remove the person from the conflict, it ends up removing them, emotionally, from the relationship.

7 Unavoidable Questions To Ask Your Partner Before It’s Too Late

So you’ve met someone new, and things are going great – fantastic!

But before you get REALLY serious, its time for some serious questions.

Dating works best when you’re having fun – keeping your first few dates light and casual is always your best bet.

But at some point, there are some ‘serious’ questions that need to be asked. Which questions? These 7:

  1. Do you want kids?:  it’s best to address the topic of parenthood sooner than later, so no one winds up resentful — or heartbroken — years down the line. If you or your partner are (understandably) worried that having kids will change your relationship for the worse, you should arm yourself with knowledge about what helps parents maintain intimacy.
  2. Who will do the cooking, laundry and housework?:  according to a 2007 Pew Research poll, sharing household chores is the third most important factor in a successful marriage. (The first two are faithfulness and a happy sexual relationship).
  3. How much debt (if any) do you have?:  “Lying about your debt can potentially destroy your relationship”. An honest conversation about finances – especially about debt – is key before getting married, or even getting serious.
  4. How much time apart do you need?:  interestingly, spending time apart and getting some of your needs met outside your relationship may be exactly what your partnership needs.
  5. What do you consider cheating?:  there are those who believe looking at pornography or going to strip clubs is cheating. Bottom line is, everyone has different limits. Establish the boundaries, before getting into a marriage.
  6. How do you feel about divorce?:  it’s not an easy discussion to have but it’s worth it. That’s because simply knowing that you have an “out” — even if you never use it — can be freeing. If you’re staying in the relationship, it’s because you want to.
  7. How will getting married change our relationship?: Some people feel the expectations are different when you’re married than when you’re dating, and others feel that they are the same. It’s important to be on the same page about expectations for every stage of a relationship.

4 Things You Do On Dates That Make You Look Like You’re Trying Too Hard

Have you been dating for a while but not truly connecting with anyone? Then its time for a different approach.

Maybe you’re trying – but here’s where dating is different from other aspects of your life: it’s possible to try too hard.

How you ask? Here’s 4 “over the top” dating mistakes – and what to do instead:

  1. Checklist dating:  its normal to want to be prepared for your date, but when your date feels like they’re being interviewed it’ll be over before you know it. Put away your checklist and focus on having fun – particularly on a first or second date. There’ll be a time for a more in-depth discussion about your future together, but a first date is not that time.
  2. Stress test:  sometimes you want so much for the date to go well that it looks like you’re going to pass out. Dating is like a reverse test – if it looks like you’ve ‘over-prepared’, it won’t go well. Relax and focus on enjoying yourself – if you do, its highly likely your date will too.
  3. (over) Dressed for success:  you want to look your best on your date – and showing up looking disheveled is not okay – but you can also overdo it. Showing up in a fancy dress or a designer suit might just make your date feel under-dressed. Aim for a clean, smart-casual look. Save the designer duds for a few dates down the line.
  4. The butler did it:  yes, you want to pick a nice meeting place – but aim for someplace a bit less formal and more fun & casual. Showing up at an overly fancy, expensive restaurant will put your date on edge – and make them wonder if they’re dressed appropriately (see point #3 above). In general, you want the true focus to be on you and your date – not your clothes, the restaurant or anything else. Free your mind and the rest will follow.

The One Question You Should Never Ask On A Date

You’ve heard the saying “there’s no such thing as a bad question”?

Well, when it comes to dating – its wrong.

Two-way conversation is an important part of a successful date – particularly a first or second date – and asking questions is a big part of that.

But not all questions are created equal. In particular, if you’re looking for success in dating, AVOID this question at all cost!:

“WHY ARE YOU STILL SINGLE?”

Here’s what makes this question so toxic on a date:

  • It implies there’s something wrong with your date (whether that’s what you intended to mean or not).
  • It puts your date on the defensive (a terrible way to start a date).
  • Its very hard to answer in a positive way (“Because I’ve been meeting some real creeps?”, etc.)
  • It will likely lead to them asking you the same question – which you’ll also find hard to answer in a positive way.
  • Its irrelevant – who cares why they’re single? They’re here with you now; stop wasting time!
  • It immediately turns a date into an interview – pretty much the worst way to start any date.

The First Thing You Should Do On Every Date

Some good dates fly by in an instant. Some bad dates seem to go on forever. Do you ever ask yourself why?

Because: good dates start well and get better. Bad dates start poorly and get worse.

First impressions matter in life, and even more so in dating. But its not just about how you look (although do look your best).

If you want success in your love life, do this one thing on every date:

  • HAVE POSITIVE ENERGY
  • Why?:
    1. Having positive energy shows you in your best possible light:  they may not be blown away by your looks, but everyone wants to be around someone who exudes positive energy. It may just be your secret weapon to a 2nd date, and beyond.
    2. Having positive energy makes you feel good, and feeling good is good for you (and especially for your love life):  if you don’t believe this, ask yourself this question: how does having low energy make you feel?
    3.  Likes attract likes:  everyone wants to be with someone who makes them feel good, right? So who do you think people with positive energy want to be around? (Hint: its not people with low and/or negative energy)
    4. Take charge of your happiness, and you’ll take charge of your love life too:  I get it, sometimes you just don’t feel positive (especially if your love life sucks). But here’s the thing, if you can’t get excited about meeting someone new – stop dating. Take a break and do something that makes you feel good about yourself (and life). Go for a hike, spend time with some fun friends, do a girls/guys road trip. When you’re feeling good about life again, go on that date and show it.

Your Valentine’s Day Checklist: 6 Signs You Are Ready For Love In 2018

Make Valentine’s Day 2018 the starting point of a brand new you.

If you’re single, Valentine’s Day can be stressful. This year, instead of worrying about it, do something about it – and make this the last Valentine’s Day you’ll have to spend alone.

How you ask? By following these 6 signs:

  1. You are over your last relationship:  you have moved on, moved out, finalized the divorce and gave yourself some time and space to self reflect, and learnt and grew from it. With a clean slate, and positive thoughts you are ready for a new beginning.
  2. You are happy with who you are:  its a New Year and a fresh start, you know your goals, values and dreams for your future, such as, you have hobbies and interests that make life interesting outside of work, you have some vacations planned, and you feel confident and fulfilled in your own life. You want a relationship to share your love rather than to get love.
  3. You have a work/ life balance:  your career is going well, you are financially stable, you are not constantly distracted, and you have space in your schedule should someone special come into your life that you have time to share in life with them.
  4. You are ready for love:  when you want to take the time to get to know someone, you don’t judge them on the first date. You understand that people have many facets to their being and you want to explore getting to know those parts of them, many times love ripens over time like fruit on a tree.
  5. Put your best foot forward:  like they say you only have one chance to make a first impression. If you are going on quality dates once or twice a month, make it special by looking your best.
  6. Having a positive attitude:  around dating and finding love.