How to Save Your Relationship

Expert Advice on Ways to Save Your Relationship — and How to Know If It’s Beyond Repair

How to Save Your Relationship

How can you tell if your relationship or marriage is experiencing more than just a rough patch? We talked to relationship expert and author Dr. Jane Greer to find out. According to her, there’s a telling sign that you and your partner’s problems are beyond repair.

“If one person is insistent and adamant that they’re not at fault and not doing anything wrong or they’re blaming you — making you the problem, saying you’re being critical . . . a relationship is about two people making it work, not one,” Dr. Greer told phicklephilly. “It’s a red flag if they aren’t willing to be open-minded and grow. Things are going to continue the way they’ve been.”

The only way couples can fix issues in their relationship is if both parties are committed to making it work. But if you continue to butt heads in the process, you’ll prevent yourselves from making any real progress. Unless he or she is prepared to put their stubbornness aside, you’ll remain at a standstill.

To further gauge where your relationship stands, Dr. Greer says to first “confront the issue head-on” and “start from a place of mutuality.” Have an open and honest conversation with your partner about the state of your partnership. See if they’ve also noticed the same things. Are you two always upset with each other? Does it feel like you’ve grown apart? And as difficult as it may be, go as far as asking your partner whether they see your relationship ending to really get a sense of how bad things are.

“If they say yes, ask what the most distressing things are — what are the worst problems that are making them want to end the relationship?” Dr. Greer said. “What are they unhappy about? How can you change and adapt to fix some of these issues? Then you switch and do the same for them.”

If this only sparks an argument, consider seeing a relationship counselor or therapist to help facilitate. Otherwise, if the two of you find yourselves exchanging constructive feedback, continue to focus on one behavior or problem area at a time to improve on. Dr. Greer explained how beginning there and taking a pulse once a month to evaluate any progress will best help you move forward as a couple and possibly come out on the other end even stronger.

“For example, if one person is really messy, or one person doesn’t want to have sex, or whatever, work on the changes you agreed upon, and then see where things are in a few weeks,” she said. “Talk about it again, revisit it. Ask if your partner sees any changes. Do they feel you’re more cooperative? Less messy? Initiating more sex? Etc. This will have you working as a team in a cooperative spirit.”

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am & 12pm EST.

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How To Know If Your Partner Is Cheating On You, According To Science

Rosie McCall

The Conversation

Picture Morgan Freeman, Donald Trump or Margaret Thatcher. Most likely you can hear their voices in your mind, and the characteristic inflections that they put on certain words, as well as their tone and pitch. Even without listening to the words, when you hear someone speak you can pick up important information about them from characteristics such as how loud or deep their voice is.

At the most basic level, voices convey biological characteristics such as whether someone is male or female, their body size and physical strengthage and sexual maturity. For example, Donald Trump’s voice can signal to you that he is a man, and that he has passed middle age. But did you know that voices can also signal a person’s attractiveness, fertility and even the likelihood of them being unfaithful?

A popular theory with evolutionary psychologists, known as “cads versus dads”, suggests that more masculine, dominant men are not as paternal and generally invest less in their children and grandchildren than less masculine men. Yet research shows women generally prefer deeper voiced, more masculine-sounding men, especially when these women are near ovulation.

This may be because partnering with deeper-voiced men could lead to genetically healthier children. Deeper voices have been linked to having more surviving children and grandchildrenhigher testosterone and lower stress hormones, and longer-term survival in men.

On the other hand, deeper-voiced men are also rated by women as more likely to cheat on a partner and as less trustworthy in general. Women who judge men with lower-pitched voices as more likely to cheat also prefer those men for short-term rather than long-term partners. Meanwhile, when women are breastfeeding and so currently taking care of a child, they are more likely to prefer men with higher-pitched voices than at other times.

This suggests women use something in men’s voices to try to assess how likely to cheat they are, as well as their general trustworthiness. This in turn can affect their attractiveness as a partner, depending on whether the women are drawn towards the paternal care of a potential long-term mate or just good genes.

Spotting a cheater

But can our voices really indicate whether we are likely to cheat? A recent study suggests that they can. Participants were played recordings of people speaking and given no other background information about them, and successfully rated cheaters as “more likely to cheat” than non-cheaters. Interestingly, women were better at this task than men.

The recordings were taken from people with voices of similar pitch and attractiveness, who were of similar size and shape, and had similar sexual histories (aside from cheating). This means that none of these factors affected the results. So we currently don’t know what cues the participants used to judge whether the voices came from cheaters.

It is not only women who can pick up on men’s vocal cues of good genes and likelihood to cheat, and use it to their benefit. A woman’s voice changes during her menstrual cycle when she is not using contraceptive pills. Perhaps unsurprisingly, men find women’s voices most attractive when the women are near ovulation (most fertile), than at other times of the month. This information is important to pick up on, as women do not display very explicit signals that they are fertile (unlike baboon females whose bottoms turn red, or female deer who release scents to advertise their fertility).

Voices can also signal whether someone is interested in you. In one clever study, participants were asked to judge the voices of individuals who spoke in a different language to attractive or unattractive potential partners or competitors.

The researchers found that, when talking to attractive people, men’s voices tend to reach a deeper pitch, and both men and women increase how varied their pitch is so their voices sound more dynamic than monotonous. Practically speaking, picking up on these types of cues could allow someone to decide whether a person they are talking to might be attracted to them or not.

In these ways, the non-verbal characteristics of voices can play a significant role in signalling health, fertility, attraction and potential infidelity, to name a few. Picking up on these cues, alongside the many other cues we receive when talking to someone, can help us make more informed and well-rounded choices about who to spend time with and who to avoid. But the next time you find yourself listening to and judging someone’s voice for these subtle cues, remember that they are judging yours, too.

 

 

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An Expert Improved My Tinder Profile & The Results Were Immediate

Here’s an article by one of my female followers.

As a dating writer —  I’m constantly tweaking my dating app profiles. I test different pictures and new bios in an effort to get more matches, have more engaging conversations, and hopefully go on more dates. An improved Tinder profile doesn’t mean catering to what you think potential matches want to see; it’s all about portraying your best self. You want to express your personality in a way that helps other people to recognize how amazing you are.

To help me do just that, I enlisted the help of Meredith Golden, online dating expert and founder of SpoonmeetSpoon. Golden is a dating app ghostwriter who swipes on her clients’ apps for a living, so she really knows her stuff. She analyzed my Tinder profile and let me know what aspects were working in my favor, and what elements could be improved. After implementing the changes, I saw immediate results.

Her advice is always specific to the client, so while some of these changes may be applicable to you, it’s important to remember that your dating app profile is particular to you as an individual. If my experience working with an online dating expert taught me one thing, it’s that you want your profile to be as unique as you are. So by all means, learn from my mistakes. Just know that what works for one person may not always work for another. If you’re interested in some personalized feedback, you can always work with Golden yourself. She’s basically a fairy godmother for online dating.

Golden’s first order of business was to look through my pictures. She saw that I had my Instagram connected to Tinder, so she scrolled through there and picked out a few photos she liked better. She explained that the photos she cut weren’t as flattering as they could be, and she wanted to show off my most attractive qualities. “Some of your pictures convey how adorable you are and work for you,” she said. Others, not as much.

She cut my six previous selections down to five, keeping two and swapping out three. For my first photo, she chose one of me posing on a garden bench, smiling in a grey sweater and jeans. “My goal when you’re talking to someone on Tinder is for them to swipe right on you,” she said. “I want that first picture to hit it out of the park.” She emphasized that I looked pretty and radiated positivity in this picture. Plus, she liked that I was seated so my figure is visible.

Jamie Kravitz/Tinder

She also advised me to disconnect my Instagram and protect my privacy. We talked about how usually a person will only look through a potential match’s Instagram if they’re on the fence about swiping right or left. For most people, a few featured photos are enough to make a decision. “I would rather you just put your best foot forward,” Golden told me. “You bring a lot to the table with four or five fabulous pictures. Disable your Instagram so you can control what you’re putting out there.”

We settled on three solo pics, one of me and my mom to show I’m close with my family, and one photo that didn’t have me in it at all. This was a surprise to me, and Golden said she wouldn’t do this in all instances. In my case, though, she thought a photo of my bookshelf really showed my personality and made for an interesting talking point.

“I want your profile to be a comprehensive story about you that still portrays you as being attractive,” said Golden. “I’m not having you eating a burrito with food hanging out of your mouth in any of the pictures, which I see all the time and I have no idea why people do that. I want to show that you have personality and that you’re approachable and engaging.”

Then we moved on to my bio, which Golden thought was funny, but not personal enough. I was actually still using one I had previously crafted for an article about Tinder bios: “Looking for a partner in crime. Must enjoy long walks in the park, be extremely loyal, and always get excited when I come home from work. Bonus points if you’re actually a dog.”

Especially because we disconnected my Instagram, she wanted me to mention things about myself. “I would focus more on you. There’s a technique I borrow from Hinge: two truths and a lie. You can put that on your description on Tinder, because it generates a conversation,” she said. (Hinge uses a number of different prompts to help you fill out your profile, and two truths and a lie is a popular choice.)

We chose two basic, but interesting facts about me, and made up a third. We said that I’m great at roller skating, which I’m definitely not, but it’s not a claim that’s out of the realm of possibility. Golden said that this approach makes it really easy for even the laziest guy to send me a message guessing which one is the lie. “In the profile description, I want someone to have something to talk to you about,” she said. “I want the guy to start and I want to give him some data. Two truths and a lie is an easy way to do that.”

Next up were my preferences. I had my radius set to 10 miles, which she said was a good distance from my home in Manhattan. She thought it was important to reach the other boroughs of the city, plus the adjacent city of Hoboken, New Jersey. “We don’t need to do like 30 miles to take us to the suburbs, because at 22, you’re not dating someone who’s got kids,” she said.

Ten miles in the city feels like a lot, since I typically find that my matches are usually only two or three miles away. I would be open to dating someone who lives farther, and I don’t want to miss out on someone great just because I’d prefer not to take the subway.

My age range was from 22 to 28 (I’m 22), and Golden suggested I bump up my maximum age to 32. “I know that sounds totally creepy from where you sit at 22, but I think women tend to mature faster than guys,” she said. She explained that a 30-year-old guy who has a great career and is looking for an equally great relationship is likely to open up his search to include much younger women. In order for us to be on each other’s radars, I needed to increase my age preferences to include older men. “It opens up your dating options. He’s 30 or 31 but you’re in the same stage of life,” said Golden.

I see her point, though I am a little concerned we wouldn’t have much in common. She told me that I would likely freak out the first time I went out on a date with someone who is over 30, but after five or so dates it wouldn’t feel like a big deal. I haven’t set one up yet, so I’ll have to keep you posted.

I made those changes and got to swiping. I’m not exaggerating when I say I saw results right away. I matched with one guy, and he immediately messaged me saying, “Is that a Harry Potter bobblehead?!” about the picture of my bookshelf. Then, he took on my two truths and a lie (and got it right). A few other guys also messaged me first trying to guess the lie in my bio.

Jamie Kravitz/Tinder

I feel like I’m getting better quality matches, and more engaging messages from those matches. Men are messaging me first more than they did before. I’ve set up three actual dates already. Matching with older guys feels more serious, but not in a bad way. They’re asking me on legitimate dates to dinner or the movies, rather than just expecting to come over to my place and hook up.

View image on Twitter

 

Talk about an eye-opening experience. I never would have thought to make some of these changes on my own, but they’re already paying off.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am & 12pm EST.

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3 Mistakes Women Make When Men Cheat

When your man cheats, it feels like your entire universe is crumbling around you. Most women dealing with a cheating husband or boyfriend start thinking of ways to fix the situation. We wonder what we’ve done to drive him to the arms of another woman. We struggle to think of ways to bring him back.

STOP!

Cheaters cheat. That’s it. Cheating is not about boredom or dissatisfaction. Cheating is the result of a psychological flaw that allows men or women to rationalize cheating and breaking vows. Affairs are not normal, healthy reactions to uncommon relationship struggles. Rather, they are unhealthy reactions to trials and tribulations that are common to most relationships from time to time.

Don’t torture or embarrass yourself making the same mistakes millions of women make when they know their man is cheating. Save your self-respect, dignity, and time by cutting your losses and freeing yourself for a better relationship with a more functional man.

 

Mistake #1 — The Investigation

When women suspect their man is cheating, the first mistake they make is launching a fact-finding mission. Spying, calling around, and interrogating their partners, women invest their energy in a senseless hunt to prove what is already obvious: the relationship is seriously broken.

You don’t need proof that your man is cheating to know that something isn’t working between the two of you. Whether he’s actually cheating or you’re just seriously paranoid, evidence isn’t required to know something has to change. Driving yourself mad trying to catch him in the act of cheating won’t deliver the peace of mind you are looking for. It will only make you look and feel crazy.

 

Mistake #2 — Blaming the Other Woman

Yeah, she’s got to be pure evil to steal another woman’s man, but that’s really not the point. She’s not the one who committed to you and promised to be true to you, and then cheated on you. More importantly, if it wasn’t her, it would be someone else.

People cheat because they are cheaters. When a man cheats it’s not because he was innocently seduced by another woman’s wicked charms. It’s not because she offered something you didn’t. It’s not because she’s better than you. Cheaters cheat. They don’t need temptation to have an affair.

Let go of your anger towards the other woman. It’s misguided. Focus instead on the fact that the partner you were in a relationship with violated his commitment to monogamy. If it wasn’t her, he’d have found someone else. Even if she leaves the picture, there are millions of women in the world for him to cheat with.

 

Mistake #3 — Changing to Keep Him

First of all, if your man is cheating, the last thing you want is to keep him around. Cheating is a pattern of behavior that won’t stop no matter how many promises he makes or how many changes you make to keep his attention. If he has cheated on you, it’s time to move on. Cheaters cheat . . . and cheat . . . and cheat.

Second, you didn’t drive him to cheat. If your man is cheating, it’s not a reflection of your worth, but an indication that he is incapable of handling the responsibility of maintaining a relationship. He is lacking mature adult coping skills. The problem is his, NOT YOURS.

Because you didn’t cause your man to cheat, you can’t stop it either. There is nothing you can change in yourself to make a cheater be loyal. Stop thinking that if you were thinner, prettier, wilder in bed, or more exciting he would be faithful. If your man is cheating, he’s not thinking about you one way or another.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am & 12pm EST.

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10 Ways to Win a Girl’s Heart

10 Ways to Win a Girl’s Heart

How the average guy can get the beauty queen

Disclaimer: This is not intended for the guy who wants a one-night stand. There are books like “The Game” and “The Players Handbook” which can give you great techniques to hook up and end up with an empty life and a roster of regrets. If you want the most beautiful girl in the world on the outside and inside, a girl you would be proud to show off to all of your friends AND family, and a girl to build the foundation of a full life together, then “10 Ways to Win a Girl’s Heart” is for you.

I can’t believe it. In a few weeks I will be marrying my dream girl. She’s the type of woman who blew all of my expectations and checklists out of the water. I look down at her in my arms, and I know I’ve found the treasure of a lifetime. She’s so delicate both physically and emotionally. It’s like I’m holding the rarest piece of artwork in the world. I want to treat her gently, speak loving words, and plant kisses all over her sweet-smelling skin. I can’t help but think, “How did you, Kris, get the most precious jewel in the world????” After all, she’s much more than a beautiful creature to stare at. She’s intelligent, well-spoken, athletic, care-free, and creative. She’s like a fairy tale princess. She was Miss USA!!!

The other night, we’re on a hike, and as we get to the top, we encounter the most beautiful view. It’s literally all the colors Kristen picked out for our wedding, and she’s in awe. I am caught in between the most beautiful woman and the most beautiful sunset God has created. I’m talking to her about this article idea. After all, I want this content to be the turning point for the good guys out there. I’m all about the underdog coming back for the win, and it just seems the good guy ends up being the one who loses to these generic techniques some greasy dude fine tunes from using over and over again. So, I asked her what things I did to win her over.

Are you ready to win your dream girl? Here are 10 ways to win a girl’s heart:

1. Be pursuant

Pursue her without the pressure. In other words, don’t try to “front” and be cocky. Have a conversation first and show her you are interested beyond her appearance. You don’t have to come up with some crazy pickup line. You can simply say, “I want to introduce myself…”Be sincere and genuine in wanting to get to know her. I see too many good guys get intimidated by a girl’s beauty up front, but take a closer look, and find her true self. Honestly, if you can get past this, you’ll have a leg up on the other idiots out there. After all, being genuine is where you excel the most. This is why you are the good guy!!

2. Be a gentleman

Girls don’t want to be treated like a queen, but they do want to be treated like a princess. She doesn’t want you to be a doormat, she wants you to be the one in charge. Open every door for her, especially the car door. Pull out her chair and allow her to sit down first when you take her on a date, and let her order first. When you are walking alongside the street, you should be the one walking closest to the street. Being a gentleman is being selfless.

3. Be complimentary

On our first date, I told her “You look so beautiful.” I then told her how great she looked when I saw her without makeup the night before. It was real and sincere. While she later revealed to me that she had been testing me to see if I would still like her without makeup, I simply saw a girl who didn’t have enough time because she just got done at the gym. That was incredibly sexy to me.

4. Be creative

You don’t have to blow your bank account to impress her. Think outside the box. I’ve been watching one of my good buds Danny pursue his girl right. [Update: Danny Booko is now engaged to Nia, the current Miss USA 2014.] He took her on a hike in Malibu, CA to waterfalls and then took her to this place called M Café complete with swans. He’s also taken her to the Getty museum and the zoo, which are free. Another idea is to take her to a place like Color Me Mine, where you paint your own pottery. Putting thought and originality into a date lets her know you really care about showing her the best in life and it allows you to experience each other across various situations.

5. Be intentional

Invite her to parties, events, and game nights with your friends. I called Kristen every day when I finally got her number. I sent her encouraging text messages and inspirational Bible verses. I told her I wanted to be her man on our fifth date. She wasn’t ready, but she knew what I wanted. I gave her the time she needed with no stipulations, while still pursuing her intentionally. She told me she loved that.

6. Speak well of her in front of other people

Hold her hand. Pick-up artists recommend saying backhanded compliments, but nothing beats a genuine and sincere compliment. A backhanded compliment might work for a one-night stand, but come on, this is a poisonous ingredient in trying to form a long-term relationship. Treat her just as kindly in front of friends and family as you do when you are alone.

7. Be attentive

Show her that you care for her and her needs. Pay attention to the small details. Girls care about the small stuff, big time. For instance, on our first date, I knew Kristen was a vegetarian, so I took her to a vegetarian restaurant called Café Gratitude. Listen to what she has to say.

8. Be protective

Don’t let her walk alone to her car. If she’s going on a jog or walk at night, tell her you want to go to keep her safe. If she’s going to the gas station at night, go with her. If you’re at a club and she needs to go to the restroom, take her there and wait outside the door.

9. Be a good listener

Ask solid open-ended questions that include “what,” “how,” and “why.” If you’re doing most of the talking, you’re not getting very far with her. Show her you care with body language and by repeating back some of what she just told you.

10. Be romantic

Plan ahead. What do you want your love story to be? You are the writer. When people ask where your first kiss was, you don’t want her to answer with the driveway or that you were drunk at a party. The night I kissed a girl for the first time, I wanted it to be special. I took her to an overlook on Mulholland Drive. We stood on top of the city, and that night I was her very own Superman. It was a special moment.

Finally, be yourself. There won’t be much longevity if she’s fallen for a false persona, and why would you want that anyway? I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m not the coolest guy out there, so I have fun in my dorkiness. There is no one else like you, so be confident. When you are walking in truth, game isn’t necessary. You’ve already won.

 

Was this helpful? I’d love to hear your feedback in regard to this subject!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am & 12pm EST.

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Cherie – Chapter 35 – Jungle Fever

“My heads under water but I’m breathing fine.”

Jungle Fever: “When a non-black person is attracted sexually to black people. Originally it was used for when a white woman dates black men, but now it could refer to a white man who thinks black women are hot and wants to date them.”

A Stevie Wonder song about black man/white woman love.

“She’s gon’ black guy crazy
He’s gone white girl hazy
They got jungle fever”–Stevie Wonder.
It’s been nearly a month and I’m going crazy. I miss her. She’s so beautiful and sweet. She’s an absolute pleasure to be with. A calm, loving, grateful, sexual, amazing woman. I haven’t seen her in three weeks.
She is crushing it in her life. Finals at Temple destroying her life just like all of the other girls at that damn school. Raising her son, working at CHOP as a medical assistant and the pediatrician’s office and everything else she’s dealing with.
She told me today that she got a flat tire on her Saab. That’s horrible but she said as bad as her life is, she says it could be worse. I like that because that is how I live my life, with positivity. Cherie is my sweet match.
I love her optimism. Maybe she got that from me but it doesn’t matter,  I just want her to be okay.
I’ll see her tomorrow at 4pm after a long hiatus.
 Sometimes I think she’ll just give up. Far away. Distant factor. Right side of thirty. Beautiful black girl.  Me… white guy in his mid fifties.
I’m prepared for her to bail. I’m writing this now in my home office, listening to the band Morphine and thinking she should just bail on me. Distance. Time. Age difference. She’ll just decide  it’s too difficult and I’ll be dead in the water.
Again.
She’s young and beautiful like Michelle and Annabelle and she’ll just wise up and just go.
I think about that on a weekly basis. That’s a real thing when you’re a middle-aged bachelor.
It feels like love and mad sex but it all could end if at 27 she wants a husband and more kids. You’re done. I’m dead. I’m alone. I have to start again. Or not. I say that she was the last one and it was great, but I’m finished. I’m out. I’ve punched all of the holes in my romance card, an it’s over.
If this one fails. I think I’m done.
That’s a real thing for guys my age.
But I’m not like guys my age. They’re scared and insecure without game. I’ve worked hard to build game. But that could also be my undoing.
Men my age try to surround themselves with affluent things that mean nothing.
Cars, gadgets, shoes, suits, watches, lifestyle. It’s all bullshit. Just build the powerful you to move forward with nothing but your own powers and the women will notice. Most men can’t do this.
But you have to practice guys. Get to know women. They’re great. Talk to them. Listen. Love them. Let go of whatever you were taught and just get to know them.
I’m having brunch on this rainy Saturday with my dear friend Alice who blew me off for drinks and quizzo last Wednesday. I love Alice. But the weather sucks. I would love to take her to the craft show in Rittenhouse Square this weekend. But the weather could take a dump on our plans.
It’ll happen because she’ll feel bad that she blew me off so she’ll do it. But I don’t even care because I love her (as a friend) and I want her to do well in her business.
All I need to do is get Cherie at 4pm and make sweet love to her.
That’s it.
I have a giant umbrella for me and Alice for the craft show but all I want to do is get Cherie at the train station and take her home and tear her to pieces.
My time with Alice is important. I love hanging with her. But I need to get to Cherie.
That’s the magical time.
That’s the time that everyone in the world wants.
That’s the time that everyone envys.
That’s the time that everyone regrets.
That’s the time everyone wishes they had again with their current partner.
That’s the time that you only get once but wish you could have again and again.
I’m not wrong. You all want that. What if you could have that again and again just as good as the first time? That would be the perfect drug for us all right? Can you have her or him again and again and it always feels like the first time? That shit’s magic.
That’s my life. Cherie and I built that together. I’m lost in that.
We’re always wishing for the first date. The euphoria. The excitement. Then they’re gone.
But this time she stays.
But also stays away. Just far enough to love her. And it works. Its magic together, but I’m alone. I like that. She’s busy and can’t be with me. I’m okay with that. I like it. She’s a nymphomaniac and I  love that.
It’s not all of the time. I need my alone time. She’s busy with school and life. So am I…  busy building a business. I have finally found a balance that works for me.
intense.
I love you, Cherie.
See you soon.
Magic again.
Watch this video please. Cut and paste if you can.
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=450p7goxZqg

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day 8am & 12pm EST.

 

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Things Your Fights Reveal About Your Relationship

Even your most common and annoying fights are an opportunity to learn about your relationship and make it stronger.

You have the same fight repeatedly

Whether it’s dishes in the sink or late nights out with friends, couples often have a recurring source of conflict in which they’ll “seem to have the same fight over and over again, says Marni Amsellem, PhD, a licensed psychologist in New York and Connecticut. “This annoyance can certainly manifest in the form of a complaint (‘Why do I always have to remind you to do your dishes/help with the dishes?’), which can certainly lead into a fight.” But there’s more to it than feeling grossed out over the sight of caked-on tomato sauce on plates. Dr. Amsellem explains that ignoring a partner’s request, even if it’s something as seemingly trite as dishes in the sink, conveys a sense of disrespect to the other person who may feel they’re not being heard.

A heated argument over something little

Did your partner leave the empty yogurt container on the counter? Samantha Boardman, PhD and founder of Positive Prescription, says being thrown for a loop over little things can be normal, but it’s important to take stock of what likely set off the annoyance in the first place. “Stress, fatigue, and hunger often provide the spark to set off a heated argument,” she says. “Discovering your partner left the cap off the toothpaste after a fun evening together is one thing, making the same discovery after a long day at work and a horrible two-hour commute home in the rain is quite another.” Rather than light into the other person when stress strikes, which Dr. Boardman says can stir up questions about criticism, control, blame, or partner negligence in the relationship, she suggests focusing on kindness and compliments throughout the relationship.

Watch your back: arguments so intense, your body hurts

While money and sex are the top two most common reasons for arguments, parenting differences, in-law issues or even what’s-for-dinner fights can also lead to arguments, Dr. Boardman says. Driving behaviors and too much technology use during mealtimes to the list as well, says Dr. Amsellem. Regardless of the topic, be careful about how you react, especially if the argument intensifies: it can make the difference between good heart health and bad. Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, and Northwestern University, found that couples who engage in rage-fueled fights are more likely to experience spikes in blood pressure and cardiovascular problems in the future. On the flip side, if you regularly withdraw emotionally during a heated spat, to include hardly saying anything and avoiding eye contact, the same researchers discovered you’re more likely to develop stiff necks, backaches, and overall muscle tension.

You’re too serious

You’ve heard sayings about not taking yourself too seriously, right? Well, it’s important during arguments too. Using the example of frustrations over leaving dishes in the sink, Dr. Amsellem says that making light of the situation is an option couples may want to explore. She explains that using humor to reframe the situation may involve saying something such as, “Well, who knew that when I brought you into my life, I would be bringing along your mess too?” Dr. Boardman agrees, saying humor goes a long way—and not always just when arguments surface. “Finding funny moments in the every day and sharing a laugh together will bring you closer and put you both in a better mood,” she says. “Positive interactions decrease the likelihood of an argument and make it easier for you to give one another the benefit of the doubt.”

You’re always caught up in the day-to-day

Do your best not to get bogged down in the argument of the moment. Instead, researchers suggest keeping an eye on the future. A University of Waterloo study suggests that thinking about the future has a positive impact on couples’ reasoning strategies and feelings, ultimately leading to more relationship positivity. Specifically, when study participants focused on thoughts about their relationship a year into the future, more forgiveness was demonstrated. Ask yourself if what you’re fighting about now will truly matter a year out and replace any negative thoughts about each other with forward-thinking ones.

You both forget about happier times

Whether you’re getting along famously or bickering about dirty dishes, sexual frequency, spending habits, or anything in between, it’s essential to take a breath and focus on the love you shared in the first place. “Give a compliment, make your partner a cup of coffee, flirt a little, be affectionate, or send a text message saying something sweet like you used to do when you were dating,” Dr. Boardman says. “It’s so obvious and yet so easily forgotten when there are kids to feed, bills to pay and laundry to do. At the end of the day, it’s the everyday gestures of love that count. As the old saying goes, if you act like you did at the beginning of the relationship, there won’t be an end.”

 

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