A relationship therapist breaks down the 10 most common fights couples have

The most common fights couples have aren’t regarding infidelity or childcare.

They’re relatively trivial things, like chores and social media, according toRachel Sussman, a relationship expert and marriage counselor in New York City.

Sussman explained that the fight isn’t so much about the issue itself as it is about a lack of communication. “If you’re someone who has really poor communication skills,” she told Business Insider, “that might mean that the minute your partner brings something up, you get very defensive, or you start with the ‘tit for tat.'” Which means that “no matter what you’re arguing about, that could escalate into a really big fight.”

Sussman described 10 of the most common sources of conflict among the couples she sees — and importantly, she said, working on your communication skills is the key to resolving them all. “If you can communicate well, you can get through these issues in a way that can actually bring you closer together,” she said. “And if you can’t communicate well, it makes it so much worse and can actually tear you apart.”

Couples fight when one partner feels like they’re more committed than the other.

Couples fight when one partner feels like they're more committed than the other.Pavel Yavnik/Shutterstock

When unmarried couples come to see Sussman, they often want to talk about commitment. Typically, Sussman said, one partner feels like they’re more committed than the other. Or one partner wants to “move the relationship forward” by moving in together or getting engaged and is encountering some resistance.

If couples are fighting about household chores, Sussman said, it’s probably because “one person feels like they’re taking the lion’s share of the work.”

If couples are fighting about household chores, Sussman said, it's probably because Shutterstock

In Sussman’s experience working with heterosexual couples, that person is usually the woman. Meanwhile, she added, “I often hear the men feeling that they’re doing a lot but they don’t get credit for it. They get picked on a lot.”

In fact, American moms are spending more time in the labor force than in the past, but also more time on childcare, according to a 2019 Pew Research Center report. Moms spend 16 more hours a week on paid work than they did 50 years ago, yet four more hours a week on childcare.

Younger couples get frustrated with their partner’s overuse of social media.

Younger couples get frustrated with their partner's overuse of social media.Flickr/m01229

Sussman said she’s seen a spike in the number of complaints about a partner’s social media habits in the last five years. Typically, couples with these kinds of problems are in their 20s and 30s.

One person might complain, for example, “that their life is plastered all over social media or they think their partner is addicted to their phone.” Sussman’s also heard from people who are worried that their partner is following a ton of models on Instagram.

Another common issue? Staying in touch with an ex on social media.

Fights about money come up later in a relationship.

“It’s very normal in a couple that one person is a spender and one is a saver,” Sussman said. The problem is “you think you’re justified and the other person is at fault.” The saver might accuse the spender of being fiscally irresponsible; the spender might accuse the saver of being cheap.

Don Cloud, president and founder of Cloud Financial Inc., previously told Business Insider that he frequently works with spender/saver couples. The first step, he said, is for each partner to share their beliefs and feelings about money.

Yet Sussman said issues also tend to arise when couples move in together or get married and face the decision about whether to combine finances, a notoriously difficult choice. If they’re hesitant, “might this show that there’s a lack of trust?”

Or, fights about money might come up later. Maybe both partners worked when they started dating, but once they had kids, one partner stayed home. The partner who works might be “holding that over [the other partner’s] head,” or even engage in financial blackmail, Sussman said.

Couples fight when one partner prioritizes work over the relationship.

Couples fight when one partner prioritizes work over the relationship.Hero Images/Getty Images

“Someone might be a workaholic,” Sussman said, “or someone might be prioritizing work over relationships.”

As Michael McNulty, a master trainer from The Gottman Institute and founder of the Chicago Relationship Center, told Business Insider’s Rachel Gillett, “Having a spouse addicted to work can feel like as much of a betrayal as extramarital affair to the other spouse.”

Couples can sometimes argue over addiction.

Couples can sometimes argue over addiction.David Silverman/Getty Images

Sometimes people bring their partner to see Sussman because the partner has an alcohol problem — or at least the person perceives it that way.

As it turns out, one small study, published 2013 in the journal Couple and Family Psychology, found that substance abuse was a common “final straw” in the decision to get divorced.

After couples have children, they often argue about not spending enough time with one another anymore.

After couples have children, they often argue about not spending enough time with one another anymore.Hrecheniuk Oleksii/Shutterstock

Sussman says she sees a lot of couples with small children who aren’t finding enough time to connect with one another. Sometimes they feel “their relationship has become very transactional.”

Scientists who have studied the transition to parenting say there are three factors that help a couple maintain intimacy after having a baby:

• “Building fondness and affection for your partner”
• “Being aware of what is going on in your spouse’s life and being responsive to it”
• “Approaching problems as something you and your partner can control and solve together as a couple”

Couples fight if there is too little (or too much) sex.

Couples fight if there is too little (or too much) sex.t.germeau / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Sometimes one partner wants sex more than the other, Sussman said. She’s also been told that one of them is “feeling that their sex life has died.”

Bat Sheva Marcus, the sexual dysfunction specialist and clinical director of The Medical Center For Female Sexuality, previously told Business Insider about the usefulness of a “sex schedule,” which is exactly what it sounds like. “If you want to have sex, you need to schedule sex,” Marcus said, especially when both partners are busy, or when they have different desire levels. “That doesn’t make the sex any less special.”

Infidelity can be detrimental to relationships.

Infidelity can be detrimental to relationships.StockLite/Shutterstock

This is something Sussman said she sees plenty of in her practice.

While the discovery of an affair can potentially destroy a relationship, it doesn’t have to. Couples therapist Esther Perel previously told Business Insider that couples can sometimes become closer and more honest with each other in the wake of infidelity, almost as though they’re entering into another marriage.

Couples disagree over how to raise their children.

Couples disagree over how to raise their children.Areipa.lt/Shutterstock

A common parenting problem Sussman sees is that one parent is more lenient and one parent is stricter.

That’s why Carl Pickhardt, a psychologist who’s written multiple books about parenting, previously told Business Insider that the No. 1 question you and your partner should discuss before having kids is: How do you manage joint decision-making?

“If you have parents who have a hard time bridging disagreements,” Pickhardt said, “that’s probably not a great sign. They’ve got to be able to know how to communicate, and how to change, and how to make concessions, and how to compromise.”

The bottom line: If you’re arguing over and over about the same thing, it may be time to see a couples counselor.

The bottom line: If you're arguing over and over about the same thing, it may be time to see a couples counselor.‘The Break-up’/Universal Studios

“Too much bickering will wear down any relationship,” Sussman said. “I’ve heard people say, ‘This relationship ended by death by a thousand paper cuts.'”

That’s why she makes the following recommendation: “If you’re going over and over again about something and you can’t seem to create a solution, go see a couples counselor — not to solve the problem, but to learn the skill set so you can do a better job of working through these conflicts as they come up in your life.”

 

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10 Men You Should Never Marry

(Editor’s Note: The below examples are not intended to gender stereotype. This is merely a list of common pitfalls.)

1. The Late Night Texter
You know, the guy who only texts you after midnight. He’s the guy who only contacts you when he wants something or someone to talk to. You can go weeks without hearing from this person, only to rarely get a text full of smiley faces and a message that reads, “Hey! How are you?” They aren’t consistent. Don’t fall into the trap. (or… he’s texting you to hook up ‘ late night’ after every other skank at the bar has turned him down!)

2. The Slacker
He’s the guy who has no dreams, vision, or passion to get up and do anything. Don’t let his smooth words trick you into a relationship that will be full of dull moments and half-hearted plans.

3. The Liar

Don’t trust a man who is constantly lying to you. If you continue to ignore his inconsistencies, he could eventually do something detrimental to your relationship.

4. The Flake
This is the guy who calls off dates, constantly changes plans, and never shows up when he promises. If you think this will change once you’re married, you’re wrong. A flaky man will never put his woman first.

5. The Cheater
I’m all for grace and second chances, but the last thing you want is to find yourself in a marriage with someone you can’t even trust. I’m a huge believer that everyone can change, but please don’t get caught up in the lie that cheating is just a normal part of life. You deserve better.

6. The Partier
Stay away from him. Although he may seem fun and outgoing, I guarantee you will be better off with someone who stays away from gatherings full of bad mistakes and regretful decisions. The lifestyle of a partier never fits well with the maturity needed in marriage.

7. The Fake
He’s the guy who claims to be one thing, but in person never steps up to the plate. Not only is this unfair to your relationship, but you need to understand this isn’t going to stop anytime soon. Look for a man who is who he claims to be. Fakes can only pretend for so long.

8. The Hypocrite
He goes back and forth between his beliefs, standards, and regulations on life. Most of the time this man will change things to better suit his personal life. Don’t expect yourself to have a thriving relationship with someone who is constantly hypocritical in their words and actions.

9. The Flirt
This man loves to flirtatiously chat with strangers, waiters, and even your friends. The man you should seek is one who flirts with you and only you, no matter the circumstance. That last thing you want is to be married to someone who will deliberately flirt with people in front of you, let alone behind your back.

10. The Jerk
Simple. Don’t marry a jerk. You deserve more than that this guy can offer you. Look for someone who is kind, generous, selfless, and chivalrous. The last thing you want is to be embarrassed about bringing your man in public, all due to his attitude. Not to mention, verbal abuse is a widely spread problem that I don’t believe any woman should have to encounter.

***

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.

 

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Six Things You Shouldn’t Do On a First Date, According To Dating Psychologists

First dates can be a mixed bag. You can go into them thinking you’re going to meet the love of your life and walk out reflecting on an evening of insipid small talk, wondering why you spent your only free evening of the week discussing your respective commutes.

It has become even trickier with dating apps, when you risk meeting someone whose witty bio and filtered profile photos don’t quite match up with the person sitting across from you.

And even if you do end up liking the person, that in itself conjures up a panoply of anxieties: what if they don’t laugh at your jokes? Did you just talk about yourself too much? What happens if they hate the wine you’ve chosen?

It can all get a little bit overwhelming. Thankfully, dating experts say there are some unilateral first date don’ts that, when applied, should make things easier for everyone involved. Buckle up.

When conversation runs dry and you realise you haven’t even made it through your glass of cheap red wine, it can be tempting to call it a day or, in other words, do a runner without so much as saying goodbye.

But this tactic is best avoided, says dating and relationships psychologist Madeleine Mason Roantree.

“Unless you have a genuine emergency, this is just mean,” she tells The Independent. “I’m always amazed when people think that ghosting is a kind way of saying ‘no thanks’. It’s cowardice and pathetic. Don’t do it.”

If things are going south early on, at least have the decency to stay for one drink.

2. No ‘negging’

It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, or, more specifically, in Neil Strauss’ controversial pickup artist handbook The Game, which famously encourages men to criticise women in order to seduce them, a hideous tactic Strauss dubbed “negging”.

Don’t do this, says Mason, who strongly advises against engaging in any sort of psychological gameplay when you’re dating someone – particularly on the first date. “This usually backfires for those looking for long-term romance,” she says.

“I have had clients of both genders who employ behaviours that try and get their date to ‘win them over’. It doesn’t work.”

3. Don’t talk about the future

When you’re on a first date and you’re getting on with someone like a house on fire, you might find yourself planning your wedding in your head when you take a toilet break.

But, as fun as fantasizing about your future with a total stranger can be, dating coach Jo Hemmings advises against letting your mind run away with you when it comes to making plans, whether it’s inviting them to your own wedding or asking them to come to a BBQ next weekend.

“Concentrate on the here and now” she tells The Independent, “rather than suggesting they might join you for an event further down the line. However much you like them initially, it’s just too much too soon.”

4. Don’t start quizzing them on their CV

Ever seen The Ugly Truth? There’s a scene when Katherine Heigl’s character is on a first date with a man she’s just met and within minutes of sitting down, Heigl is asking where he sees himself in 10 years. It’s particularly difficult to watch.

“Don’t treat the date like an interview,” says Hemmings.“You might want to know all about them, but some questions (think: “How did you choose to spend your free time during the career gap you had in 2017?” and “What attracted you to me in the first instance?”) are just a bit much to ask on a first date.

“Ask questions by all means, but first dates are about reciprocal disclosure in conversational form,” Hemmings adds.

5. Don’t bring a friend

It might sound obvious, but bringing a friend along to a date for moral support is not advised.

While it can be helpful to employ a wingman/wingwoman in the early stages of wooing to help land you a date with someone, bringing this person along on the date itself is not a wise strategy, Mason advises.

“It’s awkward and a major turn off for the person you’re meeting,” she says. “A client of mine recently did this and, needless to say, the date was cut short and no future ones were planned.”

6. Don’t ask for favors

Let’s say the date isn’t going well. But you’re an aspiring photographer, and you’ve realised that all is not lost, because the person you’re with runs a successful photography studio. Perhaps they’d make a dull romantic partner, but an exciting business one, you think, in a bid to turn lemons into lemonade.

Tempting as it may be, do not exploit someone you’re on a date with for their expertise or skills, says Mason. It’s simply not the right time.

“Before I met my husband, I had several first dates who thought they could use that time to tell me about their woes,” Mason recalls. “In one case I had to tell the person that I was not working.”

 

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9 Uncomfortable Things That Can Actually Make Your Relationship Stronger

While it’d be nice if things were always easy in relationships, the truth is you will have tough conversations with your partner, and go through less-than-ideal moments as a couple. And it won’t always be fun. But it’s important to keep in mind that, in many cases, these uncomfortable situations can actually make your relationship stronger.

This might include talking about sex, being honest about your pet peeves, and even chatting about money. “So many couples are scared to address difficult topics [like these] because they’re afraid they mean incompatibility or, worse yet, a breakup,” Dr. Adi Jaffe, PhD, a mental health expert and relationship counselor, tells Bustle. “But couples who can have these conversations in a constructive manner last longer, have better intimacy, and are less likely to develop a disdain for one another.”

And the same is true for potentially uncomfortable situations, such as your first argument, meeting each other’s parents, and so on. The best way to weather these moments as a couple is by being open and honest, and remaining aware that — in many ways — they can actually bring you closer together. Read on for a few ways to cope with these potentially uncomfortable situations, as well as why experts say they can make your relationship stronger.

1. Talking About Money

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Few people actually enjoy talking about money. And yet, for the health of your relationship, you’ll want to chat early and often about your financial goals, debts, how you’ll want to split bills, and so on.

After all, “money concerns continue to be one of the main reasons for divorce,” licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Catalina Lawsin, PhD, tells Bustle. Couples don’t always see eye-to-eye when it comes to spending or saving, and it can be a big source of tension.

And yet, you can not only prevent misunderstandings, but also make your relationship stronger, by being more honest with each other. Talking about money can be tough, but it’s necessary so that nobody feels frustrated or misunderstood.

2. Sharing Your Pet Peeves

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

If your partner does something that truly annoys you, and you just can’t let it go, talking about it may be the best course of action.

“Most partners simply ignore these or end up bringing them up in a fight, which never really leads to a great outcome,” Dr. Jaffe says. You might find yourselves yelling about something really simple — like how to divvy up chores — because you’ve been letting your anger brew.

Instead, have these conversations before they boil over by being honest about what makes you uncomfortable or gives you anxiety, Dr. Jaffe says. And you might just notice that you feel closer to your partner as a result.

3. Talking About Sex

Ashley Batz/Bustle

“This topic is so commonly not addressed in relationships because people are embarrassed and/or ashamed to bring it up,” Dr. Jaffe says. “The thinking is either ‘we will figure it out,’ or the hope is that you’ll be compatible. But having this conversation explicitly can do wonders to a relationship.”

Once you sit down and talk about what you both do and don’t like in bed, you can have better sex. But even more importantly, you might find that having an “embarrassing” conversation like this one actually makes you feel closer together, Dr. Jaffe says.

4. Having Your First Argument

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

While it can be a bit jarring to have your first argument, this uncomfortable moment can actually mark the beginning of a deeper connection, licensed psychologist Heather Z. Lyons, PhD, tells Bustle.

“If one or both members of the couple are willing to rock the boat that means it’s important to them that they get the relationship right and make it a relationship that’s sustainable over the long-term,” Dr. Lyons says. So instead of feeling uncomfortable, try to see this argument for what it really is. And make it positive.

“Attempt to listen to each other non-defensively,” Dr. Lyons says. “Even if you don’t agree with your partner try to hear why the issue is important to them.” Doing so will set you on the right course for arguing in a healthy way, going forward.

5. Saying What’s On Your Mind

Ashley Batz/Bustle

Learning how to speak up in a relationship, and being honest about what you want, might feel weird at first. But it can make for a better connection.

“It can save so much time and energy to practice just saying exactly what it is that you want,” licensed psychotherapist Christine Scott-Hudson, MA, MFT, ATR, tells Bustle. And it also saves you both from having to guess what’s on your partner’s mind — and vice versa — which is a game nobody likes to play.

6. Meeting The Parents

Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

It’s common to feel uncomfortable when you meet your partner’s parents, or when they meet yours. There can be some tension, and maybe a little bit of awkwardness, especially if your family doesn’t always say the right thing. But nothing brings a couples closer together quite like weathering this milestone together.

“The first meeting can be uncomfortable,” Dr. Jess O’Reilly, Astroglide’s resident sexologist, tells Bustle. “But the discomfort associated with meeting new people and trying to make a positive impression can be an important part of growing as a couple.”

And this is especially true if you decide to keep things light, while also arming your partner with any need-to-know info before you go in. Is there one family member who always says the wrong thing? Let your partner know, Dr. O’Reilly says, so they won’t be thrown off.

7. Talking About Kids

LightField Studio/Shutterstock

“So many people don’t talk about this and just assume their partner does or does not want kids or believes they know when their partner wants kids,” Jeannie Assimos, chief of advice at eharmony, tells Bustle. And yet, you’ll want to have a heart-to-heart in order to truly know what you both want.

It can be a tricky topic to bring up, especially if it’s one of the first serious conversations you have. But Assimos says it’s an important one to address, so that you can both be on the same page.

8. Defining Your Relationship

fizkes/Shutterstock

Have you had the “defining the relationship” conversation? If not, you may feel a bit uncomfortable getting real about where you’re currently at. “But, this conversation is so important early on,” Assismos says. “It gives you both the opportunity to set goals with each other and truly define where you stand.” The fewer questions you have, the closer you’ll feel.

9. Talking About Your Insecurities

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

It can be tough to let your guard down and be honest about your insecurities. But even though it may feel weird, this is such an important thing to do when it comes to strengthening a relationship, Rose Skeeters, LPC, PN2, NCC, tells Bustle.

You might, for example, want to talk about any jealousies you have. “In making the decision to talk with your partner, you are showing them that you are on their team and that, when you have something on your mind that is bothering you, you can openly discuss it in a rational and calm way, rather than letting it fester and build resentment for a future fight,” Skeeters says.

And the same is true for other tough topics, including setting boundaries. As Skeeters says, “It is the discomfort that accompanies these conversations that strengthens a relationship as it allows your partner to see you for who you are and for you to see them for who they are in an honest and raw way.”

It’s not always easy to get through these moments as a couple, but once you come out the other side, there’s a good chance you’ll feel closer than ever.

 

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5 Behaviors That Reveal Insecurities In Your Relationship

Insecurities are tricky business.

70% of heterosexual relationships fall apart within the first year, and a great majority of this boils down to couples not overcoming insecurities.

There isn’t a person on this planet who feels 100% confident 100% of the time. We like to think we hide it well, but deep down, we are all insecure about something or another. Yet, this lack of confidence can be overcome thanks to the love and words of kindness from our friends, S/Os and our family.

However, prolonged contact with insecurity can cause significant issues in a romantic relationship. When one partner is too clingy—and refuses to work on it—the more confident partner is almost always inevitably pushed away. Unless—of course—both partners are clingy, which results in both of them staying out of fear of losing one another. The first scenario is painful and sad. The second is downright tragic. Insecurities are how abusive relationships are made.

BEHAVIOR 1: INFIDELITY

Let’s just get this one out of the way from the get go.

There are two reasons a couple breaks up after infidelity:

1. The cheater is insecure in themselves and they feel the need to repeatedly cheat on their S/O in order to feel satisfied.
2. The victim is insecure and unwilling to forgive the cheater and work through the pain as a couple.

This reasoning may sound harsh, but the reality is: all cheating stems from a place of insecurity, and every relationship which falls apart as a result fell apart because one or both partners was too insecure to work through it.

Don’t get me wrong. Infidelity hurts. It hurts on the level of losing a child. Yet every act of infidelity has a root. That root may be that your partner is feeling unsatisfied sexually. It may be that they were deeply hurt as a child and are running for easy comfort because truly opening up to you is painful for them. Whatever the reason for cheating, cheating is wrong—but the majority of the time it isn’t purposefully malicious.

When you’ve been cheated on, you are fully justified in being angry. You are fully justified in feeling possessive. However, just because you feel a certain way does not make acting on it the right thing to do. Forgiveness does not just mean swallowing your feelings and forgetting. Forgiveness means, “let’s work through this together. Let’s heal our relationship together.”

To overcome insecurities surrounding infidelity, the pair of you need to be 100% transparent. You need to be willing to accept constructive criticism. You need to be willing to listen to your partner’s side, emotions and thoughts. There is an unimaginable amount of pain on both sides in these cases—even if your partner is a serial cheater.

That said, both partners need to be willing to repair the relationship for mutual healing to occur. If you have talked with your partner—be they the cheater or the victim—and they continually shut down, throw accusations, cast the blame or emotionally abuse you, it may be time to walk away and heal on your own. However, this should only be an option once you have exhausted every single resource to salvage the relationship.

BEHAVIOR 2: ONE-SIDED PURSUIT

Another signal of insecurity in a relationship is a one-sided pursuit. When one partner is constantly showering another in gifts, romantic dates and compliments at first it seems so romantic. However, as the relationship progresses through the natural stages, the infatuation wears off and most couples settle into a comfortable rhythm. This rhythm is still romantic and leaves room for great romantic gestures to be made. However, these are not constant.

If one partner is always offering these gestures, it demonstrates that they might be hiding a fear of their partner leaving. They are attempting to buy their affections, trying to prove that they are worth loving because they keep serving their partner. However, this is just a mask to their inner insecurities.

The problem with this sort of behavior is that the relationship will never reach maturity. The partner constantly showering the other with gifts is actually putting up a barrier which keeps the couple from ever reaching a depth of emotional intimacy. So when something truly turbulent happens in the relationship, the gift giver’s fears are finally realized. Either their partner leaves, or they confess their deep insecurity.

If the latter happens, the pair can begin to build towards establishing a true trust based on love and action. If the former, well… sadly the cycle usually continues from relationship to relationship until the insecure party begins to actively pursue individual healing.

BEHAVIOR 3: MUTUAL IDENTITY

A mutual identity is when two partners inextricably wrap themselves in each other’s lives so you cannot tell one without the other. They attend every single function together, must complete every project together, and it one is out of town the world comes to a crashing halt until they are together again.

This sort of relationship usually stems from each individual being unaware of who they are as a singular person. They do not know who they are, do not know their purpose, or are afraid of one of those two and are running away.

Whatever the reason, these relationships are almost always doomed to fail—or make the couple extremely unhappy—because life requires us to be able to fend for ourselves. Yes, it is healthy to be able to rely on your partner to pick up the slack when you are struggling. Yes, it is healthy to be able to cry on their shoulder when life is just too overwhelming. However, it is never healthy to stop living unless they are there by your side holding your hand through every little thing.

Time apart as partners is good, healthy even. Partners are able to develop their own interests and skills, pursue their dreams. Then when they come back together at the end of the day, they have plenty of interesting developments to discuss.

To overcome insecurities in this requires partners to find out who they are separate from each other. This does not necessarily mean splitting up, but rather pursuing different interests to develop their own skills. Once your individual skills are developed, you will be able to help each other pursue your dreams.

BEHAVIOR 4: CONSTANT INTERROGATION

A small amount of jealousy from time to time is acceptable. However, the jealousy which results in your partner getting angry when you go out, rifling through your internet history, and constantly asking where you’ve been is a little scary. These are the kinds of relationships that result in stalker-like tendencies—the kind that Netflix warns us about.

While most people who struggle with insecurities are no cause for that degree of alarm, someone with a snooping partner needs to have a serious conversation with them. Oftentimes an insecure partner is rifling through your schedule because they are afraid of losing you, and they will do anything to keep you. This fear often stems from a form of childhood neglect.

When your partner is struggling with abandonment issues, you need to be patient, understanding, but firm. Reassure them that you are with them in this present moment. They will want constant affirmation because they do not believe you. Rather than continually saying “I love you,” which they will not truly hear anyway, do your best to bring your partner to the present moment.

Overcoming fear of abandonment requires the partner to return their mind to the present moment. They are drawing on old feelings and mistaking the present for the past. Take your partner through emotional grounding techniques to help them recognize that the present is now and that you are here. In time, they will begin to realize that you are staying and they will begin to calm down. Talk with them about your boundaries, but even more, be willing to serve them by helping them learn to self regulate these fears. If you are in a truly committed relationship, eventually these fears will fade and be replaced by love.

BEHAVIOR 5: CONSTANT APOLOGIES

People who struggle with insecurities have no idea why you are with them. Literally no clue. They are thrilled when they find out that someone is interested in them, but that thrill is quickly replaced by a crippling fear that once their partner truly knows their imperfections, their partner will leave forever. Then begins the game of constantly trying to be enough for you.

Which means, they will always be apologizing.

Why?

insecurities in relationship

Because your insecure partner can never live up to their expectations of perfection.

They will apologize for breathing too loud, for buying you the wrong shampoo, for crying when something truly tragic happens to them. They will apologize for every little thing.

Overcoming insecurities requires much of the same tactics as outlined in the previous section. You need to reassure your partner that you love them and reminding them that they are allowed to have emotions, and allowed to make mistakes. Remind them of the grace they give you when you mess up, and encourage them to extend that same grace to themselves.

FINAL THOUGHTS TO OVERCOME INSECURITIES:

Ultimately, to overcome insecurities in relationships requires a great deal of work and determination. Both parties need to be willing to help one another cope with their own emotional baggage. At the end of the day though, the only person responsible for your own healing is you. Your partner can be there to support you—and you to them—but it takes two to tango, and the two of you need to provide your own emotional support and regulation to be able to help one another.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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10 Things Healthy Relationships Do (And 10 Things They Don’t)

Healthy relationships are incredible to be a part of. It’s no wonder that everyone seeks out these positive, happy partnerships when looking for a significant other. But a lot of toxic habits in relationships go overlooked because they seem small or unimportant.

This is why it’s so important to take note of unhealthy behavior and focus on creating positive habits for a good, long-lasting, mutually satisfying relationship. Here are some things healthy relationships do, and some things they don’t.

1. Respect of Privacy (Not Oversharing)

When you love someone, you like to talk about them. In a healthy relationship, though, there’s a clear line that is not to be crossed. Sure, you and your closest friends might giggle about something romantic your partner does or roll your eyes at some silly trait your partner has – but there are things you just don’t talk about.

Your partner might share deep dark secrets with you in confidence that you shouldn’t then spread around to other people, even if they promise not to tell anyone. If your partner finds out, they could feel betrayed and it will affect their overall trust in you.

The same goes for fights and disagreements. While it’s okay to rant to a trusted person on rare occasions, for the most part, your arguments with your partner should be between you. Bringing in third parties that will give you biased opinions or cause you to view your partner more negatively shows huge disrespect for your partner.

2. Independence (Not Codependence)

A relationship that is healthy should feature two whole, independent people staying together because they want to be together – not because they feel like they need to. This means each person should have no trouble doing activities on their own, such as:

  • Going out with their own group of friends
  • Following unique career paths and dreams
  • Enjoying their own hobbies
  • Taking me-time to themselves to rest and recuperate

This doesn’t mean you aren’t involved in each other’s lives, or that you don’t include each other in them. It just means that you have your own lives, too, which is a very positive trait in healthy relationships.

In unhealthy partnerships, one person may feel jealous or envious of the other person’s life, career, or friends. This stems from neediness, insecurity, and a validation-seeking nature that can be detrimental to a relationship in the long run. They may then resort to guilt-tripping, manipulation, unreasonable rules, and even forceful behavior to get what they want.

3. Giving Happily (Not Giving To Get)

Giving is a standard part of many relationships, but only a healthy one gives in a positive way. The good, healthy type of giving involves happily doing so in a free manner, without expecting something in return. You like seeing your partner happy, and they like seeing you happy, so it feels natural to give and make the other person smile.

Meanwhile, a toxic relationship never gives – unless it is seeking to get in return. This creates an air of distrust and discomfort within a relationship. You may worry that your partner’s gift means they are about to betray you or have done something wrong.

The same goes for soliciting giving. In a healthy relationship, both parties give freely. In unhealthy ones, you may feel like you have to give, or else. A partner might perform guilt tripping behavior in order to receive something from their significant other.

4. Support (Not Discouragement)

In a healthy relationship, your significant other is always there to support you. They inspire you and motivate you, pushing you to be better. When you go after your goals, they support you wholeheartedly and are there for the ride. And when you succeed, you can bet a million bucks that they’ll be right there celebrating with you!

But in unhealthy relationships, there isn’t this same level of support. Instead, you might feel discouraged. This can happen in a few different ways.

· Feeling stuck

You might feel actively discouraged when you think about your future because you need to make sure it is suitable for your partner – and that involves going in the opposite direction than you want to.

· Lacking confidence

Your partner may bring you down and convince you that you cannot succeed in chasing your dreams.

· Envy

If you have a competitive partner, they may become bitter when you succeed. They may feel extremely envious whenever you’re getting ahead in life, causing you to feel guilty for doing well.

· Jealousy

Your partner might stop you from following your dreams for fear that you will drift away from them. They might actively hold you back in order to keep you around.

5. Equality (Not Superiority or Inferiority)

A healthy relationship features equality. Both partners respect each other and consider each other equals in every way. There is no concept of someone deserving more than the other in any area, including:

  • Money
  • Freedom
  • Free time
  • Work
  • Benefits
  • Respect
  • Listening

This means finding compromises in a lot of areas. If one partner works 9 to 5, the other will take on extra chores. If both parties work, they split chores and errands between them. There isn’t a case of someone sitting in front of the television while the other person runs around doing all the household tasks and parenting duties.

An unhealthy relationship features ego dynamics that cause superiority battles. This isn’t just about chores, though; it’s also about entitlement. One person may feel like they deserve to be constantly listened to but never listens to their partner. Or a partner may feel like they are owed intimacy-related favors because they did extra chores.

6. Fighting Against A Problem (Not Against Each Other)

Fights aren’t pleasant, but when handled in a positive way, they can help a relationship grow stronger. If the idea of a good argument sounds foreign to you, take a look at these ways that fighting can be done healthily in a relationship, compared to unhealthy fighting habits.

· Learning

When you fight, you learn more about each other. You get better insight into your partner’s needs and, if you play your cards right, you’ll be able to understand them more and see how to prevent such disagreements in the future. You will also gain knowledge on how to better handle the situations that led to the fight.

A person in an unhealthy relationship, however, will collect this information as ammunition to use against their partner in the future. They don’t seek to learn from this fight to prevent future ones – they seek to learn so they can “win” the next one.

· Compromise

A healthy fight involves compromise. You have two different opinions or preferences, and you have to find a win-win solution. It takes a lot of work and effort from both parties, but there is always an option that will make both of you feel relatively satisfied.

On the other hand, an unhealthy fight is selfish. A partner in this situation will insist on having things done their way, refusing to budge. This will either cause a never-ending argument or result in someone being forced to give in.

· Togetherness

The goal of an argument should always be solving the issue. This means you and your partner are fighting against the problem – you aren’t fighting against each other.

In a healthy relationship, this is apparent. Both people try to stay calm and promote good discussion while keeping their positive thinking. Meanwhile, in an unhealthy relationship, both people are so concerned about preserving their pride and “winning” that they can’t find the solution they need.

7. Security and Trust (Not Jealousy)

In healthy relationships, you and your partner will feel secure with each other. You will trust each other without question; it’s great to come home at the end of the day to a place you know is safe, and a person you know loves you no matter what.

This also gives both partners more freedom. They have their own friends and lives while still feeling secure in the love they share with the other person. It’s a very important feature in a healthy relationship.

But in unhealthy relationships, a partner – or both – will be insecure. They will feel jealous about other connections a partner has, act in a controlling manner, or sneak through text messages to look for incriminating evidence. This creates a lack of security in the relationship that makes it feel unsafe and volatile.

8. Forgiveness (Not Resentment)

You and your partner are human. You will make mistakes sometimes. But when it’s all said and done and it’s all been hashed out, you are both ready to forgive each other and put it behind you – that’s a healthy relationship.

In an unhealthy relationship, one or both members have difficulty forgiving, though they might try to. In all likelihood, grudges will be held and resentment will build between both of you until it all comes to blows. Dwelling in the past like this is toxic and only harms the relationship.

9. Making Plans As A Unit (Not Being Self-Centered)

In healthy relationships, you know you’ll be together for a long time to come – so you make plans accordingly. You make decisions and plan for what’s to come as one cohesive unit, with positive thinking and hope, and by respecting each other.

However, an unhealthy relationship will not do this. Instead, there will be self-centered behavior and fighting because you refuse to compromise on what you want. It will force one person to give up their personal hope for the future so that the other one can flourish; and, as you can imagine, this will create tension further down the line.

10. Acceptance (Not Change)

In healthy relationships, it is paramount that both people love and respect each other 100%. This means accepting your partner and all their quirks, flaws, and traits. You should love your significant other just as they are.

In toxic relationships, on the other hand, a member will try to change their partner to suit what they desire. A partner may control the other, or guilt-trip them into changing certain behaviors. This extremely unhealthy behavior shows a lack of true love for the other.

There is, of course, the need for personal growth and improvement – but the keyword here is “personal.” Your partner shouldn’t be forcing you to change or telling you that you need to improve. Instead, they should simply inspire you to grow and develop – just as you should for them!

Final Thoughts On Some Things Healthy Relationships Do And Some They Don’t

Healthy relationships can be hard work, but they are extremely worth it. They will make you happy and spur you to do better, not drag you down through toxicity. Keep this in mind moving forward, and you’ll surely enjoy great partnerships to come.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Kita – Chapter 31 – The Realization and Clarity of My Advice

“He ignored me for two weeks without a reason.
Then he came back.”

I recently told Kita to write down her feelings in regard to her ex boyfriend, JR. She’s still reeling from the pain of the breakup and I know that writing this blog has helped me work out all of my thoughts and feelings. You can think about these things. You can talk to other people about what happened. But when you write it down it sort of gets it out of you and lays all of your thoughts onto the paper in front of you. You can see the whole event in a single snapshot.

Kita took my advice and did just that. I’m really proud of her. Below is what she wrote.

Pretty clear picture, right? This guy obviously sucks and is an immature moron.

But here’s the thing. What if she’s the problem and not JR? I’ve known Kita a few months now, and I’ve learned quite a bit about her. Let’s review.

  1. Has no idea how to navigate love and loss
  2.  Has been taking anti-depression medication since she was 16 years old
  3. Texts way too much
  4. Overthinks things constantly
  5. Clingy
  6. She’s 5’0″ and thinks her ideal weight should be 96 lbs. (She recently went to the doctor to renew her prescription and he weighed her and she is 106 lbs. and she’s freaking out about it.
  7. Always saying how she’s so pale. (She is one of the darkest tanned people that come to this salon!)
  8. Works out every day. (Too much)
  9. Doesn’t eat enough and eats the wrong things.
  10. Self Absorbed. (If it’s not about her, it’s not discussed)

I can see how between all of that and can’t even go out and have a drink. So to me overall she’s pretty boring.

But I adore her anyway.

I know.  She’s beautiful. I’m fickle, and I’m falling for her.

Hard.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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