Is It a Bad Idea to Get Back With an Ex? Here’s What Relationship Experts Have to Say

I’m back with my ex, Mack. But it actually feels like we just met.

I originally met him when I was 21 years old and living far away from the West Coast in Chicago. That was the first time we dated. We reunited almost a year ago in San Francisco. It turns out, a lot changed in the time we were apart. Our bodies were different. Our personalities were more evolved.

When we were younger we spent hours together, listening to music and lounging at my apartment, talking forever. He would wait for me to finish my college newspaper job and walk me home from the office in the middle of the night. I remember feeling flattered when he asked me to meet his father and step-mother.

Then, he went on tour. He came back and he didn’t want to be in a relationship anymore. I was graduating early and moving to Los Angeles in a few weeks. It wasn’t going to work. It wasn’t super dramatic, just sad. We broke up in a cafeteria.

We said goodbye at a party months later. My friend had thrown the party for me during my final hours in Chicago, and it was a pleasant surprise to see him there. I didn’t know that I wouldn’t see him again for nearly 10 years.

I was the one who initially reached out a decade later. I sent him an email and asked him how he was doing.

I was hesitant to reach out. I didn’t know if he had the same email address anymore. I figured he probably had a life going on, but I felt optimistic about catching up with him and having a conversation again. I asked him how he was doing. I told him I was coming up to San Francisco on a work assignment, and that I’d love to see him. He responded the next day and said he’d love to see me, too. When it got closer to my trip, we started texting. Then we didn’t stop texting until I stepped out of an Uber and saw him again.

He was still hot. Same big smile. Same big eyes. Same scratchy voice and hairy chest. He was so warm and welcoming. I immediately knew I was in trouble, and that this was a real crush. He watched me eat a taco. He kept staring at me. We talked about all the things that happened during the last decade.

The good thing is, years later, we were able to find humor in all the messed up stuff we did the first time around. But we were also honest about it. It was raw. It was the sexiest, most real conversation I’d ever had with a man.

We’ve always had a lot in common, from our Arabic names to the fact that we’re from the same tribe and religion in Lebanon. We have a background that connects to who we are both spiritually and culturally. Our culture, in so many ways, is an important bond, from the food we eat to the way we speak Frablish—English-French-Arabic in our own language together.

The next day, I knew I wanted him to be part of my life. He wanted me to be part of his.

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So… Should you get back with an ex?

“It depends, and it’s not as easy as if it’s a good idea or bad idea,” says Hillary McBride, a psychotherapist and researcher.

While McBride cannot provide advice to people she is not in a therapeutic relationship with, she did suggest stepping back and asking yourself a few questions:

“I recommend asking: Who is the ex? Why did you break up? Have the issues that caused the break up been resolved? Are you getting back together because you learned something about yourself, and feel differently? Or because you’re lonely? Do we feel pressured? Do we actually want to be together, or is it just hard to meet someone new? Do we know how to sit with our sense of sadness about the relationship ending, or not?”

If you’ve answered these questions honestly and feel like you’re approaching the reunion with a healthy mindset…

Start with communication.

“Ask yourself and the other person what’s different between now and when you were together last, and what the plan is to make changes if that is necessary,” McBride says. “If need be, it could be a good idea for each person, if appropriate, to take ownership of the mistakes they made previously. Think about being able to identify how you want things to be different this time.”

This was something really difficult to discuss: how our breakup hurt my feelings, and how we never truly talked about what had happened between us. Those were tough conversations, but we had them—even though they were deeply painful. Each discussion has helped us build more trust and a stronger relationship.

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“It can feel so good to be with someone who understands us, who we have a history with, but we end up getting stuck in the same old patterns, and it’s not healthy for us to be together,” McBride says. “So, having intentional, thoughtful, sober, conversations about being together can help mitigate some of the pull we feel towards people who we have some measure of comfort with.”

During those difficult conversations, focus on “I” statements about your emotions, and don’t sling judgments or accusations, she says.

Saying I feel fear about what could happen instead of I feel that you’re going to hurt me again “can help us communicate in ways that don’t trigger the other person’s defensiveness,” McBride says.

She recommends counseling to help work out the kinks and set new goals. That way you can create something different than what you had before.

Listen to the people around you, too.

“I would definitely check in with a friend or family member who may have been familiar with the previous relationship and get some feedback about whether they think it is a good idea or not,” says Shane Birkel, LMFT and Host of the Couples Therapist Couch podcast.

In my case, I checked with a best friend, my college roommate Elaina. Her impression was that I was happy with him back then.

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On making your relationship work with your ex:

Here’s some good news: Timing may work in your favor.

“Sometimes when couples are younger they just aren’t mature enough yet to have a serious, adult relationship,” Birkel says. “Meeting again when they are older might be better timing for them.”

That was the exact case with Mack and me. When I talked to my boyfriend before writing this article, that continually came up. We weren’t ready for each other. We had family messes and traumatic events we needed to heal from that truly prevented us from having healthy relationships at that age. We weren’t where we needed to be until now.

“After so many years, I would look at this situation as though you were starting a new relationship,” Birkel says. “Just because you might have dated for a year in the past, don’t expect the other person to be ready to dive right back in. Show up and act in ways that are trustworthy, respectful and kind.”

In my case, we’ve been together almost a year. He’s lived in San Francisco. I’ve lived in Los Angeles. We see each other about every six weeks or so. We make it work. It feels new. And in June, we won’t do long distance anymore. Almost 10 years later, we’ll be together in the same place again. No goodbyes, just goodnights.

Nicole Charky Nicole Charky is a journalist and producer based in Los Angeles, California.

 

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Why People Have Makeup Sex After An Argument (And Why It’s So Hot)

The only thing that gets some couples more heated than a tense, emotionally loaded argument? The makeup sex that comes after.

While your personal post-fight sexual history might be all the proof you need, research does show that romantic conflict often increases feelings of sexual desire in people. (It’s easy enough to shake off your annoyance about having to go to your in-laws for the weekend when you’re experiencing that heady, sweaty post-orgasm moment of bliss.)

The argument itself leaves you feeling emotionally distant from a partner, while the sex that follows works as a kind of Band-Aid, emotionally and intimately repairing the closeness that was fissured during the fight. Research shows that the effect is strongest when the argument is successfully resolved ― not just tabled to prioritize sex.

Generally speaking, heightened feelings do wonders for sex. A 2008 study out of Israel’s Bar-Ilan University suggested that people tend to be more interested in sex with their partner after being primed with feelings of emotional threat, such as being asked to imagine their S.O. falling in love with someone else.

In couples therapy, many men and women report falling into a pattern of “fight, and then get freaky,” said Marissa Nelson, a marriage and family therapist in Washington, D.C. (It sure beats the other route couples take: withholding sex for a period of time after an argument.)

“For many, conflict is something to be avoided so this is a way to reconnect without words or apologies,” she said. “What’s more, the release of the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin during sex makes couples feel closer. They get that ‘feel good’ rush that soothes some of the emotions that may have come to the surface during the argument.”

Sometimes, makeup sex can add spice and novelty to the relationship and sexual routine.

“I always say to my clients that sex is a place you enter and a role you step into, so if that time after an argument is a safe place to explore more kinky or assertive sex, that can be very sexually satisfying,” Nelson said.

Our need for makeup sex might also have something to do with our survival instincts kicking in, said Megan Fleming, a New York City-based psychologist and sex therapist.

“Our attachment system gets activated during a fight,” she said. “When we disagree, the attachment bond feels threatened. It activates our fight and flight instincts. Arguing is arousing physiologically, as is fear and excitement, so the body is turned on ― there’s an increased heart rate, respiration and blood flow.”

If your body’s already at a heightened state of arousal, it makes sense that the sex is going to be more pleasurable.

Though there’s no research on the subject, emotionally keyed-up sex might even make for better orgasms, said New York-based therapist Douglas Brooks.

“As I have often observed, most orgasms are not due to the mechanical pounding of intercourse but because of the intense heightened emotional state and arousal prior to blast-off. Often during an argument, particularly a passionate argument, our bodies get worked up, too.”

Conan O’Brien
I’ll bet Kellyanne and George Conway have pretty disturbing makeup sex.

Not all makeup sex is worth getting hot and bothered over, though. (No, we’re not just talking about the sex Conan O’Brien is referencing in the tweet above.) The pattern is problematic if you never resolve your arguments ― or if there’s anything vaguely physically or emotionally abusive about the dynamic, Brooks said.

“It’s fine for people to engage in sex during or after an argument provided that each person feels good about themselves afterwards,” he said.

And if you really want to get down to the bottom of an argument, you may want to have the discussion when cooler heads prevail.

You know the expression “strike when the iron is hot”? Fleming tells couples to strike when the iron is cold. Wait to have important conversations until you’re in the right headspace.

“When emotions are high, we aren’t thinking clearly. Our emotions take our executive functioning, or rational thinking, offline because of heightened amygdala activation,” she said. “I think timing is important, but what matters most is that the issue gets resolved, or at the very least, you both can agree to disagree.”

 

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This dating app wants you to rate men-and hold them accountable

After swiping through Tinder and Bumble for a couple of years, 44-year-old Dave Brandner started noticing a recurring theme: Women were deeply frustrated with online dating and tired of being harassed. “I was reading about it in women’s profiles and hearing about it on dates,” Brandner, who’s based in Minneapolis, told the Daily Dot. “The three core frustrations I kept hearing about were profile misrepresentation, lewd and rude messaging, and then lack of follow-through.”

Flakiness, poor communication, and generally annoying behavior are fairly common across many dating apps, but women looking to meet men online face a number of risks far beyond a mildly annoying exchange. Sexual harassment, abuse, and doxxing are pervasive and widespread problems, yet many dating apps fail to provide adequate accountability mechanisms to prevent this kind of harassment before it starts. Though newer dating apps like Vibe offer creative approaches like video messaging to create a safer space for women, and others like Hinge match users based on mutual friends, Brandner felt these apps were missing one critical feature—a rating system.

Brandner, who previously ran a frozen yogurt business in Saint Paul, is now the CEO of Plum. The dating app, which will officially launch next month, allows women-seeking-men and men-seeking-men to rate their matches on three non-physical, character-based components using a strictly numerical system. Women are eligible to use the rating feature one time per match, and only after communication begins. Men who download Plum start with a five-star rating, like Uber and Lyft drivers, and can track their score side-by-side against the app average in the categories of profile authenticity, communication, and follow-through. “It’s a benchmark, so you can see how you’re stacking up against the competition,” Brandner said. “We’re kind of saying, ‘Men, let’s step up our game.’”

While enticing men to be kind as a competitive sport might seem counter-intuitive, Brandner emphasized that Plum’s primary goal is tackling sexual harassment. “Oftentimes, matches are made on dating apps that don’t result in dates, but there’s communication, and that’s were a lot of this harassment takes place.” Brandner believes men will think twice before sending hostile or lewd messages when they know their communication will be rated.

Plum isn’t the first or only dating app that lets women rate men, but previous attempts have been flawed. The Grade is a “female-friendly” app that allows both men and women to rate each other using a letter grade system, but as Brandner pointed out, a user with a low grade might not be motivated to stick around. The Lulu app began as a platform for women to anonymously rate the men they dated, including details about their physical appearance. This comment-based format proved to be controversial, facing backlash from critics who believed the app raised legal concerns, and men who simply didn’t like the idea that women were talking about them. Though the app no longer exists in its original form, it invited a cultural dialogue about the physical, life-or-death risks women face when they join an online dating app that extend far beyond an encounter with a date who talks too much or dresses poorly.

“As women, we’re always looking out for our safety, and whenever you go on a date or meet a stranger online or on an app, there’s always that question in your head: ‘Is this person safe? Am I going to get murdered?’” Plum advisory board member Alexandra Tweten told the Daily Dot. “I think it’s something that all women think about, and I think it’s important to have resources for checking people’s backgrounds and checking people out.”

And yet it’s unclear if any dating app is equipped to tackle the deep-seated behavioral patterns that contribute to sexual harassment and prevent abusive men from gaming the system. Or if a rating system could actually keep women safer once they’re actually on a date. According to Cleo Stiller, a Peabody Award-nominated health reporter and author of the soon-to-be-published book Modern Manhood: Conversations About the Complicated World of Being a Good Man Today, developing a product offering a long-term solution requires in-depth research to support Brandner’s theory, as well as collaboration with anti-harassment experts and organizations. “In theory, of course, this is a good idea, but keeping a fair system of checks and balances, protecting identity—this takes a lot of input from experts,” Stiller told the Daily Dot.

While some might be skeptical of a man creating an anti-harassment app for women, Plum’s founding CEO was journalist and author Jenna Birch, who worked with Brandner early in the app’s development to ensure it would avoid common dating app traps like “resume dating” that Birch uncovered while writing The Love Gap, a research-based guide to online dating. Brandner also brought on lead developer Mamta Yadav, who wrote 75% of the app’s code.

Tweten caught Birch’s attention through her Instagram account @byefelipe, where Tweten posts screenshots of messages from men who become hostile after being rejected or ignored on dating apps as a way to hold them accountable for their behavior. Birch was impressed by Tweten’s mission and offered her a seat on the board. Though Birch has since chosen to step down from her role as CEO to focus on her work as a freelance journalist, she has stayed on as a member of the advisory board, which includes the editor in chief of Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health, Michele Promaulayko.

“I’ve really been wanting to see a dating app where there’s some accountability,” said Tweten. “I think Plum is that app, because women are able to rate the men after they talk to them, so hopefully men will be on their best behavior, knowing that there’s another person on the other end.”

Tweten is one of the 520 people (342 women and 178 men) who downloaded the private beta version of the app, and so far, she’s a fan. She believes a rating system like Plum’s could serve as an essential tool for keeping women safe on dating apps. “I’ve gone on so many dates with guys where I found out they had very toxic behaviors, and I wanted to let other women know not to date that guy, or wished there was some way that I could let other people know, ‘Hey, this guy is bad news,’” Tweten said. “A lot of these guys can be very charming and they wouldn’t necessarily give off red flags before you get involved with them.”

Brandner believes a built-in rating system could make dating apps safer for women by offering a user base of generally well-intentioned men, who in turn might enjoy a more rewarding user experience. “For men, the benefit to getting on Plum is you can stand out for your character. This is not ‘hot or not,’” Brandner explained. “You get boosted in the algorithm based on your rating. The higher the rating, the higher the algorithm you’re placed which can lead to more matches.”

As for Brandner himself, he currently has a 4.4 rating on his own dating app. His profile is a standout in the categories of communication and follow-through, but he’s currently dating someone who also uses the app and doesn’t plan to meet any of his matches in person—leaving the category of “profile authenticity” blank. Granted, these ratings are preliminary since the app doesn’t officially launch until June.

While it may be too early to predict whether an app like Plum can compete with dating app giants like Tinder and Bumble for widespread influence on dating culture, Brandner said it’s a step toward positive, lasting change. “We’re hopeful that women will shift their business now to a platform where they’re going to get a better, more respectful user experience, and that men, in turn, are going to follow,” Brandner said. “This is an app that women will have every reason to come join.”

 

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16 people share the sexiest traits that have nothing to do with looks. Love isn’t built in the gym

Turns out, there’s more to falling in love than just a bangin’ bod.

Even in the age of constant Tinder dates, people still care about personality. This is great news! There can’t be a relationship without good conversation and overall chemistry regardless of how Kardashian-like your waist-to-hip ratio is. People are still attracted to someone with a good sense of humor, a passion for what they do, drive, and generosity. Maybe there is hope for the future despite Instagram.

When a recent Reddit thread asked users, “What non-physical attribute immediately makes someone attractive to you?” the internet was ready to offer up their best non-booty related advice. Maybe we should all skip obsessing over arm muscle reps and perfect contour and read the news? Who knew?

1. This is key, “catfishfighter.”

Has their own shit going on. Hobbies, ambitions, ideas.

2. For sure, “cursedapplesauce.”

Sharing experiences and opening up to me. If someone feels confident enough with me to tell me more about his/her life, secrets, thoughts and struggles, I feel so grateful for this trust I just can’t.

3. Yes, “EmpZurg__”

An inappropriately goofy sense of humor.

4. Absolutely, “Ronotrow.”

Kindness

5. This is hardcore, but yes “BearilynMonroe.”

Competence.

I don’t care what it is you’re competent at — just show me that you are. You know your job, or your craft, or your hobby; you’ve spent time learning the ins and outs, and you do your shit well. You are still learning. You want always to improve. Always to grow. And when you’re here to do the thing, you’re motherfucking Here to Do the Thing.

6. Absolutely, “ReiMizere.”

The ability to actually listen what the person is saying to you, as opposed to wait your turn to talk.

7. Don’t be late, “Rambo7112.”

Good logistics.

I know that sounds odd, but if a girl says she’ll meet me somewhere at a certain time and shows up on time, it shows that I’m worth her time.

If she can’t make it, tells me before hand, and specifically reschedules, that’s shows she cares.

After having people tell me they’ll meet me at a certain time and then tell me they can’t make it 45 minutes later, good logistics are gr8.

8. Funny people are hot as hell, “1JustAnotherPerson1.”

Humor, legit male or female funny people are attractive.

9. Aw, “Eight216.”

Authenticity….? But not in a goodie two-shoes kinda way. More like someone who just is who they are, faults and all… Like I went on a date with this girl and i paid her a compliment. She blushed a little, said “ooh stop it” and then motiones for me to continue saying nice things. Still makes me smile but of course at the time my idiot self was speechless because I found her so damn charming

10. Keep up, “expertBJrecipient.”

Wit. A woman who can beat me to the punch for a joke is so, so sexy

11. This should probably be a given, “kitskill.”

When people are genuinely interested in you and what you have to say. Knocks me flat.

Can’t be faked either.

12. 100%, “mochikitstune.”

Passion – not like lovemaking but as in passion for something. Passion for plants, writing, cooking, etc anything really. There are some I don’t find as endearing as others but to see someone eith a sparkle in their eyes as they talk about their passion is very attractive.

13. Cuddling is great, “mekankistik.”

Being a good cuddler. Cuddles are important. Mandatory even. I have known a few people who just can’t stand them, and that is a major turn off.

14. Too real, “RustyWood86.”

Intelligence. I don’t care how good looking or well off you are, if you can’t form complete sentences you’re ugly to me.

15. Where is this person, “CaminoGypsy.”

A desire for continuous learning and trying new things, combined with a dark, yet witty sense of humor is the most attractive trait I have ever witnessed in a human.

16. Critically important, “nsandbrai.”

Closes mouth when eating

 

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The Number One Difference Between How Men and Women Form Bonds in Relationships

How communication styles affect intimacy.

There are many differences between men and women, including in the types of communication styles they use to bond and create intimacy in relationships. And when couples aren’t on the same page, differences in men and women’s communication styles can cause unnecessary tension.

Unfortunately, this easily avoidable relationship problem is all-too-common.

As an example of how differences in communication styles can escale, take a conflict my client, Andrew, shared with me.

While his wife, Ceceila, was getting something for him, he jokingly said, “Don’t break it.” She came back with a fairly harsh, “What’s going on with you?” He reacted to her judgment of him, and it didn’t go well from there.

After a few minutes, they calmed down and talked about it. She understood why her tone upset him, but even though they had talked about this very issue over and over, he didn’t get why his joke upset her.

He judged her as being too sensitive and she ended up feeling even more hurt and unheard. She believed that his judgmental ‘jokes’ were passive-aggressive, and she wanted him to address this. However, he looked inside and when it came to the sarcastic jokes, he couldn’t find any aggression within himself.

This is when the importance of communication styles in relationships come into play.

I told Andrew that I, too, would not have liked the comment and asked him if he was open to going deeper with what was going on. He was on board.

The first thing he said was, “This is the way I and my guy friends are with each other. We are constantly sarcastic, insulting and ridiculing of each other. But only with my close friends. We make fun of each other a lot and it’s fun.”

“Andrew, is this the way you and your friends connect with each other?” I asked.

“Yes! It’s fun and it’s bonding. You know, guys don’t share their feelings a lot and this is a way of being close.”

“I understand. So it’s not actually passive-aggressive. But I know that you know that Cecelia hates it. Why do you do it with her?”

“I just forget. I slip up. I’m with guys a lot and we do this all the time so sometimes I just forget.”

“Would you be willing to share our conversation with Cecelia? I think it might help her to understand why you do this and to not get so hurt by it.”

“Yes, I’d be happy to talk with her. And I’m glad to finally understand it myself!”

Andrew later sent me a Reddit thread about this topic. One of the quotes on this page is interesting: “Men socialize by insulting each other, but don’t really mean it. While women socialize by complimenting each other but don’t really mean it.”

I think there is some truth when it comes to gender differences between men and women in communication styles.

Women often “compliment” each other insincerely or are “catty” behind each other’s backs. It’s one way the wounded self tries to connect when they haven’t learned to connect with their heart. And, for some men, the bantering can be hurtful rather than bonding.

The real issue is that many people never learned how to have an open heart and connect with their feelings when communicating.

Men likely learned in their families to connect with insults and sarcasm, and women learned to connect with compliments and gossip. Yet, these forms of connection can leave each person feeling empty and unsatisfied, if there is a lack of the authentic energy of love.

For both men and women, these indirect behaviors can be tricky, depending on the intent and context. If you are a person who has learned to relate to others this way — whether it’s “masculine” insult or banter or the “feminine “cattiness” — it is important to really examine how the behavior makes you and the people with whom you engage in these behaviors feel.

If you both feel a genuine sense of intimacy, ease, connection, caring, and fun, then great. If not, it is worth looking at the behavior to see if it might be one of the many ploys of your wounded self to try and feel in control or to keep others at bay (which is most likely), rather than connecting.

The only thing that truly fills us is love.

As you practice Inner Bonding and learn how to love yourself, you may find that you no longer enjoy the way the wounded self has learned to connect and communicate.

If you are a sensitive man, you may find that you have had to ignore your hurt feelings regarding the insults and judgments you might experience with other men and it no longer feels okay to ignore it.

Being true to yourself is always the important thing to do and often it takes some work to discover that truth.

Inauthentic ways of communicating often leave us feeling bad, while authentically sharing love and intimacy is always deeply fulfilling.

 

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If Your Relationship Is On Its Last Leg, You’ll Notice These 9 Signs

One from a female reader…

Read on to find nine signs that your relationship might be on its last legs.

1. BOTH OF YOU HAVE STOPPED MAKING AN EFFORT

If you’ve both stopped making an effort to connect, the relationship may be nearing the end. What’s a sign of making less effort? “When you eat meals together and can’t muster a conversation because you’re not interested in doing so, or you’re annoyed at the other person and the way they chew sends you into fits of annoyance,” Relationship and etiquette expert April Masini tells Elite Daily. Not making an effort to even chat over dinner could be a sign the relationship is on its last legs.

Maybe you start by telling small white lies, but pretty soon you’re giving your partner completely inaccurate accounts of where you’ve been all day. It’s OK to have secrets, but frequent lying could be a sign that you’re not comfortable in the relationship and want it to be over.

 

Bickering is totally normal, but sometimes, if it’s too frequent, it could mean the relationship is struggling. “Do you bicker all the time? Chronic bickering is a sign that more is wrong than right in a relationship,” Masini says. If you can’t make peace even over the small things, maybe there’s an incompatibility issue in the relationship.

4. YOU FANTASIZE ABOUT BEING SINGLE

It’s OK to have crushes, and even to imagine being with them (I’ve planned my wedding to Jesse Eisenberg through all my serious relationships). It’s also OK to fondly remember being single. It becomes an issue when the fantasies are constant, and you spend every moment thinking about how nice it would be to be single. If this is the case, it could be a sign that your relationship is coming to a close.

 

Maybe you used to discuss a future with your partner but now shy away from the conversation topic — this could be a sign that the relationship is winding down. However, just because you’ve stopped discussing the future, doesn’t mean you can’t start again. “Make a bucket list together, and make it one that’s a couples’ bucket list, not just an individual one,” Masini says. If you start planning around a future together, you could save your relationship.

6. SEX WANES

Your sex life could give you a sign about your relationship. “You don’t have much sex. It’s just not that important to either one of you,” Masini cites as an indicator that a relationship is coming to a close. However, it’s just a sign — many go through periods of increased or decreased sexual desires, and it doesn’t have to be unhealthy. If you’re unsatisfied with the amount of sex you’re having, consider opening up the communication with your partner to try to work through it.

 

Are you hiding that you have a partner? You don’t need to bring it up in every conversation (in fact, doing so can be annoying), but if someone is expressing interested in you and you wait weeks before mentioning you’re in a relationship, it could be a warning sign. Maybe you’ve already mentally checked out of the relationship and you’re starting to look for other options. This is OK, as long as you’re being honest with yourself about whether you plan to stay in your relationship.

 

Old problems may resurface from time to time in any relationship, but if it feels like nothing from the past ever gets resolved, it could mean the relationship isn’t in a good place. “One or both of you keep bringing up old baggage — like a best friend’s slight at the wedding (ten years ago), or an indiscretion that happened before you got married,” Masini says. Ask yourself why either of you is having trouble letting go of the past, and determine if you think your relationship might be coming to a close.

This is perhaps the biggest sign that a relationship is on its last legs. If you (or your partner) know that you want the relationship to be done, then it’s definitely coming to a close. Breakups can still take a while or one of you could change their mind, but once you start wanting it to end, it’s probably close to finished.

Do any of these signs ring true to you? They’re just warnings, so if you notice a trend but you want to save your relationship, then DW — it’s still possible. However, it could be time to look inward to see if the relationship is really bringing both of you joy. And if your relationship is on its last legs, don’t worry — there’s something more fulfilling for you out there, just around the corner.

 

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If Your Relationship Is In Crisis Mode, You’ll Notice These 7 Signs

Every relationship goes through its fair share of ups and downs. No matter how connected you are, or how well things have gone in the past, you’re never going to have smooth sailing together 100% of the time. Usually, rough patches are nothing to worry about, but occasionally, they may signal a deeper disconnect between you and your partner. If your relationship is in crisis mode, you probably need to do some soul-searching about whether it’s meant to be.

1. YOU’VE LOST TOUCH WITH EACH OTHER PHYSICALLY.

 

It’s one thing to have a brief period where you’re not having sex as often as you normally do (maybe one or both partners are busy or stressed), but if this has become a regular pattern over the course of weeks or months, it’s a problem. “When your romantic time or sex starts to wane, it’s a sign that your partner isn’t feeling connected with you,” Spira said. One way to fix this? Schedule sexy time into the calendar! Even if you’re not in the mood, it’s important to stay physically connected to your partner. This doesn’t mean you should have sex when you don’t want to — enthusiastic consent is always key — but it does mean you should talk about why things have changed. Making intimacy a priority can help keep the spark alive in your relationship.

 

 

In a stable relationship, both partners care deeply about spending time together as a couple. This doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking moment hanging out with bae, but you should be excited about the time you do get to spend with him or her. “When your regular date nights are canceled and not being rescheduled, it’s a sign that your relationship isn’t a priority,” Spira explained. If you find yourself constantly trying to do anything else other than hang out with your SO, it probably means you’re super disconnected.

3. YOUR CONVERSATIONS ARE SURFACE LEVEL.

 

If you find yourself unable to talk about vulnerabilities and insecurities the way you used to, it means one of both of you are pulling away emotionally. Perhaps you’ve noticed yourself or your partner shutting down whenever serious subjects are brought up (about the future, about relationship conflicts, or about your bond as a couple). “When conversations that used to flow end up with abrupt ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers,” Spira explains, it’s a sign that things aren’t going well. You’ve stopped being each other’s confidante — a crucial indicator that your bond might be fading.

 

 

Fights are to be expected in any relationship that’s past the honeymoon phase, but there’s a difference between healthy and unhealthy conflict. “When a couple fights, the more they display contempt, stonewalling, criticism, and defensiveness, the less likely they are to sustain a close and loving relationship,” explained sex and intimacy coach Irene Fehr. If you want to stay together, you might need to address the root causes of these fights in order to move past them.

 

 

Maybe something specific happened to ruin the trust in your relationship, or maybe it started to fade away when you stopped communicating. Either way, if you find yourself stressed out when your partner is spending time away from you, or if you get jealous when they’re out with their friends, it could signal a lack of trust. “Consult with a therapist or relationship coach who can help you facilitate these conversations and explore places of alignment and misalignment, as well as learn to repair and heal hurt feelings to be able to sustain the relationship,” Fehr suggested. With expert help, you can work to repair the wounds and start to heal.

 

 

Do you feel like you’re not really a factor in the decisions your partner is making, or are you making major life choices without even telling them first? It’s never fun for either partner to feel like they’re not a priority. “If they’re not consulting you with decisions, [or] they go and take a weekend away, and they don’t even tell you, you’re an afterthought,” explained dating expert and matchmaker Stefanie Safran. Even when you have your own lives and agendas (as you should!), it’s important to clue each other in when you’re making a big change.

7. YOU’RE CONSTANTLY VENTING TO YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP.

If you’re so fed up with bae that you count down the days until you can vent to your besties, that’s not good. Obviously, your friends are there for you when you want to talk things out, but if you’re always complaining to them about how you’re unhappy, it means you’re not in a healthy place. “If you’re constantly venting to your friends about your [boyfriend/girlfriend], chances are you know something isn’t right and you’re seeking validation,” explained behavioral scientist Clarissa Silva. Deep down, you probably know there’s a problem, but you might not be ready to admit it to yourself yet.

If more than one of these signs applies to you, take a step back and think about what you want out of this relationship. Are you in it for the long haul, and committed to making things work? If so, individual or couples’ therapy can help you sort through your relationship struggles in a useful and productive way. And if you decide you need to break things off, that’s OK, too — sometimes ending a relationship is the best thing you can do for your happiness. Whatever you decide, know that you deserve to have a love that makes you feel encouraged and strong.

 

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