Relationship Problems – The Date Mix Dating and Relationship Advice for Today's Daters Sun, 18 Mar 2018 08:00:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Lust vs. Love: 5 Ways to Tell What You’re Feeling Sun, 11 Mar 2018 09:00:07 +0000 Are you in love or lust? Here are a few ways to tell the difference.

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Are you in love or is it lust? Sometimes it’s hard to tell because both emotions feel really good. And both create a connection with your partner that feels exciting and blissful. But for all their similarities, they are most definitely not the same. When it comes to lust vs. love, there are a few things you should know.

Lust is an intense physically attraction. You desire your partner in every way due to your strong sexual connection. Love is deeper than lust. It’s attraction and affection. You profoundly care for your partner, which creates an emotional attachment in addition to your sexual connection.

It’s important to know the difference, especially in the beginning of the relationship. It’s easy to get caught up in the heady feelings of a new love interest, and mistake your early feelings of lust for love. Want to know how to tell the difference?

Here are 5 things that help you tell if it’s lust vs love:

1. How perfect you think your partner is.
If You’re in Lust: You think your partner is perfect. You think nothing is wrong with them. Everything about them is shiny, bright, and new. They can’t do anything really wrong in your eyes because the pedestal you put them on is that big.

If You’re in Love: You know your partner isn’t perfect—and you choose to love them and be with them anyway. In fact, it’s your partner’s imperfections that you cherish the most. You know you aren’t perfect, so you value and welcome your partner’s flaws.

2. How much care you put into your appearance.
If You’re in Lust: You dress up each and every time you see your sweetie because your physical attraction to one another is huge. You’re obsessed with looking your best for them because you still feel like you need to impress and entice them.

If You’re in Love: You wear sweatpants and no makeup. You don’t care how you look in front of your partner because you know that they like and care for the real you—whether you’re wearing a bold lip or zit cream. Your level of comfort with one another is that strong.

3. How often do things other than have sex.  
If You’re in Lust: You spend most of your time in bed. You have a super intoxicating desire to have sex all the time, but not necessarily to connect in other ways. Chances are you don’t engage in much pillow talk and you might not even cuddle.

If You’re in Love: You have sex, but that’s not all you do. You want to connect with each other in other ways, like trying out new hobbies and activities together. You might not even have sex for a few days or weeks and you don’t freak out about it because you know life happens and your relationship is not all about sex anyway.

4. How deep your conversations go. 
If You’re in Lust: You love living the fantasy. This might mean spending time in hotel rooms and engaging in sexting and superficial chatting, but you don’t want to discuss real feelings or any plans for the future.

If You’re in Love: You talk for hours about anything and everything, including deep feelings. You care and respect how your partner feels as well as their perspective on the world. You both feel motivated to support one another and be a better person for each other.

5. How much you challenge each other. 
If You’re in Lust: You are so infatuated with this person that you ignore things that actually bug you, including red flags. You don’t like how they handle money or how they speak to servers at dinner, but you ignore it because you don’t want to rock the boat. You just want to keep things nice.

If You’re in Love: If you don’t like something your partner said or did, you call them out, lovingly. You know a solid relationship requires honest and open communication, and because you want your partner to be the best they can be, you want to offer constructive criticism to help them.

Lust vs. love is hard to differentiate at first, but the biggest difference between the two staying power. Lust is all about the present moment. The attention you receive, the fun you have together, and the butterflies. Ultimately, lust fades. Sometimes it fades into a breakup, and other times, it can transform into love. Love is about the present moment AND the future. It’s wanting to have this person by your side through thick and thin, and experiencing the journey together.


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Common Relationship Mistakes That Aren’t a Big Deal Fri, 09 Mar 2018 09:00:38 +0000 At some point in your relationship, you're going to make some mistakes. Here are some you shouldn't worry about.

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The list of so-called rules in today’s dating culture seems endless. From wait three days to text back to don’t reveal too much about yourself too early, it can seem overwhelming trying to navigate all the social norms associated with meeting someone new. And at the end of the day, once you find yourself with someone you’re interested in, the rules tend to go out the window.

A lot of how you act in in relationship is based on who you are and who the person you’re with is. And, chances are, for you and the person you’re with the rules don’t apply… not all of them anyways.

So if you find yourself in a new relationship, worried that you’re making mistake after mistake, don’t worry so much. Here are some common relationship mistakes that really aren’t a big deal.

1. Showing that you’re nervous or insecure.
We hear it all the time… Be confident! People are attracted to confidence. Even if you don’t really feel that way, fake it until you make it. Bt there can be a lot of pressure on both men and women to act confident and sure of themselves when they’re naturally nervous about meeting someone new.

“Many people feel that showing any nervousness or insecurity with your partner is a mistake that will shatter their opinion of you,” says dating expert, James Anderson. “The reality is that this is far from the truth! If you’re in a relationship with someone that you trust, being honest with your feelings and sharing your concerns is a great way to bring the two of your closer.”

2. Oversharing.
In other words, it’s been two weeks and he/she knows everything about you, ranging from your past relationships to your brother’s financial problems. We’re often told to remain a little mysterious and not open up too much early in a relationship or else it ends up being a therapy session. It’s not a big deal if you share this kind of stuff, especially if the both of you feel very comfortable with each other—you could both be such a good fit that it’s easy to open up right away. Chances are, if they’re willing to listen and react positively, then you’re in the clear.

3. Not sharing everything with your partner
On the flip side, transparency in a relationship is key, but you don’t have to share absolutely everything.

“While you do want to be very open and honest, the truth is that they don’t need to know every single mistake or regret that you’ve accumulated over your life,” says Anderson. “You don’t want to lie to them but you also don’t need to be exceptionally forthcoming with your most embarrassing memories.”

4. Making yourself too available.
We’re often told that making the other person the center of our universe too soon can push the other person away. This can really depend on the personality of the other person. If you’re really interested in each other, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to spend as much time together as possible. It’s not about ditching your hobbies, obligations, and friends, it’s more about not playing by the rules and letting your new date know that you’re really into them.

5. Talking about your ex.
Talking about previous relationships with your current partner can be a sensitive and awkward conversation. So much so that you’ve probably received advice to avoid talking about it. But sometimes talking about an ex can be helpful.

“Talking about your ex isn’t as big of a deal as people make it out to be and often can be a great way to help your current partner understand how they can improve your current relationship and avoid mistakes that you have made in the past,” says Anderson.

6. Having sex after the second date.
How many times do we hear that you should wait to have sex with someone new? That you have to build emotional intimacy before physical intimacy? The reality is that we are all different when it comes to sex. While some prefer to wait three months, others may prefer to wait three days. It’s completely up to you and your partner. And, if you do have sex early in the relationship, it doesn’t mean the relationship is going to fail. Continue to keep an open mind that the relationship may or may not work out.

When it comes to starting a new relationship, it can sometimes seem like you’re out of your element. And in many ways you are. Learning about a new person, how to interact with them, their likes and dislikes, when they’re social and when they’re happy to be alone… all these things take time and can feel awkward at first. Chances are you’re going to make a lot of mistakes in any new relationship. And though some may make your cringe, they aren’t the end of the world. Ultimately, they may even bring you closer.

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10 Signs Your Long-Term Relationship Is Breaking Up Sun, 25 Feb 2018 09:00:27 +0000 A few things that tell you it's time to walk away.

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When you’ve been dating someone for years, the natural progression for most couples is to get married. Sure, there are lots of relationships where couples decide they don’t want to make their love official, but when you decide not to get married and stay life partners, that’s a decision both people make together. If you’ve been in a relationship with someone for several years with the expectation of one day getting married but things don’t seem to be heading that way, when is it the right time to move on?

A long-term relationship break up can be hard, especially if you’ve invested so much time with someone but feel like you’re on a hamster wheel.  So to help you stop watching the wheel go round and round, here are 10 signs it’s time to walk away from your long-term relationship.

1. You always make excuses why you’re staying.
“He’s not that bad… She has her strong points… These are common statements I hear from clients,” says relationship expert, David Bennett. “What they usually tell me is that they know the relationship is over, but can’t face it. If you have fundamental value differences, or just don’t get along, you’ll likely make excuses for your failing relationship a lot.” When you’re having doubts but aren’t ready to walk away yet it’s natural to try and convince yourself that you’re staying for a reason.

2. You only evaluate the relationship from a past and future perspective.
“You rely on memories of past moments or fantasies of potential future moments with your partner to define your stability and happiness in the relationship instead of evaluating the relationship in its more present status,” explains Jen Wilding, a relationship coach and author of Steal His Heart, Save Your Life (just not in that order).

3. The bad outweighs the good.
Some people wake up every day angry at their significant other, resenting the thought of engaging them. “Occasionally they’ll have a good moment, which makes them momentarily forget the daily, regular resentment. If this is how your relationship goes, you need to make a decision: either get help and make it work, or understand it’s probably time to leave,” says Bennett.

4. They told you they don’t want to move forward.
He/she has told you directly or indirectly that marriage is not something that they want but you still hold on thinking you may be able to change their mind. When someone says they’re not interested in marriage, believe them. “If you have the personality of a people-pleaser you’ve probably been in situations where you gave and gave but did not get back. That personality leads you to put aside what you really want, think, feel, or need for the sake of the relationship,” explains psychologist and author, Dr. Paul Coleman.Once you realize this is how you’re acting in a relationship, it’s time to walk.

5. He/she always has a reason for not advancing the relationship.
The reasons your partner gives may seem sound but the bottom line is that nothing is changing. “It should be a priority to advance the relationship if that’s what you really want,” says Coleman. “Meanwhile, you tell yourself you would have moved on already if only (you didn’t love him/her, you didn’t own property together, you felt more self-confident). It’s your fears holding you back, not love or wisdom.”

6. You’ve turned down other opportunities in your career, dating, or friendships and have nothing to really show for it.
“You look back on your life and realize you don’t stick with some things you should (perhaps schooling, a career, exercise, or hobbies) but do tend to stay with things that are less fulfilling. That style of thinking and acting can become so automatic that doing otherwise feels wrong,” explains Coleman. If you feel like you missed out on life for the sake of your going-nowhere relationship, it’s time to call it quits before you miss out on even more.

7. You’re staying for the wrong reasons.
A lot of people stay in relationships long past the expiration date for reasons that have nothing to do with what they get out of the relationship. “Are you staying with them because you’re at the age you should get married? Because all your friends are engaged? Because you may not find someone else? If these are your main motivations, rather than actual relationship satisfaction, then it may be time to walk away,” says Bennett. Breaking things off is hard when you have the same friends or you like your life together, but if you don’t actually love and like the person you’re with, you’re not getting what you should out of your relationship.

8. Neither of you plan anything.
For a relationship to be successful both people have to make an effort. “If only one of you, or neither of you, make the effort to actually plan how and when you spend time together you should be wary. A lot of relationships don’t blow up in spectacular fashion, they simply fade away,” explains dating expert James Anderson.

9. There’s ambiguity about future plans.
“Your partner, who once easily committed to definite future plans with you such as trips, event tickets, family gatherings, and plus-one wedding invitations, is now taking a let’s wait and see, maybe we could do that, or let’s talk about it later approach,” says Wilding. They may be intentionally distancing themselves.

10. Deep inside you feel you have to walk away.
Your subconscious mind knows when things aren’t right, but you have to be tuned into it and in a good place with your self in order to receive and act on the message. “Many people opt for a rationalized detour from the warning message to avoid feeling hurt,”explains Wilding. “But this just delays the healing process, building even more uncomfortable tension over time while you continue to invest your energy and emotions in a relationship that is dwindling.”

A long-term relationship break up takes bravery in a lot of ways. When you’ve been with a person for a long time, you’ve built a life with them and a life around them. The thought of walking away from that life can be daunting. But don’t let the fear of saying goodbye or making a change blind you from the reality that you’re not happy.

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Does a Cheating Partner Mean the Relationship Is Over? Fri, 02 Feb 2018 09:00:16 +0000 Many think a new vision of your relationship could also lead to a new beginning.

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Your partner cheated on you—does it have to end your relationship? Can it actually benefit it? According to renowned therapist Esther Perel, no it doesn’t have to end your relationship and yes, it can even help it… sometimes.

It may be hard to wrap your head around the idea, but Perel makes some convincing arguments for thinking differently about cheating in her new book, The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity.

Why should we be rethinking infidelity? Because there’s a lot of cheating going on, and it’s not just guys—both men and women are seeing a rise in cheating. While it’s hard to pin down exact numbers (some say as high as 60 or 70 percent) the numbers really don’t matter; all that matters is, will it happen to you?

You may be thinking it could never happen to you and that you and your spouse are very happy. But love and happiness aren’t always the most important factors when it comes to determining whether someone will or won’t cheat.

In my chat with Eric Anderson, the American sociologist at England’s University of Winchester and author of The Monogamy Gap: Men, Love, and the Reality of Cheating, he explained that the college men in his study who cheated on their partners all said they loved them and didn’t want to lose them. They start off thinking they want monogamy, but after being in a relationship for months or years, they start missing sex with others. “But by this point, they don’t want to break up with their partners because they have long-standing love,” explains Anderson. So instead of talking about it with their partner, they cheat—a choice Anderson calls rational, though it probably won’t feel all that rational to their partner.

“Our model of romantic love assumes that if a union is healthy, there is no need to go elsewhere,” Perel writes. “People stray for a multitude of reasons… but one theme comes up repeatedly: affairs are a form of self-discovery, a quest for a new (or lost) identity. For these seekers, infidelity is less likely to be a symptom of a problem, and is more often described as an expansive experience that involves growth, exploration, and transformation.”

The most important thing a couple can do is talk about monogamy—are we choosing it, are we good at it, do we like it, would we prefer something else—and to continue to discuss it throughout their relationship. First, though, they should define monogamy and not assume they both are defining it the same way. And then they should define cheating because there are many ways to be unfaithful beside having sexual intercourse; it can be reconnecting with an old flame on Facebook, sending flirty texts to a friend, kissing a coworker at the company holiday party, getting or giving oral sex, watching porn alone, masturbating, going to a strip club—the list goes on and on.

A flirty text or even a one-night stand on a business trip may be a lot easier to forgive and move on from than a long-time, emotional affair.

So can a couple survive an affair? Can an affair bring a couple closer together?


After an affair, couples will, “have to create a whole new monogamy contract in order to clear away the implicit, unspoken expectations that led to the betrayal and hurt that may have contributed to the cheating in the first place,” writes psychotherapist Tammy Nelson, author of The New Monogamy. “This new vision of the relationship can lead to a new beginning, one in which many couples say is a fresh start and also a more mature, more connected, and many times more intimate experience of marriage. There is no more naiveté, no implicitly agreeing to things they don’t want. Some couples even end up saying about their new marriage, ‘maybe this is the best thing that could have happened to our relationship.”

“Some couples can integrate the contradictions of love and desire, but first we have to acknowledge that we’ll never eliminate the dilemma,” says Perel. “Reconciling the erotic and the domestic is not a problem to solve; it is a paradox to manage.”

Which is why trying to affair-proof a relationship by surveillance and self-policing won’t solve anything. “Rather than insulate ourselves with the false notion that it could never happen to me, we must learn to live with the uncertainties, the allures, the attractions, the fantasies—both our own and our partners,” Perel writes. “Couples who feel free to talk honestly about their desires, even when they are not directed at each other, paradoxically become closer.”

And isn’t that what we ultimately want?

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Lonely In Marriage: What You Should Do Thu, 04 Jan 2018 09:00:07 +0000 It's hard to feel lonely in your own marriage but it's more common than you think.

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You’re married, you live together, you spend so much time together… so the feeling of actually being lonely in marriage can seem crazy. You may question your feelings, wondering how you can feel so alone, when you’re always with this other person. The truth is, sometimes when you’ve been with someone a long time you can get so comfortable that you begin to drift apart. Splitting up or ending the marriage is something you would never consider, so how do you stop feeling lonely?

Experts share some things you can do when you suddenly realize that you’re lonely and feeling isolated within your own marriage…

Explore why you feel lonely.
This is one of the first things you should do, and you should definitely do it before you approach your spouse to talk. “You can’t solve what you don’t investigate so investigate yourself,” says certified Relationship Coach, Chris Armstrong. “Ask yourself what you had that’s now missing. Or, what did you have in abundance that is now less frequent. I always ask clients to look at the intimacy PIE (physical, intellectual, emotional) and ask themselves if they feel fulfilled in each of these distinct areas.” Simply put, get clear on what’s missing and what you want and need from your partner first.

Don’t rationalize away the fact that you’re lonely.
Perhaps you’ve been doing this all along… Every time you feel lonely, you make excuses for it, blaming yourself. But, licensed psychotherapist, Dr. Jill Murray, says don’t give your partner a pass for not being emotionally or physically connected. “He works so hard, he never learned how to express himself, I’m sure she loves me; she had a bad childhood, he’s just going through a rough patch, etc. You have feelings too; don’t deny them.”

Get up the courage to talk to him/her.
Once you identify that you’re lonely in your marriage and realize what it is you need, it’s time to talk to your spouse. Murray suggests that before you do so, make a bullet point list of items you want to discuss with examples of the reasons you feel lonely. “Don’t blame or shame. Make sure the discussion is centered on how YOU feel: lonely, depressed, wanting connection, etc.” Lists are helpful because once the time comes, your mind may go blank!

Choose your words wisely.
Approach this talk calmly and not in a way that gives off the impression you’re about to ask for a divorce. You can’t expect the other person to read your mind and know what you’re feeling, so be open with your feelings. Murray adds, “In your talk, make sure you also give concrete ways to fix it, from your point of view.” For example, What I would like is…, I think we need to start doing this…, etc.

Don’t attack.
“When discussing it avoid ‘you statements’ stick with how you feel, such as feelings of sadness, loneliness, rejected, etc. For example, instead of saying, ‘you never spend any time with me you’re so selfish’ say ‘I feel really lonely in our marriage and it makes me sad,” says licensed psychologist, Dr. Wyatt Fisher. “Avoiding ‘you statements’ and sticking with your tender feelings will help bring out an empathetic response from your spouse instead of a defensive one.”

Discuss solutions.
Now that you’ve talked about your feelings in non-attacking ways, brainstorm solutions. Fisher says, “Discuss what it would take to better meet both of your needs in the relationship and what changes are needed to get you there.” This could be in regards to how time and money is spent, a change to schedules or responsibilities, etc.

Consider counseling and self-help books.
If talking isn’t getting you’re the results you’ve hoped for, Murray suggests marriage/couples counseling as a great way to enlist an impartial third party for help and advice. “Oftentimes, counseling is just a few sessions and homework is given to help you strengthen your bond and give you tools to reconnect. In addition, self-help marriage books are a good resource as well. The key is to buy two copies. You and your partner each read a chapter at the same time and then make a date to discuss it from your standpoint and talking about the way in which what you read can be used in your marriage.”

Being lonely in a marriage can be distressing but it’s also natural. Talking it over and addressing what’s causing the feelings may actually help you and your spouse be closer than ever.

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Healthy Fighting vs. Unhealthy Fighting: What’s the Difference Sat, 23 Dec 2017 09:00:39 +0000 Are you standing up for your feelings or trying to find blame?

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All healthy relationships have arguments here and there. But, understanding the difference between a healthy fight and an unhealthy fight is more important than worrying about what causes a fight. Being able to have a fight isn’t about the actual situation , it’s about whether a fight will benefit your relationship or damage it.

“A healthy fight is caused because of differing perspectives or an insignificant slight and can be easily resolved by an apology. An unhealthy fight is about something that can’t be changed or something petty just to cause tension and exert a negative power over the other person,” explains relationship expert Margaux Cassuto.

So how can you tell if your fights are healthy or unhealthy? Here are some things to think about:

Unhealthy Fight: Fighting for the sake of fighting.
It’s unhealthy because no good can come of it because no change can come either. “Picking a fight over something that happened before you were in a relationship with your partner that can’t be changed now and had nothing to do with you in the first place is not healthy,” says Cassuto.  Say you pick a fight because he spent his early 20s blowing his money on trips to Miami rather than saving for the future.  If you weren’t together at that time in his life, you can’t get mad at him for his actions.

Healthy Fight: When you feel you aren’t being heard.
Couples have to fight to keep some semblance of independence, says Nicole Merritt, a marriage blogger and owner and Founder of JthreeNMe. But they also fight to stay connected. “Couples have to fight to maintain intimacy. Couples have to fight to make sure each partner is heard. They have to fight their individual desire to have their partner think alike and fight for the strength to think as a team.”

Unhealthy Fight: When it turns personal.
If your partner uses disagreements to attack you personally, belittle you, or shame you, that’s a problem, explains relationship therapist, Alice Roberts. “When a partner makes a personal attack or belittles, or shames you, it’s a sign that they are unable to differentiate.  This means that they don’t know how to feel secure in a relationship where their partner has different opinions or likes.” In other words, they have to resort to calling you names or attacking you every time you have a disagreement.

Healthy Fight: Fighting about how your partner hurt your feelings.
“For example, when you saw him speak to his ex when you asked him not to and you got mad at him but then he promises never to do it again after extending a sincere apology,” explains Cassuto.  This is a healthy fight because each partner understands what was hurtful about what happened. Standing up for yourself and your feelings in a relationship is important.

Unhealthy Fight: Fighting that turns into a blame game.
When disagreements turn into a hunt for who is at fault, it becomes impossible to reach a positive resolution, says Roberts. Pointing fingers and focusing on each other’s faults instead of listening to how your partner is feelings only leads to more disagreements that end up becoming problematic for your relationship.

Healthy Fight: Fighting to hash out a plan.
Here, the goal is to find common ground or to create a new solution, says relationship expert, Kryss Shane. “Healthy fighting focuses on the individual situation at hand and pits the couple against the problem. This typically results in a resolution to the problem or at least a better understanding about why you feel as you do and why your partner feels as they do. The end of a healthy fight is typically either laughter, a solution, or a decision about how or whether to continue to figure this out.”

Unhealthy Fight: Fights that involve abuse.
This abuse can be physical, verbal, mental, and emotional. “Unhealthy fights are those in which one or both partners are not fighting fair and are hitting below the belt, on purpose and unapologetically. Manipulation is usually a staple of an unhealthy fight as well,” says Merritt. This type of abusive fighting should never be allowed and if this is something you experience often or even once, it’s time to get out of the relationship.

Though it can be unpleasant fighting is a part of healthy relationships. Learning to disagree and move past your disagreements can bring you closer to someone, because you both know you care enough about each other to have the tough conversations. But there are also fights that aren’t healthy and don’t move a relationship forward. Learning to spot the difference between the two is an important part of learning to be in a relationship.

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