relationship advice

Harsh Truths: 6 Reasons Why Your Relationship Fell Apart

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Relationships end for a variety of reasons—some we can control, others we cannot. Before your next relationship, consider asking yourself if any of these issues are sabotaging your efforts at finding a deep, committed relationship.

 

  1. Your ex is STILL coming up

We all have a past, but when the past becomes the fodder of our present, you are creating a rift between you and your partner’s ability to connect. Talk of past relationships not only reveals that you’re not moving forward, it also jeopardizes your chances of a future. If you find yourself beginning sentences with “My ex and I…” or “When I dated X…” consider taking some time away from dating to understand why you’re still telling these stories.

 

  1. You couldn’t trust

It’s no surprise that trust is the crux of all healthy relationships; without the bond of trust, a couple will miss an opportunity to experience true intimacy. Aside from cheating, trust issues can also indicate jealousy, game playing, and possessiveness.

 

If relationships have ended because you couldn’t trust, ask yourself if it was because of actual events (i.e. your partner lied to you, broke promises, hacked into your phone) or if you are feeling unable to trust without cause (i.e. you feel jealous even though your partner has never strayed). Being able to differentiate feelings that stem from actual events versus unsubstantiated paranoia will help you uncover barriers to intimacy.

 

  1. You were Mr./Mrs. Right Now, not Mr./Mrs. Right

The relationship is guaranteed to fail if you find yourself on either side of this equation. Not all relationships are built to last—and that doesn’t make them any less important to our growth—but if you are looking for a life partner, meeting someone who is open to the same is crucial for long-term success.

 

If you are with someone until you land your dream job, move, lose weight, or meet someone better, you are wasting your time and your partner’s time. If your partner is not your priority, you aren’t ready for an enduring long-term relationship. If you’re wondering if you’re the top priority—you’re not.

 

  1. You harbor contempt

Dr. John Gottman, a leading expert on couples’ studies, concluded that the single, best predictor of divorce is contempt. Contempt, a toxic combo of anger, disgust and frustration, stems from a superiority complex. When we are unable to see our partner’s point of view because we believe they are less intelligent, sensitive, or competent than we are, we are making it impossible to communicate about the things that bother us.

 

In addition to contempt, there were three other closely related patterns of toxic communication: criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling (shutting down, no eye contact, etc.)

  1. You were emotionally dependent

If you are unable to make yourself happy, you will always seek someone who can distract you from the uncomfortable feelings you have towards yourself. Not only is it unfair to expect your partner to keep you afloat, it’s dangerous to allow someone else to hold the keys to your happiness. Codependent people usually don’t keep high standards when it comes to how others treat them, so it’s more likely that they end up with a partner who doesn’t treat them well. There are many ways to heal from codependency, but they all start with a belief that you—and you alone—can make yourself happy.

 

  1. You stopped appreciating your partner

A lack of appreciation comes in many forms. Perhaps you’ve stopped making an effort—to make fun plans, to keep up your appearance, to remind your partner how special they are. Taking someone for granted is a quick way to kill the romance and up the apathy.

 

When someone is asking what is best for “us”, compromise ensues. If you stop appreciating your partner’s efforts, it’s easy to stop asking “What is best for us?” and replacing it with “What is best for me?”

 

Of course not all reasons our relationships end are because we are at fault. Without the right timing, otherwise compatible people won’t be able to connect for reasons outside of their control. Age, seemingly just a number, will start to matter if he’s 28 finishing grad school and she’s 34 looking forward to starting a family. Life situations can also affect our chances of connection. If he’s ready to move things forward while she’s healing post divorce, the couple will not be able to connect on the same level. Situations can change, broken hearts can heal, and different phases can pass, but if the timing is going to be ‘off’ for more than a few months, it is better to make a clean break and revisit at another time.

 

How to Get Over a Break Up ASAP

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Both sides of the break up coin are agonizing. The person initiating the split has to fill the role of bearer of bad news, usually wounding the heart (and ego) of someone who he or she cares for deeply. He or she usually experiences guilt, confusion, and a unique type of stress that stems from knowing the end is near. On the other hand, we have the person receiving a final decision. Stripped of all opportunity to direct the course of the relationship, this person is left vulnerable, helpless, shocked, or disappointed.

If there was connection—real connection—pain is to be expected from all parties involved. We also know that every relationship that doesn’t make it to the next level will end with a breakup, yet we still find ourselves hurting after every split.

So, how do we heal from heartbreak faster?

  1. Avoid Numbing Agents—Shopping, food, alcohol, rebounds, pills, and drugs used to mask the pain will only prolong the agony of loss. Deriving relief this way will only push you deeper into depression, debt, or weight gain.

 

  1. Feed Yourself Well—When your heart is hurting, it’s even more important to monitor what goes in your body. Excessive sugar will crash your system; processed food will challenge your energy; and not eating will stress your heart even further. Now is the time to treat yourself to the best food you can get your hands on.

 

  1. Bring Yourself Joy—It’s easy to fall out of love with yourself just because someone else has. So many factors lead to relationships ending; we forget that so many of those reasons have nothing to do with who we are.

 

  1. Follow the Good Vibes—We tend to feed off of the energy around us. Experiment with a new crowd that offers you a fresh start. Science reveals laughing and smiling are instant mood lifters, so give yourself an opportunity to absorb the joy around you.

 

  1. Remove the Reminders—Pictures, cards, and other reminders should be out of sight. There is no need to live among reminders of relationships past. The mementos, seemingly innocuous, can derail your path to healing. Also, consider un-following—not unfriending—your ex on social media. You can always change the setting when you’re in a better place without anyone finding out.

 

  1. Keep it Simple—This is harder than you think. Attending parties he/she might attend? No. Finding reasons to reach out? No. Keeping in touch with his/her friends? No. It’s easy to think you can “be adult” about crossing paths, but the heavy emotional charge has a way of clouding better judgment.

Ironically, the things we are least likely to do during a break up — eating right, visiting friends, meeting new people—are the things that will help us heal the fastest. Giving yourself the time to cope with loss is going to fast track you to a better place with a better partner.

6 Signs He’s Boyfriend Material

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During the first stages of dating, it’s tough to know if your current date situation is worthy of a more in depth investment—with your time and your emotions. Here are 6 telltale signs that the one you’re seeing has the stuff that boyfriends are made of.

 

  1. He remembers the little things.

Men who are genuinely interested keep track of information that is specific to you—your favorite movies, foods you dislike, places you want to see. Though they may not appear actively engaged, you’d be surprised with how many details they’re absorbing.

 

Here’s what it looks like: He knows you get cold—even when it’s 70 degrees outside. He will make sure you know where to find a blanket or he’ll set aside his favorite sweatshirt or oversized sweater just for you.

 

  1. His values his family.

Staying connected with the parents and siblings reveals that he’s able to maintain relationships with the ones who matter most. Even if drama lingers at home, he has a way of seeing the bigger picture. A guy who prioritizes his family will be more likely to invest in a family of his own and sustain a relationship with you through for the long haul.

 

Here’s what it looks like: He talks about his sister’s upcoming visit…and hopes you will be available to meet her.

 

  1. He has excellent follow though.

If he says he will call, he does. He doesn’t just talk about plans; he actually makes them. If he’s serious, you won’t need to push or prod to see action; he’s happy to orchestrate gestures—big and small—to keep things interesting.

 

Here’s what it looks like: When my client’s date had to fly out for work travel, my client said he would pick her up when she returned. Unfortunately, the date’s plane was delayed. Despite an 11:30 p.m. arrival, he was there to drive her home.

 

  1. He puts you first.

There is nothing more telling about a man’s intentions than the way he prioritizes your needs over his. We’re not talking about a man doormat; we are talking about someone who is committed to ensuring that his date is comfortable and happy.

 

Here’s what it looks like: My friend felt ill at a basketball game with her date. Instead of asking her to stay till half time or getting annoyed about losing out on the great seats, he found her some Advil and quickly escorted her home. The next day he called to check on her.

 

  1. He communicates with you often.

Despite his busy schedule, he always makes time to check in. It’s not the length of the message that counts; it’s the frequency. You might get a text, a phone call, or even a social media nod. Whatever it is, you won’t be left wondering if or when you’ll hear from him.

 

Here’s what it looks like: After two weeks my friend’s date left for international work travel. Between the time changes and the work load, she didn’t think she would hear from him for days. She was pleasantly surprised when he bought a new sim card and called her when he checked into his hotel.

 

  1. He’s interested in growing and evolving.

He realizes that he’s a work in progress and wants to better himself. If he’s aware of his faults and interested in working them out, you’ll save yourself the un-winnable battle of trying to change someone. Openness about his desire to grow and change can be an opportunity that brings you closer together.

 

Here’s what it looks like: When my client first started dating in the wake of a painful divorce, he felt aloof and noncommittal. When he first met his girlfriend, he wasn’t sure how much to divulge about his past. Knowing that a lack of communication caused havoc in his first marriage, my client opted for transparency. He realized that for true intimacy to exist, he needed to experience vulnerability. His openness strengthened their bond and left both my client and his now girlfriend feeling secure about their relationship.

5 Questions Every Single Parent Needs Answered Before Dating

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If you’re a single mom or single dad looking for a relationship, you’ve realized the process is different with kids in tow. Below, we’re simplifying some of the most commonly asked questions from our single parent daters.

 

Where Can I Meet People?

 

Problem: “I’ve aged out of—and lost all interest in—the bar scene. I spend time at the office, my backyard, and PTA meetings…not exactly great places to meet eligible singles. Where can I meet people without sacrificing quality time with my kids?”

 

Solution: Instead of kid-centered locales—like playgrounds—opt for kid-friendly spots like farmer’s markets and parks that will give you a chance to meet new adults. Also, with limited time, consider outsourcing your introductions to someone you can trust. Your friend network is a great place to start and so are the professional matchmakers in your area.

 

When Should You Reveal You Have Kids?

 

Problem: “I am meeting people at parties and online. I feel comfortable starting the conversation, but I am anxious to bring up my kids because I don’t want to scare anyone away or share this personal information too soon. When do I bring it up?”

 

Solution: There is no use skirting the issue: Your kids are going to be a part of any long-term relationship you pursue. With that said, you should weave in this detail sooner rather than later. Once you acknowledge that you have a child, keep the conversation about you. As much as you’d like to talk about your kid’s cutest moments, you need to remember that people want to know who you are first.

 

How Do I Talk to My Kids About My Dating?

 

Problem: “I’m ready to move forward with dating, but I don’t know what to tell my kids—if anything at all. Should I tell my children that I’m seeing new people or just wait until I meet someone to have the conversation?”

 

Solution: This is a situation where less is more. A very simple, “I’m heading out tonight to meet someone new” should be sufficient. If you’re getting pressed for more details, keep the sharing to a minimum and change the subject.

 

When Do I Introduce the Kids?

 

Problem: “I’ve been seeing someone for a couple months, and I’d like to introduce them to my kids before we get more serious. Is this the right time?”

 

Solution: Since children can attach easily, be diligent about bringing someone new into their life. If a new person disappears after your child attaches, it can challenge and stress their emotional ecosystem. Postpone any meetings between your children and your latest partner until your relationship is serious and stable.

 

Do I Have to Introduce My Ex to the New Person in My Life?

 

Problem: “When I’m doing the kid hand-off with my ex wife, I don’t know whether or not to introduce my new partner. How long do I wait to make the introduction?”

 

Solution: New characters only need to be formally introduced if there is a serious future in store. Until that point, there is no need to complicate your pre-existing child rearing arrangements—or your ex’s life. When you are ready to make the introductions, make sure all parties are prepared and you have the goal of the meeting outlined: A cordial relationship between the women in your life that will ultimately spare your kids future tension.

To Love or Not?

Some people have never fallen in love and don’t know what it means to be in love. They ask questions about what it “feels like.” Unlike many people out there who have their first high school love, their serious college love, and maybe one or two real loves post-college, these ‘outliers’ haven’t experienced that yet. hunk flirting with profile of woman

Others fall in love easily. They love a lot. They fall fast and hard. Sometimes their definition of love crosses over from their current boyfriend, to loving their new Kate Spade tote, and loving their Peet’s latte. So, in other words, they love many things from humans to intangible objects. This sort of person can be very emotional as well and constantly express themselves through their outpouring of happiness and love for all things and people in their inner circle.

But what about those who haven’t felt love before? Is it fair to say that someone who has loved many times and experienced the sensation of being in love is a higher evolved human than someone who has yet to experience love?

Have you met someone who was in his/her early 30’s and admitted in a moment of vulnerability that he/she has never had a boyfriend/girlfriend? This happens. I see this in my line of work. When he/she shares that, what do you think? Do you feel sorry? Do you draw the conclusion that something is wrong? Or if you’re both living in the Bay Area, maybe you assume he/she has been 150% on work and hasn’t even come up for air to contemplate dating. Or maybe these folks have just never had their luck in love and the timing hasn’t been right.

There are no right answers for the case of the individual who has loved a lot or never loved at all. To love a lot can raise the question of someone having a less filtered selection process in mate choices and, in some cases, perhaps settling. Some people hate the thought of being alone and would much rather be in a relationship than be by themselves. The thought of being solo for friends’ dinner parties, work functions, or the holidays can make that person spiral into a crazy head space. In this mindset, to be alone and single can feel like being a societal misfit.

Others are inherently private and take cautionary steps towards letting someone into their lives. In a similar vein is the type of individual who has loved hard once and got really burned from a terrible break-up. He/she builds a very strong defense mechanism to self-protect from hurt again and, in the interim, starts to build a very long list of mate requirements. The ideal match list is so long that it hinders he/she from actually finding someone. The list, as a direct result, is a protection from finding love. This person can live their life in a state of fear and would almost rather be single than fall for someone with the risk of getting hurt again. Arab casual couple flirting ready to kiss with love

Where do you fall? Have you loved hard before or are still searching for that special person to feel love and be loved by someone else in a romantic relationship for the first time?

Choices …. To Prenup or Not?

The city is fogged in, Blue Bottle coffee’s brewing, toast browned just how you like it (he even cut the edges off for you just like from the time you were a little girl asking your mom to do that for you), NYT crisp and about to be devoured….it’s a typical Sunday morning. You’re cozy in your sweats and beaus college sweatshirt and life is just plain good until…..he asks you to sit down. The dreaded honey we need to have a talk. Couple looking stressed while doing their accounts sat on a couch

Your heart starts racing. You’ve been exclusive for 6 months now and are basically living out of bags and staying at his pad every night. So far it’s been easy, fun, and the chemistry is ridiculously off-the-charts. You’ve told all your best girlfriends, mom, and sisters that you think he really is “the one.” You’ve had a few squabbles but nothing serious and he seems really happy too.

This Sunday morning, though, he’s particularly serious. What could it be, you’re thinking? You both agreed to get tested together and luckily free and clear, ok….you know he is friends with his ex as they both “share a dog” together and tolerate that as best as you can…he’s not creepin’ around being private w texting or phone calls in the other room…so seriously what could this talk be?

He tells you point blank he’s been thinking a lot about your relationship and whomever he marries will have to sign a prenup. All of a sudden, the coffee tastes repulsive and your stomach turns in wild twists and turns. Your life just went in freeze frame. A prenup, you think in your mind…..really? a prenup? Silence falls heavy in the room. The dog bounces on the bed, bone in mouth – did your beau make the dog sign some sort of agreement when he was rescued?

Sure, your beau been unusually successful with his early investments in some angel deals he finagled his way into. He seems to have that Midas touch in his career. Lucked out on getting into a great hedge fund years ago right out of college and has managed to climb into a cushy role. He does have an ultra modern loft in SOMA (and you checked Trulia – current valuation 2.5MM), he has the mountain cabin in the Sierras and, although he’s never discussed net worth, you calculate including real estate 5MM.

Your situation is really different. You rent your studio in Cow Hollow, lease your BMW, and can barely save enough to contribute to your damn Roth IRA come April 15th each year. But you’re really good to him and you’re certainly not with him because he is wealthy (is that a perk, yes, is that a reason to be in a relationship with him, no.) You’re a traditional girl, a romantic at heart, your favorite author is Jane Austin, you’re optimistic, your parents are still together happily married at 35 years, divorce is not in your vocabulary.

You got so mad when Trey MacDougal in Sex and the City (Season 3, Episode 10) said to Charlotte, “I almost forgot…. Prenuptial agreements. Standard. Everyone in the family has one. You sign on page four. Feel free to have your lawyer look it over. I’ll call you later…” That felt so cold, business-like, and unromantic.

On the plus side you are thrilled he’s visualizing marrying you and getting serious. In fact, it’s only been 6 months of unofficially living together and he’s bringing up sharing a future with you. You stay calm, explain you have a lot more reading to do about it and are supportive of listening to why that is important to him.

Everyone comes with different backgrounds, stories, concerns, professional goals, personal goals in life. You and your partner are two completely different people attempting to merge your lives together. You’ve taken big strides in already learning to compromise and stay at his place more, he’s compromised on any number of things with you. A relationship is really 1 + 1 = 3

My professional advice to this couple is to take things slow and try to understand your partner and what motivates him. The prenup doesn’t have to mean that you are doomed from the outset of planning a future. It can mean smart and intelligent planning. It doesn’t mean he’s vindictive or assuming failure with you. Prenups assume future earnings, not the past, and you both can draft an agreement together that feels right to you. Now keep in mind that little start-up you got into a year ago isn’t such a little start-up anymore. Chances are you could be earning as much, if not more than your partner…so before you go home calling to momma for help, do your research and homework on these. Maybe he should sign your prenup assuming company X goes IPO? This is the Bay Area 2014 after all. We are in a frothy market and relationships are directly affected as a result. VIPI_idealmatch_large

Are You Open to the Possibility of Real Love?

Blog written by: Linx staff member, Michael NormaniStock_000023385179Small

If you’re a Linx member, you know that finding true love can be difficult under any circumstance, and especially challenging when trying to navigate work schedules, family obligations, travel commitments, and, of course, personal preferences. At Linx, we always encourage seeing someone at least two times if you feel even a hint of a spark, and to be as open as possible when thinking about the details of what you expect your match to be/do/look like.

While it’s true that our physical type is often something we cannot control (or even influence) it’s also equally true that you can be surprised — and extremely satisfied — by a relationship with someone who doesn’t look like every one of your exes. (Those relationships didn’t work out for a reason, you know.)

Make sure you know the difference between what you need and what you want; you may want tall, dark, and handsome, but do you need all three? You may like natural blondes with small waists and high arches, but is the character of a woman ever really linked to the size of her waist or the shape of her feet?

In my circle of friends, many of the deepest and most fulfilling relationships actually started with a connection that was barely on the warm side of ambivalence. And believe it or not, that can be a good thing. When someone doesn’t fit your preconceived notion of what makes an ideal mate, it’s easier to relax, throw out your expectations and projections, and get to know them. You can find yourself drawn to their inner qualities instead of being mesmerized by their outer attributes. You give them a chance without realizing it, and you can find yourself comfortable and and connected in a way you couldn’t anticipate.

At Linx, we do out best to bring you a match who is ideal on all fronts. But occasionally, we ask that members stretch themselves, and be open to someone younger or older, darker or lighter, shorter or taller than they requested. We do that because we know our members very well, and we often see opportunities where two people make sense together, even if it’s unlikely to be a case of love at first sight.

We also ask people to be open because it’s practical. We have thousands of people in our database of all shapes and colors and sizes, but we don’t always have the match you want in the package you expect. The more narrow you are about your physical type and restrictions, the harder it is to meet someone — and that’s true whether you’re a client of Linx, or not.

Here is a video that breaks down the odds of love for one single 25-year-old woman in New York City. The numbers might surprise you, and when you watch, keep in mind that hair color, eye color, height, body type, shoe size, graduate degrees, minimum salaries, past relationships, and favorite sports team are NOT part of this equation. 😉 We don’t know the odds for the Bay Area, but maybe a quant-minded Linx member would like to provide the answer for us?

Are you really open to the possibility of true love? Or are focusing on a lot of tiny details that stand in the way of having your emotional needs met?