Relationship after 2 years: Signs You’re in a Strong Relationship, Even If It Doesn’t Feel Like It


Why Do So Many Couples Break Up After A Year Or Two? 9 Experts Weigh In

The number of couples who call it quits after a year or so is staggering. But why do so many couples break up after a year? Is it nature? Nurture? Or just something that has to happen, if the relationship isn’t destined for forever? Well, as it turns out, there are actual statistics to which we can look to answer this question. Executive editor and founder of Cupid’s Pulse Lori Bizzoco tells Bustle that a piece in the Washington Post in March “reported on a study that indicated about 70 percent of straight unmarried couples break up within the first year.” Yeah, that’s high.

Sociologist Michael Rosenfeld tracked more than 3,000 people since 2009 to find out what happens to relationships over time. He tracked married and unmarried straight and gay couples to peek at what time does to partnerships, and it looks as though the chances for breakup come way down after a few years. By five years in, most couples only had a 20 percent breakup rate, and by 10, they come down even more.

So why is it that people are so prone to splits in the beginning? Here’s what nine relationships experts had to say about the matter.

1. Projection, Disillusionment, And Power Struggles

“The first year of a relationship can be a very exciting time, but it doesn’t come without challenges,” Bizzoco tells Bustle. “The first year is when you and your partner are getting to know each other’s personalities and determining whether you see a future with them or not.” Naturally, there will be some push and pull here. “In the beginning, relationships are like a trial run and sometimes they just don’t work out,” she said.

“We recently interviewed relationship expert Neil Strauss, who says that there are three stages to the first year of a relationship: projection, disillusionment, and a power struggle.” In the beginning, things are perhaps a bit rosy than they really are. “A relationship begins with projection, which means you don’t see who the other person is, just who you want them to be,” she says. “The next stage is disillusionment, where you see who they really are and not your fantasy, which is why people break up in the three-to-nine-month window.”

And then, of course, there’s the final stage: “There’s a power struggle or conflict,” she says. “It takes more than a year to truly know if you and your partner are compatible; however, it takes less than a year to know if your partner is worth the effort of love.” They might be worth the effort, but if you aren’t compatible, you won’t likely last the test of time.

2. Certain Times Are Breakup-Prone

Just like we’re more likely to break up with someone around the one year mark, we’re also more likely to split up during certain holidays and such. Psychologist Nicole Martinez, who is the author of eight books, including The Reality of Relationships , tells Bustle that there are certain times of year that are breakup-prone. According to a study by Hephzibah Asolu, we most often split around Valentine’s day, in the spring, on April fool’s day (what?!), on Mondays, during summer holidays, two weeks before Christmas, and on Christmas itself.

“There is a pressure, a feelings of cleansing and starting anew, and a want to be free during these times which increases the rates of breakups,” Martinez says. But don’t dread every Monday: This only happens when it needs to. “The reality is that if your relationship is on strong ground, if the partner is not listless or questioning, you should be able to make it through these times and events unscathed.” Don’t worry!

3. The Façade Fades

Many people break up around the one year mark because they tend to realize that they are simply not as into their mate as they thought they were,” author and relationship expert Alexis Nicole White tells Bustle. “For instance, we know that around the three-to-four-month mark, we know that the representative [image] typically fades away.” By then, you really start seeing your partner. “Between the five-to-six-month mark, people are typically really trying to decipher their feelings, and by the seventh-to-ninth-month mark, they are trying to determine if they really want to be with you.

Coming up on a year, stuff gets real. “This point is really critical because you will definitely see this person’s character,” she says. “Either you will be really attracted to them or exceptionally turned off, By this point, they are so invested they are spending the rest of the year trying to hope away your flaws.” Oh, dear.

4. Your Brain Deactivates At First

“Researchers in London discovered that when you fall in love, certain parts of your brain deactivate,” Dawn Maslar, aka “the Love Biologist,” tells Bustle. “Specifically, your ventromedial prefrontal cortex — that’s the part of your brain that judges the other person.” If that’s off, you’re not going judgmental on someone — you’re just going googly. “It’s also why they say love is blind,” she says, “because you really can’t see the other person for who they really are; you just think they are wonderful.”

But this doesn’t last. “You can’t run around like this forever, and eventually you are going to need your brain back,” she says. “The re-activation occurs between one and three years.” At this point, you see your partner for who they are. “You go to bed basking in the warm glow of love and wake up to a snoring irritating person with morning breath,” she says. “When this happens, some couples believe the love is over and break up.”

5. People Don’t Want To Leave Too Soon

“I’ve found two main reasons for couples breaking up around the year mark,” life coach Kali Rogers tells Bustle. “First, infatuation, or the initial excited state of a relationship, can last anywhere between six months to two years.” If you’re infatuated, you’re all in — for now. “Once infatuation ceases to exist, couples have to decide if they are a good match for each other emotionally, mentally, and spiritually — not just physically.”

“Second, I’ve found through my own research in coaching young women that females love to get an emotional return on investment from their relationships,” Rogers says. “Once they have committed a certain amount of time — typically six months — they like to hold on as long as possible. ” It’s hard to let go of something after you’ve sunk a lot of hard work and energy into it.

“They’ve dumped their love, attention, money and time into this relationship and they want a return,” she says. “Leaving before a year has hit seems too soon. So they like to ensure that there is no possible way for the relationship to give them their return, and then they leave,” she says. “This typically happens after the first or second year mark.”

6. Reality Can Set In After A Year

“After a year or so, the new relationship euphoria begins to wear off, and reality sets in,” Tina B. Tessina, aka Dr. Romance, psychotherapist and author of How to Be Happy Partners: Working it out Together, tells Bustle. “Both partners relax, and stop being on their best behavior.” But this isn’t all good. “Old family habits assert themselves, and they begin to disagree about things they were tolerant of before,” she says. “Both partners are realizing this is about the rest of our lives, and that is a scary concept.

If your past wasn’t too awesome on the relationship front, this can lead to big problems. “People who have grown up in divorced or single parent households have little experience of what good marriages look like,” she says. “Even if their own parents’ marriage is intact, they’re surrounded by peers whose parents — and they themselves — are having relationship disasters.” This can make it hard to be together for a long time. “Lacking skills, partners wind up fighting and shutting down,” Tessina adds. “If communication gets bad, so does sex, and because they feel hopeless about relationships, they don’t try to fix it, they just break up.”

7. The Love Drugs Wear Off

“One year is often where the honeymoon fades and all of the love drugs that float through our brains begin to wear off,” licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist Natalie Finegood Goldberg tells Bustle. “Many of the things that used to be ‘cute’ or ‘endearing’ become annoyances or frustrations. ” If this wears too thin, the couple says peace to each other.

“Also, if there was any hope of the person ‘changing’ over time, one year is often the time when it becomes clear that the person is who they are, and aren’t changing,” she adds. “When the fog of new-relationship bliss wears off, this is when couples have to decide if they like — or love — each other, warts and all.” Often, the answer is no.

8. You Find Out Your Partner Isn’t Generous

“Sometimes it’s after a few holidays and a birthday that you find out that the person you are with is not as generous as you had hoped,” Stefanie Safran, Chicago’s “Introductionista” and founder of Stef and the City, tells Bustle. “People who are not seeking marriage or kids tend to stay in relationships longer than just 12 months if they don’t have to ‘rush’ to make a decision on where the relationship is headed.” But if you realize this person isn’t keeping your best interest in mind, sooner or later, you’ll split.

“With more people dating and not moving forward, it’s smarter to end something if the person doesn’t seem serious about you,” she says. “According to Helen Chen, whose marriage philosophies have been quoted in over 200 media publications in 18 countries, over 85 percent of dating ends up in breakups.” Well, there you go.

9. A Year Is When You Determine If You’re Really On The Same Page

“A year is when most couples of a certain age decide to make it official,” New York–based relationship expert and author April Masini tells Bustle. “If, after a year of dating, one or the other doesn’t want to take that step — whether it’s moving in together, getting married or simply making monogamy important — this is when the one who wants a commitment should leave to pursue their personal relationship goals.” It’s an all or nothing moment.

“Having given a relationship a year is a good time frame,” she says. “People who are looking for a solid commitment shouldn’t waste time, and if after a year there’s no commitment, and one person is looking for one, it’s a good idea to break up.” In other words, people often break up after a year if one person wants something and the other one wants to keep their options open.

Images: Fotolia; Giphy (9)

19 brutal reasons why most couples break-up at the 1-2 year mark, according to relationship experts

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Why do people break up? The sad truth is that it’s easier to fall in love than to stay in love.

Did you know that 70 percent of straight unmarried couples break up within the first year? This is according to a longitudinal study by Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld who tracked more than 3,000 people, married and unmarried straight and gay couples since 2009 to find out what happens to relationships over time.

The study found that after five years there was only a 20 percent chance that a couple will break up and that figure dwindles by the time they have been together for ten years.

The question is, why do people break up? Why do so many couples break up within a year or two? Experts say there are 19 key reasons why this happens.

Reasons to break up with someone: Here are 19 of the most common

Image credit: Shutterstock – By Roman Kosolapov

1. The first year of a relationship comes with many challenges

Relationship expert Neil Strauss discusses why do people break up within this duration in a relationship, and told Cupid’s Pulse that there are three stages to the first year of a relationship: projection, disillusionment, and a power struggle.

In the beginning, you don’t see things as they are in reality, you project what you want to see onto your partner. In the next stage, you become more realistic and disillusionment sets in.

“That’s why people break-up in that three to nine-month window — because you’re seeing who they really are. Then, there’s a power struggle or conflict. If you get through that, there’s a relationship,” Strauss told Cupid’s Pulse.

2. At certain times relationships are more vulnerable to a breakup

Were you aware that many couples break up around Christmas and Valentine’s Day?

According to a study by David McCandless breakups most frequently happen on Valentine’s day, Spring season, April fool’s day, Monday, Summer holiday, two weeks before Christmas and Christmas day.

3. You don’t understand what the other wants

Let’s face it:

Men and women see the world differently. And we’re driven by different things when it comes to relationships and love.

For women, I think it’s essential that they take some time to reflect on what really drives men in relationships.

Because men have a built in desire for something “greater” that goes beyond love or sex. It’s why men who seemingly have the “perfect girlfriend” are still unhappy and find themselves constantly searching for something else —  or worst of all, someone else.

Simply put, men have a biological drive to feel needed, to feel important, and to provide for the woman he cares about.

Relationship psychologist James Bauer calls it the hero instinct. He created an excellent free video about the concept.

You can watch the video here.

As James argues, male desires are not complicated, just misunderstood. Instincts are powerful drivers of human behavior and this is especially true for how men approach their relationships.

So, when the hero instinct isn’t triggered, men are unlikely to be satisfied in a relationship. He holds back because being in a relationship is a serious investment for him. And he won’t fully “invest” in you unless you give him a sense of meaning and purpose and make him feel essential.

How do you trigger this instinct in him? How do you give him a sense of meaning and purpose?

You don’t need to pretend to be anyone you’re not or play the “damsel in distress”. You don’t have to dilute your strength or independence in any way, shape or form.

In an authentic way, you simply have to show your man what you need and allow him to step up to fulfill it.

In his video, James Bauer outlines several things you can do. He reveals phrases, texts and little requests that you can use right now to make him feel more essential to you.

Here’s a link to the video again.

By triggering this very natural male instinct, you’ll not only supercharge his confidence but it will also help to rocket your relationship to the next level.

4. The truth starts showing

After one year, stuff gets real. You are starting to see through your love and are not always charmed by your love’s ways and habits.

“This point is really critical because you will definitely see this person’s character,” author and relationship expert, Alexis Nicole White, told Bustle.

By this point, you will either really be attracted to your partner or exceptionally turned off by your partner’s flaws.

(If you want to discover the six deadly relationship sins and learn how to “re-attract” your ex-boyfriend, check out my new article here).

5. Love is blind

Scientists at University College London have shown that love indeed is blind.

They found that feelings of love lead to a suppression of activity in the areas of the brain controlling critical thought.

So, once we feel close to a person, our brain decides that it’s not necessary to assess their character or personality too deeply.


The love you have is unrealistic

Have you idealized your partner and the relationship you have? Or did they do this with you?

This is one of the most common reasons why couples break up.

People expect too much which messes up the relationship.

It wasn’t until I watched this incredible free video on Love and Intimacy by Rudá Iandê that I realized how many expectations I was projecting onto my partner.

You see, Rudá is a modern-day shaman who believes in long-term progress, rather than ineffective quick fixes. That’s why he focuses on overcoming negative perceptions, past traumas, and unrealistic expectations – the root causes of why many relationships break down.

Rudá made me realize that for a long time I’ve been trapped by the idea of having a perfect romance, and how that’s been sabotaging my relationships.

In the video, he’ll explain everything needed to overcome these issues and cultivate healthy, genuine relationships – starting first with the one you have with yourself.

Here’s a link to the free video again.

The truth is:

You don’t need to discover the “perfect person” to be in a relationship with to find self-worth, security, and happiness. These things should all come from the relationship you have with yourself.

And this is what Rudá can help you achieve.

7. After a year, reality sets in

“After a year or so, the new relationship euphoria begins to wear off, and reality sets in,” Tina B. Tessina, better known as Dr. Romance, told Bustle. “Both partners relax, and stop being on their best behavior. Old family habits assert themselves, and they begin to disagree about things they were tolerant of before,” she says.

When this happens, and people lack the skills to handle the situation because they come from a divorced or dysfunctional background, things may start falling apart. Even if they come from a happy background, people are surrounded by relationship disasters, which sets an example and makes it hard to be together for a long time.

8. Communication issues

This is a big one.

Studies have found that communication issues are one of the top reasons for break-up or divorce.

Dr. John Gottman believes that it is the most significant predictor of divorce.


Because communication issues can lead to contempt, which is the opposite of respect.

However, the fact is that it’s natural for men and women to have communication problems in a relationship.


Male and female brains are biologically different. For instance, the limbic system is the emotional processing center of the brain and it’s much larger in the female brain than in a man’s.

That’s why women are more in touch with their emotions. And why guys can struggle to process and understand their feelings. The result is misunderstandings and relationship conflict.

If you’ve ever been with an emotionally unavailable man before, blame his biology rather than him.

The thing is, to stimulate the emotional part of a man’s brain, you have to communicate with him in a way that he’ll actually understand.

9. The great no-no: your partner isn’t generous

It takes a while to find out how generous a person really is. If after a few birthdays and holidays a person realizes that their partner is not generous, they might decide to call it quits. This is the insight of Stefanie Safran, Chicago’s “Introductionista” and founder of Stef and the City, according to Bustle.

10. What would a gifted advisory say?

The signs above and below in this article will give you a good idea about the most common reasons couples break up. 

Even so, it can be very worthwhile to speak to a highly intuitive person and get guidance from them.

They can answer all sorts of relationship questions and take away your doubts and worries. Like, will you and your partner break up? Is your partner the one?

I recently spoke to someone from Kasamba after going through a rough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into where my life was going, including who I was meant to be with.

I was actually blown away by how kind, compassionate and knowledgeable they were.

Click here to get your own love reading.

In this love reading, a gifted advisor can tell you where things stand with your partner, and most importantly empower you to make the right decisions when it comes to love.

11. People want a return on their investment

Life coach Kali Rogers told Bustle that she has found through her research that women want to have an emotional return on investment from their relationships.

“Once they have committed a certain amount of time — typically six months — they like to hold on as long as possible.

“They’ve dumped their love, attention, money and time into this relationship and they want a return,” she says.

12. A year is the time when most people determine where the relationship is going

“A year is when most couples of a certain age decide to make it official,” New York–based relationship expert and author April Masini told Bustle.

“If, after a year of dating, one or the other doesn’t want to take that step — whether it’s moving in together, getting married or simply making monogamy important — this is when the one who wants a commitment should leave to pursue their personal relationship goals.”

A year into a relationship people tend to think in terms of a solid commitment and if that is not forthcoming from one partner, the other person may decide to leave the relationship.

If your relationship has ended, and you’re looking to get over someone, read our latest article on how to get over someone.

13. They don’t live up to their first impressions

Every new relationship is built on what we want the other person to know and see about us.

But you can only keep up the charade for so long before your true self, or their true self comes into light.

Making judgments about someone when we first meet them is natural. And according to research, our first impressions of people last even after we’ve interacted with them.

But after a while, these first impressions eventually fade, and a person’s true personality starts to show through.

This is why so many couples break up after only a few weeks or months.

When we settle into our relationships and start showing people who we really are, unfortunately, not everyone likes what they see.

14. You’ve Already Made up Your Mind

Some people have a rule about how long they will date someone for fear of getting hurt or getting too attached to something that is, in their minds at least, not going to work out anyway.

It’s a sad way to enter into a relationship, but experts say that more people do it than we realize.

You might be fragile at certain times of the year, like around the holidays, or during a particularly stressful period at work and your relationship is going to get the brunt of those emotions, which can add unnecessary strain on the other person and what you are trying to create together.

RELATED: Why You Lost Your Boyfriend (And How You Can Get Him Back)

15. You’re Not Happy within Yourself 

It might sound like a cliche, but if you don’t love yourself first, how can you love someone else?

If you feel unfulfilled inside, and rarely pay attention to your emotions or feelings, your partner will only be able to distract you for so long before you begin to feel unsatisfied.

Then, you may blame them for your unhappiness, rather than looking to address the root causes coming from within you.

So how can you create a better relationship with yourself (that’ll lead to better romantic relationships)?

I’d highly recommend watching this rejuvenating free breathwork video, created by Brazillian shaman Rudá Iandê. 

Combining breathwork with his ancient shamanic knowledge, these exercises are aimed at restoring emotional balance and dissolving anxiety, but most importantly, at reconnecting with yourself.

And the truth is:

Until you repair the relationship you have with yourself, you’ll struggle to form healthy relationships with others. 

So, don’t leave it as long as I did. Get yourself and your relationship back on track before it’s too late.

Here’s a link to the free video again.

16. You are Tuned Out

It’s easy to just have fun at the start of a new relationship and not worry about the details.

Your brain might have taken on an autopilot approach to dating and you might not be as invested in the relationship as you thought you were.

But still, you are having fun so why rock the boat? Until one day you wake up and you realize that you are just wasting everyone’s time and decide to call it quits.

This happens to a lot of younger couples where both people are trying to focus their energy on their careers and getting ahead in life.

A lot of people aren’t starting their adult lives thinking about who they are going to marry or settle down with anymore – there are too many other things to do in life, first.

17. The Physical Stuff Stops Being Important

At first, you’ll be all over each other and wanting to be close to the other person as much as possible.

It’s part of the infatuation stage, but everyone knows that doesn’t last forever. And when you find yourself wanting to roll over and go to sleep instead of fooling around, it’s likely that your relationship could take a nosedive.

This usually happens around the one year, 18-month mark as couples settle into routines and learn to have one another in their lives regularly.

And the more you know about someone and the more you get to know about someone, the less you might be attracted to them.

It doesn’t happen to everyone, but it’s of notable impact on a relationship during these fragile times.

(Breaking up is never easy. For a practical, down-to-earth guide to moving on with your life after a break up, check out my new eBook here).

18. You’re Just Not on the Same Page

What started as a fun adventure has quickly turned into the realization that your guy or gal just likes to sit on the couch and watch TV at night.

If you are someone who likes to go out and see people, go to dinner, catch a movie, or hike on the weekends, it is going to be next to impossible to have a relationship with this person.

While people think opposites attract, they can also actually drive people further apart.

In the beginning, you want to do what your partner wants to do because you want to show them you are interested in things they are interested in, but if you really don’t like hiking or riding motorcycles across the country, then it’s probably not going to work out and you’ll just need to pull the plug.

A full calendar year is usually enough time to see if someone is the kind of person you want in your life. Some couples make it to two years, but many end it before it goes much further.

19. Money issues

Once you’ve been in a relationship for 1-2 years, there becomes the real possibility that financial incompatibility will get in the way.

Money issues and disputes can lead to trust, safety, security and power issues.

While money isn’t generally an issue when you’re casually dating, it can seriously affect the relationship when you’re living and going on trips together.

Related: If you want to learn the surefire way to make him fall hopelessly in love with you again (or at least give you a second chance!), check out my new article here.

I have a question for you…

Do you still love your ex?

If you answered ‘yes’, then you need a plan of attach to get them back.

Forget the naysayers who warn you never to get back with your ex. Or those who say your only option is to move on with your life. If you still love your ex, then getting them back may be the best way forward.

The simple truth is that getting back with your ex can work.

There are 3 things to you need to do now that you’re broken up:

  • Work out why you broke up in the first place
  • Become a better version of yourself so you don’t end up in a broken relationship again
  • Formulate a plan of attach to get them back.

If you want some help with number 3 (“the plan”), then Brad Browning’s The Ex Factor is the guide I always recommend. I’ve read the book cover to cover and I believe it’s the most effective guide to getting your ex back currently available.

If you want to learn more about his program, check out this free video by Brad Browning.

Getting your ex to say, “I made a huge mistake”

The Ex Factor isn’t for everyone

In fact, it’s for a very specific person: a man or a woman who has experienced a break up and legitimately believes the breakup was a mistake.

This is a book that details a series of psychological, flirting, and (some would say) sneaky steps that a person can take in order to win back their ex.

The Ex Factor has one goal: to help you win back an ex.

If you’ve been broken up with, and you want to take specific steps to make your ex think “hey, that person is actually amazing, and I made a mistake”, then this is the book for you.

That is the crux of this program: getting your ex to say “I made a huge mistake.”

As for numbers 1 and 2, then you’ll have to do some self-reflection on your own about that.

What else do you need to know?

Brad’s Browning’s program is easily the most comprehensive and effective guide to getting your ex back you’ll find online.

As a certified relationship counselor, and with decades of experience working with couples to repair broken relationships, Brad knows what he’s talking about. He offers dozens of unique ideas that I’ve never read anywhere else.

Brad claims that over 90% of all relationships can be salvaged, and while that may sound unreasonably high, I tend to think he’s on the money.

I’ve been in contact with too many Hack Spirit readers who are happily back with their ex to be a skeptic.

Here’s a link to Brad’s free video again. If you want a foolproof plan to actually get your ex back, then Brad will give you one.

FREE eBook: 4 Steps to Starting Over With An Ex

Do you want to get back with your ex?

Then you need to check out our FREE eBook, The Ex Back Handbook.

We have one goal in mind with this book: to help you win back an ex (for good!).

If you want a foolproof plan to reverse your break up, you’re going to love this guide.

Check it out here.

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Thanks so much for stopping by Hack Spirit. I hope you have enjoyed reading this article.

If you liked this article, you may enjoy subscribing to me on YouTube.

I just launched my channel and I’m creating videos based on the articles you’re reading. It would mean the world to me if you click the subscribe button below. Then you’ll see my videos when I publish them.


Here’s one of my latest videos. Check it out!


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When to break up and end a long-term relationship

It can be hard to know when to break up with someone and when to end a long-term relationship. Maybe they cheat on you, or you cheat on them, and that’s just it. But deciding to break up can also be really bloody difficult sometimes. Especially if they haven’t done anything particularly awful, and it’s more that you’re just not 100 per cent happy. And, even after you’ve tried everything to make it work, you can still have that feeling of uncertainty and doubt. So how are you meant to know when to break up from a long-term relationship?

Unless your relationship is actively unhealthy, people often feel guilty for wanting to end a relationship. So, these women explain how they knew when to break up with their long-term partners. Hopefully it will give you some comfort if you’re going through the same thing.

When to break up and end a long term relationship

1.”I needed a partner, not a child”

“When I looked at him one day and realised I liked it better when he wasn’t there, because I wasn’t stressed out about his mental and physical health, something he never took personal responsibility for. I needed a partner, not a child older than me. I needed someone I was attracted to, spiritually, sexually and emotionally and I just didn’t feel that way about him anymore. He’s not a bad guy, he just wouldn’t and couldn’t get his shit together. And after 4.5 years together, I just wasn’t about resigning myself to being a caretaker at 24.” [via]

These women explain how they knew when to break up with their long term partners

mjrodafotografiaGetty Images

2.”My needs came last”

“When we were in the home buying process and all of my home needs and wants kept being superseded by [theirs]. I negotiated for a compromise over and over but was dismissed every time. I realised my needs, both in a home and in the overall relationship, came dead last. Things unraveled from there.” [via]

3.”My gut said he wasn’t it

“I had been dating a really great guy for years, and over the course of some months realised he wasn’t who I pictured growing old with, and that’s all there was to it. We got along great, but we were still pretty young and I didn’t feel in my gut like he was it — there was something missing that I couldn’t put words to, even though we had by all accounts, a healthy and happy dynamic for the most part. It made the breakup so much worse because he didn’t understand why I felt this way. I wished I could’ve pointed to something he did, or something about him that showed me things were wrong, but I couldn’t. It sucks because nobody had ever told me that sometimes there isn’t necessarily a catalyst, or a specific thing that makes you realise things aren’t right, so I felt — and still feel — really guilty that I couldn’t give him a better explanation or some sense of closure. Sometimes it’s just not right.” [via]

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4.”I didn’t miss him when I was away”

“I think on some level I always knew. But I was still young and worried about the idea of being single, so I stuck with it. Crunch time came when I went away for the summer and basically just didn’t miss him at all. Spent a lot of time reflecting on things away from everything familiar with a group of people I became very close friends with. Broke up with him on my return. I don’t regret it as such, and I firmly believe if I’d chosen a different path (aka not being with him or breaking up sooner) certain wonderful events in my life wouldn’t have then happened the way they did. But I do kinda look back and think… wtf was I thinking, y’know?” [via]

5.”It was all too serious”

“I broke up with my first real boyfriend because he made a comment about buying me a necklace for my 18th birthday. It was a semi-expensive (but very expensive for a 16 and 19-year-old) necklace that we saw window shopping. He said he would save up and buy it for my 18th. I remember stuttering something about how he was planning to go to university the next academic year. He responded that he was going to the local university because I will be doing A levels and he ‘obviously’ was going to stay around for me. The realisation that he was apparently basing such big life decisions around me and was so serious, and made me feel like I was going to throw up.” [via]

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6.”I didn’t want to be with only him for the rest of my life”

“When he told me that he only wanted to be with me for the rest of his life, and I honestly felt sick and panicky at the thought of that. We were just too incompatible to continue to work on our relationship and move forward.” [via]

7.”He saw me as his adversary”

“I was having an argument with my ex (I don’t even remember what it was about now) and I said, ‘It’s not about winning, it’s about us understanding each other and working it out’. And he just looked at me in utter disbelief and said, ‘Of course it’s about winning!’ It really hit me why we struggled so often; I saw us as a team and he saw me as his adversary.” [via]

8.”I didn’t want his kids”

“When I had a thought that I wouldn’t want him to be the father of my ‘future children’.” [via]


9.”We weren’t that close”

“When I accepted I no longer enjoyed our time together enough. I liked him as a person and friend still, but we weren’t close friends and we weren’t compatible to be close friends. That needs to exist in a relationship IMO. I remember one week I realised I contacted my best friend far more, and wanted to see her more than I wanted to see my ex. I’m sure he felt the same.” [via]

10.”He became possessive”

“When we started college and I joined a student society, and he became very possessive because he didn’t like me having a social life outside of my school and family. We lasted a little under a month after that because that’s how long it took me to realise he really wasn’t going to have a change of heart.” [via]

11.”I met someone else”

“I had known for a while but was denying it in order to keep everyone else happy. I didn’t fully believe I could do better, but met someone who was what I thought to be so far ‘out of my league’. [It] made me realise that nobody is out of anyone’s ‘league’, that it isn’t even a real thing, and that I could do better for my life in so many ways. I didn’t cheat on him with this better person, but this other person did in a way help me realise my own self worth.” [via]

12.”I couldn’t see a future together”

“My ex wanted to marry me, and I genuinely couldn’t see a future together. Anytime it was brought up, it felt like I’d swallowed a stone. We argued like a cat and a raccoon over a lot, even the minor stuff, and there were too many incompatibilities and inconsistencies between us to envision longevity. I knew if I married him, it would be like us willingly shackling ourselves to anchors. Sounds harsh, but I couldn’t see either of us being happy, or even close to it down the road.” [via]

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13. “The relationship drained me”

“Personally, I wasn’t happy anymore. The relationship drained me (financially and emotionally) and I always felt like this wasn’t my whole ‘potential of feeling love’ anyway.” [via]

14. “When there’s more bad moments than good”

When there’s more bad than good moments and you are questioning your future together. I ended a relationship I knew I should have much sooner, and it was a relief and weight lifted off my shoulders when I finally ended it.” [via]

15. “When you’re walking on eggshells”

“When you look forward to getting away from them and you are walking on eggshells around them. If you are living together and home isn’t a haven its time to make a change. If they they don’t make you feel good thats no good.” [via]

“My advice is to listen to your gut feelings”

16. “When the main reason I’m not ending it is inconvenience”

“When circumstantial inconveniences (such as having to move, split items, decide who gets pets, etc) feel like the main reason I’m not doing ending it, that’s when it’s time.” [via]

17. “I knew early on but continued in the relationship”

“I always knew very early on. My trouble is that I believe all relationships need some work, so I continue in the relationship. My advice is to listen to your gut feelings. If during the first one to two months you have a gut feeling it’s not right for you – leave them. Also, the small things that will bother you in the beginning of a relationship will kill you at the end. It’s better to talk and fix it right away.” [via]

18. “I had a really bad feeling”

“He cheated on me. Went through three incidents, but the last time he was begging me back for a fourth time I told him I would get back with him if he let me go through his Facebook messages. (I was never the type to invade privacy, but hey, I had a really bad feeling.) Plethora of messages from random girls in our area, some I personally knew from his school. That’s when I told myself I needed to stop wasting my time with this guy. Hooray for trust issues in my 20s.” [via]

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Paisley Gilmour Sex & Relationships Editor Paisley is sex & relationships editor at Cosmopolitan UK, and covers everything from sex toys, how to masturbate and sex positions, to all things LGBTQ.

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7 Things That Change After 2 Years Together

On May 1, 2017, I will have been dating my boyfriend for 2 full years. Within that time span, I’ve noticed that not only have we changed as people but the dynamic of our relationship has also changed drastically. Although our relationship started off strong, I do think that things only get better with time and that definitely applies to relationships. Some things have changed completely while some things remain the same and only get better and better.

So, in my experience, here are 7 things that happen or have happened when your relationship reaches the 2-year mark.

1. Nothing is off limits, nothing gets held back.

From bodily noises to honest opinions about family, friends, and outfits, you no longer hold back how you feel. They know about that shirt you love and their friend of theirs that you don’t necessarily like and there are no hard feelings.

2.The future is more than just an idea, it’s a goal — and a realistic one.

When you first got together, moving in was an idea that was set aside for the distant future. You rarely spoke of weddings and when you did it was a “maybe one day” kind of thing. Buy now, those realistic plans. You know when you’re going to move in and you have a budget, you’re saving up for a wedding (should you choose to have one), or you have realistic goals that you want to accomplish together. Those thoughts aren’t dreams anymore- they’re realistic goals.

3. You will purposefully try to irritate the other. There is no more walking on eggshells — you’re stomping.

Early in the relationship, you did anything to avoid ticking off your s/o. .Now, irritating them and/or annoying/teasing them is just fun.


4. You both know exactly how you feel.

There are no hopes that he/she feels the same way. You both know that life is too short and it’s better to tell each other sooner than later how you feel, so there are no unknown factors.

5. You know most everything about each other, but you still learn new things about each other every day.

You can list his favorite flavor of cake, the way he always falls asleep and his favorite band, but maybe tomorrow he’ll tell you his favorite song and it’ll surprise you!

The fun in a relationship is the everchanging things that among the consistency, the things you get to find out along the way.

6. The cupcake phase is over (thank God).

You’re no longer obsessed with each other and being apart is no longer the most painful thing of your existence. You still miss each other, don’t get me wrong, and it sucks being apart — But you’re no longer obsessed with every little thing your s/o is doing every minute. The spark is still there but the weird obsessive stage has been replaced with one of comfort.

7. You are devoted.

Fights no longer result in the fear of breaking up and/or the “silent treatment” (seriously, what does that solve?). You both let off some steam then come back together and come to a common resolution. A relationship takes teamwork and that’s exactly how you solve things.

Why Even the Sweetest Couples End Up Breaking Up

The first six months of a relationship are wonderful. There are flowers, candy and hundreds of emoji filled texts that are promptly read and responded to. You leave each other in the evening and video chat a few hours later.

You share your food, wipe each others mouths and walk down the street with your hands in each other’s back pocket.

You are happy and so in love with your companion. You can’t get enough of each other.

A year later you’ve broken up…

How You Start Never Matters

But you started off so well. The relationship was perfect. You were so sweet and in love with each other and somehow the passion still faded.

Statistics show that most relationships go from hot, heavy and passionate to “meh” in about 18 months. The feelings people associate with being in love—the butterflies and the longing—dissipate during this time and the couple begins to wonder if they should carry on with the relationship.

New research shows that relationships are actually more vulnerable to demise far sooner than the dreaded seven year itch. The most common time for a couple to split is right around the two year mark.

By then, you’ve most likely seen everything about your partner—their best and their worst physically and emotionally. You have started to get used to each other’s presence and the spark to stay passionate and playful has gradually faded in the relationship because you just no longer feel the same. Lots of couples end their relationship here.

What most couples who end their relationship there don’t realize is that this is just a phase. It’s a part of the process and happens to all couples.

The Five Stages Every Relationship Goes Through

The first mistake couples make is believing that when the “infatuated” feeling fades, it’s a sign that the love is fading as well. They think that when the butterflies are gone, it’s time to end the relationship.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

When it comes to relationships, experts agree there are five distinct stages. Every relationship goes through these stages. The ones that last successfully make it through all five, but most relationships get stuck and fall apart during stage three.

Stage 1: Passion and Romance

This is the honeymoon or infatuation stage. It is filled with lots of kisses and touching each other for no particular reason. It is when you are completely taken by your mate and are blind to his or her flaws.

It is the easiest phase to endure and very intense.

Stage 2: Getting Serious

This is still within the infatuation or honeymoon stage. You are still blinded by love but have the clarity to see that this relationship has long-term potential. This is when the relationship becomes exclusive and you begin making long-term plans with your partner.

There is still lots of hand-holding, cuddling, and you give each other meaningful nicknames. You begin to share yourself more intimately with your mate.

Stage 3: Relationship Plateau

Stage three is when the relationship becomes real. The blinders are off and you see your partner for who they really are. Physical touch like hand-holding, kissing and other forms of physical intimacy may be starting to slow down a bit. The butterflies are gone and your partner doesn’t seem as cute as they once were.

The hardest part about stage three is that you both begin to question the relationship: where is the passion we used to have for each other? is our love fading away? is he/she the one I can be with for a longer time?

Stage 4: Moving Beyond Infatuation

Once you’ve chosen to move past stage three and to stick with the relationship, you develop a deep and intimate bond. This is the time when couples really begin to merge their lives. Serious discussions concerning marriage, kids and finances ensue and plans are made to move the couple forward as a unit.

This is when the relationship is solidified and the couple builds a life together. Many couples make it to this phase and experience a long, healthy and meaningful relationship.

But there is one more phase…

Stage 5: Becoming a Team

Stage five of the relationship is when the couple becomes a solid team. The relationship moves past “me and you” decision-making and the team becomes more important than the individuals.

This is the part of a relationship everyone longs for but few reach. It’s the true love phase.

It’s when the couple has the best chance of making it to “happily-ever-after.” That’s not to say that there will not be challenges, hardships and bumps in the road. But it does mean that both parties are committed to staying and making the relationship work no matter what.

It’s the phase of full acceptance and unconditional love.

Breaking Through the Honeymoon Stage

Most relationships that end do so somewhere within stage three. Other relationships can last for years and never make it out of stage three, but the relationship is not healthy and neither partner is fulfilled.

The first thing you must understand when you began to feel disillusioned is that feelings don’t sustain a relationship. Feelings are unreliable because they vary and are subject to moods and external factors.

Think of when a family celebrates the arrival of a newborn. At first, all of the attention is on the new addition and everything is sweet and cute. After a few months of dirty diapers, spit up and random crying, the initial excitement passes but that doesn’t mean the parents don’t love the baby anymore.

A romantic relationship works similarly. It’s the struggling process that helps both partners grow and this process also helps the relationship grow into something better, something that will last. Giving up at Stage 3 is like declaring the death of a patient with a beating heart.

The duration of each stage is different for every couple. For some couples, the honeymoon stage may last for years and for others a few months. The important thing to note is the length of the stage has no correlation to the viability of the relationship.

When you reach stage three, you have the power to determine how long it lasts. Getting out of stage three requires you to make a decision. You must decide that your relationship is worth it and you must chose to go all in.

Here are a few things you can do to help move your relationship out of stage 3:

Recognize that questioning your relationship is normal and necessary.

Allow yourself time to assess whether or not your concerns are simply connected to a loss of passion or if you have legitimate concerns about your partner and the relationship.

Talk about your concerns with the right person.

Make sure that you share your concerns with your partner. Saying something as simple as “I feel that our relationship is getting a bit boring these days, I think we should do something about it,” could be the juice the relationship needs. It will start a dialogue and assist you both in actively addressing your concerns.

Sharing your concerns and seeking advice from others during this time is normal and acceptable, just be careful who you listen to.

Make a decision and then put in the work.

Once you decide that the relationship is viable, do something about it. Don’t make your decision and then hope things will get better.

Actively work to move your relationship further. Try new things. Do things your partner likes to do. Be romantic on purpose.

Relationships take heaps of effort. It’s time to put in the work.

It’s Not How You Start, It’s How You Journey Through

All relationships take time, energy and targeted, intentional effort.

It doesn’t matter how “lovey-dovey” cute and cuddly you are in the beginning. The honeymoon will end. And when it does you must work in order to make it last. Stage three doesn’t have to be the death of your relationship. You control whether to relationship lives or dies.

Will your relationship become a stage fiver?

Featured photo credit: Jordan Bauer on Unsplash via

Dating After A Long-Term Relationship — How Soon Is Too Soon?

Navigating any breakup is difficult. You go through the phases of sadness, loneliness, and possibly a bit of anger, resentment, or even guilt. But throw in the end of a relationship that’s lasted for years, and the emotions hit even deeper. Navigating the loss of someone you’ve known for some time can be a lengthy healing process that can be both scary and painful. That’s why dating after a long-term relationship should be handled with care and consideration.

Because breakups can run the gamut from mutual and relatively peaceful to devastating and unexpected, it’s important to first reflect on where you land on the spectrum. “Dating should be about being present and moving forward,” says Tammy Shaklee, founder of LGBTQ matchmaking service h5M.

As for how long after a breakup one should start dating, according to Shaklee, this timeframe can vary. “[Dating after a breakup] depends on how long or serious the relationship was. Was it a seven-year relationship where, at some point, you were basically roommates with no spark and things just slowly fizzled? You will probably be ready [to date] sooner because you’ve been getting ready to meet someone for a while.” If your previous situation was filled with “drama or with a sudden, abrupt end, there’s different answers to that,” says Shaklee, who explains the latter instance might need more time to heal.

A good barometer could be in picturing and considering certain worse-case scenarios. “If you are on a new date with a new person, drinking a glass of wine and your ex walks in, will there be a scene? Raised voices? Tears? Can you carry on with your night calmly? If the answer is ‘no’ to these, you’re probably not in a good place to date yet,” says the relationship guru. The thing is, getting into a new relationship after a long-term relationship isn’t simply a matter of getting over your ex. Ahead, three solid signs that you’re not quite ready to activate that Bumble account.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

When You Haven’t Moved On From The Breakup…

This was already touched upon before and might seem like an obvious red flag. But, you’d be surprised how many choose not to heed this warning. In fact, some follow the popular adage that you can’t get over someone until you find someone else. According to Shaklee, this is definitely not the way to approach dating after getting out of a long-term relationship.

Simply put: If you’re not over your last relationship and able to put it behind you, you will carry it with you into every situation going forward. You also run the risk of sabotaging those initial dates with a partner that could be an otherwise great match for you. “I always ask clients about their most recent relationship, and I’m gauging if they’ve taken the time to move on,” says the relationship guru. “I’ll find out if they’ve deleted their former partner from social media, have they removed their tags and names from Instagram. There’s small steps you can take to really tell yourself you’re over that last relationship — and, in turn, make room for that other person to come in.”

For Los Angeles-based registered nurse Melody Araya, there was one very specific rule she instated to ensure a steady and clean break from her boyfriend of four years. “I promised myself I wouldn’t lose sleep over him,” she says. “This sometimes meant turning to medicated solutions to let myself get some rest. But, that was my healing process until I felt like I was OK to get to sleep naturally without him on my mind.”

Because Araya’s relationship was consistently inconsistent and fraught with unhealthy behavior (including a final breakup by him via text), putting a final fork in the situation was not as difficult as one would think, says Araya. “We broke up in August, and I was mad at him until December,” she explains. “We shared a dog and we met up so he could see him. In that conversation and interaction, I realized we had nothing in common and that he’s really negative. That’s around the time I went back on dating apps.”

When Your Self-Worth Is Not In A Good Place…

Breakups, both mutual and otherwise, can do quite a number on our self-worth and confidence, especially if you’ve been in a twosome for a long time. This is why, Shaklee emphasizes “me-time” and a little reflection phase. Otherwise, you risk dating again, using poor judgement or self-sabotaging things because you simply don’t know who you are as a single person.

Such was somewhat the case for Los Angeles-based freelance writer Allie Flinn, who broke up with her boyfriend of eight years in 2018. Within months, she got back into the game. Looking back a year later, Flinn says this probably wasn’t the best idea. “I started dating and didn’t know what I wanted or who I was,” she says. “I definitely jumped right into something that wasn’t great for me. I wish I could say I focused on myself and took some time.”

After some intense but necessary post-breakup and dating growing pains, lots of journaling, nesting in a new place all her own, and a healthy dose of self-care, some months later, the writer finally found herself in a more confident, self-reflective place. “Dating can be really hard and overwhelming,” says Flinn. “I would worry so much about how my date was perceiving me and if they liked me, even if I wasn’t that interested. After some time, I learned to think more on whether I liked the person I was on a date with and not worry so much about if they liked me. I realized I had this opportunity to choose the next person I was gonna be with.”

Lumina Images/Tetra images/Getty Images

When Your Motives Are Off…

As previously stated, there is no right or wrong timeline to jump back into the dating pool. In fact, if you wanted to start swiping weeks after your breakup, have at it. But first, make sure you check your motives before getting back in the game. Are you seeking validation or a self-esteem boost? Are you seeking distraction from your heartbreak? Be honest with yourself and make sure you’re in a healthy mindset before going on dates.

If not, you might find yourself repeating the same old dating mistakes and making some bad choices in regards to your next partner, which is what Flinn had to learn for herself. With her self-esteem at a low, she found herself seeking distraction and validation in others, which caused her to pick poor potential partners. “I put up with things that I shouldn’t have put up with,” she recalls. “Now a year later, I think I have found more inner validation as opposed to seeking it in someone else. I know what I need and what I deserve and I’m learning to create healthy boundaries for myself — I’m always working on it!”

To be clear, dating doesn’t need to be a serious, intense experience. It can and should be fun, says Shaklee. However, truly allowing yourself to enjoy the ride and give another person a fair shot requires a healthy approach and motives. So, make sure you keep positivity high and expectations low. “Sometimes we overthink things,” says the relationship expert. “Dating is just dating, it’s hanging out and getting to know each other. First dates are not an interview for your next relationship — they’re an audition for a second date!”

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The 7 things I did to get over a big breakup — and why research says they work

Tom and I broke up a few weeks before he was due to start medical school.

Our relationship had been a whirlwind. We had known each other since childhood but had been dating for just 10 days before he moved down from Connecticut to Pennsylvania and into my small one-bedroom apartment. A few months later, we were planning our wedding, deliberating what guest favors we would choose (DIY terrariums were under consideration), and stopping in at jewelers to try on engagement rings. I was elated, effervescent, convinced he was “the one.”

Then all of a sudden, we were on the rocks. Arguments interrupted even the briefest phone conversations. Weekend trips ended in tears and yelling.

One afternoon at the end of my workday, eight months after our relationship began, I found myself sitting in my parked car, dialing his number in a moment of panic and confusion. “I’m not getting what I need,” I told him.

In the nights that followed, I had the dramatic push-pull experience that everyone experiences immediately following a breakup: on top of the world and triumphant in my decision one moment, certain that my ex would come crawling back, confident that I had made the right call, and then suddenly heartbroken, afraid, and completely numb, somehow all simultaneously. I cried into his voicemail. I sat by my window and listened to “A Case of You” on repeat. I wallowed.

When I spoke to Brian Boutwell, an evolutionary psychologist at St. Louis University, he gave me some insight into the science behind my sadness. He said that being in love involves the same neural circuitry as a cocaine addiction.

“Falling in love presents very much like an addictive process,” he told me. “You have this drive to get that fix in the form of being around the person that you care about.”

So my breakup was a cocaine withdrawal? Boutwell says yes.

“We have this pervasive idea that, ‘oh, it’s just a breakup, it’s not that big of a deal,’” he said. “Whereas emotionally it can be quite a big deal, and [breakups] can be a risk factor for depression, which is no clinical condition to take lightly. There is a real analogy of the, quote, broken heart. There’s some physiological rationales behind that thinking. [Breakups] can jeopardize one’s health.”

This description rings true to me: After the breakup, I felt physically ill, exhausted, and devastated. One of these particularly low moments, I scared myself into anger — at my ex, at myself, at this entire stupid situation. How dare he not fight harder for this relationship? How dare something end that was so promising and beautiful? But most importantly, how dare I — an outspoken feminist, constantly touting women’s independence, glory, power, resilience — betray women by behaving like my life was over because of something as trivial as a breakup? What had really happened here? I had lost a man, a friend, a partner, but I hadn’t lost myself.

So I embarked on a quest to reclaim myself, to turn this breakup into an opportunity for renewal and self-discovery, rather than an excuse to feel sorry for myself. I tried all sorts of things, from reconnecting with old friends to blocking my ex on every single social media channel imaginable.

Here’s a list of everything I tried, along with an honest assessment of how each one worked for me. I also wanted to know how my experiences lined up with the scientific consensus on what helps people get over breakups, so I asked relationship researchers to weigh in on my list.

1) I said yes to every social invitation

Effectiveness: 9/10

For the first few weeks following the breakup, I vowed to accept every social invitation that came my way. This was the best decision I could have possibly made. I bought myself new bathing suits and went to the beach. I took selfies in the sun. I went to cast parties and had a snuggle pile on a damp lawn with other tipsy theater kids. I kissed my co-stars and crooned along to Sara Bareilles and played Never Have I Ever around a fire pit. I went clubbing for the first time since I started seeing my ex. I found my freedom.

The clubbing was especially liberating. After the breakup, I reveled and rebelled. I went out to gay bars and embraced my bisexuality, distancing myself from my previous relationship and reasserting my queer identity. I danced on the tops of bars and on club stages. I wore my shortest skirts, highest heels, and reddest lipstick. I dove into my Snapchat story with gusto. I got number after number, smiled as widely as I could, and left the clubs exhausted, sore, satisfied, and solo. I slept starfish on my bed and gave myself permission to take up all the space.

Katie Bogen

The experience of accepting these invitations not only allowed me to create new friendships but also reminded me that I could be single without being “alone.” I am the kind of person who gets lost in their partner — I plan my weekends and evenings around them, I try to reserve my free time to spend by their side, and, in doing so, I neglect my own friendships and relationships. I forget how to effectively self-care. I allow myself to become isolated and dependent.

After my breakup, I extended friendship feelers in all directions. I let myself be swept along to late-night karaoke and cozy taverns, polo matches, and long walks through Newport. I basked in new people, and found myself feeling more and more at home in my own skin.

Downsides: During the beginning of the breakup, accepting these invitations probably won’t feel genuine. You may feel guilty for going out, or you may go out only to obsessively check your phone for the night, convinced your ex will text you. You might feel dirty for dancing with new people. You might feel ashamed for having fun, while the sad parts of you try to suck you back into the dark hole of Netflix and order-in pizza. Go out anyway. That old adage — fake it ’til you make it — rings true.

Expert opinion: Grace Larson, a researcher at Northwestern University, told me that this desire to accept invitations was likely driven by my need to regain self-concept after the breakup. Going dancing was a reclamation of my independence.

According to Larson, “One of the things we found in our study was that when people were able to really agree with statements like, ‘I have reclaimed lost parts of myself that I could not express while with my partner’ … that predicts people being less depressed. That predicts people being less lonely. That predicts people not ruminating on the breakup anymore.”

2) I nourished by body with healthy food and exercise

Effectiveness: 7/10

The farmers market became a weekend staple. I went shopping with my aunt and bought myself lush greens, miniature summer squash, ripe orchard apples, frozen lemonade. I gave my body what it wanted. I planned recipes. I made mug after mug of green tea and French-press coffee. I absolutely spoiled myself. If I saw a bar of chocolate I wanted at the grocery store? It was mine. Those vegan marshmallows? Why not? The world was my oyster.

Going to the farmers market and creating a treat-myself food mentality was delightful. Coming home and realizing I would have to eat these bounties by myself? Not so much.

Fortunately, my attempts to be good to my body didn’t stop at food. I bought a beginner yoga pass at a local studio, and the entire experience was incredible. I breathed slowly, stretched, shook, and repeated the mantra: I am the only person on my mat. The practice of yoga became a way to ground myself in my own body and my own presence. It was about taking care of myself and healing after an emotional trauma. It allowed me to recognize the way I was hurting without indulging in it. It was glorious. I left the studio feeling powerful, calm, and whole. Even if the feeling only lasted for five minutes, those five minutes were beautiful.

Katie Bogen

In addition to the yoga practice, I joined a gym close to my home and started attending group workout classes. My ex was a personal trainer and a football player: strong, hard-bodied, and confident in the presence of other athletes. I was a curved, uncoordinated gym-phobe who preferred to work out in the safety and privacy of my living room. I had balked at each one of my ex’s gym invitations.

Now I went to spin classes, barre classes, and a gym boot camp. I met with a personal trainer and planned out a way to reach my fitness goals. I supplemented my gym classes with long walks and choreography rehearsals for the show. I started to see progress. On the days when my motivation to exercise just wasn’t there, I forgave myself. Breakups suck. Sometimes they require lazy nights in front of Netflix and some order-in Chinese food (extra duck sauce and the largest order of lo mein I can get, thanks). My progress wasn’t rapid-fire. I didn’t go vegan. But the trainers at the gym recognize me, and a few even know me by name. That’s something.

Downsides: If you choose to use food as a means to cope with a breakup, do so with a friend. Eating kale by yourself and trying to stay happy is just a bummer all around. Additionally, it is really tempting to grab excessive amounts of sweets and junk to treat yourself. DO NOT. I repeat — do not. You will feel sick and crampy, and you don’t want to make things harder on your body when it is already coping with a massive emotional blow.

As for the workout component of this, there will be days when you think about the gym and you Just Can’t. On those days, you might feel worthless or lazy or like nobody will find you attractive ever again. Forgive yourself, give yourself a rest, and treat your body in other ways. Take a bath with some essential oils. Spend the night giving yourself a pedicure, complete with freshly lotioned legs. Take a long walk through the park and practice mindful breathing. You do not have to sweat every day. You only need to be kind to yourself.

Expert opinion: Grace Larson told me that it’s important to create healthy physical rhythms after a breakup. Breakups, she said, throw our daily routines into disarray: “In order to counteract this chaos and disorganization, it’s even more important to eat regular meals. It’s more important to make sure you’re getting enough sleep. It’s even more important to set a new, steady schedule for when you’re going to exercise.”

3) I reconnected with old friends

Effectiveness: 10/10 (MOST IMPORTANT)

My best girlfriends live in Maine and Massachusetts. Before Tom and I broke up, my relationship occupied most of my time. My lady loves fell to the wayside as I basked in the bliss of romance.

After the breakup, I was able to reconnect. I spent weekend after weekend taking long drives to binge Netflix and wine, snuggle, cry, and process my heartbreak out loud with people who loved me. I made the women in my life my priorities. I spent hours on the phone, catching up with the people I had lost touch with. Nothing feels like home quite like being barefoot on your best friend’s couch with a glass of red wine and a handy box of tissues.

These women reminded me that there were pieces of my past unburdened, or possibly even strengthened, by the breakup. Marie took me on long walks with her puppy, and the two of us sipped mimosas over brunch. She rooted me to my most loving self. She reminded me that I was still (and always had been) lovable. Olivia pulled me out of my comfort zone. She brought me rock climbing and to Walden Pond. She helped me celebrate my independence. She talked me through asking my ex for my things back. Marie and Olivia helped me rebuild a foundation of my strongest, happiest, and most present self. They reminded me that all was not lost.

Downsides: If you’re going through a breakup and live a long distance from your best friends, using these visits as a coping mechanism may be more challenging. If that happens: SKYPE! FaceTime. Plan phone calls. Make sure to hear their voices.

Also, when you’re in a heartbreak space, it can be challenging to remember that your friends have other commitments — partners, jobs, social lives — that they also need to tend to. When they are unavailable, remind yourself that it is not because they don’t want to help you feel better. It’s impossible to pour from an empty glass. Your biggest supporters still need to recharge between snuggle sessions. It’s not because they don’t care. It’s because they want to care most effectively for you AND themselves.

Expert opinion: Larson told me that breakups disrupt what psychologists call our “attachment systems.”

“In the same way that an infant child is reliant on their mother or their primary caregiver to soothe them … adults still have a strong need to connect deeply with one other person,” Larson said.

“And normally there is this process, when you go from being a little kid, your attachment bond is with your mom or your dad, grandparents, a close caregiver. When you transition into adolescence, that attachment bond becomes your closest, most intimate friends. And then when we become adults, our primary attachment is likely to be to a romantic partner.”

The question, as Larson put it, is this: What happens after a breakup, when you can no longer rely on your partner to be your primary attachment?

“What happens for a lot of people is they switch that attachment back to those people who in an earlier stage of life may have been the primary attachment. Your attachment might snap back to close friends, it might even snap back to your parents, or it might snap back to an ex-lover.”

4) I cut off all my hair

Effectiveness: 6/10

I went through the panicked must change everything impulsivity soon after the breakup. I made the decision to get a dramatic haircut, and chopped off about 10 inches. The new look upped my confidence and gave me back some of my sass. My ex had loved my long hair. Getting it cut off felt like reclaiming my body as my own, asserting my autonomy, and taking a risk. I left the salon feeling as glamorous as Rachel Green.

Downsides: The 30 seconds of panic after looking in the mirror for the first time post-haircut. But only those 30 seconds.

Expert opinion: Larson put this impulse in the context of both evolutionary biology and identity reassertion. She said, “Everybody knows you’re newly single. You’re going to try to be attractive — that makes perfect sense. In light of the research, it makes sense that you would try really broadcast this new, strong identity.”

5) I blocked my ex on every social media channel I could think of

Effectiveness: 7/10

I’m a Facebook stalker. I’m a rabid Instagram follower, a Snapchat checker, and a general social media addict. Immediately following a breakup, this quality was poison. I was thrilled to be able to show off my new life and my happiness, but a single update from my ex would leave me devastated and confused and missing everything about him.

The day he started posting pictures of himself with other women, I spent the afternoon feeling ill, angry, and betrayed. So rather than give up my social media accounts and the small comfort they brought me, I blocked him. On. Everything. I blocked his snaps and his Instagram feed. I blocked him on Facebook. I deleted his email address from my address book. I removed his number from my saved “favorites.”

The blocking was a very wise move. Not only did it stop me from seeing any potentially heart-wrenching posts, but it also kept me from posting unnecessary fluff, to make my life look exciting and rewarding on the off chance that my ex decided to look at my profiles. My life is exciting and rewarding, and not feeling the need to prove it helped me to actually participate in and enjoy it.

Downsides: Not being able to see what your ex is up to is actually really challenging. When you’re used to being a part of someone’s every day — when you care about their happiness, how successful they are, whether they are reaching their goals — the sudden disconnection of social media removal can feel overwhelming.

But I promise it helps in the long run. You can’t dwell on whether they are seeing other people. You can’t go through all of their recently added friends, or check to see who might be liking their photos. The pain of not knowing hurts much less than the pain of constantly obsessing — trust me.

Expert opinion: When I spoke to Larson about this habit, she referenced the work of Leah LeFebvre, a professor at the University of Wyoming who studies dating and relationships. Larson told me, “When you post glamorous pictures as evidence of your exciting new life, LeFebvre and her colleagues would call this ‘impression management.’ In contrast, they consider blocking or unfriending an ex as part of the strategy of ‘withdrawing access.’”

According to Larson, “These researchers argue that they are both part of the process of dictating the storyline of the split (“I’m the one who is winning in this breakup!”). … These tactics serve to demonstrate — to yourself, your ex, and anyone else who’s watching — that you are self-reliant and flourishing in the wake the breakup.”

6) I downloaded Tinder and started dating again — casually

Effectiveness: 4/10

This was the scariest part of my post-breakup revolution. I vowed not to have a serious partner for at least a year after Tom and I broke up. However, he was the last person I had kissed. The last person I had shared a bed with. The last person who had played with my hair and warmed my (always, always) cold toes. When I thought of intimacy and flirtation, I immediately thought of him. It made the concept of dating an absolute nightmare, which is precisely why I (re)downloaded Tinder and started talking to new people.

At first, I felt cheap and guilty, as though I were betraying my ex or making false promises to these new matches. But after a few weeks, I met some wonderful people. I went for coffee and out to lunch, and got to know men and women who were brilliant, accomplished, ambitious, affectionate, warm, whose company reminded me that I myself was bright, charming, and desirable. These people treated me like I was exciting, and so I felt exciting.

Downsides: You will feel guilty. You will feel confused. You will feel unsure of yourself. You might feel dirty, or ashamed, or cheap. You might feel like you’re using other people. You might feel dishonest. Dating again after a breakup, especially soon after a breakup, is not for everyone. Having sex with someone new after a breakup, especially soon after a breakup, is not for everyone. Listen to your body and your instincts. If you feel gross or uncomfortable during a date, it is okay to cut that date short, go home, get in the bath, and listen to Josh Groban until you feel cozy again.

Expert opinion: St. Louis University’s Brian Boutwell says that dating after a breakup is a good idea because it’s almost guaranteed to result in one of two options: It will make you realize there are other fish in the sea, and therefore help you get over your ex; or it’ll inspire you see the good things about your old relationship, and therefore lead you to the decision to get back together.

“There is the potential for an evolutionary payoff in both respects,” he said. “You might either regain your old mate or you can move on, acquiring a new, maybe more promising mate.”

7) I threw myself into my work and career

Effectiveness: 10/10

The breakup might have hurt my heart, but it helped solidify my career and my professional goals. Since the breakup, I’ve been offered two competitive jobs in public health and a fellowship with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I have been motivated to study for graduate and law school entrance exams. I have been able to dedicate myself to my work, with no distractions.

The freedom of not needing to consider another person’s aspirations has been a saving grace for my self-love, as I’ve enthusiastically fed my ambition. I accepted a new job with a better title, and transitioned back into a field of work that I am passionate about, gender-based violence prevention. At 22 years old, I gave my first lecture to university students, on sex trafficking and wartime sexual violence as human rights abuses.

Katie Bogen

I’ve submitted presentation proposals to three academic conferences, written several papers, and co-authored a book chapter on sexual violence prevention. I have joined the Toastmasters public speaking group, improved my rhetorical skills, and explored opportunities in political journalism. In short, I have achieved, in spite of — and because of — the heartbreak. I have learned never to underestimate the power of a woman in love, or the power of a woman recently out of it.

Downsides: There are no downsides here!

Expert opinion: “Breakups make you feel out of control,” Larson said. “They take agency away from you.”

As a result, she said, “Not only are you going to feel more attractive and more valuable if you’re really kicking ass in your career, it’s also an area where you can exert total control.”

These were the steps I chose in order to feel most empowered and soothed during my heartbreak. This is not to say that I am completely over it. When you truly love someone, I’m not certain there ever really is an “over it.” But I am confident and happy. My life feels gloriously like my own, and I’m grateful for this opportunity to have gotten to know myself even better.

Katie Bogen is a clinical research program coordinator at Rhode Island Hospital.

First Person is Vox’s home for compelling, provocative narrative essays. Do you have a story to share? Read our submission guidelines, and pitch us at [email protected].

90,000 Crisis in relationships by years: reasons how to survive

Couple therapy is always a crisis therapy, that is, if people who want to improve, develop, accelerate the pace can wander into individual counseling, then families come in crisis at 99 % of cases! Tatiana Podolskaya, a practicing psychologist, spoke about the crisis in relationships, its types and exit options.

It is important to know that the family is such a system, on which two laws act at once: constancy and development.Which presupposes a prerequisite for the emergence of crisis situations. The family faces a crisis when the situation changes, and partners continue to interact in the usual way, only it does not give past results. Old behaviors don’t work in changed circumstances. For example, partners have cooled off towards each other, but TRY to pretend that everything is fine. Or a child appeared in the family and all the chores fell on the wife, and the husband continues to demand the same attention to himself as before the children were born.

A crisis in a relationship has two obvious directions for its resolution: a couple can end their existence and separate or go to a higher level of relations.

And we often forget about the second option and are simply afraid of the crisis as a phenomenon, but standing still is more difficult to make a jump than if you run away. But scattering before a jump is really scary. And this is precisely because we tend to choose a bad peace over a good war. Many couples break up simply because of the accumulated grievances, misunderstandings, fear of expressing their desires.

I am not urging you to make trouble in order to improve the relationship in a couple, but it is important to understand that you can get angry not only in order to get out of the relationship. You can, after all, be angry with a partner in order to stay in a relationship.

For example, you notice that your husband spends too much time at work. Your anger is a call: “Be with me too, I am worried that if you do so much at work, our relationship may go wrong!” If you look at the strong emotions that arise in a couple in this way, then the fear seems to be not so terrible and you can afford to manifest itself! You should not live in the illusion that it is good only if it is good!

I often cite an example that children in a family should see how parents can get upset, angry, speak louder than usual, then the children understand that this is normal! Mom can be different and this does not cease to be my mom, which means I can too! And if the mother does not allow herself, then the child is not sure whether he can be different himself.So in a relationship! It is worth showing up and talking about your WANT, DO NOT LIKE, BAD, PAINFUL, etc. If you are in the illusion that if you say nothing, you will not bring trouble, then this is just an illusion. Accumulated resentment, disrespect for one’s own and the partner’s feelings are sure signs of a toxic relationship.

Signs of a crisis in a relationship

How to recognize the impending catastrophe, I will tell you now!

What I most often hear from my clients: “He does not hear me”, “She forgets that I asked not to do this”, “We discussed this a million times” – a couple of discontent arises! And often one persistently tries to prove, impose, explain, while the second begins to flee.This may be followed by violent quarrels or prolonged silence and resentment.

It also happens that both can step aside. Then the conflict becomes latent and what is happening in everyone’s head and heart is difficult to recognize. This situation inevitably entails complaints, resentments, misunderstandings. It is difficult to stay in such a climate for a long time, the psyche is often looking for someone or something to escape to in order to survive. And then the partners spend less and less time together and are looking for the realization of their needs outside the relationship.

And this is not always cheating – friends, addictions, hobbies, going to work, to children. How to go to bed with the enemy, I will not explain for a long time, you can easily imagine yourself. He is annoyed by the eternal headache of his wife, her – the “changed” smell of his body, and after a while they become roommates.

Some people choose to live like this for decades, someone meets a new love and goes into the illusion that it will be different there, someone manages to quarrel for years, and there are those who are trying to save the relationship, realizing that and his share of responsibility in the current situation, no doubt, is!

Relationship crisis by years

As for understanding what crises in relationships are: having opened any decent textbook on family psychology, you will see a certain pattern in the description of crisis periods in relationships.This is the proverbial:

  • First year family crisis
  • 3-5 years
  • 7 years of marriage
  • 10 years
  • 13 and 23 years

We have all heard about these periods, and the list does not end with these numbers. It’s not about the years lived together, I’ll make a reservation right away, the calendar of the breakdown of relations as such does not exist. Over the years, the couple goes through or does not go through certain stages, and it depends on how exactly both partners can cope with the difficulties and novels that arise, and it depends on what kind of crisis in family relations life will lead them to.

Crises in family relations

Crisis of the beginning of marriage

The first twists and turns in the life of a couple, no doubt, arise at the moment when the beloved begin to share their life. In family therapy, the family cycle begins not from the moment of marriage, but from the moment of starting a life together. So, if life does not kill, then it definitely makes us hardened. And the question here is not in dirty dishes, but in traditions, rules, routine with which each of us leaves our parental family.We go into an independent family life, as if carrying invisible messages with us: “Go and do as we do!” And usually each family has its own patterns of existence, and the collision of such differences inevitably entails contradictions and leads to conflicts. For example, if it is accepted for one that the weekend is at home and for groceries, and for another – for guests, then there will be a conflict. Or, in one family, as if there were no quarrels, and in another, stormy clarifications of relations were accepted, then there will be tension. And conflicts and tension very naturally lead to a family crisis.

Crisis after marriage

Some parents are not limited to the invisible presence, they need to break into the life of a young family. They themselves will not figure out where to them. How to have sex, but how to fold the pots and put the nipple in the baby’s mouth, they will definitely not figure it out. If the influence of parents is great and they unceremoniously invade the boundaries of the children’s family, this will inevitably lead to difficulties and problems. Eric Byrne said: “When we get married, it is necessary to make a friendly divorce from our parents.”And this is true!

Crisis 3 years of relationship, or crisis of childbirth

The crisis of 3 years of life is customarily associated with the appearance of children in a young family. In the modern world this is no longer necessarily the case, but it often happens. Yes, children inevitably make adjustments to the established life of a couple. And the question is not at all that they cry at night and pull on the budget, but that most couples spend 9 months preparing for how to wipe the heir’s bottom and lose sight of how to interact further on their own.And life changes abruptly with the first cry in the delivery room, and it will NEVER be the same as before. You somehow lived before the children, shared responsibilities around the house, arranged your leisure time, and at best everything was smooth with you. Children disrupt the usual course of events, and there are many resentments that there is no help, and misunderstandings. For a man, perhaps nothing has changed, plus fatigue, nerves and the new situation itself also add stress. And it happens that the situation looks quite the opposite – the children do not work out, and the spouses are already ready for the role of parents, and not ready for the tests that they have to go through on the way to parenthood, and then the conflict can escalate on this basis.

Crisis 5-7 years of family relations

The notorious crisis of 7 years of marriage is associated with the extinction of romance in a couple, the intimacy between partners becomes not so close, feelings are dulled, I kind of already know well the person next to him and what to expect from him. And this is an illusion! Often, due to the hassle and everyday life, we lose contact with a partner, we cease to be interested in his condition, experiences, hobbies, etc. It seems to us that he is the same as he was when we met. But over the years he has inevitably changed, and you too.And if there are children in the family, then often by this moment they have already grown up and do not require as much attention to themselves, and then there is simply nowhere to put the freed up time.

Crisis “empty nest”

There are many more lesser known and discussed crises. So, it is often said about a crisis of 10 years, such a watershed for a married couple. The critical period also occurs between the 13th and 23rd years of the life of the spouses. It is less visible, but more protracted. Often during this period, spouses come to a middle-aged personality crisis, and then many life processes are called into question, including the family way of life.When one or even both in the family think about their goals, values, the fulfillment of expectations, and often everything is not as smooth as desired, and then your personal failure can be blamed on children or a partner. This, they say, they took the best years of life. Or, simply living in troubles and worries for 20 years, people find that they have become strangers and nothing more binds them. And then it’s as if it’s easier to disperse and start from scratch, or make an effort and get to know your partner again, since over the years of life together, both have changed and it’s not a fact that the person you’ll get to know again will suit you, but perhaps you will still be carried away. more than 20 years ago.But this is definitely a difficult and lengthy process, and when deciding to join it, you must understand this.

Each crisis, as you already understood, has its own cause and its own characteristics of the way out of the current situation. What is important to remember: if you manage to maintain interest in the person with whom you live and not become one with him, then you will be able to overcome most crises. Having your own life outside your family, and here I am talking about work, friends, hobbies, etc., you are most likely to cope with the notorious “empty nest syndrome”, and when grown-up children leave home, your life will not be empty.If you give up the illusion that you know a person with whom you have lived, even for 20 years, and every day you are interested in him and choose him again, then you are unlikely to find yourself in a swamp of family melancholy. In order for this not to happen, you need to be able to build a safe distance between yourself and your partner, when both can spend some time apart, but have the confidence that they are together as a couple, and not be afraid that one will leave. If you know how to talk and negotiate, and this is the basis of interaction in a couple, then you can always get out of a crisis, be it childcare or even crises such as infidelity or divorce.Everything is not smooth in life. If you are not inclined to scare yourself that any disagreement will inevitably break your relationship, but rather have a certain margin of safety for your couple, crises can really bring new opportunities to your couple, no matter how strange it sounds.

See also: Psychologist’s column: 7 signs that it’s time to get divorced

See also: How to build personal boundaries in a couple and not only

how to overcome them and not get divorced

The very first problems begin after the first year of marriage.They are connected with the fact that before that the spouses were still trying to show themselves from their best side. They were establishing a life together, equipping their own space, the hormones of love were working with might and main, and the life together seemed like a fairy tale. But after about a year (someone gives up earlier, someone lasts a little longer), worries about a joint nest become boring everyday life, smart dressing gowns are replaced by home pajamas, and instead of flowers, dirty socks and unwashed dishes are increasingly appearing as surprises.Suddenly it turns out that sleeping in one room is uncomfortable for you, because one loves it when it’s cool and opens the window, and the other sleeps only with the closed one. The differences in taste and views on the question of what to see on Friday night seem insurmountable.

And it seems that all these little things could be experienced, but with the most standard development of events, the first serious shock awaits the couple – the birth of a child.

And here a real crisis really happens.A young mother gets very tired both physically (from constant lack of sleep, carrying a baby in her arms, problems with lactation) and psychologically (her usual way of life is completely changing, she is deprived of a normal society, her own interests should recede into the background). The position of a man also turns out to be difficult. Instead of attention and care from his wife, the whole stream of negativity falls on him. She is impatiently waiting for him from work, not in order to affectionately meet and feed him with dinner, but to bring down all the experiences of a difficult day with a child.An additional financial burden falls on him. In addition, at times he is forced to put up with the fact that he is deprived not only of the care of his wife, but also of his sexual life.

Coping with: Prepare in advance for new roles. Now the couple are not only husband and wife, but also parents. Discuss the division of responsibilities before the baby is born. Realizing that the birth of a child is not just a joyful event, but also a serious stage in the life of a family, which will entail many changes.It would be nice to organize help for the mother with the baby so that she has time to rest. Tune in that for the first couple of months you really have to constantly be with the baby, but gradually life will get better. The main task of the couple at this moment is to tune in for mutual support and revise the family’s way of life, taking into account the fact that there are now three of you ( read also: “9 problems of young parents (and how to solve them)”).

Crisis 3-5 years of family life

Psychologists told how to survive the 5 most dangerous periods of marriage and not scatter

Writer Robert Stevenson once said: “Marriage is a long conversation interrupted by arguments.”Sooner or later, every couple is faced with a crisis in the relationship, and this is absolutely inevitable. The good news is that by coping with it, spouses take a new level of relationship and find new ways to be happy together.

Bright Side is convinced that there is no need to be afraid of marriage crises: this is an indicator that relations are developing. The main thing is not to give up and look for ways to overcome difficulties. After all, once you promised this person to be together “both in joy and in sorrow” – the time has come to prove that these were not empty words.So, here’s a list of the most difficult crises for a relationship to be fully prepared.

1 year of marriage. “Awareness Stage”

Outrageous singer Pink made an offer to her boyfriend herself. True, a year later they broke up … And then they got back together! Now the couple are raising 2 children.

Family Therapist Rita DeMaria calls this crisis “stage of awareness” . It usually comes after 6-12 months of living together. The first charm of falling in love subsides, and you begin to see your partner in real light: with all his weaknesses and not always pleasant habits (which you happily ignored before).“It’s time to learn how to work together,” says Rita DeMaria.

What to do? “If you haven’t discussed the most important topics before marriage, such as finances, children, visits from relatives, free time, etc., it’s time to do it now,” advises psychologist Beverly Hyman. It is worth telling each other honestly about your values ​​and priorities. It is likely that they will not coincide on all points, and then a compromise must be sought. At this stage, it is very important to reach firm agreements on the “hottest” issues.

3-4 years of marriage. Dangerous “comfort zone”

The marriage of Madonna and Sean Penn lasted only 3 years, but in their interviews the stars say that they still love each other. Maybe they were in a hurry with the divorce?

A study of 2,000 married British couples showed that after 3 years 6 months, spouses begin to pay less attention to each other, prefer sleep more often to sex and less often confess their love to each other. A couple enters the “comfort zone”: on the one hand, this is a wonderful feeling of security and relaxation, on the other, such unpleasant things as an open toilet door and unkempt household clothes appear.While 82% of married couples surveyed said they were happy with their marriage, 49% wished their partner was “more romantic.”

What to do? Salvation is to keep the fire going. Compliment and praise each other more often. It’s not always worth telling your partner what you think of him or her. Sometimes it’s better to remain silent. If you feel that there is a problem, start the conversation gently, without blaming. And, most importantly, look inside yourself, advises family therapist John Gottman.Growth in marriage occurs when each person looks at themselves from the outside and understands how much they contribute (or not) to the relationship.

5-7 years of marriage. “Seven Years Itch”

Friends star David Schwimmer and his wife Zoey Buckman announced a break in their relationship after 7 years of marriage. Fans hope this is only a temporary solution.

In Western psychology there is even such a thing as “seven-year itch”. This is one of the most critical periods in marriage.By this time, the couple already have an established life, established relationships and the spouses mostly interact as if on “autopilot”, which is a big mistake, recalls Beverly Hyman. Due to routine, interest and sexual attraction to each other decreases. It seems that you already know everything about each other. The future prospects for marriage are vague. Sometimes couples decide to have a first (or second) child in order to “save” the marriage, but remember that a child is a separate person, not a lifesaver.

What to do? Family Therapist Robert Taibbee suggests the following:

  1. Maintain open communication. Less formal “How was your day?” – “Normal”, more emotion and sincerity.
  2. Solve problems as soon as they arise, do not “sweep them under the carpet” where they accumulate more and more.
  3. Listen to yourself. Evaluate your condition periodically, update your list of needs and vision for the future. Share these thoughts with your partner.
  4. Discuss your couple’s prospects. What are your plans for the next year, 5, 10 years? Again, the key here is to be open and honest, not polite and vague.

10-15 years of marriage. “Difficult” age

Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green almost got divorced when their romance turned 11 years old. But the couple still found the strength to make peace. Now they already have 3 children.

According to the latest research, 10 years is the most difficult frontier in a relationship. 2,000 married women surveyed in the United States called the 11th year of marriage the most difficult.At this time, a very big load falls on the woman: she must simultaneously keep up with the school affairs of the grown children, the house, and besides, work. Due to the lack of time, the quality of the relationship suffers. A husband may stop seeing his wife as an attractive, desirable woman. According to statistics, the average length of a marriage in Europe is just about 11 years.

What to do? The good news is that if you get past this crisis, after 15 years of marriage, relationship satisfaction will gradually improve over the next 20 years, scientists say.According to family relations experts Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, in this difficult period it is important to learn to relate to everything, including yourself, with humor. Laugh together often. Do not get overwhelmed by trifles, calmly react to your partner’s mistakes. Lower your expectations. Yes, your marriage was far from perfect, but is it really that bad? Focus on the positive aspects of your marriage (and partner).

20-30 years of marriage. Midlife crisis and gray divorce

Danny DeVito and Ri Perlman split up after 30 years of marriage, which came as a shock to fans.However, after a year, they realized that they had made a mistake and reunited.

The spouses’ personal midlife crises contribute a lot to the 20-year marriage crisis. The so-called empty nest syndrome may also be added, when the children grew up and left the parental home and the spouses were left alone again, as at the beginning of the journey. Spouses may feel that their marriage has exhausted itself, because the main mission has been completed. In the United States, psychologists call a divorce that occurs after 20 years of marriage or more, a “gray divorce”, since the spouses are sometimes already whitened with gray hair.The number of such divorces has been growing lately.

What to do? Do not move away from each other. Look for new meanings of being yourself as a couple. If the spouses for a long time brushed aside the problems in marriage while raising their children, now that they are alone, the conflicts will only worsen. But there will be time to solve them. This is a great opportunity to reconstruct a marriage. Beverly Hyman writes about this. Coach Steve Siebold recommends not launching yourself, playing sports together, and also creating new goals for the couple: travel, starting a business, language courses – something that will allow you to live a new unforgettable experience together.

Non-standard tips for overcoming the marriage crisis

Psychologist, an expert on family relations Mort Fertel believes that generally accepted recommendations for saving a marriage, for example, “always share your feelings with your partner” and “visit a psychologist together”, do not always work, because that they do not explain what exactly needs to be done , to overcome the crisis.

Here are some unusual recommendations for saving marriage from Mort Fertel:

1.Save your marriage even alone. It is generally believed that a marriage can only be saved when both partners are willing to work on the problems. “The efforts of even one person can change the dynamics of marriage, and very often it is these efforts that motivate the stubborn spouse to join the process of maintaining the relationship,” says Mort Fertel.

2. Don’t ask yourself the wrong questions. Don’t ask yourself: “Did I choose the right person as my husband / wife?” The key to success in marriage is not finding the right person, but learning to love the one you have found.Because love is not luck. It’s a choice.

3. Separations distance you, not help you get closer. Separation, which supposedly “refreshes” feelings, in marriage (especially during a crisis) can only further alienate you from each other, but your goal is to get closer again.

4. Less talk about problems. Talking about problems in marriage does not solve them, but only exacerbates them. This leads to controversy and ill will. Talking about a problem does not mean solving it.Speak little, do a lot. Look for realistic solutions to difficulties.

5. Do not think that the therapist will give you ready-made answers. Psychotherapy sessions help spouses to speak up and understand the other’s point of view, but do not provide an answer to the question of what should be done to save the marriage. As a result, some couples remain very frustrated with psychotherapy.

6. Don’t tell family and friends about the marriage crisis.
“Confidentiality is one of the most important values ​​in marriage, so talking about your marriage or spouse with family or friends is a mistake.This is a violation of your spouse’s privacy and is wrong, “says Mort Fertel.


In 2017, one of the strongest couples in Hollywood – Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne – celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary. , and yet they were able to preserve their love.

Crisis in a relationship 2 years: help of a psychologist

The most difficult period of life together is the first 5 years, since at this time there is a grinding in to each other.First, there is a crisis in a relationship of 1 year of life, which not all couples can pass with honor, and those who have passed this stage will very soon face a new crisis of 2 years in a relationship. So it will cope with this difficult period of life, will be discussed further.

The main reason for the crisis in relations is most often everyday life and boredom. If the first year the couple is just learning to exist together, then in the second year of the relationship people already know each other well, the “pink” glasses fall off, and the partner’s shortcomings are seen more and more clearly.

In this situation, it is very important for both husband and wife to understand that there are no ideal people, and you should not remake your soul mate to please yourself. A way out of this situation can only be a constructive conversation, in which it is necessary to clarify all claims to each other. The main thing is not to go over to insults and spare the feelings of the other person.

Another not unimportant reason for quarrels in the 2nd year of marriage is sex. The fact is that over time, the intimate side of relationships becomes boring and ceases to be interesting.The wife begins to refuse sex, and the husband, in turn, looks for reasons not to fulfill his marital duty.

To prevent such a situation from arising, it is necessary to constantly diversify the intimate sphere of life and not be afraid to openly discuss such a piquant topic. Only this approach will allow you to avoid mistakes in bed and bring the relationship to a new level.

It is important to know that all problems in a relationship can only be passed together with a soul mate. Such problems cannot be solved alone, you should not drag out the conversation as well if there are complaints about the person with whom you live.Problems cannot be hushed up.

And the last, common cause of a relationship crisis is the birth of a child. The fact is that in addition to the joy that children bring, this is also a turning point in a relationship. Since the woman is completely absorbed by the child, his interests.

And the husband, in turn, feels forgotten, and not rarely, and is jealous of his wife for her own child. In this situation, there is only one way out – mutual assistance of both spouses. That is, when a woman put the child to bed, she is simply obliged to devote time to her husband, to say how good and beloved he is.

A man should help his wife with the housework, for example, go to the store or wash the floors, as well as not forget to pay compliments to his beloved woman. And even if she is a little overweight after giving birth and did not wash her hair, everything will work out, and a kind and affectionate word will be pleasant to his wife and will return to the man in full with care and affection. This is the only way to keep the relationship.

It is interesting to know that about 80% of couples experience a crisis in a relationship for 2 years of life, but only half of the lovers manage to keep their family together.It is paradoxical that most people who diverge have children, but those who do not have babies manage to find a compromise and maintain a relationship.

Do not forget that a relationship is the work of two people and only the desire of a husband and wife can help preserve the marriage. It is very important to make compromises and concessions to your other half, because it is very easy to destroy, and it is difficult to improve relations. The main thing is to love and respect each other, and then all crises will be bypassed.

90,000 Relationship crisis: how to revive love

I was sucked in by a dangerous quagmire …

“Frozen” experts call relationships that do not develop, but “froze” at a certain point.As a rule, this point is stable, even and not bad, but only the one who is more emotional in a pair begins to choke at this point. And often he himself does not understand what the matter is.

– Victor has been caring for me for two years, – says 31-year-old Lena. – He invited me to the theater, to a cafe, gave flowers and did not rush events. He is a thorough person in everything – both in work and in life. The first intimacy happened with us a year later, and a year later we got married. Vitya earned good money, treated me well, but six months later I began to suffocate in this marriage.I felt not only bored, but somehow stuffy. Vitya is only 5 years older than me, but I felt like an old woman.

Lena did not understand what was happening to her and blamed herself for everything. Parents were so happy that Lena had a good family, her friends were jealous, and she was tormented. Lena could not explain what exactly did not suit her. The husband was attentive to her, gave her time, fulfilled all requests.

“It seemed to me stubbornly that he was doing it for the sake of form,” recalls Lena. – Because it is necessary, but in fact he is not interested in either myself or my thoughts.He seemed kind of lethargic to me. Sometimes I wanted to take him by the shoulders and shake him well, so that he began to react to me more vividly. But I cannot say that he was indifferent, rather not emotional. For example, he himself invited me to take a walk in the park. On a walk, I wanted to take his hand, dream or laugh together. But Vitya limited himself to general remarks about nature and weather. When I shared my feelings with my mother, she said that I was “crazy about fat”.

Lena assured that she loved Victor, only in legal marriage her love seemed to have ceased to be fueled by him.

– I was even frightened, what if I was one of those for whom “beats means he loves”? – Lena admits. – No matter how I tried, I could not invent a single formal claim to my husband. But I had a feeling that I was being sucked in by a swamp …

Lena remembered that Victor was “just the right thing” in the first year, when they were just getting to know each other. Since then, he has not ceased to be interested in Lena’s affairs, just in the first year he reacted to this information more vividly and gave feedback more actively.And in a measured family life, Lena irresistibly wanted to “snatch from her spouse” at least some violent manifestations of feelings.

– Even with my male colleagues it was more fun for me than with my husband! – Lena confides. – With them we could sit, gossip, giggle. And Vitya was always even and polite, you can’t pull out an extra word. Not laughing together, not crying.

As a result, a “seasoned” friend advised Lena to use a provocation. Soon Lena imitated the threat of adultery on her part: she asked a colleague to portray a lover in love.The idea was a success: Victor threw a stormy scene of jealousy. Lena was convinced that he loved her and was afraid of losing her, and calmed down … for three months. From that moment on, every time, feeling the approach of the “swamp”, Lena habitually threw a “grenade” at him, provoking jealousy in her husband or throwing a scandal.

– The provocation that Lena used is a superficial method, like pulling a lazy cat by the whiskers. He, of course, will jump up and meow, but in general, this will not make him more lively and playful, ” psychologist Tatyana Yezhova comments on the situation.- However, not only women, but also men are faced with the need to apply such provocations in unions with frozen relationships. As a rule, the relationship freezes due to the fault of the partner who is either not too emotional by nature or has an established family model in his head (more often following the example of the parent) and considers the wedding a borderline after which the relationship can not be developed. Such partners usually ask questions: “Well, what is still missing for her, I proved my love, got married, dress and put on shoes, I ask how are you!” Or: “Well, what else does he need, I gave birth to children for him, I devoted all of myself to my family, I take care, I wash, I cook!” They are unaware that before the wedding, relationships develop “in breadth” (information is gathered, necessary to establish a relationship, then conditions are created under which they can reach a new level), and when they live together, they must continue to develop, but “in depth.”

Gradually Victor became convinced that, through imprudence, he married a hysterical woman, whose condition only aggravated with age. Lena insisted that her husband “ceases to be a living corpse at least for a while” only after a good scandal. The couple held out for another year, and then filed for divorce – to the surprise of their acquaintances, because everything was perfect from the outside. Lena soon married a musician, she is happy, experiencing and sharing with her beloved the whole gamut of feelings and impressions of life. Victor is again leisurely caring for the girl, but now he is afraid of legal marriage like fire.After all, he did not understand what did not suit his ex-wife.

– It’s not even the least emotional partner, but the compatibility of the two, – the psychologist believes. – In a healthy union, relations deepen with each day lived together through an equal emotional and energetic exchange in a pair. If both partners are equally emotionally cold and closed, it is possible that their relationship will deepen at a level available to them – and both will be comfortable. But if one person lacks emotions like air, he will inevitably “pull the mustache” of the second.But constant provocations cannot deepen the relationship with a detached partner, they can only be kept afloat for some time. If one of the spouses still does not understand what the other expects from him, such a union is doomed. Sometimes one of the partners, by virtue of experience or natural temperament, is “imprisoned” only at the early stage of the relationship: he is emotional only at the stage of courtship, presentation of himself and knowledge of a new person. But as soon as the relationship stabilizes, the hunting excitement from him (her) disappears, and with it the interest in the partner who is always there.Having become a spouse, such a person can show attention and empathy, knowing that “this is the way it should be.” But if his half is also emotionally deprived, she will certainly feel the formality of these manifestations. A specialist will help those whose stable relationships invariably come to a standstill, dooming the unfortunate to an endless “candy-bouquet” stage in the form of a series of superficial novels. But if a partner is simply “mentally lazy” (in the old days, low emotionality was called “mental laziness”, implying that its owner is too lazy to take what is happening around to heart and share his experiences), he can still be “reanimated” by involving him in an active exchange of impressions from joint activities – travel, hobbies, reading, theater, etc.d.

Everything here froze until the morning?

Vera and Vadim got married at a mature age. Intelligent, youthful, both in science, they looked like a perfect match. But in order to connect, they had to go through a lot. At first, both divorced their former spouses, then established relations with children who did not approve of their departure from the family. Then they looked for a place to live, made repairs there … Gradually, everything was getting better and pleasant chores arrived in time. Resigned to the new marriage of the “ancestors”, Verina’s daughter and son Vadim began to throw grandchildren to the 50-year-old newlyweds.As responsible people, Vera and Vadim immediately began to save up for the dacha in order to take their grandchildren out into the air. We bought a dacha, put it in order, took up the garden … When one day all the difficulties were over, Vera suddenly realized with horror that she and Vadim had nothing to talk about:

“All this time we were busy only with pressing issues,” Vera admits. – We discussed them, made plans, made decisions. And against the backdrop of a lull, both were confused. The evenings passed in painful silence. In the past, it often happened that we both read while sitting in the same room.But while we had common tasks, from time to time we were thrown around by remarks on the case and felt a mutual connection, that we were on the same wavelength, that we were a team. But when the common business ended, we became like two strangers reading in the same room. I tried to stir up Vadim by sharing my thoughts about what I had read. She told him some stories, but he reacted sluggishly or even gloomily remained silent. It’s hard to solo in one person without getting any feedback, and I began to get annoyed. But in one person it is difficult to do it.Not yet understood …

According to Vera, both felt discomfort during that period, but it turned out later. The couple began to find fault with each other over trifles, several times they quarreled in large quantities out of the blue. Vadim was the first to understand. He invited his wife for a walk in the forest, where they talked frankly for three hours. They discussed that they had been forced to live in an emergency mode for the whole last year, solved problems, worked and did not have time for themselves. And now both are tired, and in order to reorganize “in a peaceful way”, it takes time.

– Vadim said: “Stop being friends against someone, letting love each other for yourself!” – and invited me to go on a long journey. On the trip, we spent most of the time alone, walking and talking. Sightseeing, visiting museums, discussing what they saw. There we were once again convinced that we were made for each other, and returned inspired. Now, in order to exchange emotions, we do not need to have difficulties, – Vera smiles.

– A frozen relationship does not “unfreeze” by itself, it’s work, ”the psychologist confirms.- Every couple from time to time it is useful to test their relationship for “liveliness”. Relationships are alive and emotionally filled if two people can vividly exchange impressions about something abstract that has no practical meaning for themselves, discuss books, films, performances, art. If two people have something to talk about and something to do, even if absolutely nothing is happening around, such relationships are alive and “autonomous”, that is, they do not depend on the situation in the world around them and are able to overcome any external obstacles.And if two, in order to interact, need external stimuli – both negative (enemies, problems, betrayal, etc.) and positive (large purchases, joint investments, trips, helping children, etc.), and in the “eventless” space they there is nothing to do with each other, which means that the relationship is frozen. And nobody is working on deepening them.

– A frozen relationship can lead to serious health problems for the partner who does not receive emotions from the other, warns life coach Lorella Galtsova.- Energy exchange in a pair occurs through the expression of emotions according to the formula “the same amount and a little more.” A healthy, that is, a positive exchange of energies implies that, having received a positive emotional message from a spouse, the second returns him “the same and a little more” positive. Accordingly, with a healthy exchange, he will also receive “a little more” positive in return than he gave. Thus, the emotional exchange in the couple increases and the mutual bond of the spouses deepens. If someone alone in a pair just “takes”, without giving anything in return, even in a purely emotional sense, in such unions there is first a bias, and then a collapse.A person who does not receive energy from a partner in return for the energy given away inevitably develops emotional hunger, and with it dissatisfaction and poor health, which as a result can lead to depression and health problems. By the way, an unhealthy energy exchange, when each spouse responds to the other with “the same amount of negative and a little more,” can cement the union no worse than a positive one, forming emotional dependence on each other in partners. And emotional dependence with a minus sign is even stronger than a positive one.This is the “secret” of couples who swear endlessly, but cannot part.

The patient is more alive than dead

According to psychologists, there are situations in which a frozen relationship is a blessing. For example, in marriages of convenience, where there was no love initially and both parties do not expect an emotional return from the partner. In this case, none of them will feel disappointment and “hunger”, and an even emotional background will help them to further build relationships, guided only by reason.Although sometimes even such unions unexpectedly “come to life” if in the process of living together and common affairs in a couple, an emotional connection is formed.

– Frozen relationships are divided into “early” ones that arise in the first decade of marriage due to the emotional incompatibility of partners, – says psychologist Tatyana Yezhova, – and into “worked-out” ones that appear in marriages with long experience against the background of natural and equal emotional burnout of both spouses, related to their age. These are qualitatively different states: the first should be tried to “shake up”, but if the partner stubbornly does not want to work on deepening the mutual emotional connection, it is better to get rid of them decisively.They will not bring happiness and moral satisfaction anyway, because one will feel deprived, and the other – undeservedly offended by “empty” claims. But in age couples, frozen relationships are sometimes for the good: the couple habitually “cooperates”, loving each other almost in a kindred way, and the mutual decrease in emotional interdependence allows them to forgive each other’s age-related oddities and alleviates their psychological state if one of the partners is seriously ill or dies.

There are high chances that the relationship will never die out, in those couples who have united by mutual love, and in the process of living together acquired common interests, hobbies and deeds not only of a practical, but also of a spiritual nature.

Experts advise spouses to check their relationship for “liveliness” about once every six months, answering “yes” or “no” to five simple questions.

• Are you spending your vacation together, preferring to be alone on vacation, rather than in a company?

• Do you always vividly discuss with each other and exchange impressions about what you have read, seen and heard?

• If you need urgent advice, do you go to your spouse first?

• Over the past six months, has nothing happened that you have hidden from your half?

• If you suddenly get tickets for a rare show or movie, or you win two cruise tickets, will you bring your half with you?

• • • If you answered “yes” at least three times, you have a need for an emotional exchange of impressions of life with your spouse, which means that your relationship is more alive than dead.

90,000 6 steps after a breakup that will save you from mistakes in a new relationship

1. End your previous relationship

If you moved things to another apartment, put a divorce stamp in your passport or officially announced the separation on social networks, this does not mean that the relationship are over. They continue as you revisit the situation over and over again, review photos, spy on your former love on the Internet. It will not be possible to quickly forget about the past; it takes a period of time.

When a flower is transplanted into another pot, at first it withers away in new conditions, although there is more space and the soil is better. It takes time to get used to and flourish. People are more complex, so you need it.

Tune in first of all to take care of yourself and take your time. Move at your own pace. If you don’t get through the pain of previous relationships, new ones will only add problems.

Oleg Ivanov

psychologist, conflictologist, head of the Center for Settlement of Social Conflicts

Before starting a new relationship after a divorce or separation, wait a little.Or a lot – it depends on how hard it was for you to break up. In my opinion, if a relationship lasted several years, then it is worth starting to build new ones no earlier than a year after the breakup.

2. Recover from trauma

A breakup is a trauma for both parties involved. It doesn’t matter who the initiator was, why you broke up, whether there is reason for joy and relief. It will hurt. Being brave and pretending you don’t care is not the best choice. Ignoring the problem cannot heal the wounds of the soul.

Nadezhda Efremova


It is necessary to restore oneself, starting from basic needs. First, establish a sleep and nutrition regime. As soon as the basic segments come back to normal, you can begin to move towards communicating with loved ones. Don’t rush to make new acquaintances right away. First, you need to feel the ground under your feet again and lick the wounds next to those with whom you can be vulnerable and from whom you can receive love and care.And only after that, gradually go out into society and add new hobbies and activities.

3. Work on your self-esteem

Parting hurts self-esteem. You may doubt your attractiveness, scold yourself for not being able to keep the relationship, feel guilty. All of this makes you vulnerable. You can jump into new relationships to prove to yourself and past love that you are still hoo. Or, conversely, be afraid that no one will love you anymore, and start dating just anyone.

Andrey Smirnov


After the termination of a relationship, a person is often overcome by the fear of loneliness, the inability to live without someone’s support. Such fears are for the most part irrational and are rather easily overcome when communicating with a psychologist. The first step is to realize that there are no irreplaceable ones and there is absolutely always an opportunity to find a more suitable partner.

It is possible that you will not be looking for a person, but for a function – someone who will help you to forget, to survive, will become different from your past love.And it’s not a fact that such a relationship will help you recover and be productive.

Many are so unable to withstand the pain of a breakup that they almost immediately decide to move into a new relationship. This story is very similar to walking on thin ice. And in fact, there is no resource in it – sheer internal tension. Starting a new relationship from a state where everything hurts and bleeds is like running with a broken leg and pretending to be okay.

Nadezhda Efremova

When you end a long relationship, it takes time to understand the new rules of the game. You haven’t flirted in earnest for a long time, you’ve gotten older. Past templates no longer work. We’ll have to figure out what has changed in the world and how Tinder works.

4. Learn to live alone

In a long relationship, you somehow rub against your partner, somewhere yielding to him, somewhere giving up your desires and habits. Loneliness is a great opportunity to return to the original version of yourself.You will not be able to reset your personality to the basic settings, and it is not necessary: ​​you have matured, gained experience and changed. Now you can afford to decide on your own desires, plans and aspirations without regard to the opinion of your partner.

The theory of halves sounds nice. But it is better to come into relationships whole and build them with the same self-sufficient partner.

Before starting a new relationship, take care of your own well-being, career, health. If a person is successful and independent, a line of potential partners is lined up for him.And he slowly chooses with whom he is more comfortable. So after the end of the relationship, it is best to live alone for a while and strengthen your own position. This does not mean that you need to abandon all meetings. They provide a lot of emotional fuel, even if they do not lead to the creation of a relationship.

Andrey Smirnov

5. Work on the mistakes

The breakup usually has some reason, even if you separated peacefully and without tragedies. In order not to repeat the same mistakes in the next relationship, you need to understand where you turned the wrong way.And this is not at all about how to reshape yourself to the generally accepted standard. On the contrary, you have to understand yourself and accept yourself in order to choose more suitable people.

Alexander Bodrov

consultant psychologist, coach

Ideally, no matter how trite it may sound, you should go to a psychologist or psychotherapist to deal with this together with a specialist. Very often, a breakup in a relationship follows a repetitive pattern.And working together with a psychologist will help to find and understand the internal reasons that are drawn into this scenario and launch a destructive relationship.

Also, pay attention to possible errors in the interaction with the partner. There are some things that are easy to learn. But many ignore them, because they simply do not think that it was possible that way. For example, it is not necessary to demand telepathic abilities from a partner, and then be offended that he could not read his mind. If you accept that this is not possible, and speak out your desires and feelings, life will become much easier.

To protect yourself from repeating the previous scenario, you need to take the time to work on mistakes. For example, to realize where the merger took place and which of the partners completely dissolved themselves in the other. Maybe at some point they were too lazy to talk about the conflict, and the breakup is just the result of an offense that did not find a way out. After a detailed analysis, you can see the points that need to be adjusted. If this is not done, then you can run into a similar relationship with the grace of a hippo and go to a new circle of the same scenario, just with a different person.

Nadezhda Efremova

In general, it is important to remember that all people are different and the ways of interacting with a new partner will be different.

With a new person, usual techniques and habits will not work. You do not need to communicate with him in the same way as you used to talk with your ex-husband or wife. Do not idealize a new partner, try to see a real person with all his advantages and disadvantages.

Oleg Ivanov

6. Do not get hung up on relationships

Do not make the search for new love an end in itself.Even if you’ve done a lot of work on yourself, striving for relationships for the sake of relationships is a weird idea.

At first, I generally recommend not to get hung up on looking for a serious relationship. It is much more important to re-believe in yourself, to feel desired, to increase self-esteem. It is important to gain new experience, remember the forgotten skills of communication with the opposite sex. Learn to trust. For now, there will be enough even, calm relationships (not necessarily love ones), thanks to which your life will become better.

Oleg Ivanov

How did you feel about parting? Share your experience in the comments.

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“It is difficult to carry on a spiritual relationship, and not a role one, throughout life”

Why are women willing to endure domestic violence, and men are afraid to talk about problems? How can a husband and wife learn to hear each other and why shouldn’t they be ashamed to ask for help? Anna Varga, head of the Master’s program “Systemic Family Psychotherapy”, tells about this in an interview with the HSE News Service.

Family in crisis

Speaking conventionally, the main psychological problem that couples come with can be formulated as follows: “It’s bad together, but it’s scary to part, it seems that if you run away, it will be even worse.” People want help to learn how to live together – more interesting, more fun, safer. And an eventful reason for consultation can be anything, ranging from problems with a drop in sexual desire or disagreements in the strategy of raising children to betrayal and drunkenness.Deep problems in spousal communication appear at the “weak link” – money, sexual interaction, children, and so on. Today, different people, representatives of different social strata, with different levels of income, opposite-sex and same-sex couples, those who have been married for a long time, and those who have just faced the reality of family life, turn for help.

The institution of the family as a whole is now going through a deep crisis, everywhere, not only in Russia. On the one hand, the family becomes a meaningless business (this is no longer a matter of survival), and on the other hand, we now live much longer than before, when people lived together for 20 years and then died.And it is very difficult to carry through the whole life a spiritual relationship, and not a role relationship.

“It is more natural for us not to understand than to understand”

The main problem in family life is communication problems. Each person lives in his own reality, people do not understand each other well if they do not try. It is more natural for us not to understand than to understand. People are afraid to discuss certain things, because they are afraid that in the end they will not find out anything, but they will get something unpleasant – shouting, rudeness, insult, humiliation.It seems to many that it is easier to remain silent. But family life is at least two people, and if the family does not have the opportunity to talk openly, negotiate, come to common solutions, then the problem is very difficult to solve.

It happens that we bring into communication patterns of behavior from a previous life, from the family relationships of our parents, which seem natural and the only possible to us. And that can be a problem. For example, in one family, the parents fought loudly, while in another family they stopped talking.Can you imagine what happens when two such “children” are paired? Those who are accustomed not to talk distance themselves, and those who are accustomed to scandals shout. The one who distances himself is even more frightened by the scream, and the one who yells continues to rage. But both distancing and screaming are only signs of personal discomfort and suffering, not a desire to leave.

If people trust each other, then they agree, which of them emits a signal, and who receives it. If I am responsible for understanding, then I check how my partner understood me.If his answer is incomprehensible to me, then without fear I clarify what is the reason for the misunderstanding. And I know for sure that I will receive sincere answers to my questions.

At a deep level of communication, neither gender nor age matters

I am convinced that on a deep level of communication, neither gender nor age matters. Despite the physiological differences between men and women, psychological gender is a socially constructed thing. Gender stereotypes, like any other, limit our options. In my opinion, it is more therapeutic and environmentally friendly when people in relationships do not rely on social roles and the social expectations behind them.

In our society, the difference between male and female roles in the family (and not only in the family) is created by social expectations. In Russia, they are inscribed in the patriarchal model of society: a man must earn money, and a woman must be responsible for the emotional atmosphere in the family and for raising children. Therefore, we do not require a woman to earn much, but we demand from a man. In my opinion, in today’s situation, these attitudes are rather inadequate than adequate, since in certain areas it is easier and easier for women to earn a lot.I know families where a woman earns many times more than a man. Recently, I consulted a family where the husband did not know for a long time how much his wife earned – she did not tell him, because she believed that it would hurt him.

Although there are still zones in which there are few women – the army, the FSB, firefighters, officials. And the higher the rank of an official, the more likely it will be a man – this is required by the patriarchal model of our society, which is broadcast at the state level.

How to start building normal relationships

First of all, you need to talk to each other.If one conversation doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world. Talk over and over again, sweetly, tearfully, dancing, whatever you like – it’s important to talk. With their communicative poverty, it is especially important for men to learn to speak in a family. I always recommend to my clients the film by Pedro Almodovar “Talk to Her”, where the hero, through conversations, brought a woman in a coma back to life.

Second, you need to observe when you feel good together and recreate these situations. I like to eat together – there should be delicious food.It’s good to watch a movie together – do not refuse if one offers. I have clients with a child who work so hard that they only sleep at home. And then I see them, and they are completely happy. What happened? The three of us spent the whole day, there was an unplanned day off, and this is happiness. Repeat what gives joy and comfort, do not be lazy.

And third, do not hesitate to accept help. In this regard, the woman is a little easier, her ancestors were in a dependent position for much longer, and she learned to accept help.Yes, and society expects a woman to worry more about her family than a man. But in my experience, if a man did not want a divorce, and the woman left him, he experiences it much more difficult, more painful and longer.

Domestic violence

Domestic violence is not always perceived as “real” violence. A drunken husband does not let his wife sleep because he wants to talk – is this violence? If a woman agrees to have sex so that her husband doesn’t get angry, is this violence? Or are we ready to admit violence only if the husband, in a semi-delusional state, grabbed the knife?

The scale of the spread of this phenomenon makes it to some extent the norm for many women.Due to the fact that the values ​​of a good life are not formed, it seems to women that their life is normal, because it does not differ much from the life of their friends and neighbors. They tolerate, because there is no understanding that one must live well, live badly – this is abnormal. The low value of a good family life is becoming a cultural norm. With all the slogans and calls for the preservation of family values, our society is not ready to see a demonstration of love and normal family relations at a high level. The only head of our state who demonstrated his affection for his wife is Mikhail Gorbachev.But the whole country laughed at him, Raisa Maksimovna was not loved, although, looking at them, it was obvious that this was a loving couple.

The state does not take any systemic actions: there are no shelters for people subjected to violence, there is no punishment for these rapists, the police often do not come to family fights, because it is believed that anything can happen in the family. We know how to calmly relate to suffering. We have someone else’s suffering – not an argument.

How to change this situation

What should be done to change the attitude towards this problem in the society? To be honest, I don’t know.And in each specific family it is necessary to destroy the tolerance to violence, to the bad, to give people the inner confidence that they have the right to a better life. The trauma is compounded by silence. There is a rule for dealing with violence: if you are afraid of everyone, there must be at least one person you can trust. Knock on doors, don’t hide your troubles.

About the program “Systemic family psychotherapy”

The basis of the master’s program “Systemic family psychotherapy” was the development of practicing systemic psychotherapists.Training is carried out in two specializations: systemic therapy for couples and psychological assistance in violation of child-parent interaction. Graduates of the program will become specialists who will be able to conduct their own private practice, as well as work in various centers that provide psychological assistance to the population, in schools, hospices, insurance companies, funds involved in social and psychological support for families.

More details about the program can be found on the website

Lyudmila Mezentseva, HSE News Service

Photo by Mikhail Dmitriev


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